Comparison test KTM Duke against MuZ Mastiff
Fun must be
Who says that a serious comparison test shouldn’t be murderous fun. KTM Duke and MuZ Mastiff – two jokers get serious.
“There’s a very simple trick.” Christian Pfeiffer, trial artist and stuntman hired especially for this comparison, willingly helps the MOTORRAD editor on the jumps. “Simply hook your left heel under the footrest and you can do easy one-handed wheelis.” Aha. So it’s that simple – for Christian. However, if you only belong to the 99.9 percent of normally gifted bikers, we advise against such jokes, because asphalt is hard, and fun biking is also far less spectacular.
After all, funbikes are not intended as work equipment for artists, but should sweeten everyday life for Otto normal bikers – low weight, easy handling and sufficient performance from a robust single cylinder, and the fun can begin.
The KTM Duke starts with the best possible conditions. Weighing 165 kilograms, powered by the robust LC4 engine and equipped with an electric starter since last year, the Duke is under the wheels of the new season almost unchanged except for the all-black exterior.
With the MuZ Mastiff, the illustrious Duke is facing serious competition for the first time since its appearance four years ago. The Saxons demonstrate with a lot of self-confidence what they understand by a real fun bike. While the course at MuZ has so far been based on traditional cultivation, with the Mastiff they present refreshing individualism. Not pretty, but it looks cheeky, this creation.
In addition to the futuristic design, the Saxons rely on a tried and tested engine. The five-valve engine that has been driving the Enduro XTZ 660 since 1991 comes from Yamaha. With its 50 hp, it knows how to impress when it comes to top performance on the MOTORCYCLE test bench. It is no secret, however, that the water-cooled stew is not one of the liveliest in its class.
On the landing gear side, the Mastiff doesn’t have to hide either. Tubular steel frame with bolted rear frame, thick telescopic fork, aluminum swing arm and central spring strut. The Technoflex shock absorber built into the test machine with a complex adjustment option for the compression damping is being replaced in series production for cost reasons by a somewhat simpler component that can only be adjusted in the spring base and rebound.
As different as the appearance of the two fun bikes is, the driving experience they convey is just as different. The narrow tank area of the KTM is already noticeable during the seat test. The typical Duke instruments are not only kept short and small, they also convey a touch of elegance.
The MuZ already looks more cumbersome than the Duke when you try it out. A mighty pipe construction characterizes the picture. Resembling a roll bar, this construction carries both the two individual, chrome-plated instruments as well as the daring double headlights. A little rally, a little classic, a little crazy. The 13.5-liter tank, clad with plastic panels, is significantly wider than the KTM depot, which has a capacity of just 11.3 liters.
A similar picture when driving. Where the Duke is nervous and aggressive, the Mastiff rather conveys calm and sovereignty. Not that the MuZ couldn’t ride on the rear wheel, but everything is a bit slower. On the one hand, the Yamaha engine lacks the necessary kick, on the other hand, the Mastiff feels extremely top-heavy. What is more of a hindrance with artistic inserts, however, benefits the MuZ rider in everyday life. The front wheel guides the Mastiff directly and reliably over the worst road surfaces, the MuZ obediently follows the targeted course and conveys a reassuring feeling of security.
The Duke can’t quite keep up with that. Despite the stable upside-down fork, their leadership qualities leave a lot to be desired compared to the MuZ. It acknowledges bumps in the road in curves with a badly controllable, stamping front wheel. Theoretically, both rebound and compression levels can be regulated on the underdamped fork, but in practice every extreme change to the adjusting screws of the test machine has no noticeable effect. Too little damping also in the end area of the fork. After a wheely, a hard metal blow can signal that the 142 millimeters of spring travel has been fully utilized.
The KTM also has its problems with the hindquarters. The White Power shock absorber works perfectly here, but the wide 160 mm tire and especially the small mudguard simmer on the stainless steel muffler when it is compressed. It’s not just bad, it doesn’t look nice either. Nevertheless, there are good things to report, especially when it comes to tires. With the installation of the Bridgestone BT 92 instead of the last installed Michelin (MOTORRAD 12/1996), the problems with extreme positioning when braking in an inclined position and the annoying jerking in undulating curves have suddenly been eliminated.
