The urban naked legend from Austria has hit the Indian roads and the credit goes to Bajaj and its global aspirations. Not many know that behind the arrival of KTM is yet another Indian company going global. Since 2009, Bajaj auto has been making footholds into the KTM parental company and now holds 47 % of the shareholdings in the KTM. The marriage between both the companies has been strategically successfull for both the companies, with Bajaj getting access to KTM technology for its home-grown Pulsar series and future products and KTM making leverage of cost effective development and production in India environment. KTM is already enjoying huge sales of its KTM Duke 125 and 200 motorcycles made in India and sold in Europe at a very attractive sticker price. Its win-win partnership!
Now lets talk about KTM Duke 200 that is all set to race the gut out of you because it comes from a company with years of racing reputation that proudly declares “Ready to Race”. A look at the Duke 200 is menancing, masculine and ready to knock you down with its naked look.
The styling boasts of pure KTM DNA complete with its impressive and eye-catching orange on black color that forms KTM line of motorbikes proudly blaze both in tracks and roads. Everything seems to be in perfect harmony and in right proportions – lean, mean and stunning. The chiselled looks, masculine, well toned body all gives it a looks like a greek God on wheels.
The big orange tank is chunky yet very muscular with a 11 litre fuel capacity and sporting a stylish, funky and very loud Duke 200 sticker.
The headlight spells out aggression with its unique frontal look, vertically stacked up and with minimal plastic gear around. The handle bar which is pretty wide and sportygives a good riding posture and a comfortable saddle position. The machine is very compact devoid of any unnecessary fats, giving it a quirky, sturdy looks, differentiating instantly from any other Indian made bikes on roads.
The Instrument console looks sporty and extremely compact but don’t undermine the small multifunction panel. It displays all the important data ranging from digital rev counter, gear indicator, total kilometers travelled, journey time, two trip displays, a fuel guage and an indicator of fuel consumption and also distance to the next service and even there is a clock! There is also a text display for warning messages such as when the side-stand is down etc. All in all, the multi-function console is surely a notch ahead of what we have seen in any other Indian made bikes.
The rear of the bike goes super stylish with sharp lean LED indicators, LED tail light and LED illumination for licence plate. The rear wheel sports a mandatory wheel hugger and a sari-guard and if you wonder sari-guard for this lean machine? They don’t look odd on this bike.
The pillion seat is wee bit small but then for the bikes belonging to this category, this is acceptable. There is a small rear under seat storage where you can slip in the bike papers etc..
Considerable thought has been put into making the machine as light as possible shedding unwanted flabs and making use of sensible engineering. The beautifully carved swing-arm with the cross patern on it and the rear wheel rim not just adds the killer racer looks but also the extremely stable die-cast aluminium make sure the beast is light weight while delivering the heavy weight punch.
The Duke is built on a lightweight trellis frame and sports a 199.5 cc DOHC, liquid cooled, four valve single engine which produces a whooping 25 PS of power at 10,000 rpm and 19 Nm of torque unleashed at 8,000 rpm. Comes equipped with WP suspension both at front and rear, upside down forks in the front and monoshocks at the rear – neither too soft nor too hard making it ideal for Indian conditions. Plus the braking system of Duke 200 is extremely potent and very precise, not surprising as it is sourced from Brembo, the leading and widely acclaimed brake makers. But the brand name apart, the braking system is very effective at handling the bike.
If you are searching for the exhaust canister on either side of the Duke 200, you will be surprised to find it not existing. Well, here is the another highlight of the bike the underfloor exhaust system you find between the rear wheel and engine with a low center of gravity. It not just adds to the visual appeal but also the way the bike behaves and handles when you are ready to race.
Ride quality, handling and performance of KTM Duke 200
Swing the leg, mount the saddle and turn on the ignition, the engine feels full of life with a mild grunt, something much quieter than I had thought but that feeling goes away the minute you open up the throttle. The mild grunt kicks in to a sporty thump. Once the bike takes off, it was all talking to winds and you start enjoying the mounted beast. It attacks the corners with no hint of nervousness and has good flickability. Its rev-happy, lively and joy to ride.
So wondering how much could be KTM Duke 200 top speed ? It can hit a top speed of 136 Km per hour in the top gear after which it hits the limiter. Neverthless the way the bike attains that top speed is phenomenal. To top it, it delivers an impressive mileage of 35 Km/litre in city conditions and on a highway cruise it impresses you more. With all the technological prowess it is bestowed with and crafted with fine attention backed up by KTM’s decades of racing DNA and Bajaj’s understanding of Indian market, Duke 200 with a sticker price of of Rs 1.17 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is a bike to put your money at, if you have even the slightest racing inclinations. At this stage, there is no other Indian bike to match its prowess, technology and looks in this segment and at this attractive price range.
Ginger Chai Exclusive KTM pictures shot by Dipesh H Premdoss