Is the KTM Duke 200 worth buying

KTM 200 Duke model 2012

End of November 2012. There it was now in the yard, my “little pumpkin” - as the Lütschen KTM Duke models are also called in the scene. Fat 200 cc displacement, a whopping 26 hp, brand new, let's go ...
After an estimated 20 meters of driving, I was in the third of six gears and was seriously wondering what I had actually been thinking of buying this motorcycle without a test drive.

So let's recap: The used 660 Enduro, which was actually bought mainly for winter use, turned out to be a bit tall and heavy. The typesetter said she would like to drive again - but if you please on something that is easily tradable. In bma issue 11/12, reader Joachim Lehnert raved about how much fun he has in everyday life with his 250 Sym Wolf. I still have fond memories of the presentation of the 125cc Duke 2011 at the ADAC facility in Lüneburg (read ) and last but not least: After all these years and having driven many motorcycles, I was simply curious whether such a small motorcycle can really convince a die-hard motorcyclist.

We usually get test vehicles for a few days. That is enough to gather impressions and write reports, but it is more informative if you can move a vehicle for longer and gain real experience. So I sold the Enduro again and grabbed one of the last 2012 Duke 200 series, which should only be available with ABS as standard from 2013. The list price was 4395 euros plus 200 euros for ancillary costs. Question: Why are the NK actually not shown at the sausage counter or in the hardware store ?! You can't get around it anyway.

To anticipate the conclusion: Yes, the 200 Duke can also really convince old hands - if you are ready to get involved. So let's exclude those people who are unlikely to be happy with the small pumpkin - with the 125/200/390 ccm identical to the chassis, actually medium. There are the tall, the overweight, and the chronically impatient. Let's not kid ourselves, a 190 cm, 100 kg man on the Mini-Duke just looks ridiculous. I bring it to 176 cm at 70 kg net and the Duke doesn't look really stately. Excessive haste is put into perspective with 26 hp - at least by today's standards, because every super sports car achieves a Vmax of almost 130 km / h in first gear. And those who suffer from a profile neurosis or a stubby tail also rarely use a small motorcycle (which should not allow any conclusions to be drawn about my pasta).

But who should buy the little KTM Duke in Central Europe - produced in India, by the way? The target group for the 125cc is clear, but 200 cc ?! In Germany, many motorcyclists consider 500 to 650 cc to be a nice beginner, re-entry or women's motorcycle. It should be 50 to 70 hp. “Real” motorcycles have more of everything. However, they usually have more weight. The approximately 139 kilograms of the Duke ready to drive should be a value that at least connoisseurs will take notice. The best carbon does not weigh any plauze!

The 200 is definitely a good buy for everyone who is looking for a “stylish, funny urban commuter bike” (that is, a chic, fun commuter vehicle) and is not into scooters. The Duke looks good, as it refers to its robust big brothers from Austria. Even more petite people - I just can't avoid the word “women's motorcycle”, even if not every Holden slips into 36 - will enjoy the Duke. It's incredibly easy to use. Braking, clutching, shifting, (one-handed) pushing, turning, parking, forwards, backwards - all no problem. Quasi the rediscovery of lightness. Only very short-legged people look into the tube first - but lowering is possible.

As a second or third vehicle, the Duke is often the first choice or when the partner only drives occasionally and a large or heavy machine overwhelms them. In any case, the maintenance costs are a joke, especially if there is still an old contract lying around. Currently I pay a ridiculous 65 euros a year for taxes and insurance including partial coverage! Most people will not only buy a motorcycle for commuting - it will also have to be used for longer tours and vacation trips. Anyone who thinks that nothing works here that is not dubbed "suitable for travel" according to the brochure or comparison test in motorcycle magazines is seriously mistaken.

After more than 3800 kilometers in the Weser-Ems area, the Duke went to the Harz Mountains in early July. The annual bma readers' trip was about to take place and experience shows that more powerful machines are represented - this was also the case this year.

In the brisker of the two groups, the Duke should show whether she can keep up and also be fun. Apart from the occasional quick overtaking maneuvers, the 26 hp did not cause any problems. The connection was always quickly found. 100% country road, 1035 kilometers in three days - sheer joy. Up and down the Kyffhäuser and in the curves of the Harz, the Mini-Duke was always at the forefront. And at the gas station she was the queen of the world. She sucked a minimum of 2.44 and a maximum of 2.94 liters from the 10.5 liter plastic tank. And that although she had to turn the right way. The shift light flickered more than once at 10,500 rpm.

