KTM 125 Duke: underage sex

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Featuring incredibly strong styling and sexy components like a radial brake caliper and an aluminum swingarm with exposed webbing, the KTM 125 Duke looks more upmarket than most middleweight nakeds available in Europe. It’s not, it’s a learner-legal four-stroke 125 that’ll be restricted to 15bhp, but if you’re 17 and that’s all you can legally ride, then this is the two wheeled equivalent of going all the way.

Update: the 125 weighs a shockingly symmetrical 125kg/276lbs (wet, w/full tank).

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European license tiers are one of those wonderful, common sense things that not only prevent teenagers from killing themselves, too often, but actually serve to create lifelong riders by introducing them to motorcycles in stage of capacity and performance as the rider progresses in experience and maturity. In most European countries, a 16-year-old can ride a 50cc, 17-year-olds can ride a 125, then things begin to progress with bikes restricted to 33bhp before moving on to full power. Expensive insurance with categories defined by performance also serves not only to keep people on bikes they can handle, but creates a market for sexy, small capacity bikes like this one.

As previewed by the KTM 125 Stunt and Race concepts at EICMA last year, the 125 Duke comes in two versions, although here they’re distinguished merely by color: orange or black.

In a shocking display of intelligent marketing, KTM is launching the 125 Duke with a complete range of PowerParts accessories, meaning teens will have something beyond gasoline and lager to spend their allowance on. There’s wavy brake discs, WP forks, graphics packages, bodywork, bash guards and even stuff the kids will be able to use regularly, like frame sliders.

The 125 Duke doesn’t just represent the most desirable 125 on the market, but also a new way of thinking for KTM. It’s the brand’s first road-legal 125 and their first real attempt to attract young customers to their line of street bikes. There’s no word on price, but if they can leverage their relationship with Bajaj to bring sex appeal like this to an affordable price level, then KTM’s really on to something.

  • pauljones

    Screw limiting it just 17-year-old learners in Europe; that would be a fun little bike just to tool around town on. It may only be a 15-hp 125, but I can’t imagine it weighs more than a few hundred pounds. That sounds like a good, practical, easy-to-deal-with around town bike to me.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    I’d like to play “Just this tip” with that!

  • nicktp

    I love the black, purple & turquoise version. What is this, 1986?

  • miles_prower

    I’ve owned 3 KTMs, and I’m currently riding a 690 Duke — so call me a KTM fanboy. But yikes, this 125 looks awesome. If it were available in the US, I’d buy it. If it were available with a 250 or bigger, I’d put a full deposit on it even before reading anything more about it.

    I’m sure even with a 125, it’ll be fun to ride. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll be able to de-restrict it — perhaps doubling the HP and torque — using the screwdriver, allen keys, and wrench supplied in the included tool kit. My 625 SMC was very easy to de-restrict, and the difference in performance was day/night.

  • miles_prower

    In images 5-10, it looks like the mirrors might be integrated into the guard part of the hand-guards, right above the rider’s knuckles. (Contrast this to the stupid-ass fold-out mirrors/signals attached to the outside of the hand-guards on the Ducati Hypermotard.) If this is true, I imagine the mirrors would only be good for checking your blind spot — not for looking all the way back down the road. I think I ride with my mirrors canted out farther than most people do (and I drive a car that way too), putting priority on blind-spot checking. I lean my head subtly if I want to check directly behind me in one of the mirrors.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think they’ve just removed the mirrors for those photos.

      • miles_prower

        It really looks like the top edge of the hand-guards could have the mirrors integrated in them. And other photos of these two example Duke 125s with hand-guards suggest they are both street legal, with lights and tiny turn signals, further suggesting there might be hidden mirrors on them.

        BTW, while researching replacement hand-guards and mirrors back when I almost bought a Duc Hyper-retard a few years ago, I found two aftermarket manufacturers that put small mirrors inside the hand-guards.

  • Penectomy

    Looks cool without a rider but how does it look with a 6’2″, 200lbs rider on top of it?

    Maybe fine, but often small bikes end up looking too small with larger riders. However, that would not be a problem for me at 5’6″!

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      Its Europe; everybody is 5’8″, 135 lbs.

      • miles_prower

        Except in Austria, where all the guys are 6’2” and 200 lbs.