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MCN Fleet: Riding smart on the 125 Duke

Published: 26 June 2017

Updated: 28 June 2017

Now I’m a full licence holder, I have to admit I’m struggling a little with the 15bhp on offer from the KTM. It’s not so much of an issue on twisty B-roads, but on motorways – where I do most of my commuting miles – things can get a bit hairy.

When I want to do a simple, clean overtake the bike stops accelerating at 65/68mph. This means I usually have to bail out, drop back and plonk myself behind the car in front (not too close) doing 60mph.

What I also end up doing a lot, and I think this is a good tip for new riders, is when I do manage to do my slow-for-the-motorway overtaking I’m constantly looking in my right mirror to ensure there is space in the right lane. This is just in case the car driver on my left doesn’t spot me and comes into my lane, I can then escape into the lane next to me. Lucky for me, this worked well when a driver on her phone didn’t see me.


This was the first scary, on-bike motorway incident that has happened to me. Mid-way through my planned overtake, the lady on the left starts gliding to the right and into my lane,  at which point I’ve already planned ahead and jumped into the empty lane to my right. I can safely say, I didn’t cause any other road user to abruptly change their road position. What was most alarming about this was the driver didn’t even know what she had done.

Moving on from this minor run-in with Mrs Oblivious-To-Life, I then took my KTM for its first service, which I’ll tell you more about in my next update.

KTM recalls the baby Duke

A week ago KTM issued a recall for the 125 and 390 Duke due to a fault with the software linked to the LED headlight. The feature was new for 2017 on the updated Duke, but now needed a software update.

KTM had this to say about it: “During the internal endurance testing, KTM experienced some cases of sporadic reboots of the LED headlight. As this may lead to potentially dangerous riding situations, the software of the headlight needs to be updated as soon as possible.”

I now haven’t ridden my KTM for two weeks due to the worry of the intermittent headlight. As a new rider, I rely on this to keep me visible during the day as well as obviously during the night. 

The KTM guys picked up my bike today, I now have a replacement 125 Duke. We'll call this one Django the Duke. 

Next: I'll be talking about my first service next week and in the week's following that I'll update you on how I've gone about selecting some KTM PowerParts

What have I been wearing? 

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