Feb 1, 2012

65 Ride Review: KTM 200 Duke - Agent Orange

I ride one of the most exotic and enjoyable motorcycle to have hit India till date..

"Brutal, brash, in your face with a heavy dose of attitude and with a good amount of substance to back it up"

That’s the KTM 200 Duke for you, a purpose built street scorcher that is blissfully unapologetic about its single minded focus to provide a kind of motorcycling thrill that was last seen during the 2 stroke era of the RD350’s and RX100’s.

Pre Ride Emotions: "O boy, I will ride a KTM today.. yes a KTM.. phew a KTM..!!". That’s exactly were my emotions on my way for the test ride of the KTM 200 Duke.

For a biker next door like me, it was almost like butterflies in the stomach feeling. And for good reason as well, since a couple of years back it would have been wishful thinking of ever getting to ride a bike with the hallowed KTM badge. But thanks to the economic resurgence of the Indian economy and the good fortune of "Hamara" Bajaj co-developing and manufacturing the 200 Duke in India (for KTM), the dream has now turned into a real possibility of owning one before my hair turns gray completely.

Looks/Styling: "A Street Fighter with KTM (off road) genes"

The 200 Duke looks more impressive in the flesh than in photos. In photos the bike looks small but the 200 Duke has a longer wheelbase than the Pulsar 220 and Karizma. The bike is actually big but has a compact and tightly packed lean body.

[Photo: Overdrive]

The styling of the 200 Duke is very unique. The 200 Duke does not tow the line of conventional street bike styling. KTM has made sure that the 200 Duke inherits it’s off road genes in its styling as well. The result is a unique and stunning blend of a Street bike with athletic off road lines.

[+] Unique styling stands out in the crowd

[+] Long wheelbase with minimalistic bodywork

The 200 Duke gives new meaning to the term “Naked”. A sight of the 200 Duke is enough to give a hot blooded bike enthusiast a “biking hard on”. The 200 Duke is like an unabashed flasher with its mechanical details on full public display. One can spend hours ogling at the exposed engine block, the innovative and beautifully executed underbelly silencer, the exotic trellis frame, the 43 mm fat upside down front forks, the detailed aluminum foot peg sub frame, the chunky aluminum swing arm with it’s exposed mechanical criss-cross webbing, the white colored monoshock, the healthy 150 mm wide rear radial tyre, the strong looking 10 spoke pattern alloy wheels.. I can go on and on with the list.

The tastefully done "saree guard + rear hugger" deserves special mention here as it adds a visual weight to the otherwise bare looking rear.

The 200 Duke can’t be called as a Supermoto as it does not have a slim and flat tank like a Supermoto bike neither is the suspension as long/tall like a Supermoto. The unique styling of the 200 Duke can best be described as a Street Fighter with KTM’s off road genes.

Quality, Fit & Finish: "Best seen on any India made bike till date"

A premium product not just has to look good from far but also has to look and feel premium to touch and feel. Nothing could be more turn off than poor fit & finish and tacky metal & plastic parts on a so called “Premium” bike.

[+] Benchmark in quality among made in India bikes

[+] Impressive attention to detail

[+] Assurance that money has been well spent

The 200 Duke now becomes the new benchmark for made in India bikes when it comes to the quality of material used and attention to details by in the way the bike has been put together. Just a look and touch of the seat cover shows the kind of attention that was showered while sourcing material for the 200 Duke. Everything from the quality of paint, the weld finish on the frame, the touch and feel of the plastic and rubber parts, the quality of nuts and bolts on the bike gives a reassurance of money wisely spent.

The 200 Duke also gets LED backlit switches like the ones found on the Pulsars which might not be functional one the rider gets used to the placement of the switches but nevertheless enhances the cool quotient of the 200 Duke. The switches also give back a positive and tactile feel in its operation.

Riding Stance: "Comfortable yet aggressive/commanding"

When it comes to riding position, Comfortable and Sporty usually don’t go together, that’s what I used to believe till I swung my legs over the 200 Duke. The footpegs on the 200 Duke are quite rearset which instantly puts the rider with an involved-with the bike type of sporty stance. The handlebar on the other hand is a wide single piece of hydro-formed metal placed at a comfortable reach (neither too high and definitely not low).

