KTM Duke 200 Detailed Review
Text & Photos: Sundeep Gajjar/ Sunny and Gourab Das/ MG
Scraping Your Knee?
Show me your knee.
Ha, Ha, Ha.
Please bow down for the First Duke of India…
Honestly, how can you resist after seeing all the wonderful photos that you will below, with all the orange, and then connect it with the specs on paper and then connect the final two dots which say ‘KTM’ and ‘Bajaj’. The former being one of the most respected performance motorcycle manufacturers in the world, and the latter having one of the best reputations to deliver what they promise in the Indian market.
I have already got what a rider could want – riding what could be the best two hundred CC motorcycle ever mass produced on this planet – on a track, and being amongst the first to do it. I may add four stroke before the purists come out hollering. Both riding and shooting the bike was a sensory delight, something that you would be able to make out from this review, alright!
What is KTM?
Most of you here will know what KTM is – it is the name of a manufacturer based in the Austrian town of Mattighofen, near Salzburg in Europe. It’s official color is orange. KTM is an acronym for Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. Kraftfahrzeuge means ‘motor vehicles’. Trunkenpolz comes from its founder Hans Trunkenpolz who founded it in the town of Mattighofen in 1934.
It has had its share of ups and down, in 1992 it almost faced closure before leaping back and selling a record 80000+ motorcycles in 2005. Who would have thought Orange could be so good for wealth too!
KTM is best known for its motocross racing pedigree. Only relatively recently did it start making road bikes like the Adventure 990 and the RC8 Superbike.
Our own Bajaj has a stake of 39.26% in KTM and that began to show when the KTM 125 started production here in Pune six odd months ago. That was 125 CC and 15 Bhp, not bad.
Both the 125 and 200 are produced at the Chakan plant here in Pune, India. The 125 is exported to Matighoffen where it is put through QA again and then re exported to other markets. Please go here to read about our visit to the KTM factory in Mattighofen. ( KTM Factory Visit : Austria – xBhp.com : The Global Indian Biking Community ).
Racing achievements: 188 World Championship Titles
• Endurance 1:
Winner – 2005, 2006, 2007
• Endurance 2:
Winner – 2004 to 2009
• Endurance 3:
Winner – 2004 to 2010
• MX 1:
o 2010 – Winner
o 2009 – 2nd
2010 – Winner
2009 – Winner and 2nd
2008 – Winner and 2nd
Dakar from 2001 to 2010
The KTM 200 (or the Duke 200)
But the real kicker came with the news of the KTM 200. Two hundred may not sound groundbreaking but like the old adage goes – Winners Don’t Do Different Things, They Do Things Differently – this is the secret of our hero today – the KTM 200. Yes, this is a winner, I won’t wait till the end of my review to declare the obvious.
Why the name ‘Duke’?
As answered by Thomas Kuttruf, KTM Press Manager
“It was already end of 1993 in preparation of the first real KTM street sportbike. It was presented in Cologne in 1994, but there was no name! Project leader Wolfgang Felber wrote 20 different names on a paper and showed it to former Sales and Marketing Boss Mr. Calman Cseh. He ran with his finger down the list, stopped at “DUKE” and said: This one I like!”. From those days the “Duke” became a key word for the thinking of a pure KTM street motorcycle – and it remains until today!”
So the street sportsbike range name has percolated from the marketing room to the 990, 690, 125 and now the Duke 200.
Ok, so now let’s peel off the orange slowly, shall we!
READY TO RACE?
I rode through to Slovenia from the open and single manned border post at the Austria-Slovenia border on the Adventure 990. A couple of hundred kilometres later I was standing inside the small town of Radenci. The home of Rok Bagoros, an upcoming stunter sponsored by KTM. The first time I had a look at the KTM 125, which he stunts on, I could not believe it was, well, a 125. Instantly I knew that this bike would be a hit in India, but only if it was just a tad more powerful and affordable…
(You can buy the single copy of the xBhp Magazine Aug-Sept 2011 Issue from mag.xBhp.com, this was a KTM special issue).
I held my breath as I sat pillion, hunched under the weight of all the cameras on my back in the rucksack, over my Alpinestars jacket. This was no mean feat considering that none other than our very own flamboyant Gourab (MG) was maneuvering hard through the Pune traffic and inching closer to Chakan, the place where Bajaj would finally showcase us the KTM 200.
