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Sunday, February 5, 2012

KTM Duke 200 - Ride Review

There are bikes and then there are BIKES and today I happened to sample one of them. When I woke up this morning, it was nothing special... or okay, it was special but for a completely different reason. At the same time, I felt very different about this morning. I had thought that today, I would be sampling the KTM Duke 200, and even though there's an over doze of rave reviews about the bike on the internet, I some how managed to keep my thought process like a blank canvas.

So, there I was standing infront of the mirror, scrathing my head, brushing my teeth, looking at my sorry state face after a major viral fever and all the while thinking, a real motorcycle ride after 3 months, and that also the mighty KTM Duke 200, am I rusty? would I be able to handle the bike and the pressure of test ride? A splash of ice cold water on the face made me realise the best way to go about the matter, JUST DO IT. So, what follows next is the textual representation of my close encounter of being into the next dimension of living. People, ThrottleQuest.com, proudly pens the KTM DUKE 200.


Engine - Liquid cooling, four stroke, Single cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder 
Capacity -  199.5cc
Bore x Stroke - 72 x 49 mm
Compression Ratio - 11.5 : 1
Induction - Bosch EFI
Engine management/ignition - Bosch EMS
Clutch - Wet multi-disc clutch, mechanically operated
Max Power - 19 kW 26 hp @ 10000 rpms
Max Torque - 20 Nm @ 68000 rpms
Transmission  /  Drive - 6 Speed  /  chain X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"
Primary drive - 72:22
Final drive - 14:43

The KTM Duke 200 easily and undoubtedly has the fastest revving small capacity engine I've ridden till date. The engine spins so fast that one would need to re-callibrate one's riding technique, at least I had to do that. The 199.5cc Four Valve, Liquid Coold, Fuel Injected engine, is a true monster. The power and torque builds up from quite low and keeps going on that way right upto to rev cut off at 11500 rpms. Having said that, the Duke 200 is not a torque monster and therefore to get the juice out of the engine, one has to rev it, and revving is what the engine loves to it's core.

Here's what I was able to juice out at 9000 rpms at each gear (approximate figures) -

1st gear - 9000 rpm - 40 kmph
2nd gear - 9000 rpm - 72 kmph
3rd gear - 9000 rpm - 90 kmph
4th gear - 9000 rpm - 112 kmph
5th gear - 9000 rpm - 123 kmph
6th gear - 7000 rpm - 130 kmph

If to someone these number might not seem much, then let me tell them that all these came before I can blink my eye, in less than even 20 secs (I think so). Having said all this, the Duke 200 is not a torque monster that it would give you the chills and frills, from the bottom low. The Duke 200 is an out an out street hooligan, so it's clear that one has to rev the bike pat 2-2.5k rpms to let the engine come to it's character.

The gearing is very short and with the help of the largest rear-sproket in it's category, the Duke 200 pounces on every inch of the tarmac with great vengence. It gives a whole new definition of what a 200cc mill can do. There's a very direct connect between the throttle and the rear wheel, so much so that you get almost fooled into believing that you are riding one of those good old two-stroke gems.

The gear shift is butter smooth and very progressive. At the same time, one has to be very sure that while shifting to the second, the shift is done with intent, else a couple of times I ended up hitting the neutral. Again, nothing bad on the gear box, it's a matter of getting educated about the bike, which comes with time. Another positive point about the short gearing is that, it allows you to be in the same gear, for a varity of speeds, like, I was in the 4th gear, and I didn't feel the need shift down to 2nd when I was in speeds of 17kmph. No engine snatch, nothing... simple plain smooth ride.

Last but in no way the least, the engine note is absolute bliss, whether it's idling, or when you are pulling it hard, it makes it's statement loud and clear, and if the mere mortals ignore the looks of the Duke 200, they simply cannot ignore the sound, it's a bam splam on your face kinda business.

