My very first motorcycle was a 2012 KTM 200 Duke and it opened up a world of exciting possibilities. I went on some very long rides, to track day schools, track days and even a couple races! Since then, KTM has launched a number of new motorcycles and over the years, some of them have undergone rather significant updates. The 200 Duke, though, remained largely unchanged… until now. KTM, like all manufactures, has had to update its entire portfolio to comply with the upcoming BS6 norms and it has used the opportunity to give the 200 Duke a much needed makeover as well.
What does it look like?
For starters, the bike now looks nearly identical to the 250 Duke. The 200 Duke has finally dropped its eight-year old design for a much fresher, sharper and maybe even better-looking one. The new 200 now comes with a revised trellis frame with a bolt-on subframe, and it also borrows the DRL-equipped halogen headlight, tail section and the beefy tank shrouds from the 250 Duke, accentuating the little KTM’s bold presence. Behind the tank shrouds is a fuel tank that's now 3 litres larger, which means less visits to the fuel station and more time riding! The new tank design, along with a more spacious seat, means the 200 is also more accommodating for tall riders and the tank allows for you to grip onto it much more naturally.
How does it ride?
Start the 200 Duke up and you'll immediately find that it’s a lot quieter and sounds much smoother than the trademark sound the older bike’s single-cylinder produced. This refinement even translates to the way it feels when you're riding hard and the vibrations are noticeably less even close to the redline. KTM has managed to do this and get the engine to be BS6-compliant without a drop in peak output figures – the 25hp at 10,000rpm and 19.3Nm at 8,000rpm are identical to the BS4 unit. We asked the bike maker how this was done and were told the changes include the addition of a catalytic converter, an ECU re-map that changes the air-fuel ratio and a spark plug with a higher heat rating to cope with the increased combustion.
The refinement also means the engine has traded in some of its hooligan-like behaviour that always urges you to go faster, for a more well-behaved and calm demeanor. Weighing in at 159kg (kerb weight) it's also gained a fair bit of mass in the process – a good 11kg. On the long back straight of the Bajaj test track in Chakan, the 200 Duke maxed out at 138kph, which is similar to what we've seen with the previous-gen bike. We’ll have to test the bike with a Vbox to see how much of a drop in performance has come due to the added weight. As far as electronic assists go, KTM has also finally equipped the 200 Duke with a dual-channel ABS.
Out on the track, the 200 Duke – with its new chassis and clothing – is still as nimble and precise as it always was. It leans into corners as if it is second nature and holds onto as tight a line as you’d like.
The 200 Duke now gets dual-channel ABS.
Is it still as exciting a motorcycle?
It’s not just the visual updates that are blatantly noticeable. The 200 Duke also feels very different from the motorcycle that it’s replacing – it’s quieter, smoother and almost docile in comparison, but on the track it was still rather fun to ride. Yes, some of its trademark hooligan characteristics feel muted and old-school KTM fans will be put off by its newly acquired politeness, but the fresh styling and increased comfort will probably make it even more appealing to the masses. We also still need to take the 200 out for a spin on city streets to see just how much has changed in the real world. A fast flowing track can hide much of that low speed excitability that made the original 200 such a hoot in the first place.
Has the price gone up significantly?
Yes, it has, by over Rs 10,000. This puts the BS6 KTM 200 Duke’s price at Rs 1.73 lakh (ex-showroom). While the updated engine contributes to the higher asking price, at least half of the price hike – if not more – comes from the new styling package. The hike is a fair amount of money, but not in all its eight years or in its numerous colour schemes, has the 200 Duke looked this attractive, or been this eco-friendly.