Thanks, both to my luck and to Gourab’s riding skills, we finally arrived at the destination without testing our riding gear.
First Impression: The Looks of it
Three bikes were shod with red cloth on a red carpet against a couple of big orange KTM boards. It was anybody’s guess what was beneath them. Finally after years, not months, of speculation, hunting down KTMs on Pune highway and putting up with all kind of rumors, the time had come for the Indian bikers to swing there leg over for the First Duke of India.
Soon enough, without any more drama, the covers were slid off the bikes and there they were – three Duke 200s, orange, naked and handsome.
The bike looks like a Greek god, conceived in Austria but born in India. Need say anything more?
Curiously organic, resembling an insect crouched and ready for action. Place a headlight assembly like this on any other bike and it would look downright ugly, but here it was a piece of art – mated with the right proportions with the rest of the bike. The wide tank also doubles up as a bikini fairing, the under-engine scoop which perfectly rejoins the visual line with the rear tail assembly. The wheelbase extends beyond the tail end of the bike, giving it a true street-fighter look. The white mono also attracts the eyes to where they should be – exactly where the center of gravity is located. Just when your eyes travel to the rear monoshock, they notice something is amiss – where is the exhaust? Look closely, its tucked away below the engine neatly. This is some serious mass centralization that, as we later experienced, would result in some fantastic corner carving. It is unprecedented to see such level of attention to detail in both function and form in such a small capacity bike targeted within such a price bracket and that too in India.
The rear tyre hugger actually makes the bike look even better, and bigger!
The one thing that I was intrigued about was the black color of the trellis frame, until someone told me that the orange trellis frame comes in ‘R’ bikes only, something that I didn’t buy into though! However have a look below to see how an orange trellis frame would look on the K200, I think it will look better! This is one thing to be done aftermarket on the bike.
^Wish the standard Duke 200 came with the orange trellis frame as well!
Taking about aftermarket stuff, KTM (I would stop using Bajaj now) would provide the Indian buyer with a series of original KTM branded accessories to personalize their Dukes, here is a list of a few below:
KTM Merchandise – India
***Prices tentative, may change later
• Sticker Kit: Rs. 4500 – 5500
• Tank Cap : Rs. 1500 -2000
• Tank Pad: Rs. 1500-2000
• Seat Cowl: Rs. 10,000 – 11,000
• Alarm System: Rs. 18,000
• Illumination set: Rs. 7000-8000
• Sprocket: Rs. 3500-4500
• Chain: Rs. 6000-7000
• Handle Guard: Rs. 4000-5000
Orange Tee: Rs. 1500-2000
Black Tee: Rs. 1500-2000
Vented Jacket: Rs. 14,000 – 15,000
R Boots: Rs. 20,000 -22,0000
For me one of the best accessories was the stick on tank LED array that was just fantastic and inconspicuously tucked away in the fine recesses of the tank. The LEDs were quite bright and visible in the day as well
And here is a photo of the ‘tricked’ out KTM:
There is no doubt that its visual cues are borrowed from the big Duke – 990, making that connection with fun and speed even more immediate.
The saree guard that comes stock with the bike is also integrated well, but obviously the first thing that you will do is to take it off, which is also very easy to do and just a two screw job. Sigh for our archaic laws.
The mirrors were also quite functional, at least on the track I did not detect any considerable vibrations.
A beautiful console complimenting the bike’s aggressive and futuristic styling, everything is digital in this and it reads like a computer.
- Multifunction (MFD) cockpit:
- Digital Speedo/Odo/Gear indicator
- Two Trip meters with additional F mode.
- Dot matrix messages
- Ready to race.
- Side Stand on.
- Low fuel level.
- Distance to service.
- Distance to empty.
- Average speed during trip.
- Average fuel consumption.
- Shift RPM alarm for driver.
- Light dependent console display.
- Digital watch.
- Indicator display
- Eng Temp.
- Fuel Level.
- Turn signal.
- Neutral & High Beam.
This is one bike that gets a thumbs up from me in the looks department straight away! But just one more thing – it would have been great if it had projector lamps instead of the reflectors ala Duke 690. I guess that would be in the K200 V2.0!
For: The insane street-fighter styling and world class finishing quality
Against: The rear is 150, but the narrow alloys don’t take advantage of that, visually that is. In the performance department it helps as you have more rubber on the edges to play around with. The trellis could have been orange.