Ride and Handling

Frame - Steel trellis frame, powder coated
             Subframe : Steel
             Handlebar : Aluminium, tapered, Ø 26/22 mm
Front Suspension - WP-USD : 43 mm.  150mm wheel travel
Rear Suspension - WP-Monoshock 150mm wheel travel
Front Brakes - Single 280mm disc 4 piston caliper
Rear Brakes - Single 230mm disc 1 piston caliper
Front Tyre - 110/70 R 17
Rear Tyre - 150/60 R 17
Silencer - Stainless steel silencer with regulated catalytic converter
Steering head angle/Trail - 65°/100 mm
Seat Height - 810 mm
Fuel Capacity - 11 Litres
Dry-Weight - 126 kg

The riding stance of the Duke 200 is very unique and different. With the very up right sitting posture, rear set foot pegs, and extra wide handle bar, the riding posture came as a cultural shock to me, because to confess the truth, I'm spoilt by machines which try to be fast and try to be everything in a single package. Being a previous Pulsar 200 owner, I've a mental bend towards the theory that if a motorcycle is as fast as what the Duke 200 is, the riding posture would be a bit crouched to say the least. But the Duke 200 is completly opposite of that. It's up right, but yet sporty. So, I really had to sink that into my understanding while riding the bike. It's almost feels like you are standing on the bike rather than sitting on the bike. But after spending some "quality" time with the bike, I was completely at ease with the sitting posture.

For the handling, well, even though  the Duke 200 is not a track bike, it handles like one. The front WP USD 43mm fork and the rear WP mono-shock, both having 150mm travel, provide excellent feedback of what's happening underneath and complement each other very well, not to mention that both dance in tandom to make the ride ultra comfortable.

The steel Trellis frame and the alluminium swing arm, though not razor sharp as far as handling goes, but for street riding, they are a bliss. Flicking the bike from side to side is child's play and the habbit just grows into you, if you are not already doing so. Add to that, a first in class and for the first time in India for a lower capacity motorcycle, the rear rubber has a rounder profile with 150/60 R17 section, which provide ample contact patch both in straights and conrners.

Speaking of corners, the corner craftmenship of the Duke 200 is just next to the Ninja 250, owing to it's riding geometry, suspension settings and rounder profile rubber and the awesome connect between the throttle and the rear wheel. This baby is gonna give a whole new dimensions to U-turns for sure.

The braking needs are well managed by the front 280mm rotor with 4 piston radially mounted ByBre callipers and the rear 230mm rotor with single piston ByBre calliper. The braking is progressive and inspire confidence. Having said that, one has to be a bit careful with the rear, as I felt that the rear had the tendency to lock pretty soon (or that might just be the setting)

Equipment and Quality

Top notch is the only word I can think of to define the quality of parts that has been used to build this bike. Even though majority parts have been sourced from Indian vendors, that by no way means that they need to substandard. Even the smallest of the parts like the switch gear exude quality, light years better than what we have seen till date from any Indian manufacturer, including Bajaj. It's really good to see that such importance being given to detailed equipments for an international motorcycle, being manufactured in India, specially after the dissapointment I had after reviewing the Honda CBR 250R.

The dash is fully digital, showing all the required information that might be needed for a motorcycle this genre.

The switch gear is back-lit and adds to the style quotient. The levers looked a straight pull from the existing Pulsars. A special mention here needs to made about the Rear-View mirrors, they might look small, but they are pretty usefull even if you are fully suitted.

Attention to details have been given, including the design of foot pegs, grill for the radiator, textured leather for seats, covinient lock for rear spit seat.

Value for Money

Well at around Rs 1.30 lacs on-road in Delhi, it might look like a bit on the higher side, but given the quality, the performance and the reliability of the Duke 200, it's worth every penny. This is one bike which would keep both Pros and Newbies enticed for years together. Bajaj did a brilliant job with the after sales service of the Ninjas (250 and 650), but they were Japanese motorcycles in make, and therefore it needs to be seen how Bajaj performs with the Duke 200 and that would actually define how much value for money the Duke turns out to be.


If one is looking for a blasting ride every time the engine is cranked, in a potent package of rideability, comfort, quality and exclusivity, then the Duke 200 is the motorcycle to look up to.

A special thanks fo all the help and support I recieved during this review.

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  1. Good review bro..

