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Test: KTM 125 Duke

Supermoto fun bike for beginners

KTM Dukes are considered headstrong, demanding and sporty. Wimps supposedly crumble on them, fans freak out. How many Duke genes does the new 125cc have?

Anyone who has ever ridden a KTM Duke either expires it or never gets on it again." Quote from an experienced motorcycle test driver. Why? Both the 690 and 990 Duke are bikes that accept no compromise. They demand an unusually tough, sporty, acrobatic driving style. Neutral turn in? No luck. Targeted radius erosion only works if Dukes is angled motocross-like over the handlebars and twirled through corners with a drifting rear wheel – a disaster for touring riders and showers of the area. On top of that, the fact that their performance is outstanding spurs the pilots on to always give their best. Always! So what can you expect from the new 125cc Duke?

I.Your first trip goes to the test bench, which certifies its potent 16 hp at 9900 rpm. This makes the Duke class leader. Yamaha’s current four-stroke engine, which, among other things, advances the WR 125 X, lifts "only" 14.8 hp. But what are dry values? Now it’s time to drive: the little one parks in the underground car park next to her big sister, the current 690 Duke. Nevertheless, the 125 looks quite grown-up. On the scales: 137 kilograms with a full tank – this makes the Duke seven kilograms lighter than the WR 125 X. In order to check whether even inexperienced people can get along with the little Austrian duke, driving license novice Anna can go on a test drive. Despite its size of only 1.61 meters, it has no problems with the 850 millimeter high Duke bench. Because the waist of the little Duke is pleasantly narrow, Anna reaches the floor with both feet. Both leg fit and knee angle are almost optimal, only drivers over 1.85 meters will have space problems. Turn the ignition key – the slogan appears next to a flood of information "Ready to race" in the cockpit. Does the machine do it justice?

Test: KTM 125 Duke

Supermoto fun bike for beginners

Even the little Duke can be moved in a way that is gentle on the front tire.

It does not choke itself if you open the shower head on low tours, and is therefore also great for bobbing around, looking at shop windows or posing for show miles. However, whoever goes on an attack is always between 7000 and 10500 towers. That’s where things really get down to business, the eight-liter engine delivers the maximum torque of 12 Nm at 7800 rpm. What do you have in common with the big dukes? Sure, they too crave the upper third of the speed. But that’s about it. While the 690 runs extremely rough and rattles happily and the 990 also comes across as quite jarring, the 125 beguiles with its silky smooth running over the entire speed range.

Really soft as silk. You can hardly feel it. Thank God you can hear him. Whereby: For the driver behind, the Duke 125 sounds much less spectacular than for the pilot himself. This may be due to the fact that the muffled intake noise from the airbox plays a role in the sound. Racing from a standing start: It takes 8.8 seconds for the MOTORRAD GPS measuring device to show up to 80 km / h. The display shows the magic 100 km / h after 17.9 seconds. That sounds lame at first. Therefore, for comparison, the values ​​of the Yamaha WR 125 X, which takes 9.6 seconds to accelerate to 80 km / h and even 25.1 seconds to 100 km / h. And while we’re at it: Autobahn, crouch, shift, sixth gear, full throttle. The little Duke reaches a real 115 km / h (WR 125 X: 110 km / h). Excellent! So get off the track again and turn into the network of curves: How was that with the fat dukes? Strange steering behavior with motocross and supermoto insoles? Puff cake! The little sister stays perfectly on the ideal line and steers around worlds more neutrally than her big role models.

Let’s stay in the curve frenzy. Turn in, fold down, zoom in on the next bend and fully into the iron. The brakes apply effortlessly. Here KTM has done a lot: At the front a radially screwed four-piston fixed caliper destroys speed, at the rear a single-piston floating caliper bites into the disc. Both stoppers can be dosed perfectly and brake the Duke down in a flash. The chassis with its tubular space frame and the mighty USD 43 fork can cope with fast rides, it is tightly tuned and guarantees stability in every driving situation. Unfortunately, despite the 160 millimeter travel, the spring elements are not particularly sensitive.

Only a few will be able to do anything with the names of the component manufacturers: for example, with Bybre brake calipers or MRF tires. But since the little Duke is made by KTM investor Bajaj in India, many parts also come from the country. However, and it has to be said, mostly from branches of well-known manufacturers such as Brembo (brake calipers) or White Power (chassis). Who at "Made in India" Turns up your nose skeptically, and an intensive tour of the little Duke teaches you better: The 125cc is well made and impresses with high-quality details such as braided steel brake lines, LED indicators, a filigree cast swing arm or fittings that are illuminated at night.

Even in everyday use, the Duke pleases with a good pillion seat, decent light and moderate fuel consumption: the four-valve engine only consumes 2.7 liters of Super on a sporty 100 kilometers.

Conclusion: The 125cc is a real Duke in terms of sportiness and appearance. It is truly ready to race. Besides, she is also the easiest of all. Because she delights wimps as well as die-hard hardcore fans.

Comment from guest tester and driver license holder Anna (27):
"In the months after I passed my driving test, I rode a lot of different bikes. The spread ranged from a Honda CRM 125 to a Ducati Monster to a Harley 883. I have never felt as safe and relaxed on any motorcycle and was therefore easy and quick on the road as on the Duke 125. Its handling is fantastic, the brakes are great and the seating position conveys absolute confidence. Sitting on it is comming home: Everything looks familiar, the Duke becomes a part of the body. If there were this bike with maybe 300 cc and 30 hp – I would buy it right away."


Diagram: power on the crankshaft; Measurements on Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%.

Water-cooled single-cylinder oven-stroke engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 33 mm, alternator 230 W, battery 12 V / 6 Ah, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, X-ring chain, Secondary ratio 45:14.
Bore x stroke 58.0 x 47.2 mm
Displacement 125 cc, compression ratio 12.6: 1
rated capacity 11.3 kW (15 hp) at 10500 rpm
Max. Torque 12 Nm at 8000 rpm

landing gear
Trellis frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base, front disc brake, Ø 280 mm, four-piston fixed caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 230 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.00 x 17; 4.00 x 17
Tires 110/70 ZR 17; 150/60 ZR 17
Tires in the test MRF revz-fc

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1350 mm, steering head angle 65.0 degrees, caster 100 mm, spring travel f / r 160/160 mm, weight with a full tank * 137 kg, seat height * 850 mm, tank capacity 11.0 liters.
Two year guarantee
Service intervals every 5000 km
Color orange
price 3995 euros
Additional costs 200 euros

Performance *
Top speed 115 km / h
0-50 km / h 3.8 sec
0-80 km / h 8.8 sec
0-100 km / h 17.9 sec
50-80 km / h 14.1 sec
50-100 km / h 25.6 sec
Speedometer effective deviation (display 50/100) 49/97 km / h
Country road 2.7 l / 100 km
Theor. Range 407 km
Fuel type super

* MOTORCYCLE measurements


125er 2011: Aprilia RS4 125, Honda CBR 125 R, KTM 125 Duke

New four-stroke engines conquer the 125cc market

read more

Lots of fun for little money with the KTM 125 Duke

Used KTM 125 Duke in Germany

Tea "small" Duke is actually big when it comes to fun and drivability. But what is really small is the price. From just under € 2000 you can find KTM 125 Dukes in great condition on the used motorcycle exchange: Used KTM 125 Duke in Germany

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