Performance and Handling
What can you expect from a bike whose power to weight ratio is 184 PS/Ton?
Another cue for you to try and gauge its performance from your chair is it’s kerb weight – 136 Kg. This means that with 10.5 litres of fuel in it (which is it’s tank capacity) and the engine oil (which should be around 1.5 litres) and the coolant it weighs this, which is astounding considering that the Honda CBR 250R is 161 Kgs (non ABS) with the same power output of 25 Bhp!
You can now but imagine how the Duke takes off. The first gear is relatively taller (upto 40kmph) than the higher gears.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Once you sit on the Duke you realize how aggressive and yet comfortable it is. The view in front of you is wide and clear, no obstructions, no windscreens. The tube type handlebar was perfect, with all the controls being at hand without much thumb shifting. The controls are backlit (as with the Pulsars), and that certainly add a lot of techno-charm to it.
The Pillion seat looks small but surprisingly accommodated me sitting behind Gourab with all my camera gear at speeds over 100kmph. The split grab rails helped.
With the top speed of 138 kmph on the speedo (crouching), no luggage, you will hardly need a windscreen. I suspect the bike can do a little more at the top, but to improve reliability it has been geared as such. The rev limiter even kicks-in while even in the top gear sometimes, which is a little unsettling. The rev limiter kicks in around the 10000 rpm, you can feel the bike wants to rev more though. This again has to be related to its reliability concerns than anything else.
The gear box is smooth and the gear shifts precise, although I experienced some niggles finding the neutral, but that must be a rough test usage issue here.
I could literally feel the bike would do a power wheelie very easily in the first, but given the instructions from Bajaj, I didn’t try it. The lightness of the bike really shines when you drag it from a stop, which should make red light GPs fun. You sometimes will feel you are riding a more powerful bike than it really is, but sometimes, especially going by the looks of the bike, people may be disappointed it is just ‘200CC’.
The big console gave a good reading of the rapidly climbing numbers as I approached 100 quickly. From 100 to 120 it was pretty effortless, but beyond that the bike took a while to reach 130. And the console got stuck 138 kmph.
Max speeds in each gear
(as noticed while testing – all approx)
1st gear – 40km/h
All the above figures are at 10000rpm where it hits the red line
100km in 6th gear @ 7000rpm
Roll on figures (approximate):
0-60km/hr (in sec)
KTM200 – 3.33
CBR250 – 3.67
R15 – 5.41
0-100km/hr (in sec)
KTM200 – 9.21
CBR250 – 10.09
R15 – 14.14
Roll –on 30-70km/hr (in sec)
5th gear 6th gear
KTM 200 7.66 9.76
CBR250 10.20 12.94
R15 13.20 15.60
Here are all the top speed figures by different publications take your pick. We tested the KTM 200 top end at 138 Kmph speedo indicated.
ACI0-60 – 5.020-100 – 14.14Top Speed – 124
Zigwheels0-60 – 4.50-100 –*Top Speed – 130
BI0-60 – 5.120-100 – 14.17Top Speed – 130
OD0-60 – 4.90-100 – 13.2Top Speed – 124.5
BI0-60 – 4.70-100 – 13.8Top Speed – 127
OD0-60 – 4.50-100 – 14.05Top Speed – 124.6
ACI0-60 – 4.560-100 – 13.63Top Speed – 126
BI0-60 – 4.70-100 – 13.1Top Speed – 132.5
OD0-60 – 40-100 – 11.1Top Speed – 133.3
ACI0-60 – 3.770-100 – 12.15Top Speed – 133
I am yet to gather info for CBR250R.
Handling and Braking
One place where it really shone was the corners. This was my first time at the Chakan track and only my third time ever on any track – and I got my knee down in my fourth attempt. The only other bike, which had inspired so much confidence in me, was the Ninja 250. Again this bike will surprise you, street-fighters are not usually meant for the track, but this one had no qualms about dispelling that myth. The MRF REVZ-C tyres served it well.
Braking was very good. But not good enough. I say this because it intrigues me why there is no ABS option? Just over here the CBR250 might score a little over this bike, but not enough to outshine it. If you are a good rider then you will rarely need ABS, but when the bike is loaded with so much it could have been as well be there. Hopefully in the next version. The K200 is equipped with front and rear discs powered by BYBRE, a sister brand of the bigger BREMBO for smaller and more economical bikes.
