2019 KTM RC125 India Review, Track Ride

The KTM 125’s. They have been a topic of discussion since 2012, when the Duke 200 was launched in India. Some one at the press launched asked, why not the 125’s are coming here. Bajaj-KTM said, they have no market. RC’s were launched. Same questioned was asked, same answer was given. Facelift for RC’s came, it happened again, but the reply was, you find us customers, we will launch it. Suddenly, in late 2018, the buzz said that the motorcycle is about to be launched. It seemed a speculation that could be very likely wrong. It happened, we got the Duke 125.

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It was asked, why the RC 125 was not launched, today that comes too. It shows that times have changed. Also, KTM perception in the Indian market is of a sporty motorcycle that is hardcore, but in different sizes. The 125 size also existed so Bajaj-KTM gave it. The brand has the reach and it has become inspiration to a larger audience, which is on both sides of the weighing scale.

A risk taken, which worked, beyond expectations. The Duke 125 is now a runaway success, contributing 50% of KTM sales plus the usual numbers continue. The entire portfolio of small bikes, sold around the world, except for the RC250 is here in India. A place where all of these motorcycles are made. The RC, has a fan base. RC 125 should be a bigger success too, right? We find out!

Design

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The Indian Spec KTM RC 125 is different than what is sold outside our country. The side slung exhaust is not there. The rest is the same. The front headlight design is a hit or a miss. The radical orange and black scheme along with white that is the second option makes the RC shout its presence loudly. It ends up looking better than the RC 200 and RC 390 that is on offer.

The ergonomics are that of a committed motorcycle with low clip on handlebars and seating position is lower which lets you hold the handlebar from the top, putting some pressure on your wrists. The rear set pegs make the riding position sporty. There is just about enough room to roam around. However, heavy riders will find it cramped. Mirrors have gotten better with more visibility on offer. Seat is softer than before, but it is still hard over all its peers. Couple of months, the seat will adjust to your liking.

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Instrument cluster and switches remain the same. The latter is back lit. The cluster comes with all fuel economy parameters including distance to empty. Service indicator, average time, clock, digital tachometer. speed with temperature gauge, two trip meters, odometer are on offer.

Engine

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Not the best power to weight ratio blessed motorcycle, the RC 125 has turned out to be. The 160 kg kerb weight, 14.5 BHP and 12 Nm of torque from a high revving engine means not so great news right? Not entirely. The supremely quick and free revving engine, the focused mid and top-end power means it is fun to ride on the twisty roads as that is what we sampled on the Bajaj test track.

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The power delivery is very linear, throttle response is excellent and smoothness of the engine makes this a novice friendly motorcycle. The docile nature of the engine makes it a bike easy to ride in the city too. All of this courtesy of a DOHC, fuel-injected and a liquid cooled layout. We saw a top speed of 110 km/hr.

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It should do 120 km/hr on a longer stretch. Expect 45-50 km/l in the real world conditions from this BS4 compliant engine. The clutch is light and the gearbox is smooth too. The gearing is again based on the Duke 250 and 390, which means a tall 5’th gear and stacked closely first four gears along with a overdrive sixth gear.

Dynamics

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That docile engine coupled with a superlative chassis that is rock solid and forgiving makes this motorcycle fun. The composure, stability and friendless is outstanding in this motorcycle. Amateur, professionals and slightly experienced riders, all had fun while we testing this motorcycle at the Bajaj track that we spoke to. The front forks offered tremendous feedback, the pre-load for the rear is adjustable by 10-steps and provides good feedback too.

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MRF C1 tyres were brilliant in intermediate conditions of the track when we started riding. The track dried of quickly and some hot laps and lot of lean angles later, we found that the tyres did their job here as well. Brake bite was good enough and progression in terms of power was adequate with the 300 mm brake motor. Clearly, the spec from RC 200 in this small bike makes this bike safe, easy and extremely fun to ride. Single channel ABS at the front and rear life protection at the rear do their job well too.

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2019 KTM RC125 India Review, Verdict

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The RC 125 may be a lot of money at Rs. 1.47 lakhs, which is bound to increase in the next 3-4 months. The rival is cheaper and more powerful and that is the R15. Usually, the case is the opposite with team Bajaj-KTM. However, they are confident they can take a slice of the segment which does 10,000 units. The R15 has become more powerful but continues to be great fun to ride and at the same time forgiving and confident as the RC.

The R15 lost on quality and equipment time and again and it does again with the RC 125. Something that is superior, feels like a better package, definitely has better headlights and acts like a true super sport. If i wanted to buy my a child a bike, it would be the RC 125. Heck, i could use myself one too!

Photos: Pratik Hinge

2019 KTM RC125 India Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Dynamics
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Comfort
  • Value
4.6

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