    A minor typo above: "Speaking of conrners"

  2. @Payeng

    Thanks man... typo corrected. :)

  3. @Sajal

    Hey! what about the front lights...Are they projector lights as in 220 or are they different?

    1. @The One

      The Duke 200 does not have projectors. It was the normal reflector head lamp assembly with H4 55/60 watt halogen fitment.

    2. @Sajal,
      What was the fuel economy on the bike?

    3. & also, the bike is customizable at the store in Austria.
      Is there any such feature in India?

    4. @Chris

      The actual on road fuel economy is in the range of 30-35 kmpl for average riding (not too commuterish or not too much of thrashing either)

      For customization - yes, some of KTM power parts are already available at the KTM stores in India, but not all. It would take some time, till all the KTM Power parts are made available. But surely, by the end of this year, all the KTM stores in India should have all the Power Parts.

  4. I forgot the site to find out the height of the motor as shown above, can ask for the link?

  5. best bike for indian roads.

  6. where s da silencer dude!!!!! n who ll b doing its after sales service...

    1. Well the KTM Duke 200 has an underbelly exhaust and the entire sales, service and spares are being mananged by Bajaj only and KTM outlets

  7. sorry but i think itz Rs.1.17 lakh ex-showroom n Rs.1.30* on road, right?????

  8. this bike and 200ns and 220s are making me crazy...and yes there's a defect in this bike the silencer is beneath..in rainy season were done...

    1. Zulfi,

      Thanks for sharing your feedback. Well for the exhaust being underbelly and it being a defect so to speak... check out the link below, you should be surprised and more ;)


  9. Hello...can anyone help me...which one is better?...kawasaki ninja 250 and this juicy ktm 200.....can anyone tell me...please

    1. There's no comparison between the two!! The Duke 200 is a pure street hooligan and the Ninja 250, well it's a legend to say the least!!

      If you want a fun bike for day to day ride, with comfy ergos and have a budget to live with, then Duke is the machine for you. On the other hand, if you want to rule the streets on daily commute and highways and want a quater liter dynamite and want to feel like God, look no less than the Ninja. The choice completely depends on what you expect from your motorcycle and how much budget you have.

      Hope I've been helpful.

  10. i am 160 cm wil i b able to ride da bike well?

    1. @Anonymous
      At 160cm you can balance the Duke with one foot by moving slightly to your left or right, when the motorcycle is stationary or when you might need to balance it. On the go there would be no hassels at all because of it's low kerb weight. But still I would suggest that you should check out the motorcycle yourself before making a decision.

  11. Its all about the mileage i am worried , i came through some blogs where some said its gonna be 20kmpl ( but company claims 35 -36 Kmpl )pls let me know the actual mileage of this bike , if any of you own Duke's , suggestions much appreciated thanks , Nice blog by the way

    1. @Anonymous : The real world mileage is somewhere between 25-30 kmpl. The kind of machine the Duke 200 is, I would be very happy with this kind of mileage.

  12. Hey i am 186cms tall... Will the bike look small wit me on it??

    1. @Anonymous

      Well pal that would depend on your build. If you are heavily built, then with the lean structure of the Duke 200, things might look a tad bit small, but not by a huge margine at the same time (but above all it's a more personal point of view rather than anything else).

      The best way to find out is to sit on the bike and get yourself clicked ;)

      Happy Riding

  13. hi,

    I am 5 ft 3 inches tall..will duke200 be a comfortable ride for me..?

    1. Truely speaking, you would have to tip toe as the seat height of the Duke 200 is on the higher side. But at the same time, the rigid frame and light weight makes it a delight to handle. So, once you get used to it... you should do absolutely fine on it.

      Happy Riding and Ride Safe

  14. hi,,
    Nice review ,I m planning to get my first bike.I have no riding experience at all.Can this be my first bike?If not which one should i go for ??

    1. @Anonymous,

      Well KTM Duke 200 is quite a ballistic motorcycle to start off which. I'm not sure what's your age. But if this would be your very first bike ever, then I would suggest go for something like the Pulsar 135 LS (fast, agile, manageable power) or Yamaha FZ 160 (stylish, rock stable and enough power to keep you enticed)

      Test ride both the bikes and make your choice... and if you need any further assistance, then do let me know.