The bike that we got stalled a couple of times while taking a u-turn. This could be an issue with the way it was being treated by all of us at the track non stop rather than anything else though.
To see how nimble and flickable the bike really was, I took inspiration for the Ducati Panigale video and planned a few knee knockdowns myself.
Here is the setup:
And here is the first victim:
and the second…
The compression ratio of the Duke 200 is 11.3:1. Now whether that means it will not behave itself when fed with anything less than 95 octane remains to be seen. That is something we need to find out on a long ride. In comparison the compression ratios of some popular bikes are:
Ninja 250R: 11.6
KTM 200 : 11.3
CBR 250R: 10.7
Yamaha R15: 10.4
Pulsar 220: 9.5
Going by the above it seems that the KTM200 should have no problems in running on any standard Unleaded fuel if required. However we would recommend at least brands like xTra Premium and Speed that fall within 91 – 93 octane.
The European spec KTM 200 has 95 Octane recommendations, but for India they apparently did some fuel mapping changes, and that was a wise move considering the vast expanse of our nation and their dubious quality controls over fuel (amongst other things).
PLEASE NOTE: We forgot to add this initially but all the graphs and figures you see below are taken from Bajaj presentations given at the preview. They were redrawn partly from rough sketches and partly from memory. Hence there could be some errors, so please do not eat us up for that,w eare going our best! We would urge people to post more reliable info on figures from a reliable publication here and we will update the figures accordingly.
Specific Power Output Comparison
For: Stupendous acceleration and control.
Against: No ABS?
For who is this bike suitable for?
If this is your first motorcycle?
Yes, if you have the money. Most learner legal motorcycles in the west have a 33 bhp limit and this is lower than that. However, when I say your first ‘motorcycle’ I don’t mean your first two wheeler. This bike is so light and forgiving on the wallet (if it falls) that learning on it and then making it your primary bike for the next many years would be easy than buying a new bike altogether after learning on something else. But its bigger dimensions will get you acquainted with bigger capacity bikes that you might own in the years to come.
If I am a student or in college?
Is that even a question? If this bike was available when I was your age and I had the money I would not think twice before buying it. But I would definitely think if I had bullies in my college…
If I am over 40 and have a farm house and a big bike and am well settled?
This must be change for you then, the monetary kind. On a serious note, as a second bike which you can take to any terrain across the country while looking good and going fairly fast, this one fits the bill. And you will not find it a problem sharing with your counterparts in the west that you ride a small KTM, and not a desi sounding something…
If I like to tour a lot, and abuse my bikes?
I am not sure on how you abuse your bikes, but I hope it’s not the gross type. On a serious note I feel that the bike can be an amazing tourer, its light and fast and so much fun around corners. PLUS the ground clearance is a massive 165mm, 15m more than the Karizma! Getting Lehd on this would never be the same.
If I am a narcissist?
Then you should not get this one. It will make you look outdated, unless you are a Transformer or a Robocop.
If I am a cop?
Definitely Not. It’s engine shuts down as soon as it detects a cop is sitting on it.
If you are in India, even a CD100 would do, but if you plan to make a getaway on the autobahn then perhaps the SuperDuke 990 would be better.
If I was going to buy a CBR250 or a Ninja 250 or any bike around the 1 lakh mark?
Look, I don’t want to spoil my relations with other manufacturers here, you know…So take the hint pls!
I will be what you want me to be.
a BIG YES! This is the ultimate street-fighter availaible today (don’t take it literally, the other motorcycle from a red (and my favourite) brand using this very name is worth more than 12 times the Duke 200!). This is a motorcycle that I would like to go to my office on – in traffic! The only other bike that was as fun as this is my Ninja 250 with the Two Brothers exhaust! Nothing will feel better than demolishing the traffic with a bike as light and nimble as this. Bring it on Delhi rush hour, show what you got! Show me! Ha hahahaha!
Above you can see a track novice scraping his knee and annihilating small objects on kept on the track with precision. So you know what this bike can do on the track. Plus it’s got minimal stuff to break and no fairings and plastics to be taken off before your track day. BRING IT ON!
25bhp, 135 kgs. I don’t think any bike can compare this in India. And definitely not the heavy and bulky ones like CBR 250, or the underpowered ones like . Believe me, I pulled the bike up from an angle so close to the ground where other motorcycles would have refused to budge. Lightness! Supppper – Legerra – this is how an Italian who rides a KTM 200 would exclaim! Shod it with sport panniers and a tank bag and you can ride the world.
