All Tests – KTM 125 Duke Test: Karrement Too Deadly! – What is left for the big girls?


KTM 125 Duke Test: Karrement Too Deadly !

All Tests - KTM 125 Duke Test: Karrement Too Deadly! - What is left for the big girls?

Attract young bikers with an accessible and trendy 125 cc without compromising on its qualitative and sporting standards: such is the bet of KTM with the new KTM 125 Duke, a perilous split that the Austrian achieves brilliantly !


What is left for the big ?

Provision of the motorcycle press for a very – too – short test run of about sixty kilometers in the streets of Paris, the 125 Duke did not however have the opportunity to reveal all its charms to us….

Because even if its preferred terrain will undoubtedly be essentially urban, remaining blocked in Parisian traffic quickly became frustrating as the cycle part of the Austrian 125 rather encourages a regular arsouille on winding departmental roads. !

Unsurprisingly, the Katoche turns out to be a real toy, aided by an engine that is both available and powerful. Modern (liquid cooling, double camshaft and electronic injection EMS developed with Bosh), the KTM unit is placed directly among the most efficient 125 cc on the market: 15 hp at 10,500 rpm and 12 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm.

Handlebars in hand, these promising data can be verified – and appreciated! – quickly: despite a sound a bit muffled, the engine of the 125 Duke constitutes in itself a permanent invitation to the gaudriole !

Able to resume at idle speed on the first three reports or to gently pull the whole in sixth at 50 km / h at 4000 rpm, the single cylinder surprisingly supports low speeds. However, like all 125 cc 4-strokes, it is only really expressed from the second part of the tachometer..

From 5000 rpm, the acceleration gradually gains in intensity up to 7000 rpm: a wickedly sporty temperament is then revealed, made up of revs whose dazzling speed quickly led to flattering paces (78 km / h at full speed in 3rd, 98 km / h in 5th and 125 km / h in 6th). Other side of the coin for the djeunz: with such performances, arriving late for class will be inexcusable in the eyes of parents !

Especially since the cycle part is up to the task: hyper agile and sticking in a handkerchief, the 125 Duke offers firm damping but whose cohesion and efficiency seem impossible to fault … at least in town! The braking also deserves nothing but praise, even if the formidable attack and power of the Brembo device require a certain dexterity so as not to end up on the front wheel at each red light, or even on the beret during reflex braking on wet !

The rear is not to be outdone and even requires more care, as it is easy to cause a blockage of the tire of 150 mm. In terms of tires precisely, the original equipment (Reuz-FC from MRF, self proclaimed "No.1 manufacturer in India") appeared to us to be limited in grip and feedback: a point to be confirmed" out of town ", as the grip offered by urban roads leaves much to be desired.

Likewise, the low mileage displayed on the dashboard – which offers average readability of engine speed and mileage – of our test machine urges us to be moderated in our judgment of gear selection. Barely running in, therefore, the Austrian box showed roughness and imprecision, especially on the first reports or to shift to neutral..

On the other hand, the lack of break-in cannot excuse the spartan comfort (the saddle seems filled with made in India fishing pits!), The symbolic storage space under the passenger saddle (however provided with practical handles), the trying position for the larger ones (the high and rear footrests force you to step back in order to wedge your knees well around the narrow tank) and sensitive vibrations on almost all speed ranges.

The partnership with Bajaj according to KTM

Site took advantage of this short essay to question Reinhold Zens on the prospects opened up by the partnership with the Indian giant Bajaj for KTM. According to the young and dynamic president of KTM France, this collaboration only concerns the 125 Duke: the assembly of the rest of the KTM road range will therefore not be relocated to India in an attempt to reduce production costs. Similarly, the 125 Duke will not be marketed other than under the name KTM. This means that the Indian manufacturer will not launch a "rebadged" Bajaj 125 Duke on its internal market. On the other hand, Reinhold Zens told us that the concept would be available in a displacement of 200 cc from 2012, with the aim of tackling countries very fond of this format, such as South America or Asia. This "200 Duke" will not however be imported into France, where KTM aims to sell 1000 units of its original 125 cc between its arrival in dealerships at the beginning of May and the end of 2011. To fuel the buzz, the Orange brand has also decided to meet young bikers via social networks and the "KTM 125 Squad" ambassador program (read).

Despite the presence of a balancing arm and rubbers on the footrests, the Katoche tickles the feet from 3000 rpm, before the vibrations insidiously gain the handlebars and the saddle up to high revs..

Finally, pulling the accelerator a bit significantly stresses the right wrist. And if the Bosh injection offers a remarkable connection between the throttle and the rear wheel, it encounters astonishing hesitation when stationary: on the machines tested by our group, a rapid repetition of small bursts of gas inevitably stalled. engine. A detail certainly, but painful…

Notwithstanding these small flaws of youth, the KTM 125 Duke appears to be remarkably well born: at the time of returning the keys to the first 125 4-stroke of the Orange brand (outside the off-road range, of course!), Many were those to feel a touch of jealousy towards all its future young (and not so young, according to KTM) owners.

A real breath of fresh air in a segment where utility often takes precedence over pleasure, the 125 Duke is a treat for the senses and constitutes a coherent and rewarding gateway to the road range of the Orange brand. Finally, last good news and not the least: its "content" price at 3890 €.

Admittedly, the addition may seem salty for a 125 cc, but it is fully justified by its excessive equipment, the rigor of its cycle part and the performance of its engine. Especially since its closest rivals (in terms of radicality and sportiness), such as the Derbi Senda DRD SM or the Yamaha YZF-R125, are traded at respectively against € 4,099 and € 4,299..

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