Fitting luggage on a KTM 125 Duke might seem as pointless as putting race slicks on a Suzuki Burgman, but if you’re a teenager who has the touring bug, you need to know your options.
Too low powered and dinky to cope with hard panniers or a topbox, the Duke is limited to soft bags and bungee straps. With this in mind you’ve two options: official kit and aftermarket bits.
Understandably, KTM obviously never intended the 128kg Duke to carry more than a spare jumper and a folder full of biology homework. The official options, which include a snazzy tank bag and an uber-cool disc-shaped tail pack, are built to match the dimensions of the bike (ie. tiny). Slick as it is, the tail pack can hold a stack of papers, a pair of shoes or a netbook.
Not all three. But then what do teenagers need to cart around? An iPod touch? A spare beanie? The official kit does have the benefit of being very quick and easy to remove, making it a good choice for day-to-day use.
Most aftermarket kit, however, is much more comprehensive. I opted for Hein Gericke’s Streetline Tank Bag Touring GPS (£55.99) and a set of Tech 7 Evolution Evo panniers (£54.99). They’re both adjustable enough to strap onto any bike – even the little Duke – and unobtrusive enough to suit the look.
They’re water-resistant enough to be practical, too, though that’s largely thanks to slip-on covers included in the price of both. You might not want them on the bike 24/7, but for a few days’ camping, touring, or just heading away for the weekend they’re a really good choice.
Even when loaded up with kit – something 125s are hardly designed for – the performance of the Duke remains largely unaffected. True, that might be because in the wider scheme of things there’s little performance to affect… but when you’re 17 with the open road ahead of you, the world’s your oyster.
2011 KTM 125 Duke, £3695
Value now: £2995
Fuel economy: 100mpg
Kerb weight: 128kg