2017 KTM 200 Duke- 14K km Experience Summarized

To speak about the 2-wheelers I have owned, I had Bajaj Chetak which I have ridden for quite sometime, then I upgraded to Honda shine on which I used to commute to my college. Since my
hunger was growing in full swing, I wanted an upgrade very soon. I started watching
motovlogging videos of various Youtubers. But the issue was that I was B.Tech student and wanted to buy a bike from my own earnings. So I waited patiently and meanwhile tried to understand things about motorcycles – both technical specifications and performance. Eventually, I learned about the biking culture and what biking is all about. Also, I started riding bigger capacity bikes owned by some of my friends. To name a few – Harley Davidson Street 750, Iron 883 and Kawasaki Z650. But frankly speaking, at that point of time, for a college going guy like me all these were like dream bikes!

Finally after I got placed and saved sufficient amount, I started planning for a bike. I commute 25 km to my workplace and regularly go for rides on weekends and holidays. I knew that I needed a motorcycle which was swift, pretty as well as agile. The options in my mind were KTM 200 Duke, 390 Duke, RC 390, Yamaha R15 v2 and Pulsar NS200 & RS200. I even considered the Royal Enfield Classic and Thunderbird. KTM Showroom guys somehow managed to convince me to go for the KTMs. Hell No!!! Just kidding…  I had test ridden all the above mentioned bikes before I could form a rock solid opinion about each of them. I genuinely felt that the KTM 200 Duke was a wholesome package for 1.6-1.7 lacs.

Why did I go for this bike only? Starting with the Royal Enfield. These classic machines are too heavy and huge to fulfill my basic need – cut through traffic in rush hours. Obviously not suitable for me. I loved KTM RC series but the forward biased sitting posture was something I would not prefer for long rides. The same was valid for Yamaha R15. I knew I couldn’t manage RC and R15 for more than 200 km rides. Bajaj Pulsar is a bike that has been loved by huge proportion of youth and has been known for speed and stunts. However, as far as I had heard from owners, the bike tend to lose its smoothness and quality within 2 years of use. I was left with 2 choices: KTM 200 Duke and 390 Duke. I was amazed with Duke 390 especially because of its pick up and speed. But, I felt it had relatively heavy handling (compared to 200 Duke), low fuel efficiency and obviously a higher maintenance expense. Also, I had heard of the heating issues which put the bike to halt and I ruled out Duke 390. So, after all the research and critical thinking, I bought my first bike – KTM 200 Duke- on 1 st February 2017. I have attached the pics of my bike for your reference.

Here’s my ownership experience after riding my 200 Duke for 14000+ km:
I cover about 52 km on a normal working day and there’s no limit during holidays. Just to let you guys know, I have done almost all the places around Mumbai which most Mumbai riders do. And the longest ride of my life has been Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai. I discovered that I like long distance touring more than the weekend rides. I have some plans in store for the future. I will share my experience riding it in the city as well as on long trips.

In the city-
You should have already buckled up! Guys Just to give an idea this thing can launch like a javelin thrown by an athlete in the initial gears and I am really not exaggerating. If you are coming from a
smaller displacement bike, be careful and hold those grips firmly because you are going to have a blast
every time you wring the throttle. It performs very well in the city as it has sufficiently wide handlebar which gives a good leverage for changing the directions quickly. The heat management has been taken care of well but sometimes you may feel the little bit of heat on your legs in the bumper to bumper traffic. You will get used to the radiator fan noise within a month’s span. It gives me a decent efficiency of 35-38 kmpl when don’t revv up above 7000 rpm and 32 kmpl when ripping it out. The brakes do excellent job of bringing this raging bull to a stop but I feel it does need an ABS as the rear tyre tends to lockup on hard braking.

On long rides-
The bike is stable and instills confidence even at high speeds. The true power comes above 7000 rpm and the bike has pulled a top speed of 138 kmph for me. The fuel efficiency drops to 28-29 kmpl at times when you are cruising around 120 kmph. It stays glued to the roads as it has wide and grippy tyres though you can always opt for the better ones in the market. The bike cruises happily at 100 kmph range. The riding position is fairly upright so you can easily spend long hours if you are
touring. I recommend using air cushion seats for better comfort during long rides which can be bought online.

Service, issues & Costs Incurred-
To talk about the servicing , the first servicing costs around 1800 INR followed by 2nd and 3rd service
of 2500 INR in which they change your engine oil filter fuel filter and stuff. In my case, there was an engine oil leak from the DOHC area but they immediately fixed it when I took the bike to the service centre. Apart from the usual service costs, you will have to change the brake pads which costs in the range of 500-600 INR for both the front and rear brakes. Also, clean and lubricate the chain to keep the chain sprocket healthy. I use motul lube for the same.

Modifications & Accesories-
– Handlebar risers from Viaterra gear
– Knuckle protectors from KTM.
– Mobile holder with charger (if you go on long rides regularly).
– Viaterra Velox saddle bags.
– Bigger Visor (depending on windblast issues. I installed Yamaha Fazer’s visor).
– Auxiliary lamps as the stock headlamps are not that great.
– Michelin tyres.
– Ride-On air seat.
– Backrest for pillion if required.

———Summing it up——–
Why to buy this bike-
1) Good performance and handling
2) Decent fuel efficiency
3) Unique exhaust note
4) Pocket friendly maintenance & spare parts

What could be improved-
1) Lack of abs.
2) The pillion rider is uncomfortable as the bike has tone of torque. The pillion keeps rocking back and forth in the city.


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