KTM Duke 200 is an Austrian bike by KTM. Of course the company needs no introduction as they are the leaders in the off-road sports. The Indo-Austrian ties up between Bajaj and KTM have led to the entry of the Duke 200.

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This bike is well known to most of you. It is placed in the naked street fighter class where fairings are avoided and the frame and engine is exposed to give a brawn-ish look. There are mostly designed to rule the streets so their engineering is focused on the streets mostly.

About The Biker

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My name is Aditya. I most commonly called as “Emothic”. I am 18 years old and doing my engineering in Automobiles. I loved bikes from my childhood where time changed from the legendary Rx to CBZ’s and Fieros to the Pulsars to the R15s and finally to the Duke. I am actually a bike fanatic. The love for it is now what helping me in pursuing my career.

The Duke Family

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The Duke has a younger twin brother which is the famed Duke 125. The elder ones are the Duke 690 and the Duke 990. The latest addition is the Duke 1290 most commonly known as beast and an elder twin brother of the Duke 200 known as the Duke 390. The most common fact of the family are the trellis frame, WP suspension, the best in class power to weight ratio etc.

The Design

The Duke is a naked bike designed to dominate the streets. The big tank, the Ducati style trellis frame and the fat rear tire makes it to look like an alien robot bull. You may find that there are no curves on the bike. Almost every part of the bike is visible. Since it is an international product, the fit and finish is great.

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From the front this looks like an alien well built robot. The headlamp is narrow and long like in the superior Dukes and RC8s. The mirrors too are given angular looks. It is good and stable at high speeds. The switchgear is backlit with white LED like in the Pulsars which is awesome. The big muscular tank is crafted at a perfect angle for the knees to hold on to. This crystal like cut tank gives a brute look with “DUKE” written on it.

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This makes the bike to look massive. The tank cap is of the Pulsars. There basic characteristic of a naked bike is its frame and suspension. Street-fighters normally have a different frame than the sport, commuter and off-road bikes etc. The tubular space frame most commonly known as the trellis frame reminds us of the Ducati monster.

The engine is marked “KTM Racing” gives a feel of riding a race bike. The underbelly exhaust is a whole new marvel on the Indian roads. Many will try to look for the exhaust location and still the hunt is on. The stainless steel exhaust looks great and comes with the catalytic converter. It has the largest sprocket in its segment. The swingarm is designed beautifully which is made up of die-cast aluminum, probably the best swingarm in bikes in India.

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The shape and its design are aimed at maximum strength and stability at heavy loads. Coming to the rear part, the tail-light and the turn indicators are made up of LEDs. The tail-light looks like a diamond where as the indicators remind of wild ram ears. There is a grab rail for the pillion to hold on. The front headlamp light is 12v/60/55w where as the parking light is 12v/5w. The light suffices for normal city driving and touring.

The Digital Console

There is much lot to talk about when it comes to the orange digi console on the Duke. It has so many functions that you can find like this only at higher end bikes or cars. What it shows up is,

  • Tachometer, indicators for lights (High beam, low beam, turn indicators etc)
  • Speedo and an Odometer
  • Two trip meter and addition trip meter known as Trip F which automatically shows up once it reaches low fuel
  • Engine temperature gauge
  • Fuel gauge
  • Gear Indicator
  • A clock
  • Average riding time
  • Shift RPM indicator
  • Average riding speed
  • Average fuel consumption
  • Distance to dot
  • Distance to next service
  • The meter can also be set in miles
  • Warning light
  • Error messages (Side Stand down, Low fuel, Low Coolant Level, Low Battery, High Engine Temperature and soon…)

The console senses the light and automatically increases or decreases its intensity which is pretty cool. Any problem, it will be displayed on it. On a lighter note, the only thing I find missing is Snakes or Tetris game to play on it during the boring traffic.

Handling And Comfort

The high raised handle-bar is wide makes one to reach it easily. Unlike in Pulsars, Apaches, R15s etc., this is in one-piece and makes to feel more comfortable, like sitting on a commuter bike. The rider seat is wide and there is more space for the rider to move around which certainly helps a lot in cornering. The pillion seat is small and not suitable for everyone, however much better than R15 V 2.0.

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If you wanna bash the Duke regarding this, I suggest you get the TATA Nano at the same price tag and enjoy the comfort. The knee rest on the angular sculpted tank at ease lock and loaded. The foot pegs are lower set making the Duke more street friendly. Coming to the suspension part, it is provided by WP (White Power. Suspension suppliers for BMW and KTM).

The Front telescopic upside down fork has a inner diameter of 43mm. The big rear monoshock is white in color and can be adjusted to the rider weight (Normally the default setting would do). The wheels are the biggest specs in Indian Two wheeler industry. The front tire is 110/70/17 where as the rear is 150/60/17 (tubeless radial). (Bigger than CBR250r).

