The prominent Austrian motorcycle manufacturing brand KTM (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen) has finally entered Bangladesh's market with the much-tamed versions of its two best-sellers – the KTM Duke and RC.
Due to cc restrictions, Runner Automobiles Ltd, the official distributors of KTM in Bangladesh, launched the 125cc variants of both motorbikes.
Being a brand that does not compromise performance, KTM has managed to pose a tough competition to motorcycle manufacturers in the Asian region with motorbikes of its lower segments.
In Bangladesh's context, the 125 Duke and RC can surely delivery better output than any other motorcycle that belongs to the 125cc segment. However, the price tags that the 125 Duke and RC come with can be a huge concern.
Given the market standard that has already been set by Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha, establishing a strong presence in Bangladesh's motorbiking communities with the Duke and RC will be very challenging for KTM.
Both the 125 Duke and RC are mostly made of the same components, and optimised to provide riders with the best performance on and off road.
Today, we will not be reviewing the KTM 125 Duke and 125 RC. We will leave the job at the hands of our pool of experts – renowned bikers from different communities – to share their thoughts on the Austrian tamed beasts.
Experts' take on the KTM 125 Duke and RC
"The KTM 125 Duke and RC might just attract beginners or KTM enthusiasts"
- Ibnul Hasan, Owner of automotive workshop – Endo
The Indian versions of KTM were, and still are, very different from the European versions if we take into account the facelift, electronic components, and quality control.
For instance, the self-contact switch and indicator panel that come with the Indian versions are of Bajaj's Pulsar series. To ensure cost-efficiency, the Indian versions come with many other local versions of components such as the swing arm and chain sprocket.
Such a difference can also be seen between Indonesian and Indian Yamaha R15 V3s. In this regard, there was not much scope to complain since the bikes were of KTM after all.
However, when KTM bikes began entering Bangladesh, the price was very high; the KTM RC was priced at Tk 480,000. Eventually, the price started to drop and the latest price, I think, is Tk370,000 in the grey market.
Now that the KTM 125 Duke and RC are being imported officially, the price and mark-up is not practical either. Bikes belonging to the 125cc segment, in the current market, will not have a successful tenure at such a price range.
As for the models, both the KTM 125 Duke and RC share the same robust engine and gear ratio panel.
Engine capacity-wise, these bikes are technologically advanced. However, Bangladesh's market has already adapted to the standards of its current 150cc segment motorbikes, and the government is even on the verge of considering increasing the current motorcycle cc limit restrictions.
Thus, these KTMs might just attract beginners or KTM enthusiasts.
Speaking of other aspects, the KTM 125 Duke is much taller than it looks. It has the shortest gear-ratio among the other motorcycles available in the 125cc segment.
In terms of spare parts, I really do not know how much support the dealership will be able to provide, but I would say that in the grey market, there is a huge shortage of KTM spare parts. Even OEM parts like air and oil filters are not frequently available in the market.
As far as I know, in India, each KTM bike gets a user ID that users have to show in order to purchase any spare parts. Now, Runner is yet to begin distributing spare parts and how they will be processed remains a question.
Let us hope for the best and see how they take the after-sales service into account, but the pricing do not sound fair at all.
"KTM is one of the most popular brands across the globe"
- Ashraf U Rahat a.k.a The Outsider, Moto-Blogger
It is a very good news that Runner Automobiles has finally brought KTM to Bangladesh.
Prior to this, many riders bought KTM 125 RC from the grey market and eventually began selling their units off in a very short time span claiming that the engine is not very reliable and KTM spare parts were hard to find in Bangladesh.
Mechanics, on the other hand, did not know much about KTM bikes and therefore, maintaining a KTM unit would be very difficult.
If I talk about the bike itself – specifically the Indian version of KTM 125 RC – the bike is okay, braking is very good, handling is excellent, acceleration is very low which is expected as it is a 125cc bike.
The biggest disappointment is its sound. Apart from this, the bike looks very stunning and it the most beautiful bike in Bangladesh.
Sports bike headlights usually have low projection, but the 125 RC's projection is pretty good, and I would also say that its illumination is better than the R15 V3.