[+] Commanding and comfortable riding stance

[+] Slightly high seating but still manageable for a short guy

[+] Firm seat for comfortable hours on the saddle

Grabbing the bars with both hands gives you an upright and proud/wide chested ( Khali/WWE wrestler like) stance which coupled with the rear set foot pegs is aggressive and comfortable at the same time..!! The riding stance is perfect for riding in traffic infested streets and also for long hours on the saddle. Speaking of the saddle, i have to mention firm and supportive padding used for the seat. The seat is on the firmer side which is a very good thing for anyone who plans to spend long hours on the saddle.

At 810 mm, the seat height of the 200 Duke is taller than majority of other Indian bikes. And at 5.4-5.5 ft height, I predictably was not able to place both my feet flat on the ground. But to my relief I found that the seat tapers towards the front which allows for someone like me to slide one of my butt cheeks to one side and reach the ground comfortably with at least one foot. A light kerb weight of 136 kgs also makes it easier to maneuver the bike at slow speeds despite the slightly tall seat height for someone of my height.

Astride the 200 Duke one does get the feeling of riding a tall bike. The 165 mm of ground clearance and 150 mm of travel on both the front and rear suspension contributing to this slightly tall off road like sitting stance.

Engine Performance: "A brutal short stroke + short geared powerhouse"

The engine cranks into life with a single throttle (thanks to the Fi). One is greeted with a lively exhaust note that is a far cry than the characterless “whirr” of a few desi bikes around. Blip the throttle and the exhaust note turns into a full blooded scream. The bike sounds more like it’s running on an after market performance air filter + and an after market exhaust can. Lovely..!!

I pull in the clutch and tap the first gear, the road ahead of me was empty and therefore I give a free twist of the right wrist and let off the clutch. I rarely swear in daily life but after letting go of the clutch I instantly uttered “WHAT THE #*@%..!!” inside my full face helmet.

[+] #@%*!$^ AWESOME

[+] Déjà vu of the good old 2 stroke days

[+] Intoxicating exhaust note

[+] Excellent in gear-roll on characteristics

[-] Slight loss of smoothness post 7000 rpm

[-] I prefer the traditional analog type tachometer instead of the digital one

In all bikes that I have ridden in my life, the first gear has always been short geared which means the speed is low in first gear but the nudge is positive. One has to quickly shift up to higher gears which becomes tall in gearing with the top gear normally in overdrive (for relaxed riding).

KTM seems to like to turn everything upside down. The first gear is geared comparatively tall which with the liquid cooled, short stroke, fast spinning engine with 25 horses coupled with a light weight body propels you like a bat out of hell, cheerfully uttering expletives all the way inside your helmet.

More than the expected firm nudge, the first gear felt like a solid punch. The subsequent gears were like jabs in quick succession from a professional boxer. Short geared, they make you shift up pretty early. Even before I knew I was in 6’th gear. The thick surge of torque in every twist of the throttle certainly did not feel like I was in 6’th (normally overdrive) gear. Another positive of this short top gearing is that one can virtually potter around town in 5’th or 6’th without the need to downshift. The 200 Duke picks up cleanly from as low as 30 kmph without any snatching. The in gear roll on the 200 Duke is the best that I have ridden so far on any bike.

On the move the 200 Duke feels fast and weightless and the brutal short stroke with its unique gearing makes the ride experience a Déjà vu of the good old 2 stroke days. The 200 Duke breaks the 100 Kmph mark at 7,000 rpm in 6’th gear. Till 7,000 rpm the engine is ultra smooth but post that the engine kind of changes it character and takes on an angry demeanor. The engine still spins eagerly till 10,000 rpm but you also get a buzz from the engine at above 7,000 rpm. It is not something worth losing sleep over; after all it’s a KTM and not a Japanese smoothie.