The manners of the KTM stew could also be improved. From 3000 rpm it really depends on the gas, thanks to its low centrifugal mass it revs up at lightning speed and is far more fun than the sluggish XTZ engine of the MuZ, but everything that is displayed below the 3000 mark on the tachometer is still a rape of the gearbox, chain and rear wheel. Even when carefully pulling the throttle and even when pushing the chain, the chain hits and pulls so hard on the rear end, as if it wanted to tear the rear wheel out of the beautiful eccentric tensioners. From 7000 rpm, the refreshing single-cylinder wind is over, and the tachometer needle torments itself reluctantly near the red area that lurks at an unreachable 8500 rpm. The LC 4 motor, equipped with a balancer shaft, vibrates in its well-known way and, in addition to blurry images in the rear-view mirrors, causes resigned, quite mindlessly dancing instrument needles after 600 test kilometers. The fact that the Duke with its catalytic converter and secondary air system is doing very well in terms of environmental policy (for measurements see MOTORRAD 11/1997) deserves special praise.
The MuZ drive presents itself as a true gentleman. Well educated, he mashes off from a slightly increased idle speed and continues to turn evenly, but unfortunately very clumsy and toothless over the entire range. The Mastiff can only be persuaded into outbursts of emotion when the clutch is used carefully.
However, the gearbox of the test MuZ was not particularly enthusiastic about such. One day (admittedly not that everyday) photo campaign was enough to insult the second course. Defiantly he always jumped out if a very precise foot switch did not work. A problem that is known to the technicians in Zschopau and which, according to press spokesman Kleymann, is already being worked on.
No rework is required on the braking systems of the two opponents. Robust and without the slightest delay, both systems can handle even rough, non-stop stoppy exercises. Only at the first moment can the idiosyncratic slotted KTM disc have slight advantages. Because the front stopper of the Mastiff bites a little too poisonously. The idiosyncratic front structure of the MuZ disappears too suddenly.
Full throttle driving on the autobahn, on the other hand, is equally uncomfortable with both machines. Not only does the wind pressure tire your shoulders and arms from a speed of 140, but the straight-line properties of long-legged fun bikes, which are sensitive at high speeds, also require a lot of concentration. Above all, the nervous KTM begins to swing alarmingly around the vertical axis from time to time.
I.The MuZ Mastiff does not play its greatest trump card on the street, but in the prospectus. 11,940 marks: This cost price has to hit KTM right down to the mark. Even if by now almost everyone knows that the Austrians give them a high level of fine technology and sparkling clean details for their 15,880 marks, the Duke has not only got a faceless imitator with the Mastiff, but a motorcycle with its own charm Nooks and crannies that make it not only lovable, but also a real fun alternative after a long look at it.
2nd place – KTM Duke
2nd place KTM Duke It’s the banal things that cost the KTM victory. Price, suitability for everyday use and slight unrest of the hypersensitive chassis when chasing fast country roads. The rough manners of the LC 4 engine are more annoying than they are fun for everyday drivers. Still, there is no doubt that there is still no off-the-shelf replacement for a Duke among pleasure addicts. The rough single cylinder bites properly, hangs lively on the gas and, thanks to the catalytic converter and secondary air system, also rages through the country in an exemplary manner with low emissions. The Duke is not a special offer, but spotless workmanship and elegant detailed solutions are guaranteed.
1st place – MuZ Mastiff
1st place 1MuZ Mastiff If you belong to the 0.5 percent of those who, like our stunt drivers, spend a whole day doing tricks, then the MuZ Mastiff should not be the machine of your choice. It is too top-heavy for that, and its engine too sluggish. But if you are looking for a motorcycle that always cuts a fine figure in everyday use, is uncomplicated, economical and easy to control, then you have come to the right place at MuZ. You will get used to the slightly different look, even if you can hardly believe it at first. And if the sympathy doesn’t work at all, just think about the price.
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