Photography: Pawan Dagia
Amidst the all-new 250 and the mighty 390 Dukes that were recently launched in the country, KTM India also brought changes to the 200 Duke for the 2017 model year. The entry-level Duke may not be an all-new bike but gets enough changes to bring it in line with the updated Duke family. So, having ridden the 2017 KTM 250 Duke recently, it's now time to see what changes the 2017 KTM 200 Duke has to offer.
Check out the 2017 KTM 200 Duke gallery here.
How Does It Look
The 200 Duke was KTM's first launch in India back in 2012 and in a way established the brand's ethos among the masses. With the 2017 edition, the baby Duke retains the same design language and the underbelly exhaust continues to serve purpose. KTM tells us that it could accommodate the additional tech for BS-IV compliance in the current frame, and that's why the side mounted exhaust has been given a miss. So, the clean design language of the current model works for me. The 2017 200 Duke is available in three colour options and new graphics, and it definitely looks good. The fuel tank gets a funky new 'Duke' badging that I really like and is now standard across the Duke family. The 200 also gets wider mirrors offering much better visibility and are shared with other models in the KTM family. The digital instrument cluster remains the same but now displays real time fuel efficiency and that is the biggest change. The white backlit switchgear remains the same and is well put together.
Engine and Performance
The 2017 KTM 200 Duke uses the same 199.5 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine which is now BS-IV compliant. There is no change in power output and the motor continues to make 24.6 bhp at 10,000 rpm and 19.2 Nm of torque at 8000 rpm. That said, the 2017 edition is now 5 kg heavier with a kerb weight of 148 kg. The good thing is that the additional weight feels negligible once you place yourself behind the handle.
Power delivery stays the same, but the motor is a tad bit more refined over the outgoing version. The engine's rev friendly nature continues to be pleasing, and will be welcomed by those seeking thrills in the entry-level performance motorcycle segment. There is a sense of urgency from the motor and it seems to be constantly looking to push further. The 6-speed transmission paired to teh motor offers precise gearshifts and highly responsive as well as you make your way to triple digit numbers. However, the additional weight is most apparent in the top end and the bike finds it difficult to climb past 130 kmph.
Handling and Braking
Unlike the new KTM 250 Duke or the fancier 390 that gets the new split frame, the 2017 KTM 200 Duke uses the same single Trellis frame. Considering that both frames are largely the same, save for construction, the 200 Duke is not at a loss here. 43 mm USD front forks and a monoshock rear suspension setup that are tuned on the firm side support the bike and contribute to its potent cornering skills. It rides fast and dives sharp, and those are the attributes that have made the 200 Duke so popular in the first place. Ride quality is stiff as well, something that's more apparent having ridden the new 250 Duke. Nevertheless, the seat cushioning is now softer making it more comfortable for longer periods in the saddle.
KTM continues to offer the MRF RevZ tyres on the two hundred and it does a fine job on the track as well as the road. The tyres offer just the right grip and do justice to the power, while also being easy on the pocket. Brakes also remain the same on the 2017 KTM 200 Duke with a 300 mm front disc and a 230 mm rear disc. The unit offers decent feedback, if not the best. The front wheel does lack bite, something we also felt on the 2017 KTM RC 200. ABS is still missing on the entry-level Duke and isn't offered even as an option.
Now KTM did improve the 200 Duke over the years with subtle changes, but it's now in 2017 that the bike seems to have the most significant changes, even if they are largely cosmetic. It may not look like the new 250 or 390 Duke for that matter, but the existing design gives KTM the leverage to keep prices aggressive. Despite the years gone by, the 200 Duke does not look old even alongside the older siblings and that's a great feat achieved by KTM's design house - KISKA.
Moreover, the styling is still unique and the mechanicals makes it the right entry-level performance motorcycle, without the intimidating power. Priced at ₹ 1.43 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the 2017 KTM 200 Duke is, in fact, cheaper than the older version and that makes it a compelling offering. However, if you are looking something more evolved from the Austrian brand, the new 250 Duke priced at a premium of just ₹ 30,000 over the 200 Duke, is more tempting.