KTM 125 DUKE (2011-on) Review

Published: 21 April 2011

Classy learner funster that's both learner-friendly and ultra cool

KTM 125 Duke

Classy learner funster that's both learner-friendly and ultra cool

  • At a glance
  • 124cc  -  15 bhp
  • 75 mpg  -  180 miles range
  • Medium seat height (810mm)
  • Suitable for A1 licence
  • £3,999

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 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 & Running Costs 4 out of 5

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 group: 7 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their KTM 125 DUKE (2011-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.4 out of 5
Equipment 4.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

good commuter if a bit slow

14 September 2013 by BenmH

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Good bike but pricey

29 May 2013 by Kippy

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
1 out of 5

Don't Bother...

21 May 2013 by UrbanT1G3R

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... Read more 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!

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike to start learning on

30 March 2013 by Anonymous

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Be aware...Think before you buy.

05 June 2011 by markdolly

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... Read more (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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued -
New price £3,999
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 7 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 12 ft-lb
Top speed 78 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 75 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 124cc
Engine type 4v, DOHC, single-cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 6 gears
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 128kg
Front suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm
Rear suspension WP-Monoshock
Front brake 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

History & Versions

Model history

2011: 125 Duke launched

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
  • KTM 125 Duke
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