Speed ​​is really the topic - and shifting, as already mentioned at the beginning. The 200 single-cylinder rolls smoothly and “chop-free” in the sixth at less than 4000 rpm through towns, but then very little happens when the gas is inflated. For significant propulsion you move between seven and ten and a half tours. The bar on the digital speed display is difficult to read - but it doesn't matter. If the engine screams, it goes ahead, it bubbles, you roll around in a relaxed manner. On the other hand, the gear indicator is very helpful. I book the other abundant additional digital information as ignorable game stuff.

With a small motorcycle, you get used to a more fluid driving style when you drive briskly. Cornering speeds have to be high, gears have to fit, because brutal acceleration out is simply not possible. In the north German lowlands with increased use of (city) motorways, consumption is slightly higher. 3.87 liters / 100 km is my maximum, 3.16 the average. If you want to see for yourself: www.Spritmonitor.de, KTM 200 Duke, user “my666”.

On the motorway, the Duke runs into the limiter at almost 130 km / h, which is quite annoying. With a 39 chain sprocket mounted for test purposes, a 7% longer ratio can be achieved. In purely mathematical terms, it would be 138 km / h in sixth gear, but the Duke can only manage that under favorable wind conditions. On the other hand, with the long gear ratio, it can be driven more relaxed overall, appears less nervous - or lively, depending on your perspective. In any case, the 39er is good for me. If you want to do the math yourself, you will find an ingenious tool here: www.gearingcommander.com.

As is well known, there is a lot of discussion about tires in Internet forums. The 200 Duke rolls with Indian MRT rubbers as standard and, according to some users, they are not drivable or even life-threatening! To be honest, I didn't have a situation over 2,600 kilometers - even in winter and in the rain - in which the MRI would have been a problem. When the 125cc was presented, they also proved to be astonishingly balanced. For a direct comparison, we swapped the MRT for a Bridgestone S20 at 2600 km. The Bridgestone actually feel better, the machine is somehow more satiated and is more accurate on large lean angles. All of this in everyday life, but in an area that, in my opinion, does not justify a premature change - unless you just don't feel comfortable with a tire. Our Duke will also be traveling with Bridgestone tires in the future.

The suspension set-up ex works is only suitable for a 50 kg Indian. The spring base can be pre-tensioned, which you should do as much as possible, depending on the weight - or let your dealer do it, because a hook wrench is missing in the on-board tools, which are pretty moderate anyway.

The original handguards (109 euros), which are mounted on a sturdy aluminum rail, are highly recommended. Look great, fit exactly and offer good weather protection (especially in winter in connection with heated grips). Another “must have” is the luggage rack (80.90 euros), which is mounted over the pillion seat. The 2-person operation is theoretically possible, but hardly anyone does it more often. The passenger pegs can also be easily unscrewed. On the bridge there is a variable rear bag (131.40 euros) via Quicklock, which easily has enough resin for three days in terms of volume (12-18 liters). The thing is also very practical in everyday life! The original KTM tank bag (140.60 euros) fits well and can hold additional luggage if necessary. I find the small 10-liter rear pocket (100 euros) less practical - what fits in there (almost) goes into the pockets of a touring jacket. The mounted short license plate holder (191.20 euros) from the extensive KTM accessories program (= PowerParts) looks good, but is impractical. Through the opening it spits the dirt up to your helmet. I glued in a grille so it works better and looks great.

The workmanship of the Austrian Indian is good overall, only with a few details a little more attention would be appropriate, such as the unnecessarily long steel braided brake line at the rear.

Would I recommend the KTM 200 Duke to others? Yes, in any case. It shows how aloof the ideas and demands of many motorcyclists are nowadays. Of course, performance is also fun, but the Duke impressively shows how much fun understatement can be. Problem-free in everyday life and if I had to, I would go on a big tour with her to the Mediterranean or to the North Cape without hesitation.

If you want a small, light and bare motorcycle with a little more pressure, you can also take a look at the 390 Duke with 42 hp at your friendly KTM dealer.

PS: I bought the 390 Duke after the 200 ...