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Not so long ago, KTM launched the 125 Duke in India. A bold step from the company, considering there are more powerful bikes with a much accessible price point to lure the crowds. Despite that, the baby Duke has found plenty of takers. It’s a great stepping stone for someone upgrading from the point-and-shoot scooters and of course, a ticket to the KTM family. It isn’t frantic like the elder siblings and is better equipped than most of the bikes from a class above, making for a friendly and feature-packed motorcycle. And now, KTM has plonked the tiny 125cc motor in the faired-sibling, the RC. The pricing is super-premium though and at Rs 1.47 lakh, it is expensive than the class leading Yamaha R15 V3.0 by almost 9,000 rupees! Is KTM overselling the RC 125 or have they gotten the formula completely wrong?
As aforementioned, KTM has plonked the same liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 124.7cc engine, paired to a six-speed gearbox in the RC 125. The power figures too remain exactly the same at 14.3bhp and 12Nm. And so does the compression ratio at 12.8:1. Aesthetically too, the bike is almost identical to the RC 200 albeit a few subtle changes. The trellis frame has been painted black instead of orange as seen on the bigger siblings. Equipment like the 43mm USD forks, 10-step adjustable monoshock and 300mm/230mm disc setup with a single channel ABS unit developed by Bosch is right off the RC 200, making the RC 125 a handsomely-equipped motorcycle. But you probably knew this KTM formula of sharing equipment across its range, so let’s begin with how it fares on Bajaj’s test track at Chakan.
The motor, in a typical KTM fashion is a high strung one and is Ready to Race only after 6000rpm. Race? Maybe cruise, because the motor is super lethargic and barely manages to reach 100kmph even. The RC 125 has gear ratios similar to the naked sibling with first four being super short. This had me struggling to find the right cog in every corner, as I would either hit the limiter or get out of the the power band, when upshifted. The RC is super friendly though and won’t trouble you much, thanks to the brilliant WP USDs. Having the same underpinnings as the RC 200 makes for a superb track weapon. The RC 125 too is supremely agile but the underpowered engine robs that smile away from your face.
The bike is smooth till 8500rpm, after which I could feel some vibes creeping in through the footrest. The brakes, though offer good stopping power, could’ve been better in terms of the more bite. The MRF Revz rubber is great for the RC 125, even on track. The fuel tank can still hold just 9.5 litres but the small displacement engine should equate to a healthy figure of 40kmpl in ideal conditions, we reckon.
The RC offers great equipment, a friendly motor, making it a great tool for someone looking to hit the track for the first time. However, the hefty price tag of Rs 1.47 lakh does not work in the bike’s favour, especially, when you have the likes of Yamaha YZF R15 V 3.0 in the picture. The R15 gets a more powerful engine, similar levels of equipment and 20kg lesser mass to lug around. The KTM badge does bring the bragging rights with itself and if that’s what you’re looking for, the RC 125 definitely makes for the perfect entry-level motorcycle for you. Which one would we have of the two? That’d call for a comparison test. Watch out this space for more!