      Ride Safe

  15. sajal,
    i m 24 i dont knw if that matters, but none of the bikes that you have suggested interests me.i was thinking something from the most wanted bikes currently in indian market like 200ns/ktm/150r/r-15/fazer/ .I might be totally wrong.All d ppl i hav talked to tell me dat 1-2 weeks n i can learn riding.So i dont want to get stuck on a ride that i dont like ,Pls guide buddy

    1. @Anonymous,

      Thanks for letting me know that you are 24 and that helps a lot in understanding what type of rides you might be able handle. Always remember that a motorcycle is a very functional unit and it takes a certain physical ability to handle a said motorcycle and believe me buddy, I'm speaking as your true friend, but in 1-2 weeks, you would be able to sit on a motorcycle, but when it comes to "riding" a motorcycle, it's a completely different ball game. Even after all these years of riding, when I start my motorcycle each day, it's a completely new day for me, with dozens of new learning for me.

      I was coming more from the point of view of safety for you and manageable power band. So, between the choices that you've provided, I would say you can narrow down to three options. I'll mention the characteristics of each of those options for you. Hope that helps :)

      Pulsar 200NS : Well this is my current ride and I'm totally happy owning it. Pulsars are always value for money proposition and so is the NS. Amazing stability and handling. Looks big, feels a bit bulky on slow, but since it's so damn stable, there is no problems at all in slow handling. The turning radius is big so you would have to get used to it. Very manageable till 6k rpms after which it just goes ballistic as it has the shortest stroke Indian engine along with the KTM. Please read my full review of the Pulsar 200NS for more details.

      KTM Duke 200 : Street rocket so to speak and gives a tough time to R15 2.0 in outright acceleration and top speed (even the CBR siblings for that matter). Total European premium product. You would have to be very very careful with your right wrist on this as it has the capacity to pull off a wheelie even at 3rd. The premium bits like cast aluminum frame, USD forks, Fi etc make it a very juicy package. The only thing you need to pay attention while riding it is your right wrist... rest it takes care of itself.

      Yamaha R15 2.0 : Gives your dose of sports biking at it's best. It's a Yamaha so, you don't have to worry about anything else except the cost of the spares. It would keep you satiated for years to come.

      Amongst the 3 option that I've mentioned, remember that the Pulsar 200NS provides the most comfortable ride both the rider and the pillion, both in city and highway rides.

      So, before you make a choice amongst the three, here are a few things, which in my opinion you should ask yourself -

      1) What budget you have at your disposal (Duke 200 and R15 2.0 are almost on the same price tag and Pulsar being the cheapest of the three).

      2) What kind of riding your would be doing most (consider the ride comfort and any physical issues like back ache and all).

      3) What genre of motorcycle you would like to have (Street naked like the 200NS and Duke 200 or Sports like the R15 2.0)

      4) Cost of ownership (200NS being the cheapest, followed by R15 2.0 and then Duke 200)

      To end this discussion, I didn't mentioned about Honda CBR 150R because Yamaha R15 is a better machine to own compare to the CBR 150R. Secondly I didn't mentioned about the Fazer because since you don't like the FZ, there's no point in going for the Fazer just for the looks because under the skin they both are the same machines in different cloths, and with the added bulk of the fairing, Fazer give you less run on the mile as compared to the FZ.

      Let me know if you need any more help and I would be glad to do so.

      Warm Regards,

  16. 1) my budget is 1.5 ,
    2) mostly city rides once in a while i may take it to work (say 25 kms max) n might go on a long ride once in a while not very sure of that
    3)my liking are same for both naked n fully faired ones
    4)Cost of ownership is the only point which can help me decide it seems.I dont want a bike thats EXTREMELY HIGH ON MAINTAINANCE.The one thing thats putting me off on buying duke is the same ,i really dont know the prices of the spares ,but will be definitely higher i think bcoz of overall quality and brand value,On top of it the nearest probiking service center is like 25 kms from my place(the good thing,its behind my office)

    i like the fazer bcoz of the close resemble to big bro fazer 8.