The only issue might be its small tank capacity of 10.5 litres which with an average of 30kmpl, will give you a striking distance of 300 kms, which is not that bad…
See Rok Bagoros on a KTM 125 and there will be no doubts on the capabilities of the insanely hooliganistic nature of the 200. It will be for sure the kind of stunt bikes in India. A problem for its sister here in Bajaj (Pulsar you hiding somewhere, eh?)
The World is getting younger, and the power is shifting to Asia . This bike is proof of that. The bike is built for youngsters and also the veteran population who want a second bike. The bike is built for the super economies of the future that have immense disposable income distributed in its middle classes.
The bike is for the future super-biker who wants a bike which looks good and goes TODAY without breaking the bank.
The future is orange and the other companies like Ducati and BMW have no option but to get into this game if they have to earn big money.
Perhaps soon we shall see a Ducati Monster 250 and a BMW S250R, soon!
Now how do I book an appointment with you Mr.Duke?
It’s 4 AM. The first sun rays are already reflecting off dew settled over the Duke parked outside the tent nestled somewhere in the Himalayas. From here to our final destination for today are thousands of turns, but I don’t care, I have the perfect machine to seduce them into loving the Duke as it caresses them effortlessly. This is it. I have been empowered.
We dont know, but it would be max 1.5 lacs on road.
LAUNCH AND BOOKING DATE
We guess it to be on 3rd January 2012.
KTM 200 : Summarized
200 CC . 25 Bhp . 19Nm . 136 KG (Wet)
- Naked styling matching the bigger KTM dukes
- Stupendous Power to Weight Ratio
- Lovely Console
- Made in India
- No ABS
- Rear end does not look meaty enough from some angles
- The sound of the bike is on the timid side
- The bike that we tested seemed to cut off too soon
- No orange trellis frame
- Top end might not meet the expectations of many people because it is easy to forget it is ‘just’ 200 CC after all
- The tank capacity might be a tad small at 10.5 Litres
- The rear seat might prove to be a tad small for a pillion on long rides, but we havent tested that
In the end a lot will depend on the cost which will be announced in January.
KTM 200 Duke Specifications
The Standard Crap
No. of Cylinders: 1
Cubic Capacity: 199.50
Bore x Stroke (mm): 72 x 49
Compression Ratio: 11.3:1
Valve and Cooling: DOHC 4V, Liquid Cooled, Fuel Injection
Power (Bhp/RPM): 25 Ps @ 10000rpm
Torque (Nm/RPM): 19 Nm @ 8000 rpm
Transmission: 6 Speed, claw shifted
Cooling System: Liquid
Front Tyre Size: 110/70 x 17
Rear Tyre Size: 150/60 x 17
Wheelbase (mm): 1367
Front Brake: 280 mm disc
Rear Brake: 230 mm disc
Fuel Capacity (liters): 10.5
Seat Height (mm): 810
Kerb Weight (kg): 136
Front suspension: USD, Telescopic fork, 43mm dia
Rear Suspension: Monoshock
Front fork travel (mm): 140mm
Real wheel travel(mm): 150mm
Headlamp: 12V 60/55W H4
Battery: 12V 8AH VRLA
- Trellis Frame.
- Shortest possible connection of swing arm pivot to steering head.
- Well triangulated structure giving high rigidity.
- Aluminum swing arm.
- Upside down fork.
- Rear Mono-shock.
- Wide and radial tires.
- Front radial and rear floating caliper brakes.
- Cute looking all LED blinkers.
- KTM’s trademark orange color.
- Superbly finished AL die cast swing arm.
- Solid muscular chassis tubes on display.
- Backlit control switches.
- 5 spoke & shaped wheels.
- AL – cast rider and pillion footsteps.
- Headlamp roll ON during rolling downgrade: This means there is a vertical compensation for the angle created on an incline or decline, something like the adaptive headlight in the K1600, but way less advanced than that since the one on the KTM will not compensate for the lean.
- Zero maintenance 8 AH VRLA battery.
- Hydroformed handlebars : Better strength at clamping location.
- Finger rockers with hard carbon coating to reduce friction.
- Radial mounted front brake caliper.
- One piece forged crankshaft.
Aluminum Swing Arm
- The light alloy swingarm with directly linked WP shock absorber excels with extreme cornering stiffness and outstanding tracking stability.
