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).
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.