Skip to content

KTM 125 DUKE Naked Motorbike Review

Find By Make/Model

1 of 6
KTM 125 Duke
Click to enlarge
Previous image Next image

MCN overall verdict rating is 5

If you’re looking to get your license, learn to lift either wheel or pursue some lightweight urban thrills, the 125 Duke can do it for you. It doesn’t seem like a regular, budget 125 machine; It feels like a premium motorcycle that just-so-happens to be low capacity. It’s a shame engine modifications only allow restriction and not an enhancement of power, but it’s early days yet. Move over YZF-R125, this is the new king of the 125s.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The single-pot 124.7cc DOHC, liquid-cooled and fuel injected engine is an entirely new design for the 125 Duke. It’s more similar to the firm’s enduro models than to the 690 Duke, which due to space issues has no camshaft rocker and only a single overhead cam. It’s also unquestionably smooth and capable. It’ll get to 40mph in no time at all, and 78mph in a straight line. Despite only managing 15bhp it feels responsive and zesty enough to thrill. Shame European and learner regulations limit the Duke’s power, because it would do extremely well with another 10bhp under its belt.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

Excellent. The riding position is comfortable, yet poised and cornering – thanks to the big bike ergonomics but small bike weight – is nimble and swift. The turning circle is good, though not phenomenal, while track riding – not an impossibility on the 125 Duke by any means – will allow you to scrape pegs, knee sliders and anything else you care to trail along the floor. The front brakes are fantastic and beautifully responsive, allowing you to really feel the front forks load on mid to heavy braking, while keeping the bike perfectly stable and straight. Anyone keen to lift the rear wheel will find the four piston calliper and the centralised riding position more than up to the job. The rear shock, too, absorbs any bumps in the road well and provided decent cushioning on a range of roads tested.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Top drawer. The KTM’s dash lights up in a display that’ll send butterflies spinning through every 17-year-old’s stomach. From the “charging” rev-counter to “READY TO RACE” welcome message to the orange backlight and range of figures that shames the RC8, the 125 Duke’s clocks are the best on the market. The mirrors are excellent and all lights on the bike are LEDs. It’s got decent pillion support too, as the seat and frame are larger than yer’ average 125. Plus… there’s a stack of extras to pick from the accessory catalogue, including LED lights, sticker kits and headlight masks.

KTM 125 Duke (2011-current)

Detail Value
New price £3,999
Dealer used prices
£2,820 (2011) - £4,060 (2013)
Private used prices
£2,400 (2011) - £2,920 (2013)
  View full used price info
Engine size 124 cc
Power 15 bhp
Top speed 78 mph
Insurance group 7 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 3.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 3

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

This is not just a bike that’s just good enough for learners, this is a bike to welcome young riders to the world of premium motorcycles. A walk around the Austrian-designed, Indian-built 125 Duke confirms the impression. The 43mm upside-down forks are by WP, as is the adjustable, linked rear shock, the four-piston radial front brakes are produced by Bybre (an Indian division of Brembo) and all the lights – from tail to indicators – are LEDs. The service intervals are a relatively short 3,106 miles.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

Yes, £3695 is a lot of money for a 125… but on launch KTM is offering one year’s free insurance or low rate finance packages, which could be worth hundreds to young riders saddled with prohibitive premiums. Then, when you consider the high re-sale value of well maintained KTM-built product, means the price doesn’t seem so high after all. The Suzuki Van Van [£3065], Yamaha YBR125 [£2399] and Honda CBR125R [£3170] are considerably cheaper, but just can’t touch the 125 Duke for quality. The next best thing – the ubiquitous Yamaha YZF-R125 - costs a whopping £4249, which makes the little Duke seem like a bargain.

Insurance

Insurance group: 7 of 17

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes now

Model History

2011: 125 Duke launched

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 78 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 15 bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight 128 kg
Seat height 810 mm
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Average fuel consumption 75 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 7 of 17
Engine size 124 cc
Engine specification 4v, DOHC, single-cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 6 gears
Frame Steel trellis
Front suspension adjustment WP-USD Ø 43 mm
Rear suspension adjustment WP-Monoshock
Front brakes Four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 280 mm
Rear brake Single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 230 mm
Front tyre size 110/70 R 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 R 17

See all KTM 125 DUKE motorcycles for sale

KTM
125 DUKE

5500 miles

£2,500

KTM
125 DUKE

6900 miles

£2,995

KTM
125 DUKE

2000 miles

£3,595

KTM
125 DUKE

3725 miles

£2,941

KTM
125 DUKE

4000 miles

£2,795

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(5 reviews)

  • good commuter if a bit slow

    BenmH

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The equipment is really good; the brakes are sharp, good suspension to keep you comfy on the crap roads, digital speedo is cool and iv'e had a lot of comments on that. The KTM duke 125 looks the bees knees and feels like a bigger bike. The low down position means you feel really in control of the bike and the clutch is so smooth. however, it is a bit on the slow side, not the accelerating (thats really good) but the top speed isn't great, don't feel too safe on dual carriageways is all but for a learner 125 and commuting to town and back I couldn't ask for much more. Also, haven't had any problems other than keeping it clean in winter due to lack of fairing and exposed parts.

    14 September 2013

  • Good bike but pricey

    Kippy

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    It's a brilliant bike that you can throw around corners and comes with decent equipment. I got one as a learner and I've kept it for commuting as it does a bazillion miles to a tank, my weekend bike is a Ducati and the KTM feels very light in comparison but really does get a lot of attention from admirers, its a good looking 125. The only downside is that the service intervals are short and to keep your warranty you have to take it to a KTM dealer and these are not as easy to find as you would think, especially if you have to ride there on a 125 !! But I would recommend this as a brilliant looking first bike.