In terms of pricing, I do not think many people will buy it.
Why? Let us face it; if you have a budget of Tk600,000 for a motorcycle, you will not buy a 125cc bike.
Some might consider buying because of the brand value, but if you talk about performance, reliability, and spare parts, I do not think many people will buy it. I certainly will not purchase it.
Apart from this, there is not much to say. To be honest, people would rather go for a CBR or a R15 V3 and other high-end sports bike than buy a KTM 125 RC.
However, if the cc limit gets increased, the RC 200 will be a very big hit. That is a very popular bike in biking communities all over the world.
Also, KTM is one of the most popular brands across the globe. Its Super Duke is the most powerful naked sports bike in the world. The brand is top-notch. These particulars bikes – the 125 Duke and RC, however, do not live up to the standard.
"When I first rode the Indian version of the 125 Duke and RC, I could tell that this bike is packed with solid stuff"
-Musdaque Chowdhury a.k.a When ''The Flash' Travels, Adventure Motorcyclist
Globally, 125cc is known as the learner standard when it comes to bikes. Then it goes straight into 250cc as the beginner standard.
Although for various reasons, 150cc has been a popular segment in the Asian market and many manufacturers have specifically manufactured bikes in this segment.
Speaking of the European brands, KTM has purely focused on the global standards without compromising features or riding experience.
For instance, KTM Duke series is widely known for its dominating nature on the streets when it comes to rapid acceleration, the excellent braking capacity, or nimble and stable handling - thanks to the trellis frame, USD front forks and 10 steps adjustable monoshock and great weight distribution.
The same goes for the KTM RC series as well, but it is tamed more on the racing tracks rather than the streets. When I first rode the Indian version of the 125 Duke and RC on the same day, I could tell that this bike is packed with solid stuff.
Let me start with the instrumental console that offers tonnes of unique features which most other bikes do not offer, such as engine coolant temperature, average speed, average fuel economy, expected coverable distance with current fuel, total riding time, bike service reminder, side stand notification, low battery notification, toggling between kmph and mph, gear shift indicator, ABS on/off option, and so much more!
Talking about the riding experience, the balance, handling, and braking efficiency offered by KTM is beyond any other 150-160cc bike available in the market. It is just so much fun to ride!
The only thing that bothers me is the engine's power output, which is significantly low if compared to the price tag. The bike does feel a little sluggish if compared with sport bikes such as the R15, CBR or GSX-R (and even their naked counterparts).
Both the 125 Duke and RC have a top speed of around 125 kmph whereas, most bikes in the 150-160 cc segment which are half the price, exceed 130 kmph.
The only drawback, in my opinion, is the speeding capability along with its heavy weight according to the price range.
The only difference between the Duke and RC 200 in comparison to the 125 Duke and RC is the engine performance; everything else is identical. The engine build, despite being a 125 cc, is purely solid.
It is a 4 valve DOHC fuel injected engine with 6-speed transmission and liquid cooling. This, however, is an issue due to cc limit restrictions in our country.
If you are not a speed freak and are not restricted to a certain buying capacity, then KTM is the best choice I would say.
"KTM must set different priorities for the Indian sub-continental region"
- Miteb Reza Chowdhury, Co-Founder, Moto Lab BD
Would you consider buying a second-hand Toyota corolla AE 100 in mint condition or an RC 125? Isn't it too much in terms of spending your money?
A good motorbike is successful if it can provide after sales service in a sophisticated manner. Will Runner Automobiles be up to the mark? It is a long-desired question now.
KTM might be very successful in other European countries but they must set different priorities for the Indian sub-continental region.
Motorcycles in the Indian market can easily thrive as there is no cc limit, but you would hardly find ten hyped bikes in India within the 125 cc segment.
In respect to that, Bangladesh is different as we cannot go beyond 160 cc in terms of motorcycles. And motorbikes in our country have already set a different standard of riding.
A 125 cc bike is mainly bought for daily comfortable commuting. We prioritise mileage and prefer motorbikes that require a lesser maintenance cost. KTM, in this segment, is undoubtedly a luxury.