The 200 Duke reaches 130 Kmph in as quick a time as the Ninja 250R (judging by the distance it took me to reach the same speed on the Ninja 250R) but (like the CBR250R) at speeds in excess of 120 kmph, the bike does not feel as planted in the way the Ninja 250R does (on which you hardly feel the speed); nothing to be scared about, but just to put things into perspective.

During the initial first ride reviews, the journalists quoted the top speed of the 200 Duke at around the 135 kmph mark but then those bikes had a rev limiter at 10,000 rpm. Now the actual production bikes have been recalibrated to a higher cut off at 11,000 rpm (the light starts blinking at 10,500 and cuts off at 11,000). This means that the top speed should now be around 140 kmph. I did manage to see 138 Kmph on the speedo with the engine still having little bit of more juice left in it. But then as any bike capable of comfortably doing 120-130 kmph at the drop of a hat is fast enough for India.

Clutch + Gearshift: "A quick shifting sweet box"

I did not face any issues with either the clutch or the gearbox. The shift among the gears is actually quite short and takes a fraction of a second to shift. In terms of feel the gears felt in the same league of the CBR250R.

Ride Quality: "Perfectly Firm: Neither too soft, nor too hard"

Despite the slightly long 150 mm suspension travel, 165 mm ground clearance, a 810 mm seat height the suspension has not been overtly set as soft. The ride is not too firm as a track bike and not too soft like an off roader but has just the right amount of firmness.

Brakes: Excellent

The large 280 mm disc up front and the rear 230 mm disc does a remarkable job of cutting down the speed. There is absolutely no issue with them.

Handling & Stability: "Amazingly light & flickable around corners and stable in a straight line at high speeds"

The KTM 200 Duke has been designed as a different kind of motorcycle i.e a Street bike with off road influences like the slightly tall seat and tall suspension, upright riding stance. Hence to expect the 200 Duke to handle similar to a Super Sports type bike with a crouching stance (like the R15) would be unrealistic and pretty naive.

[+] Changes direction effortlessly

[+] Holds its line at high speeds

[+] Both “Knee Down” and “Leg Forward” kind of cornering possible

The handling on the KTM 200 Duke is also unique like everything else on the bike. The bike is extremely light on the move. It feels virtually weightless in the way it changes direction. Despite its light weight body the long wheelbase and the trellis frame holds the 200 Duke with impressive stability even at speeds in excess of 135 Kmph.

The slightly tall seat + upright stance is not exactly tailor made for getting one’s knee down “MotoGP style”, but on a sweeping corner even that is not impossible, though not exactly natural for this supermoto inspired motorcycle. I even tried the “leg forward” type of cornering on the 200 Duke and even though it was totally new to me, I found the “leg forward” cornering experience quite interesting.

At the end of the ride, the unique and interesting handling experience left a smile in my face.

Lasting Impression:

The 200 Duke is the most unique motorcycle that I have ridden in my life so far. A commanding + comfortable stance, fast spinning motor, light weight body all translates into a bike that is all out "FUN"; all in bold, quotations, caps and underlined.

Obviously not a road racing Super Sports replica model, but the 200 Duke could still be an interesting ride for those looking for a drift/slide "Supermoto style" riding around the race track. Also the upright and comfortable riding posture should be easy on the rider’s spine who might want to venture out on long trips lasting for weeks/months.

Most importantly riding the KTM 200 Duke makes me feel 15 years younger. Mid-life crisis? Bring it on, I am loving it. With an attractive price tag of Rs. 1.17 lakhs (Ex-Showroom), very soon "Agent Orange" should be in my arsenal.

