A new chassis has helped KTM sharpened the handling and steering. The steel trellis frame, which now has a bolt-on subframe and a 690 look-a-like lattice swingarm, has racier geometry and a slightly more canted-forward riding position that shifts more weight on to the front end. As a result there’s extra feel for what the front tyre is doing in the corners, but the KTM is still roomy, comfortable and with its straight bars, still has an aggressive, supermoto feel to it. Adding to the sense of big-bike quality is the new non-adjustable WP 43mm upside down forks and single rear shock, which gives the 125 Duke a more controlled ride.
The Duke’s A1-licence-friendly 15bhp liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 124.7cc motor has been breathed on for 2017 to meet Euro 4 regs and the old underslung exhaust makes way for a new side-mount item. With just 137kg to push along, performance is brisk and the smooth motor now has a wider spread of power.
Only time will tell if the new 125 Duke will be more durable than the original, which suffered some reliability and quality issues. The new machine’s level of build, paint finish and quality of components is much improved, so the signs are good.
You can buy a new 125 for a quarter of the price of a new Duke, but you’re not going to get a machine built with the same attention to detail and level of quality.
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A new full colour dash is a first for a 125. You also get illuminated switchgear buttons, a Super Duke-style LED headlight, a larger fuel tank and that WP suspension and radial brakes.