    29 May 2013

  • Don't Bother...

    UrbanT1G3R

    Average rating rating is 2

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    My experience with this bag of indian bolts hasn't been the best. Bought from new and in 3000 miles the headstock bearing went AS WELL as a warped disc!!! Next 6k miles and another warped disc... Without listing all the dates I'll just give you the list of what has gone wrong in 12,000 miles (12 months of use). Brake light microswitch faulty X5! X2 warped brake disc (Front) 3 Coolant leaks from THE SAME PLACE - Mechanics tried to patch it up first time, the pipes were not seating the other times. Headstock Bearing DO NOT GET THIS FROM GEAR4 IN MARKET DEEPING. THEY ARE OVERCHARGING COWBOYS! DO NOT GET IT AT ALL. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND BUY A RELIABLE 125 LIKE THE CBF125 OR YBR125!

    21 May 2013

  • Best bike to start learning on

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I've had one of these for a few months now, and it's been excellent. I commuted to work on this which was an 80 mile a day round trip in all weathers. Handled the main roads, winding back roads and town without a problem (it will cruise comfortably at 62 miles an hour and if you floor it, will hit around 70 - 75mph) It's also quite big for a 125, so you can get used to the feel of larger bikes early on and nor will you look out of place if you're fairly tall (I'm 6ft and it fits fine). It looks great, well built with quality parts and makes a decent noise too. The price may seem excessive for a 125 but you won't have any trouble selling it on later and they hold their value extremely well. It sips at fuel and KTM also have insurance deals for getting younger riders on the road without breaking the bank. If you're looking for a simple commuter bike to get you from A to B, there are cheaper alternatives but if you want to start riding and look to get bigger bikes in future, the little KTM is probably the best place to start.

    30 March 2013

  • Be aware...Think before you buy.

    markdolly

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Great looking and fully loaded as are all KTMs ... BUT ... I got one a few weeks ago (May 2011) and it comes limited to 100kph (62mph) as standard, yet KTM can turn this off. You cant! Its one of those modern mapping things. I have asked my dealer (Gear 4 Market Deeping) and they have no idea when the delimiter will be available. Fine whilst it is running-in but frustrating after. KTM seem a bit NFI when asked, not really giving a stuff about the 125 LL market yet. This is not to say the bike is not very good,but Dealer to Head Office comms appear sh*t. It could be my dealer?? I would hold off buying and talk to more dealers... it may be worth the extra miles if yours is not great. Redline KTM have been more helpful.

    05 June 2011

Page

Discuss this

Add your comment
Hussaini41

Hussaini41says

Looking for advice

Hi

I am in my 40's and riding Learner bikes for commute, right now I don't have any and would like to go for 125 Duke till I clear my Full bike license.  I am looking for decent power and comfortable riding position.  One of my other requirement is low seat so that I can touch the ground confidently at traffic lights as I am 5.5' tall.

Right now there is no plan for long haul or off road biking.  I wish to go for a 600 cc after clearing my full license this year.  Appreciate your comments whether Duke is good for me.

Regards

 

04 May 2014 21:17

Joshls

Joshlssays

Terrible! Overpriced, cheaply made.

 Misleading review from someone who has probaly rode the bike for a few hours. I have done 6.5k miles on this bike and I am getting problem after problem. Please save yourself the trouble, KTM's after sale care is discusting too! I have owned chinese bikes much more reliable that this thing and they get a right rollocking over the internet! Get a second had CBR/ CBF/ YBR ect. and leave KTM's/ Bajaj's Indian creation to fall apart in the showroom by its self.

31 August 2013 12:30

Rogerborg

User's Badge

Rogerborgsays

4 stars for quality? Oh dear, MCN.

If you're thinking of buying one, I really would suggest that you read this thread:

www.bikechatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=266029

Of particular note is the guy that started off pooh-poohing the problems, then shuffled back months later to say "Yeah, mine was a lemon too."

15 July 2013 16:15

UrbanT1G3R

UrbanT1G3Rsays

DON'T GET ONE

My experience with this bag of indian bolts hasn't been the best.

Bought from new and in 3000 miles the headstock bearing went AS WELL as a warped disc!!!

Next 6k miles and another warped disc... Without listing all the dates I'll just give you the list of what has gone wrong in 12,000 miles (12 months of use).

Brake light microswitch faulty X5!

X2 warped brake disc (Front)

3 Coolant leaks from THE SAME PLACE - Mechanics tried to patch it up first time, the pipes were not seating the other times.

Headstock Bearing

DO NOT GET THIS FROM GEAR4 IN MARKET DEEPING. THEY ARE OVERCHARGING COWBOYS! DO NOT GET IT AT ALL. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND BUY A RELIABLE 125 LIKE THE CBF125 OR YBR125!

21 May 2013 22:05

unclejimmy

unclejimmysays

Not many dealers

I'm in the market for something like this. But I'm not gonna buy one cos there's only one dealer in the whole of Scotland and he's not even in the central belt where most Scottish people live. Dealer's up Perth. I don't fancy doing a 140 miles round trip for every service, or if any problems arise. So I reckon it's gonna be YZF-R125 for me. Shame. Cos the Duke 125 seems to be a brilliant bike. And well-priced too.

10 March 2013 03:32

Show all comments

Most popular

Rate my bike

Related News