Spy pictures and speculations regarding the 2017 KTM 200/390 Dukes have been doing rounds on the internet for quite a while now. But recent spy pictures snapped in India and Europe have revealed that these upcoming small Dukes are anything but minor updates. A recent video too has emerged of a test bike here in India which even reveals little details about the bike. But we got to hear from some sources close to the company that there’s a lot more to these baby KTMs than meets the eye.
Firstly, it’s been confirmed that this is pretty much the final form for the updated model and it actually looks like a scaled-down version of the 1290 Super Duke R. In fact, one or more of the paint schemes on offer will be identical to its larger 1,301cc sibling. Although the new tank’s capacity is still unknown, the spy images reveal a more aggressive design. The interesting bit, however, is that the tank is now supposed to be all-metal; great news for those who want to use magnetic tank bags.
There’s a lot more pizazz on the bikes including a LCD instrument cluster. This will be a full colour TFT unit very similar to the one from the latest 690 Dukeand our sources tell us that this will have integration with the riders’ smartphone, and will be able to show GPS data. And just like that from the 690, the tachometer graph will change colours as the revs climb. The latest video also confirms new 4-way input switchgear to navigating the menus on this new LDC instrument cluster.
The other fact, and perhaps a bit disappointing to some potential buyers is that there will be no real change in power and torque. Yes, since the bikes will be running with throttle-by-wire, it’s likely that the new baby Dukes will be a lot smoother and more responsive to throttle inputs. But chances are that performance will be slightly hampered owing to the work done on making the motors Euro-IV compliant. There’s also talk about the bikes being four-five kilograms heavier thanks to the larger exhaust can that’ll help meet the more stringent emissions norms. There are some talks about riding modes on offer, but we haven’t anything on these lines. But thanks to the ride-by-wire coming as standard, offering variable throttle responses shouldn’t be a big deal, and might even make sense.
The new bikes’ two-piece frame (bolt-on subframe) was already obvious from the earlier spy shots, but a very interesting fact which has emerged is that now the front end will feature Separate Function Forks, i.e. with one side handling damping duties, and the other handling rebound. And our sources have told us that the benefits of this new suspension are apparent the moment you ride the bike, with the front end providing much better ride quality over bumpy surfaces, without sacrificing the bike’s sharp turn-in characteristics which we have all come to love so much. There are already a fair number of test mules in various engine configurations (125, 200, 250, and 390) which have been manufactured by Bajaj, and KTM plans to show these updated models at EICMA this year, with an India launch (for the 200 and 390 Dukes) planned for early next year. What we hope is that the Duke 200 will come equipped with ABS, and it makes sense considering the new braking legislation that’s headed our way. However, we aren’t sure if the separate function forks will be offered on the 200 as well.
However, as excited as we are hearing about all these upcoming updates, let’s bear in mind that from last year, European-spec bikes have been different from the Indian motorcycles. Nonetheless, we expect the both the Indian bikes (200 and 390) to use ride-by-wire as they would now have to meet the tighter BS-IV emissions norms. But as another source close to the company described these upcoming baby KTMs as “just explosive”, we’re superthrilled and can’t wait until EICMA 2016 to get the official word on them.