KTM Duke 200 : Test Ride Report

It started with an early morning call from Sukesh about an exclusive test ride for the ‘Born Riders’ group and I couldnt help grinning at the thought of riding the KTM  which was still a Keen To Meet 😀

Cutting back the background talk and moving on to the test ride.

Test Ride Conditions:

  • Dry tarmac
  • Dash of city traffic
  • No twisties
  • No long straights to test the top-speed

Test Ride Parameters:

  • Riding Posture: The first time I sat on the Duke, I was dissapointed with the leg room (I am 5 ‘ 10) i.e, the distance between my crotch and the fuel tank. When I actually rode the motorcycle all of this vanished, the upright stance (which in this case is like a hybrid between a motocross and a touring motorcycle) which is well very suited to navigate in the urban traffic
  • Braking: Phenomenal, having ridden litre-class supersports; the kind of braking the Duke 200 offers is mind-boggling. The braking is bloody precise and so is the handling/reaction of the motorcycle under hard braking (wish I could check its performance in the wet)
  • Power: It accelerates like a pocket rocket and gear shifts above 6000rpm are an absolute delight
  • Handling: A wonderful motorcycle to squeeze through the urban choas;  yet to test its ability on twisties and on a highway
  • Suspension: Now I understand why KTMs are considered to have the ‘Best Suspension’. Suspension is very plush and they never complained about the potholes on the road
  • Build- Quality: I still cant believe that this is churned out from the Chakan plant –  awesome build quality; Kudos to Bajaj Engineers for this one
  • Gear-Box: I found it hard to shift gears (which the KTM guys attributed it to the run-in period), not as hard as the usual Bajaj motorcycle gearboxes, but not as smooth as the R15s or the CBR250s
  • Exhaust Note: It is unlike any Indian motorcycle –  has a tinnish sound and the purr of the exhaust is typical KTM. I loved it , although the neighbors may not 😛
  • Road Presence: You cannot miss it on the road

FLIP-SIDE of the KTM 200:

  • There was hardly any distance between my crotch and the fuel tank, which meant no front-and-back movement for the rider, something which helps under hard braking
  • Rear seat is made for a SIZE-ZERO FIGURE, safe bet would be to ride solo 😛
  • Dissapointed that the drive chain ISN’T an O-Ring Chain
  • Finding the Neutral was a pain 😛
  • Fuel tank capacity

Images from the test ride

OVERALL VERDICT:

The perfect tool for the city commute. A trip to the twisties and to the highway shall reveal the touring/ cruising ability of the KTM 200.

If not anything, it made me smile every-time I whacked the throttle.

PS: KTM Indirangar, Bangalore is offering test rides only to the riders who have booked it and NOT TO EVERYONE 😦