All-new KTM 125 Duke breaks cover: New engine, frame, suspension and more for 2023

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KTM look set to reveal a virtually all-new 125 Duke this autumn, with fresh spyshots taken in Spain revealing changes to the engine, frame, ancillaries and more.

Handily parked up next to the existing machine (orange wheels), which has been with us since 2017, the secret snaps show an almost production-ready 2023 naked, dressed in black wheels and undergoing final testing.

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The next generation Duke retains the Austrian firm’s signature street naked style, but it’s clearly the biggest upgrade since the original was launched in 2011 – with an all-new engine, frame, rear suspension, wheels, revised brakes, new bodywork (including KTM’s latest LED headlight) and more.

KTM 125 Duke spied in testing 2022

Although still a liquid-cooled single and certain to have the same regulation 14.8bhp power output, different cases and an underslung exhaust reveal that the motor is all-new.

The signature tubular steel frame is different too and now boasts a stylish, cast alloy rear subframe, while the cast aluminium swing-arm is now braced and has a novel right side-mounted shock.

At the front, although the WP forks are unlikely to be significantly changed, they differ by now having the front brake disc and caliper on the right, not left as before. The wheels are also new – a lightweight five-spoke cast alloy design in place of the previous 10-spokers.

KTM 125 Duke rear spyshot

The new Duke 125 also sports evolved bodywork that manages to retain the A1-class naked’s traditionally aggressive lines. The tank cover now blends into exaggerated, 890-esque side scoops, the two new seat pads make a design feature of the sinuous new sub-frame and there’s a new LED headlight design.

Even the mirrors and rear taillight are new, although we can’t tell from these pictures if there’s any update to the TFT colour dash and switchgear.

Although there’s no official word yet about the new bike’s specification and likely launch date, the prototype here is clearly virtually production ready with details such as the mirrors, tail light and number plate hanger having been changed. The only thing left to be added are the final graphics and finishes.

As a result we expect the new bike to be officially unveiled this autumn, possibly at EICMA before going on sale in early 2023.


Small KTMs now have BIG ideas: Radical reinvention for all-new 125, 250 and 390 Dukes

First published 16 April 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

KTM Duke spy shot

It’s been a decade since KTM introduced the 125 Duke and the larger 250 and 390 single-cylinder models followed soon after. Now the line-up is on the verge of a top-to-toe revamp including all-new mechanical parts and a near-production example has been spotted on test near the Austrian factory.

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The bike you see here is believed to be the mid-line 250cc model – a version that isn’t currently offered in the UK market – but if KTM follows the previous path then the 125, 250 and 390 will be almost indistinguishable with their badges removed.

The current models share the same frames and styling, and it’s clearly cost-effective to use as many common components as possible so KTM aren’t likely to take a different route in the future.

Starting with the engine, this prototype clearly runs a single-cylinder, water-cooled motor, but it doesn’t appear to share much with the existing 125, 250 or 390. The cases are new, and what we can see of the cylinder casting and head also looks to be unlike any of KTM’s current motors.

KTM 250 Duke side view

In 125cc form the next-gen Duke will inevitably stick to the legally mandated 15hp peak power to remain learner-legal, but the 250cc and 390cc engines won’t be similarly hamstrung, so KTM will be looking for increases over the current versions’ 29.5hp and 43hp respectively.

The new frame moves away from the current models’ design, which has a wide main tube with thinner pipework slung below to reinforce it. Now there are thick, parallel upper and lower tubes connected by triangulated struts, more like a traditional trellis.

Cast alloy hangers hold the front of the engine, but the really remarkable element is the vast casting that forms the entire seat subframe, replacing the steel unit that’s used at the moment.

The new cast-alloy swingarm retains the external bracing that’s been a KTM signature for years but adds an upper brace on the left-hand side. On the right, it now bananas over the exhaust exit.

KTM 250 Duke rear

Brembo’s budget ByBre brand supplies the single front and rear calipers and the suspension is WP kit. The Apex forks look chunkier than anything used on the current 390, 250 or 125 Dukes, but there’s no sign of damping adjusters.

There’s a hint of 1290 Super Duke in the styling of the bike with side panels jutting out and a self-supporting seat unit. The headlight doesn’t appear to be the finished unit. Panels either side suggest the final version will have a more familiar KTM ‘face’.

With five ultra-thin spokes, the wheels are a new design and a further indication that the bike is close to production readiness. It looks like KTM is preparing to launch at least the first versions of the new Duke as part of its 2022 model range.

Here’s Neevesy’s video review of the existing 125 and 390cc KTM Dukes:

Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.