Photos: KTM 200 Duke [Size: 1280 x 800]

KTM 200 DukeKTM 200 DukeKTM 200 Duke
KTM 200 DukeKTM 200 DukeKTM 200 Duke
KTM 200 DukeKTM 200 DukeKTM 200 Duke
KTM 200 DukeKTM 200 DukeKTM 200 Duke
KTM 200 DukeKTM 200 DukeKTM 200 Duke

KTM 200 Duke (India): Official Specifications

Type: Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled
Valve Train: 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC
Displacement: 200 cc

Maximum Power: 25 hp @ 10,000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 19.2 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
Compression ration: 11.5:1

Bore x Stroke: 72 mm x 49 mm
Starting: Electric
Transmission/Gears: 6-speed
Fuel System: Fuel Injection

Type: Trellis
Front Suspension: (WP) Telescopic Upside Down Forks
Rear Suspension: (WP) monoshock
Suspension travel Front: 150 mm
Suspension travel Rear: 150 mm

Tyres (front/rear): 110/70 x 17(tubeless radial)/ 150/60 x 17(tubeless radial)
Front Brake: 280 mm Disc brake
Rear Brake: 230 mm Rear Disc
Steering head angle 65°

Wheel base: 1,367 mm
Ground clearance: 165 mm
Seat height: 810 mm
Total fuel tank capacity: 10.5 litres
Dry/Kerb Weight: 125/136 kgs

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Aamir Jamal said...

Fantastic writeup Payeng sir! :)

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks Aamir,

it was straight from the heart

Lohit Mohanta said...

Great review Payeng.

Anonymous said...

Great Review Payeng!

softwareprabhu said...

Payeng, if amount doesn't matter then which would be you choice?
KTM Duke 200 or Pulsar 200 NS?

santosa said...

thank you payeng
for this very passionate review.

waiting for your take on pulsar

Anonymous said...

incredible article as usual with the right dose of everything...one look at your article by a person who has the all the green but still confused to buy what product that suits them the most, will give him/her the correct idea where he/she should be investing.its that much simple to read and straight to the point in nature and also in a crystal clear way...at least that is what used to feel every time i read a review from your side bro..As usual i loved reading it...keep up the good work bro...i hope your junior is doing well...

thank you
ps. now eagerly waiting for a fully blown ownership review go for it bro time to paint your life orange....

Koley Nilesh said...

Payeng Bhai Reading that review I can simply judge that This bike simply touched Your Heart in every sense .... Nice write up :)

drowning me said...

not sure about you, but I feel the digital console is looks quite tacky and probably the weakest link in otherwise spotless design.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks a lot for liking the review guys.

About the query between the latest Pulsar 200NS and the 200 Duke, I will be able to tell only after I get to ride the new Pulsar

..one can be an "laptop biker/expert" but who am I trying to fool..??

Swagat said...

Nice and crisp report, Payeng!!

Btw, any update from Bajaj about increase in top-end?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks Swagat..

The huge rear sprocket easily suggests that by putting a smaller (by around 2 teeth), the top end can be easily increased on the 200 Duke.

But then it will lose it characteristic raw and frantic nature which is so KTM'ish

Siddharth Soni said...

Your review reflects your intention to buy :) Great write-up.

Anonymous said...

after reading this review , i was feelin that i m on the bike but all that smashes down ,when the review was at its end...
Duke is awesome bike it seems ,and ur review was/is very helpful for me.
.....NICE REVIEW......
Jst post some thing about its milege .THNKS

Sajal said...

Amazing amazing review man.... very un-adulterated and just!!

Totally agree with the Analog console. I love to see the niddle dance to the rythm of the right wrist.

By the way, in one of the lines you have mention the fork travel to be 150cc ;)

Anonymous said...

what mileage you got??

Vivek Mavelikara said...

One doubt:

KTM says on their site:
Brake discs - diameter front 300 mm

is it really 280mm like 200NS?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Vivek, don't have an idea about the export ones, but yes the ones sold in India has got a 280 mm front disc.

@Siddharth thanks buddy

@Sajal thanks for the correction

About mileage, I couldn't check it for obvious reasons.. but I expect a figure of around 25-30 kmpl

Rahul Devnath said...

Superb review! Especially the info about the practicability of the saddle height; things which other review don't cover at all! Saddle height is slightly higher, but I guess the ultra light weight nature helps in keeping things in control.

chandan said...

Is test ride available for common ppl??? d way honda made it available for CBR250r

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


Check with your nearest KTM showroom.. test rides to the are subject to RTO clearances obtained in that city.

