2017 KTM 125 Duke review | A hooligan on L-plates bringing naked aggression to the 125 class


  • Learner-legal 125cc naked
  • Loads of kit, high build quality
  • Cheap as chips to run

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £250
Power: 15 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Low (302 lbs / 137 kg)


New N/A
Used £3,000 - £4,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 2017 KTM 125 Duke is a learner-friendly 125 motorbike that gives new riders something to smile about. The original 2011 model didn’t exactly have quality written through it like a stick of rock, but this one does, thanks to a major makeover, including engine tweaks, a new chassis, quality cycle parts and a full colour TFT dash.

After six years of the original 2011 design, it was aging and lacked the quality of its rivals. Taking styling cues from the mighty 1290 Super Duke R super naked, this new machine has been revitalised with modern touches that give it that desirability factor it so desperately deserved.

Updates include the afore-mentioned TFT dash, illuminated switchgear buttons, an LED headlight and a new exhaust. There is now also a larger fuel tank, non-adjustable WP suspension and a four-piston radial caliper up front.

KTM Duke 125 exudes quality

As well as styling updates, the 124.7cc single cylinder engine has been brought into the modern age and is now Euro4 compliant, offering a wider spread of power than the previous bike’s lump.

These alterations mean the new 125 Duke exudes quality. It also offers you that big bike feeling, thanks to a roomy riding position capable of accommodating taller riders, without feeling intimidating to novices.

There's a thriving community of likeminded owners online at the KTM Forums.

We're expecting a new version of this bike at some point in 2023 after seeing some spy shots that hint at revamped KTM 125.

Watch: KTM Duke 125 video review

Neevesy gets to grips with the 2017 KTM 125 Duke and its larger 390 sibling from the launch.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

On the move, the 125 feels like a well put-together package. The gearbox is slick and the WP suspension feels sporty and well sprung, unlike most soft and wobbly 125s on the market..

A new chassis has helped KTM sharpened the handling and steering. The steel trellis frame, which now has a bolt-on subframe and a KTM 690 Duke 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.

KTM 125 Duke bike review

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.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Duke’s A1-licence-friendly 15bhp liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 124.7cc motor has been breathed on for 2017 to meet Euro 4 regulations and the old underslung exhaust makes way for a new side-mount item.

The engine offers ample performance for urban riding and, thanks to a dry weight of just 137kg, has more than enough power to stay ahead of the traffic.

125 machines are limited to 15bhp in order to be ridden by CBT and A1 licence holders but many of the competitors don't make it to the cap. That means that the Duke feels like one of the faster bikes in its category - although it's all relative.

KTM 125 Duke shines on road or track

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new machine’s level of build, paint finish and quality of components is much improved, so the signs are good.

Unlike many 125s the Duke is solid, crisp and has the same roomy, big bike feel as the KTM 390 Duke. The gearbox is slick, the brakes strong and the new WP suspension is nice and sporty - not the usual budget wet mush mixture of cooking-oil-damping and biro-spring support you get on your average 125.

Our KTM Duke 125 owners' reviews show relatively positive scoring, with a couple of reliability issues highlighting the fact that while premium in 125cc terms, it's still an entry-level machine built to a cost.

KTM 125 Duke headlight

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

The 600 mile first service for the MCN long termer cost £250, but the bigger service needed between 4,000-6,000 miles can be nearer the £400 mark.

Rivals for the KTM Duke 125 are at the premium end of the 125cc market. Think Yamaha's MT-125 (MCN Award-winning but more expensive), the Aprilia Tuono 125 (£100 more expensive than the Duke at time of writing) and Kawasaki's Z125 (much cheaper).

KTM 125 Duke in the city

If you are planning to keep hold of your 125 rather than trading it in as soon as you pass your A2 licence then the extra cost of the KTM may well be worth paying. The Yamaha has a stronger reputation for longevity than the Duke, but 2017-on versions of the KTM were certainly an improvement on earlier examples.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

Updates include the afore-mentioned TFT dash, illuminated switchgear buttons, an LED headlight and a new exhaust. There is now also a larger fuel tank, non-adjustable WP suspension and a four-piston radial caliper up front.

As well as styling updates, the 124.7cc single cylinder engine has been brought into the modern age and is now Euro4 compliant, offering a wider spread of power than the previous bike’s lump.

KTM Duke 125 clocks


Engine size 125cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4v, single
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13.4 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 137kg
Front suspension 43mm WP forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single WP shock, non-adjustable
Front brake 300mm disc with Bybre four-piston radial caliper.
Rear brake 230mm single disc with single-piston caliper.
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £25
Annual service cost £250
New price -
Used price £3,000 - £4,000
Insurance group 7 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 9 ft-lb
Top speed 75 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

KTM launched the hugely popular, Indian-built 125 Duke in 2011. With big bike ergonomics and small bike weight, you could scrape your pegs and knee sliders with relative ease.

The original lasted five years until the 2017 model replaced it.