These big tires provide excellent grip and makes you stick to the roads. The trellis frame and the underbelly exhaust gives us great confidence on cornering. The parts are packed firmly with keeping in mind mass-centralization for better stability at high speeds and cornering. It takes cornering to a whole new level. It has 6 gears and it is short geared. The gear shift is smooth and great.

The front disc is 280 mm where as the rear is 230 mm is provided by Bybre (A sister product of Brembo) provides good breaking. In rare cases, the rear disc may lock up due to lack of ABS, but no worries, KTM is gonna introduce the ABS version in this along with the Duke 390.

I personally feel, that the lack of ABS have made me to understand the knowledge of braking. I was saved twice by this Duke and I can assure you they are totally reliable. The kerb weight of the Duke is 136kgs. Probably the lightest in its class. So summing up, the Duke is absolutely street friendly and riding a bike has never been so much fun. You will be amazed on the handling part of this bike.

Engine And Performance

The engine is single-cylinder, 4-stroke and liquid-cooled. It has 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC. The displacement is 200cc. Maximum Power is 25 bhp @ 10,500 rpm and Maximum Torque is 19.2 Nm @ 8,000 rpm. The Compression ration: 11.5:1. The bore x Stroke: 72 mm x 49 mm and finally the transmission/gears: 6-speed claw shifted.

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So let’s make it simple. It is a 200cc brute which has a power of 25bhp at 10,500rpms. That’s one hell of a beast to not mess with. Since it weighs only 136kgs, this has a best in class power to ratio of 186ps/ton. It ranks first in the list of power to ratio of Indian bikes. (Source: Bikeadvice forum). It’s totally power packed.

The torque which is 19.2 Nm @ 8,000 rpm and the short geared fact aids in its acceleration. It reaches 0-60kmph in 3.4secs and 0-100kmph in 9 secs (On my bike). The best in acceleration in the current Indian bike scenario. The bike is a real hooligan. It roars like a two stroke. Its aggressive and once you are above 7k rpm. You can hear its roaring.

The top speed of the bike is 138kmph. It won’t let you go more than it because it is electronically locked by the company. But even at that speed you can find it has more potential stored in it and not panting. I don’t find it a problem because doing above 125kmph+ on Indian roads is seriously dangerous and I am contented with 138Kmph.

This bike has lots of power in every gear and I suggest you hold on to the handlebar firmly and feel the jolt of power for the slightest movement of the throttle.

On The Streets

It’s a born street fighter. The streets are its favorite playground. Riding in the city and the traffic is so much fun, you will never feel bored. Since it is short geared, you can go up to 40kmph in the first gear and ride with ease at 40kmph in the sixth gear. There is no engine snatch even when your doing around 17kmph in the fourth gear.

It influences you so much confidence with is handling and weight. You can easily zip through in the busy traffic. Another fact I would like to express is the heat from the engine by the radiator. Since it’s a naked bike, the heat radiation is felt on the legs once you stopped in the traffic. You legs are barbequed if you are wearing shorts. But its adaptable with cotton trousers and denims etc. (Most common problem is higher displacement esp naked bikes).

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Sometimes bane becomes boon when you are riding in cold night and you are glad that you have a personal heater in the bike. Ah, the warmth. Next problem is the attention it gets. The Duke is a show-stealer and people cant get their eyes off once they spotted it. I was enquired by atleast 20 persons on the way from the showroom to my home.

Where ever I go, I can feel people staring it me. Once the bike is parked and I turn away my head, there is a crowd. I don worry about taking photos but I really get pissed off when I see some scratches or damages done by crooks. Why the hell do they do it ?

Once you are in motion, you can see young lads in shorts without helmets in their R15s, Pulsars etc trying to overtake you. These Rossi wannabes are determined to race you even if you don’t wish. I had this incident few months ago; I was really annoyed by this r15 guy. He twists and shouts at every traffic jam.

Finally the devil in me gave in, and the street drag is done. I was ahead of him and doing 90+. I couldn’t go further because it’s the run-in period and I should go above 7K rpm no matter what happens. This guy was coming behind me so fast, pushing his bike to the limits. There was a barricade in a few meters ahead. I noticed it and hit the brakes but this moron busy in taunting me the winners sign didn’t notice it.

By the time he finally realized it, he crashed on to the barricade. I wanted to help him, but I was afraid whether he may point me out the reason for his crash. Luckily there were others on the road to help him. He wasn’t much hurt, just a few bruises but the damage done to his R15 is heavy. It was a good lesson to him and also to me. So here is my verdict on the Duke in the city. It’s not the lord of the streets; it’s the Duke of the streets.

Exploring the world on Duke

The bike has only 10.5L tank of which 1.5L is reserve. Though it’s short for a bike of this class, it has a range of more than 300kms. So it’s not much of a problem. I have gone to Ooty, Nelliyampathy, Valparai and here is my view. This bike has good touring capabilities.