In some cities test rides are being given and soon should be available across all showrooms

aziz said...

nice experience...

shekhar said...

@Payeng great write-up mann.........i hardly read long reviews fully but the way u wrote this, i had u read it fully and really got engrossed into it.....proud of u bro.....
as u mentioned 25-30 kmpl.....but u did ride it hard and did a top speed test......
so what mileage can one expect under standard city conditions, any estimate ??...

shekhar said...

please enable facebook commenting also bro.....just an opinion ....

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks Shekar,

Yes I did ride it hard.. very brielfy though. Can't tell about the mileage for sure bro. True picture of mileage can come only from an Owner. Lets wait and see

About Facebook commenting:

It might result in more comments and possibly more traffic for my blog, but then I guess I will lose the comments once I remove the Plug-In.. which I don't want as I regard my blog as my online bike diary and not a site set up for business.

I'll give it a thought though

Sanket Kambli said...

very good review of a enticingly exciting bike

chandan said...

In which KTM showroom u took test ride? I will b in pune coming weekend...I will also try in same showroom

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


there is just one KTM showroom in Pune.. it is at Bund Garden, near ruby hall hospital

Shaiju B said...

Hey Thanks Payeng for the review, very good one. As you said, Straight from the heart. Its one of the bike in my wish list. I am not sure though when i can I have a test ride of this great machine.

I am waiting for your review of the Pulsar 200 NS. A comparison between these two would be icing on the cake.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks Shaiju,

will definitely check out the Pulsar 200NS as soon as I can my hands on it.. and yes a comparison should definitely be on too.

About test rides, just visit your nesrest KTM showroom, if the test ride bikes are ready, they'll be more than glad to give you a test ride

Satyanveshi said...

Thanks a lot for the review. All other reviews of KTM 200 I have read so far sound more like advertisements than reviews. This is a REAL review, crisp and to the point.

I would have gone for the KTM 200 but the launch of pulsar 200 NS has forced me to wait for a while. The latter seems capable of turning out to be a better VFM prospect (I am not a rich man). Eagerly waiting for your review of Pulsar 200 NS :)

Thanks again.

lockhrt999 said...

That's a superb review. Look like this ride is perfect for your 30+ spline.

Unknown said...

nice review...great that you pointed out the first gear being not short.It suits your body frame pretty well too...good luck owning one of these :)

Unknown said...

damn good review.Nice thing you noted about the first gear not being short.It suits your body frame well too.Congrats on your new purchase whenever that happens :)

Sanjoy said...

Any inputs on the compression ratio and the fuel quality suggested.What fuel were you on?

Vivek Mavelikara said...

Then indian web page of KTM is misleading:

chinmaya kar said...

Hi Payeng. havent gone through your report yet, however would like to ask is it true that the Duke is quite torquey from idle.

I mean not like CBR or R15, where it is dead or slow below certain rpm (4000)

I am looking for something like my 220 Dtsi, that has Torque On Demand, and never feels gasping for Power.

I guess you understand what i am trying to say. I am looking for something that is a mixture of P220 and FZ.

The only other bike apart from 220 that brought a smile on my face was FZ.

Would appreciate your reply. Thanks.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Thanks everyone again..

About the compression ratio and fuel quality: i don't think we need to worry about it much as the bike has been developed in India.

Anout low end torque: The Duke 200 has a short stroke engine hence one needs to rev the engine to get going.. but one it revs, the gearing does the rest and gets a nice tug. One should be reay to twist the right wrist a bit, that's all

Anonymous said...

Payeng , I saw the bike in showroom today n after sitting on the bike my both toes where only touchin the ground .
So is there any way to lower the Seat Height or ground clearence of the bike.<<thanks.

Anonymous said...

howz the sound of ktm duke,it is appreciable or lik the auto rikshaw
(as commented by some one)....its sound shoud b lik sports bik i assume..

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@ above,

I have already mentioned how the exhaust sounds, if you need a better description, check it out personally

abhisek said...

