KTM RC200 User Review: A Love-Hate Relationship!

This is a user review submitted by one of our avid reader Mani Ruzzaman who gets to feature on our webzine! He also gets our official BikeAdvice T-shirt as a gift. You can also submit your reviews at admin[@]bikeadvice.in.


I was struck in the traffic in my Alto 800. It was still 95 seconds before the signal would turn green. Before me was, a line of cars, stretched for hundreds of meters. I was moving like a lazy snake in sand. The bikers, all the while, were passing by me, adding to my frustration. Envious of the bikers, enraged at my steel cage that I call a car, I decided to get a bike.

About Me: I am Maniruzzaman, from the city of joy Kolkata. I am 28 years old and work in a fortune 500 company.

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The Search Begins:

I did not give any thought before buying the Alto 800 and I regret it till date. Alto simply doesn’t go with my personality. I did not want to make the same mistake again. I wanted something with a flamboyant personality and something which should be very less seen on the streets. Here is a list of bikes I considered…

Yamaha R15: I liked R15 a lot. It had great looks and everything that I loved. But by mid-2013 it was a very common bike and hardly caught a second glance by onlookers.

Honda CBR 150R: It was a great bike too. But R15 was any day better than this and comes at a lesser price. I could not justify myself buying this over R15.

Royal Enfield: The crazy bullet as we call them. I love all RE bikes! But given my lean built I would probably look very bad on these.

KTM Duke 200: KTM was not a known brand to me before I decided to get a bike. Funny thing is I came to know about duke 200 from the internet. So it fulfilled my second criteria of being less seen on the street. In pictures it looked good too. I read the reviews. All were good. I visited the showroom. I liked the bike and decided to get it.

My job required me to stay out of town for a long stretch, one thing led to other and I never bought the bike. Another thing is, I did not like the duke when I saw guys riding it. No offence to the Dukers but the riding posture seemed peculiar with commuter like sitting position and pushed back leg position. I was undecided.

KTM RC 200: Then the news of launching RC started circulating and I just fell in love with the bike. I had to get this bike. It was everything I dreamed of and some more. It had the Duke’s engine, so I knew that the engineering and performance will be solid.  Though I was not actively looking for a sports bike, but when I look back, I think, subconsciously I was looking for a sports bike only.

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Booking: I visited the showroom immediately after it was released. I booked it by paying 50k and was told that it would take one and half month to get the delivery.

Buying Experience: KTM is my first bike and I have never visited any other bike stores. So I can’t compare how better or worse the KTM people are. I have experience of buying a car and comparing with that I felt KTM people has a kind of laid back and less professional attitude. They never really, try to actively sell the bike. Visited two KTM stores and felt the same. May be the reason is the age group they cater to. However, it does not mean that the people are not helpful or rude. They are very friendly.

Again, due to my job I was out of town and took the delivery four months after booking. The buying process was smooth.

First Ride: As I told earlier, KTM is the first bike I own. I have ridden a few of my friends’ bikes earlier but for all practical purposes I was a novice rider. So, I was extremely excited the first time I took my bike out for riding and from here started the love hate relationship that would continue for I don’t know how long.

Just ten minutes and my wrist were begging for mercy. I rode a few minutes more and came back with sore wrist and a lot less excitement.

Now after four months and 3000 km let me tell you about the KTM experience. I would not be talking about the specs as a little google search will get you those. I will talk about what it is like living with RC200.

Engine: Engine is very refined and smooth. I never felt any vibration ever. The gears are well spaced out. You can ride in top gear at 40kph without any problem.

Brakes: Brakes are very good. The 300 mm disc in the front and 230 mm disc in rear gives ample confidence in riding. However lack of ABS is something which is disheartening! Bajaj is offering it on the RS200 and I think KTM should also offer ABS at least as an option.

Console: The console is unlike anything you will see in other bikes. Everything is digital and it gives out a plethora of information. I like that it displays the current gear you are riding. Another cool feature is if the side stand is down the bike would not start. The engine will stop if you lower the stand while you are riding. This is a pretty neat safety feature.

Ergonomics/Ride Quality/The Hate part: The suspension is on the stiffer side. Suddenly the road becomes so imperfect for you. Every bump, every imperfection gets transferred to your wrist. The ground clearance being low (157 mm) you have to be careful about every pothole, every bump you encounter. It is a dedicated, track focused racing bike. It takes it very seriously and is very good at it. For everything else it is pathetic!

Commute in traffic: You will hate yourself for taking it out to commute to office. It needs you to sit in dedicated hunched over position but you will not be able to do that when the traffic is crawling. Your wrist will scream in pain and you will never get adjusted to that. The rear view mirrors are good when you take the racing position. Again, in city ride while you are seated more upright, the rear view mirror shows you nothing.

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The duke is very agile, R15 is also very agile, in reviews I have read RC to be very agile too. But I can’t do those quick lane crossing and zigzag crazy riding that others do. Initially I thought that probably I am not skilled enough but one day I rode a R15 and I was quite good. So, either RC is not nimble enough or the learning curve is pretty long with it.

Riding with pillion:  Are you a college kid thinking of buying it to woo some girls? Don’t . Girls will stay away from the scary seat it has. The pillion ride is as uncomfortable as it gets. Even if you happen to have a supermodel, super fit girlfriend who can climb (yes, climb) and sit on its tiny seat, every time you will brake, your girlfriend will tend to fly over you. Guaranteed, she will never ride on it again.

The WOW/Love part: This is a piece of beauty. Look at it from any angle and you will admire its beauty (one more reason, your gf will hate it). The black colored body with sprinkled orange, the projector headlights, the integrated blinkers, and the cowl cum pillion seat…..everything inspires pure awe. Every eye will be on you when you are riding on it (provided you are also as good looking as me 😀 ). Traffic police will spare you even if you do not happen to have a driving license with you (Don’t do this). Signal to signal race! You will leave other bikers smelling your fart.

Kitna Deti Hai!: I follow a simple thumb rule before buying anything,’ if I can afford it I can maintain it’. If you can spend 2 lacs to buy this, you can afford the petrol price too. I have never bothered to measure mileage. Probably it gives me around 30 kmpl.

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Final thought/So, Should You Buy It! The answer is both YES and NO. The bike is not good for long rides. The bike is not good for city riding. The dedicated riding position will tire you out faster than you think. You will not be able to occasionally take your friend/gf for a ride with this. This does not have any space for carrying anything. If you need to carry an extra helmet, you will have to think of ways how to do that. It is a very good bike from the perspective of being it a racing bike.

If you are someone who does not need a bike for commuting to office, taking your mother to the doctor, taking your gf to the mall or for any practical purposes but want a bike for the sake of biking then this is THE bike for you.

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