    1. Test ride the three bikes... it would definitely allow you to decide as to with which bike connect well :)

      If you really really like a bike, in all probability you would find a way to live with it.

  17. thanx man,will do it ASAP n keep you updated about my progress

  18. I'm 19 and gonna b'come the owner of a bike,my prefs include Duke 200,FZ and Pulsar(got 1.5lacs budget!)any advicee???

  19. I'm really "DUKED",what about its on road price?.What about its pillion can a person really fit in the back seat??

    1. @Bilahari,
      Thanks for going through the review. As for your queries, here's my feedback -

      1) The on-road price of the D200 in Gurgaon is around 1.30 lacs (a little bit above that actually)

      2) The pillion seat of the D200 is definitely not comfortable for the pillion. Talking about pillion seat comfort... amongst your options, FZ has the most comfortable seat, followed by Pulsar 200NS and then Duke.

      3) Your choice of motorcycle would really depend upon your style and interest of riding. Duke 200 is an absolute untamed beast so to speak. The FZ is all comfort and sedate ride. The Pulsar 200NS is the blend of both. Quality wise I would say Duke rules the roost... all premium and top notch fit, finish and feel. FZ and Pulsar 200NS feel the same quality wise. So, really if you want to blast of every now and then, then look no further than the Duke 200... it would keep you smiling for years to come. Between FZ and Pulsar 200NS I myself was at one time very much inclined towards FZ, because first I wanted to own a Yamaha and second the FZ is an amazingly stable, well built motorcycle. But then if you bring the Pulsar 200NS into the picture it's an absolutely value for money. I've been owning and using the Pulsar 200NS and to tell you the truth, it's not THE perfect bike and as a matter of fact no bike is niggle free (not even the Super bikes). I've been totally enjoying the NS and I can any day recommend the NS to any fellow biker, it's a much better machine than the FZ.

      So, I would say that test ride the three bikes, and I'm sure that you're first preference would be D200, then the NS and then the FZ

      Happy riding and do let me know if you need any more suggestions.

  20. Thanks man,dat was really helpful.

  21. how to remove cut off to speed ktm200 duke

    1. There are custom ECU available to do that.


  22. Hey buddy could you please help me i want to buy a sportsbike my budget is 1.5lacks.....

  23. Hey buddy could you please help my i want to buy a goog looking sportsbike...my budget is 1.5lacks....my height 5'4" and please dont tell me to buy R15

    1. Nishant,
      Well R15 v2.0 is a very well made bike. But if you don't want to go for that you can go for the CBR 150R or extend a little bit more and go for the CBR 250R Non ABS. The Duke 200 is NOT A SPORTS BIKE, and it has a high seat height, so not sure if you want to go for it. But if you intend to have full on fun... then you can also consider the Duke 200 too, it fits your budget like a glove.

  24. My name is Rajath. Im planning to buy Duke 200 or Duke 390 . Which Is Better?

    1. Hi Rajath,
      Thanks for writing to us.

      Well, the Duke 200 is a pocket rocket. Nothing about it is calm. It's a very very busy motorcycle. On the other hand, the Duke 390 has a very mature feel to it. Don't mistake it for being suave, but then it's in no hurry in building speeds.

      If you ask me, if I have the extra cash (70k odd), then I would definitely go for the Duke 390, because in that difference, I'm getting ABS as standard, bigger engine capacity, more engine refinement, better rubber and above all I'm getting a motorcycle which I can live with for quite some time. But then if I don't have the extra cash, I would think no longer and go for the Duke 200.

      Hope that helps.

  25. Hey...I read through your answers to the queries n they all seem to say the KTM is the best if we keep aside comfort but is there a way that it can be tackled ?? Like using a seat cover with some cushion inside ?? What are the side affects ??

  26. The ktm duke 200 doesn't come with abs but the 200 units exported do have abs. is there a way to get an after market abs ?? Plz help...

  27. Which one bike is good in these three option
    1 Duke 200
    2 Pulsar 200 ns
    3 Bullet 350 std?


Item Reviewed: KTM Duke 200 - Ride Review Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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