Other versions

The A2 compatible KTM 390 Duke is the big brother to the 125. It too takes its styling cues from the KTM 690 Duke, which was replaced by the 790 Duke.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: It’s so-long to KTM’s pint-sized Duke

MCN Fleet: It’s so-long to KTM’s pint-sized Duke

It’s a bittersweet ending with KTM’s 125 Duke. Our time together has seen me develop my riding and enjoy most of what biking has on offer. We’ve even conquered the A1M on our daily commute and her 15bhp-self has been super economical, even though I’ve revved the hell out of her. Above all, we well a

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the KTM 125 DUKE (2017 - 2023)

3 owners have reviewed their KTM 125 DUKE (2017 - 2023) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 125 DUKE (2017 - 2023)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £250
4 out of 5 KTM Duke 125 (2018) Few bad points but mainly good!
10 April 2020 by Luke M Francis

Year: 2018

Best features has to be handling, there has never been a point on this bike that I haven’t felt I could come off except when cornering and hitting a wet pot hole but that would unsettle any motorbike, both times it has happened to me the KTM Duke has not greatly kicked out and back and the suspension has dampened a lot of the forces to keep it steady, the reason why I can’t give this bike a 5/5 is to do with reliability witch I will say more in this review.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The most amazing thing about the KTM Duke 125 is the ride quality and the breaking that come with the bike, Straight out the dealer the engine is mapped so you can’t blow the engine before the first service as the garage need to check the valve clearances and adjust if necessary, once that is done then they remap the ECU and you get the full 15hp to play with and once that happens the ridding becomes so much easier, The breaks on the KTM Duke 125 come with ABS as standard and boy do they work when you need them to! I have made a complete stop from 30MPH over a buss length, which for a 125cc motorbike is quite impressive and the ABS defiantly saved my bacon on that instance.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Where do I start, 1) My left fork started leaking at 1000 miles 2) The lamda sensor broke within 3000 miles (should last 60,000-90,000 miles) 3) Front fork replaced at 8000 miles and then started leaking again at 1000 miles 4) The TFt dash has a water ingress problem that KTM know about and has taken 3 years to maybe get a revised dash out and hopefully fix the problem There has been a lot of parts on this that have broken on this (stated above) and the only reason I can see these parts breaking and not performing the way they should is because of quality control and quality of parts out of the factory, it hasn’t just been me with this problems, many other KTM Duke 125 riders are having the same problems as me.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: For me, I bought from a dealer and on finance, there was a couple of problems when I got there on the collection day that made it so I had to wait a day to pick up my bike, I fully explained what the problem was and the dealer made sure I understood what the problem was fully, the problem was with the finance company and not with the dealer itself, I went back the next day to collect and the dealer offered me a free KTM shirt as a apology witch I refused first of all as this wasn’t a problem caused by the dealer but the dealer was insistent that I take the shirt, witch I am glad I did as it’s quite a nice shirt, I bought my KTM Duke from Inmoto Croydon and would highly recommend them as they are great dealers.

5 out of 5 A fantastic choice in a sea of chinese 125's
11 July 2019 by Cameron Miller

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £250

Brilliant Naked 125, Well Built, Class topping gizmos and overall a blast to ride!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I commute to work on mine, which is roughly a 44 mile round trip, and as im on L plates i can't use Motorways, not that you'd want to on a 125 anyway. The Suspension Soaks up the A30's rough surface really well and the stock seat is more than comfortable enough for the 50 or so minutes i am on the bike.

Engine 4 out of 5

It's a 125, its only got 15bhp and 12Nm Torque, but the punchiness down low and the mids makes it more than capable on city streets and backroads.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The Bike's overall quality is very good, panels line up well, the paint finish is excellent. and runs smoothly.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

This part is a bit more expensive to to the fact that Motorex only have two, yes, TWO authorised sellers in the UK, both in the midlands. so servicing is much more than i'd like it to be due to having to pay for shipping.

Equipment 5 out of 5

It is the ONLY 125 with a Full Colour TFT Dash with Bluetooth connectivity, and as far as i know, the only 125 with illuminated Switchgear. Mine came with Pilot Street Radials which offer more than enough grip for its size.

4 out of 5 Brilliant bike
25 January 2018 by Olly Gibbons

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £250

The only concern I have is the side stand is quite long and it sits quite upright which is very unnerving!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The riding position is really comfortable. The breaks are spot on. In traffic it is really easy to manovoure and flick around.

Engine 5 out of 5

The power delivery is spot on and unlike a two stroke it has power almost in every rev range.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I look after my bike very well and wash it every weekend during the winter months and protect it very well. It still looks brand new! It is built extremely well and is very smooth

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

In a week riding to and from college I cover over 250 miles and can easily do it one tank! There are yearly services or services every 4000 miles.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The TFT display is brilliant. Everything is clearly visible and the controls for it are very simple and easy to use.

Buying experience: I bought the bike from gear4 and highly recommend anyone to go and have a look round!

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