Hi Payeng. Isn't the 150-17 Rear Tyre on Duke-200 too wide for a 200cc bike. won't it degrade FE, top speed, acceleration, cornering etc. IMO 130 is max we should put on a 200cc bike.


S.P - Biker Next Door said...


the rear 150 mm wide tyre on the 200 Duke is of rounded profile (like that on Sport's Bikes) and doesn't look out of place on that bike.

Unknown said...

Its always nice to hear when some one says good about KTM's. I always loved ktm since i was a kid and wanted to own one, i saw a ktm 2 stroke motocross image in some foreign magazine and it stole my heart, now I'm 28 years old and I booked the baby Duke and waiting for delivery. Anyways thank you for your review, felt straight from the heart..Cheers.


Shyam Malhotra said...

great review.

I'm 5.4 and own a Pulsar 180 currently. Is the Duke too tall for me? Pls note: I don't find any probs with the height of Pulsar.

Anonymous said...

zzzz shyam bro...dnt bother abt height lol..:-D ITL BE SEXy for every 1 zzz

bikes company in india said...

Must tell you that your blog contains lots of good stuffs regarding bikes. This would be the best site ever I had seen having bulk of info on bikes. Keep it.

Anonymous said...

Great Mill from KTM
But KTM 200 should be compared with other Street Bikes / Naked Bikes
Like RTR n FZ not with Race Track machine like R15 and tourers like Zama n CBR :)

Da question here should be
Is it worth to spend 60k extra than FZ or RTR ??
Rather den comparing with Race machine and tourer :(

Obliviouly a tourer will choose Zama or CBR rather den R15 or D200

Gearing is according to need
Short gearing for street fighter n higher gearing for tourers n high revving for race track machine :D

For real life we never compare a Athlete with a Football player or with a trekker
We compare athlete with athlete
which one is better among themselves Or we compare a footballer with a footballer :)

So Mr Payeng lets keep it clean and neat
Street for D200, Highway for CBRs N R15 for track
Lets not mess dem up and confuse our INDIAN JANTA more

We praise your " STRAIGHT FROM HEART "
Cheers to life

utkarsh said...

hey folks i am planing to get my first bike. Should i go with DUKE or should i first get some other bike and i have a doubt, what about the traffic jams where you have to literally drag your bike with you, what about duke's performance in these jams.

i am just a rookie. previously i had my hands only on my dad's splendor.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

Hi Utkarsh,

According to me the KTM 200 Duke is the Best City Bike among the current premium (Rs. 80K plus range) bikes. Even in 6'th gear one can very easily ride and pick up from 35 kmph. Plus the bike is very light and easily maneuverable.

But to someone new to biking, the acceleration on the 200 Duke could be a bit unnerving.. the acceleration is a bit too strong compared to the other bikes.

Check it out to see how you find it.

utkarsh said...

first thanx bro for a quick response.

and secondly i don't think a quick acceleration should trouble much, one can easily get use to it after few rides correct me if i am wrong.

i'll test ride it as soon as it is available in my city. and i get time.

ashwin kumar said...

bought one towards the end of april. I've clocked 500kms since and loved every single one of them.
My only qualm is that the engines seems to over heat a bit too soon, esp. in city driving. Thats the only time i feel if this naked hottie was better off with a lil more dressing (fairing) :-p

I heard one theory suggesting that all new bikes do so (overheat).
Whats your take on that?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


New engine's usually tend to heat up during the running in period.. My P220 used to heat up when it was new.

A Full fairing won't help matters.. 1,000 cc Superbikes heat like crazy (even after the running in is over) especially during traffic

Anonymous said...

how much cost in france ??

Mr.K said...

Already in my arsenal!!! heats up quick, but the cooling system is awesome, enjoy long rides on it. amazing control and safety feel... brilliant bike for indian roads.

Anonymous said...

hai this is sathish this bike is soooo difarent fastafal thanks to bajaj company this bike look is very diferent and nice bike best of luck

Reeto said...

