There was a time when we all were happy and had a great time on the machines which were available in the market. Bajaj with its aggressive products and pricing added fuel to the thoughts of performance biking enthusiast but with performance comes in big price tag which all cannot shell out. Again thanks to Bajaj for rolling out good competitive bikes not perfect though which filled in the gap.
Then Bajaj got aggressive with the development of its products and brought in the picture the KTM, which is well recognised Austrian performance bike manufacturer formed in 1992, of which Bajaj is a 50% stakeholder in KTM bike and this proved to be a blessing for the performance biking enthusiast. What Bajaj did was not just use the engineering expertise of KTM but they brought the Orange Beast in form of KTM DUKE 200 & 390 and the KTM Duke 200 RC & 390 RC on the Indian Tarmac.
So KTM gave wings to the enthusiasts with the DUKE twins i.e. KTM 200 & 390 Duke in its initial journey. Both naked street fighters (DUKE 200 & 390) are faster than it looks. All thanks to its light weight fame and power to weight ratio which made the Duke twins lightening fast. The bike has bulky and unconventional looks but still puts up aggressiveness in its stance. Everything about the Duke twins screams for an aggressive treat.
The Duke 200 comes with a 200 cc liquid cooled mill tuned for outputting 25 HP whereas the Duke 390 churns out 44 HP. Both engines has far greater capability if tuned with a race setup, however the current engine setup is enough to make every hair on your body stand, be it the Duke 200 or 390. The braking on the Duke 200 is taken care by 280mm front Disc with four piston fixed calliper and rear 230mm rear Disc with single piston floating calliper brakes. The braking on the Duke 390 is taken care by a larger front 300 mm Disc four piston fixed calliper and 230mm Single Piston floating calliper and the best feature in KTM 390 is inclusion of 9MB Dual Channel ABS system which makes the KTM Duke 390 the safest bike in this category.
According to us there are bikes and there are awesome bikes and KTM surpasses the definition of being awesome cause it’s more of a crazy machine. Once a connection is established between the man and the machine, it would keep on nudging that rider in you to rev the bike harder and push the bike and yourself to extreme limits that you never have experienced before. So what is it that makes the KTM a masterpiece?
The Duke’s secret for stability lies into its tubular frame, which is rigid and suits the Indian roads, be it handling worst constructed roads or smooth roads with extreme turns and twists. KTM DUKE 200 & 390 as well as the KTM RC 200 & 390 share the same frame. That means you don’t feel the difference while riding any of these four models in terms of handling and stability. The frame is also built in such a way that it boosts the performance of the KTM, as its light in weight and engine arrangements are done in such a way that the engine is not laid on the frame but mounted on it, and adding to that, the placement of the underbelly exhaust that concentrates the centre of mass to be in the middle of the bike that means more stability in straight line, under heavy braking and cutting the corners.
The DUKE 200 & 390 and RC 200 & 390 uses the same type of Liquid cooled engine which comes with a Double Overhead Camshaft which times the 4 valves to breathe (2 intake and 2 exhaust) with a single spark to ignite the mixture of sir and fuel injected via a smart fuel injection system operated by the ECU.The Power Output of the KTM Duke 200 & RC 200 is identical at 25 HP and same is the case with the RC twins the performance and other aspects of the Duke Twins and RC Twins are the same. However, the RC is for people who want a more aggressive looking bike with pure racing sense. When you hop on that saddle, the ergonomics of the RC Twins are different from that of the Duke Twins. The Duke according to us is a versatile bike which can be rode everyday for city commutes and you can also strap a sack at the back seat and go for a longer haul. Only thing that we think with the Duke 200 & 390 is the level of cushioning on the saddle for the rider which according to us is not adequate for longer hauls but fit it with a after market Jelly seat (that is what they call it…) with more cushioning and the bike is perfect to pile the miles.
The RC Twins on other hand is good for weekend rides and short trips wherein it’s just you with no backpack or anyone sitting behind you. After the Yamaha R15 the RC twins are the one’s which give the feeling of riding a sports bike with clip on handle bars and foot pegs placed a tad higher and backwards just like a sport bike so that one can throw the bike in corners without bothering about the foot pegs scrapping on the tar. Other thing that we like about the RC Twins is the pillion seat which at first glance doesn’t looks like one. The pillion seat is designed in such a way that it looks like a hard plastic cladding rather than a seat which gives an impression of a single seat sports bike, however, hop onto the back seat and you are surprised by well cushioned seats which is pretty comfortable.
What the KTM brought in the market for the first time is the cast alloy swing arm which many thought is not a good idea and many had questions in their mind whether it can withstand the jolts on Indian roads but KTM passed the test successfully. The swing arm is not just solidly built but is ultra light. Attached to it is well configured mono suspension which is on the harder side but that is the ideal setup for Indian roads. Giving the bike a more softer suspension would result in the bikes rear hopping more which we are sure would not at all be appreciated at higher speeds.
Duke 200 & RC 200 comes with soft composite MRF tires which are adequate for gripping the tar but when it comes to cornering the tire limits you to bank the bike to a certain level and create a bit of nervousness. In case of Duke 390 & RC 390 it’s a complete different story altogether as the 390’s come equipped with a far more superior METZELLAR tires which grips the road as if you have coated the tires with Fevicol “joh chutega nahi”. Be it tar road, paver blocks or wet conditions, these tires guarantees the fun you are looking for. Throw the bike in corners and every time you are finished with one you bank the bike more in the next bend that is how good the METZELLARS are.
Just when everyone is still in the hangover and then suddenly one announces of another shot, the crowd goes crazy over it. Just like that the KTM has revealed its KTM RC 125 in the International market and many gearhead’s would have gone crazy for its arrival in India. The RC 125 would be the perfect bike for beginners who dream of making a career in motorsport and also for the one’s who want to have a taste of pure performance biking for the first time. Packed with a 125 CC Liquid Cooled DOHC Mill which churns out a good 15HP, expect this little wonder to be the fastest in its class.
Not just that, this bike would be easy on the pocket too as it is expected to return good mileage. So by this, KTM fills the gap of a bike which looks and rides aggressive, apparently keeping the running cost low seems like we have a new entry level everyday commuter coming our way….