KTM is a brand which has always remained to be very dear to the enthusiasts of the West. However, in Bangladesh, KTM has been welcomed with a series of mixed reactions when the bikes started to get imported through the grey market initially.
No one can disagree with the fact that KTM makes some of the best bikes the world has ever seen. In fact, that’s the reason why the KTM Duke series is one of the most popular series of naked sports bikes in the West. These bikes are known to be some of the most technologically advanced, powerful and best handling naked sports bikes currently available on the global market. What made the enthusiasts disappointed was when they had to pay nearly 6 lacs for a mere 125cc entry level sports bike which is apparently the only engine displacement offered by KTM that can be legally ridden on Bangladeshi roads due to the ban of higher displacement motorbikes.
The cheapest of the Duke series that can be officially purchased in Bangladesh at the moment is the KTM Duke 125 Indian variant. For this feature of Turbine, we share our insights after having a first hand experience with a KTM Duke 125 Indian.
The Duke is a series of bikes which have established a common design structure for every bike in its line up no matter the variant. In fact, even though the owners of the more powerful KTM Dukes complain, KTM has even kept nearly an identical design structure for almost every KTM Duke in the lineup. The best example is the new refreshed Duke 125 Indian variant we’re featuring today. Now with a revised geometry for the chassis and a new bolt-on subframe which comes painted in the iconic KTM orange, the new Duke 125 looks exactly identical to the more powerful Duke 200 apart from the engine size.
In the front, the KTM 125 Indian comes with a differently shaped headlight to the global variant. Like it or hate it, my only complaint with the headlight unit will be the use of an antiquated halogen headlamp on a premium bike in 2022. Although the DRLs, the indicators and the taillamps used are LED as it should be.
The rest of the bike is mostly similar to the global variant in terms of visuals with only slight changes overall.
Sitting on the Duke 125, I could surely tell this wasn’t a bike meant to be for short riders unfortunately. Although, both parts of the double split seat are some of the widest and most comfortable seats to come equipped in sports bikes. Like other design elements, the new refreshed edition of the KTM Duke 125 Indian version also gets it’s digital gauge cluster borrowed from the KTM 200 along with KTM’s iconic backlit switches.
Another subtle yet notable feature to mention are humongous grab rails which, paired with the large pillion seat, weirdly makes one of the best in class naked sports bikes to carry pillions on a regular basis.
Even though the entry level Duke is only powered by a tiny 125cc motor, it’s still mated to a 6 speed gearbox and this tiny single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected engine produces a staggering power output of 14.5 PS, the highest power output to have been ever squeezed out of a tiny 125cc engine, along with 12Nm of torque.
The KTM 125 is one of the heaviest naked sports bikes in its class weighing about 159kg. Pair that to the monstrous 150/60/r17 rear tyre, it made me believe the Duke would be one of the slowest accelerating sports bikes in the market. However, I was surprised when I got to test the mind boggling ‘ready pickup’ the bike offered when I turned the throttle for the first time.
Apart from the best in class engine refinement, what surprised me even further was the torque delivery at the higher rev range. The bike becomes playful at rpms greater than 5000 and anyone who gets the KTM Duke 125 should know that the KTMs are meant to be redlined. Apart from the fun part though, this also makes the Duke 125 an excellent 125cc bike for highway rides as I’m certain that no riders will ever feel any lack of power when overtaking vehicles at speeds within 100km/h.
The Duke is a series of naked sports bikes known for their surreal handling and on papers, KTM went all in even with the entry level Duke 125 Indian version.
The WP suspension setup of the Duke 125 holds up great at twists and turns. The suspension is stiff enough to give the rider enough confidence when leaning with the bike but won’t make riders fly away from the bike when going over potholes at moderate speeds. Part of the credit should be going to the large 150 section rear tyre too! The KTM also comes with a huge 300mm disc brake setup with single channel ABS as standard. While it makes the bike look great up front, it holds up even better when riding at high speeds giving enough assurance to riders who love to keep the throttle wide open on the city roads.
At the time of this writing, one can get a brand new 2021 KTM Duke 125 for Tk 325,000 officially from a KTM dealership. The price might seem a bit steep for a ‘Indian’ bike. However, it isn’t about power all the time. Especially when it comes to buying a KTM. The Austrian originated brand has never been able to offer the fastest bikes the world has ever seen but rather offered the most fun to ride ones. Hence, in my opinion, the KTM Duke 125 is an ideal naked sports bike which one can use to commute to work every morning and never miss having a big smile on their face.