I felt no shoulder aches etc. But I have fell butt-ache in long rides due to the stiff seat. It’s not a problem once you added a seat cover. Then you shall really enjoy long distance rides. I shall post my trip logs and experience in another post. I have so much faith on this Duke that I am gonna attempt a saddlesore in a few months.

Fuel Efficency

This section is must in Indian scenario due to expensive petrol. The bike gives me an average of 40kmpl at 65-75kmph in the city. On the highways it gives 48kmpl at 70-80kmph or more. So the fuel efficiency is mind-blowing when it comes to this bike. I would like to remind you that the way you handle the bike plays a vital role than what kind of bike it is in the fuel efficiency factor. Maintenance is the key factor.

Stunting

Since this bike is weightless and full of power, it is a hot shot in the world of stunting like its sibling Duke 125. Rok Bagros is the one who comes to mind when you think of it. Coming to India, there is Throttlerz, one of the best bike stunt team from the cotton city. You can see them flipping their Dukes on the net. I too have learned a few stoppies and wheelies from the Duke. This bike is a good choice for those who wanna stunt.

On the race track (Ready To Race)

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I once rode it on the Kari speedway (A famous racetrack in the cotton city). Though it wasn’t a race, it was actually a practice session. This bike was doing great. It always the takes the lead in the first 10 secs. I was riding with CBR250rs, R15s, Pulsars and Apaches. Once this bike is tuned and has a good rider, this is a huge threat to the quarter liter class segment. So has its way of earning the respect on the track.

The Showroom And My Experience

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The KTM showroom guys were friendly. The service done by them was expensive but they did a decent Job. And to remind you, any customization work which is need to be done, they are ready to help. Good job KTM SVC guys.

Upgrading Your Duke

Not satisfied with the Duke still? Go for the performance upgrades. There are K&N and BMC air filters available in the performance shops. There is KIRRUS; well known automotive tuners providing an ECU remap which takes you to 11,500rpms that is to 149kmph. You can contact them on their facebook page.

For cosmetic upgrades, you can paint the trellis frame orange which most of the Dukers do. You can add orange colored bi-xenon projector and LEDs to make it look like a decepticon from Transformers. RC Customs and many provide it. And finally, there are dozens of KTM powerparts like tankpads, rim stickers, crash pad etc.

Emotional Stuff

I was determined to go to for the Duke 200. Although I like the other performance bikes in India, my heart is set for the Duke 200 because we share a common thing, Uniqueness. I suggest everyone to go for the bike what their heart tells than other people. It’s like choosing a bride. This is my first bike. I love it more than anyone could and we happy being in love.

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Like I told before this bike has saved my life twice. It has given me a new attitude and motivated me in writing this review. I am happy I have made the right choice and I never regretted once. I would tell the readers to love your machine, treat it with respect and see how much it loves you more.

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Tauros (My Duke) is sometimes a beast during the streets, a good companion during touring and a baby who loves to play with water during the rain. There is a lot to understand about a bike more than just specs etc. And Tauros has taught me so much. I owe him. I could go saying it for hours on praising it and telling you our relationship. But let’s save it for another post.

Cons

I was completely blank about this section. I spent more time in this than most of the sections to find the cons of this bike. And here is so far what I found,

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  • Heat radiation from the bike – It’s a general problem in higher displacement bikes esp. naked ones.
  • Short tank – 10.5 L is short but it has good range and to be honest that is enough.
  • Stiff stock seat – Get a seat cover and the problem is over.
  • Once in a blue moon the gear doesn’t shift properly and get locked – Inform the SVC and the problem is done.
  • Discoloration of the exhaust pipe – It happens when water is splashed on it. Common things but there are people who don’t have this because of extra care on their bike.
  • Engine stalling – Happens due to not so good fuel. Always fill the fuel in a good petrol bunk. But premium fuel helps to prevent stalling and gives more mileage.

Everything has its own pros and cons. The Duke has more pros than cons

Awards

The KTM Duke 200 won the “Bike Of The Year Award 2013” by many organizations. Here are the few who are the jury.

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  • Bike advice
  • Top gear
  • Motor beam
  • Zig wheels
  • Bike India
  • NDTV car and the bike show
  • Auto Car
  • Motor Vikadan (Tamil automotive magazine)

The bike truly deserves the award. Congratulations to KTM.

Epilogue

There are many performance good bikes in India under 2L price range. The Duke 200 is most likely the best bike in India under the 250cc segment. There is enough power to satisfy the rider in all aspects. All praises to KTM. Bajaj has a done a wonderful job again in bringing an awesome bike after the Ninja 250R.

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I have done my best in collecting information and writing this article. I thank my parents for getting this, my friends and last but not the least Bike Advice and its forum for supporting me buying this bike of my dreams. I thank the readers for spending time in reading this article. Your feedback is most welcome and it is what motivates me. Thank you!

Regards,
Aditya

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