Hi. That's a great review, very informative indeed. Kindly answer the following querides -
How good is the Duke's suspension with pillion on pathetic potholed roads of Mumbai.
Also how good is the Duke's headlight for touring at night?
Is there any way of increasing the top speed of the Duke 200? Can the Duke cruise at 120-130 kmph continuously on highways?
Kindly reply asap.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


The suspension is ok but the seat is a bit on the firmer side. The headlamp does its job well on dark roads.

One can try experimenting with the sprockets of the 200 Duke. A small rear sprocket would increase the top speed and cruising ability but it will compromise on the acceleration of the bike.. which according to me is the USP of the 200 Duke

Kishan said...

Bike is really cool and i wish to buy but quit expensive for me. if it would be below 1 Lack then Definitely will buy.

Anonymous said...

Dukes are nuking Indian cities......... :)

Got chance to lay my hands on D200, which have just done 3.8k on odd. Being a FZ & R15 V2 owner it immediatly felt like sitting on a bigger brother of FZ.
Just crank it and this baby DUKE comes into life without any fuss.
Some 60-70 kms in city & 240 kms in highway ride gave me fully idea of this bike. Smoked some P220s n CBRs in city .... :)

It took me almost 20-30 mins to get used to its gear. 2-3-4-5 are very very close to each other. 6th was a bit taller than rest of all. This engine is surely a MANIAC yaar. Tooo much rev happy and just more than R15 V2 engine also. It just asks the rider to be beyond 8K rpm always. Its exhaust note is just next too lively after 6K rpm
My way of " READY TO RACE "... Get you rpm swinging between 4-5k rpm in ideal .... Then engage 1st gear and Ohhh boy .... it gives a jerk as if its saying " Release me and i will do the REST "
Launch it and change to 2nd at around 6k rpm and rest gear change @ +9K rpm, this bull will reach 100kmph mark in no time. The intersting part which i noticed was that during this drag of 0-100 kmph i was able flick my bike between the traffic without compromise in trottle. But dukers have to be fast in gear change. You miss the perfect timming CBR will make you scream louder.

One can forget in which gear we are riding while roaming around the city. Even 6th can pull from 35 kmph and 5th can pull from 30kmph. So one can get confussed with the gear untill one gets near to redline. Didn't found too comfortable riding over potholes @ 70 - 90 kmph. FZ suspension absorbs better than R15 than DUke.

For highways where traffic speeds are around 80 - 100 kmph. Duke is almost invincible as roll ons are effortless between ( 70 - 110 kmph ). Beyond 115 kmph wind blast is too much to take as i experienced in my FZ also. Best crusing speed for 2-3 hrs for Duke is 110 - 115 kmph. Here R15 V2 scores more with 115 - 125 kmph crusing speed without taking the wind blast.

Did 138 kmph in DUKE just for the shake of doing. It was like hitting 138 kmph in duck position and coming back to 120 kmph. My R15 can be ridden for longer period of time even in its top speed.

My 1 long ride experiance says that DUKE is for ppl with occasional long tours ( say 1-3 rides in a year ) and not for hard core tourer. I guess even riding Duke in Ladakh terrians will be tough due to its hard suspension setup and low range tank capacity.

Vivin said...

Payeng bro great wride.The saddle height is the only thing stopping me from going for the 200 duke.My height being the same as yours gives me some confidence but at the same time I am not well built-btw I ride a kick ass Suzuki fiero which I believe was made for me.Also read that lowering links would not fit in for the 200's suspension.PLEASE HELP

chandan said...

Currently i own honda unicorn
I wanted to know which "india made" bike has better (read softer) suspension than unicorn
I am more into relaxed cruising rather than speed lover or knee scrapper...so i prefer comfort and want to stay away from road bumps
On my unicorn i can feel almost all road bumps on my back
After checking on internet i found lot of ppl saying unicorn's suspension is on firm side
Is there any other bike which has softer suspension than unicorn?

Xmeridian said...

Booked my KTM Duke 200 last week! Will get it in a couple of days :D

Anonymous said...

My height is about 5'4"-5'5"..will I be able to ride duke comfortably?

Payeng said...


Yes you will be .. just that both feet won't be flat on the ground

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