- Aluminum swingarm excels in high strength to weight ratio with low unsprung mass.
- Shape and sections designed to maximize strength and reduce deflections under loads.
- Flex resistant and high rigidity upside down forks with WP technology ensure stable and precise performance under extreme handling.
- Larger section module near the clamping with frame for better rigidity.
- Increased inner tube guide length improves rigidity
- About WP: WP means White Power. For more then 30 years now, ever since it was founded in Netherlands (but now that facility is closed) WP Suspension is developing advanced suspension products to satisfy the high demands of motorcyclists, world wide. Various motorcycle manufacturers, such as BMW, Husaberg and KTM use WP Suspension products in the production of their motorcycles. In 1999 it was taken over 100% by KTM. Today it produces OEMS and aftermarkets for BMW as well as KTM at the Munderfing facility in Europe.
This what I attained after riding the K200 on the track..
And thats me below..
thanks to Dream Sporting Gear for providing us with all the awesome riding gear that you see in this photoshoot!
The Hooligan is here!
KTM designs are always distinct and this one is no different. One look at the bike and you know that this bike has the best fit and finish that Indian market had even seen. R15 V2 is the only product which comes close to it. The bike has a very mechanical look and it’s criminal not to notice and appreciate it. Couple of months back when I saw the smaller avatar I jokingly said that this will be the only Indian bike where you can appreciate the mechanical elements more than the body panels. USD forks, trellis frame, aluminium swingarm, monoshock, 5 spoke Y shaped alloys, underbelly exhaust are all very tastefully done. Even the rear mud flap is nicely done with the KTM name engraved in it. Not to undermine the bodywork, the tank and the rest of body panels are very neatly done with high quality plastics being used everywhere. It has that radical KTM lines written all over it. The aftermarket bodykit which will be made available will make it even more appealing.
There are bikes which we buy just to fulfill our need by making certain compromises on the styling front and then there are bikes where the desire quotient is so high that you want to go and buy it the next day. KTM falls in the second category. Unless you have a fascination for full fairing or you are a complete cruiser guy there is no reason why you should not like this bike. The only negative that I can find is that the vehicle would have definitely looked sportier if the trellis were painted orange.
The Best Street bike ever?
Still early days but going by the first ride I have a strong feeling that it will be the new king of road. The riding position is spot on true to a street rider, i.e neither too relaxed nor too forward biased. There is ample power and torque as soon you engage the first gear which goes all the way till 130 after which it takes little time to hit the top whack. The bike is a treat to ride and there is a lot of punch in all the gears. With the street riding position I was not very sure about its handling prowess around the corners but that inhibition went away as soon I took the first corner. The light weight and the centralized CG makes it ultra flickable. There was an occasion when Sunny was sitting behind as pillion and we were discussing something while we entered the trickiest corner of the whole circuit and this we realized after we finished the corner at speeds over 60km/h. Even after all this madness the bike is easily rideable in 6th gear from speeds as low as 30km/hr
This bike will make you go wild, slide around, tearing across an open road, inspire some law breaking, or make you feel like law breaking is in your near future (No I’m not asking anyone to do so).The bike make me remember the famous game Road Rash which I played couple of years back. Even with a 200cc heart it is true to its core i.e Ready to Race!
This bike can surely do much more than being a street hooligan. From whatever riding feel I got I have strong feeling that it can be a good tourer and excel in off-road conditions with just change of tyres.
It took three long years for the first KTM to land our shores but this is definitely the best product to start the KTM innings in India.
For the wholesome ride report wait for the full test ride review from xBhp in the next couple of months.
Information that will be displayed on the Digital Speedo
- Digital Speedo/ Odo/ Gear Indicator
- Two trip meter with additional F meter
- Dot matrix messages
- Ready to race
- Side stand on
- Low fuel level
- Distance to service
- Distance to empty
- Average speed during trip
- Average fuel consumption
- Shift alarm driver for driver
- Light dependant console display
- Digital watch
- Indicator display
- Eng Temp
- Fuel level
- Turn signal
- Neutral & Hi beam
Mahindra Duro 125DX Review
After taking over the reign from Kinetic, Mahindra’s foray into the two-wheeler industry, particularly in the scooters segment, has been quite positive thanks to its two products, Rodeo and Duro.
The 2-wheeler arm of the makers of the heavy-duty commercial and private vehicles, Mahindra 2 Wheelers, recently unveiled the facelifted version of its 125 cc scooter – Duro 125DX, in Lavasa, Pune.
Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Sunil Gupta (unless mentioned otherwise)
xBhp was there during the unveiling (and you thought we didn’t cover anything less than 1000CC ), and here is a quick summary of what we could gather of it during our very brief rendezvous with the Duro.
What’s new? Overall, the Duro remains pretty much the same without any ground-breaking change in terms of its looks or performance, yet the guys at Mahindra have incorporated some subtle and not so subtle cosmetic, performance related, and ergonomically focused changes to make it a better overall package to take on the competition. Mahindra says that they have implemented these changes after extensive research and feedback from a selected group of customers from across the country.
So, here is a list of the changes (cosmetic, ergonomics, and performance) that you can see in the new Duro:
1. Digital dual-curve ignition.
2. New suspension setup.
3. Longer wheelbase.
4. More ground clearance.
5. Larger headlamp.
6. Larger RVMs
7. Brake lever lock (what?)
8. Raised handlebar.
9. Better seat profile.
There have been some more tweaks other than the listed above; however, the most significant and anticipated of these is the change in the suspension system. The hydraulic shock absorbers in the earlier version have given way to the advanced telescopic forks in the new Duro, with some tweaks also in the spring setup in the rear ones, making the new Duro a delight to ride on the rough roads. The ground clearance has also been increased slightly to make it even more potent tool to fight the bad roads. And this ground clearance remains significantly high even with the maximum weight on the saddle. The handlebar height has also been raised a bit to make it tall-rider-friendly. Though the wheelbase has been reduced from 1290 mm earlier to 1270 mm, yet it remains significantly longer than the immediate competition (Suzuki Access 1250 mm).
The one thing that you are going to like about the Mahindra Duro 125DXc most is the new brake lock lever on the left side. When engaged, it would prevent the vehicle from rolling down even when parked on a steep incline. Mahindra says that they incorporated this change based on the feedback from their customers.
Then, there are larger RVMs, which give a very clear picture to the rider (even with a large guy on the rider seat) of what’s going on behind his back, perhaps help him identify a crotch rocket approaching in stealth mode!
The previous headlamp unit has also been done away with, making way for a bigger, completely changed unit in the 125DX which claims to be giving a larger and wider beam, though we were unable to cross-check this claim during the day.
Looks and Styling: The new Duro has been given a completely new, bigger headlamp assembly that not only gives it wider beam, but also gives sharper looks to the scooter. The speedo console has also been changed and the new unit has an analog speedometer, odometer, and a fuel gauge which looks pretty clean and the numbers should be visible even during the bad light conditions. Overall, looks wise, Duro hasn’t really been head-turner, though it doesn’t look bad either. I would’ve personally liked it if they had given the Duro some styling tweaks to make it look ‘bigger’ and robust.
Ride quality and handling: During our ride that lasted a little over 45 minutes on the roads of Lavasa, the new suspension setup behaved very well and remained well balanced and planted on all kinds of roads, particularly the stretches heavily infested with potholes. Weighing a little over 100 kg, the Duro was quite amenable to some quick maneuvering and sudden sharp turns with ease. The increased ground clearance does help a lot in taking care of the bad roads; however, the center stand was quite regularly scraping the road on the left side whenever we pressed it a little hard on the corners. But keeping in mind that this scooter will be mostly ridden in normal city conditions without someone pushing it real hard on the tracks or ghats, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
On the braking front, the new Duro comes fitted with drum brakes, both front and rear, which were just good enough to stop this vehicle producing 8 bhp max.
Engine/performance: There have been no changes in the engine or the performance figures; however, Duro 125DX comes equipped with digital dual-curve ignition, which Mahindra claims will make it more fuel efficient and will also give better throttle response. We couldn’t test the fuel economy; however, the engine felt quite smooth even during the high revs. The low end torque wasn’t that great; however, the mid range was quite satisfactory and we were able to reach up to 80 kmph quite quickly and regularly on the serpentine roads of Lavasa, which generally don’t give you many stretches of straight road where you can open the throttle. Mahindra says that you can expect more scooters in the future from other manufacturers to feature this gizmodry (dual curve ignition).
Overall, Mahindra has given the Duro 125DX some very well thought out and appreciable tweaks rather than working only on graphics and visual elements. These changes should make it a more value-for-money machine provided that Mahindra keeps the pricing right and market it well.