Ever since its Indian debut through a healthy collaboration with Bajaj, back in 2012, the celebrated Austrian motorcycle brand KTM has very well managed to enthrall the aspirant 'performance' (literally) biker in the average Indian with their shallow, yet powerful lineup, consisting of the RCs and the Dukes in their 200 and 390 guises. As part of the inevitable effort to cope up with the endless tide of time, the bikemaker had recently launched the latest avatars of these ready to race sets of wheels. That seemed fine and not so surprising then, but what left us with eyes popped out was the automaker adding up another model to its Duke lineup, dubbed the Duke 250- the fresh at heart, quarter liter naked bike. Its nothing else that we are now going to spend our time with...
The Duke 250 (or more conveniently the D250) definitely does justice to it's 'little bro of the D390' image. The bike seems quite of the size of the mighty 390 with those wide handle bars and the large supportive seats and has borrowed many of its parts as the panela, frame and the suspension from its elder sibling. The large, muscular, 390-borrowed 13 liter tank does its share well in assuring the rider enough grip while going hard around corners.
The 'different bits' however are the single piece halogen headlamp unit that replaces the split LED ones of the 390 and the novel looking body graphics. There is an air of average (above average in some places, to be honest) build quality in the plastics and the switch gears. The re-positioning of the keyhole to a much more convenient place on the tank, as has been done here, seems to be a 'much craved for' update.
However the D250 misses out on the flamboyant TFT display of the D390s and hosts just a digital instrument cluster, but with almost all of those 'vital information' for sure.
The D250's 248.8cc, 4 stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, FI engine is something that loves to be revved hard and unlike the other KTMs, does not give you that wierd feel of being in a catapult anywhere south of 6000 rpm. The 30 hp of peak power comes to you at 9000 rpm and the 24 Nm topping torque at 7500 rpm. The 6 speed box gets a decent job done with precise, yet smooth shifts. There is the slipper clutch technology for added safety.
The D250's chasis can manage almost every one of those 'breathtaking' speeds that you might feel like doing on this machine, pretty well. The superior cornering capability should owe a great deal to the bike's well balanced, stiff of some sort, suspension setup flaunting inverted forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. The 300 mm disc brakes at the front and those 230mm ones at the back do a decent job as well. However it is sort of a let down that the bike, at present, misses out on ABS
To sum it up, the Duke 250 ticks almost all the boxes right and is definitely worth a buy for Rs 178000/-, Ex. Showroom, Kochi.