Duke 250 Vs Duke 200 Comparison Review will help decide you to choose a premium quarter litre or an entry level unit for your exact needs
Only if you have been living under a rock till now or above it but without Wifi, you won’t know the fact that the KTM Duke 2017 range is here. And this time around, the KTM Duke family has added a new member and its called the Duke 250. We were the first ones to tell the world that the sub-500cc Duke family was expecting a new member soon in the form of the Duke 250, even though KTM-Bajaj tried their best not to disclose this news. Back then we also gave you a perfect explanation on why is it coming with our sources indicated that the motorcycle is on its way to the Indian market. Duke 250 makes perfect sense as it fills the large void the Duke 200 and 390 create in terms of performance and most importantly value.
As expected by team KTM-Bajaj, we are provided with a Rs 2.00 lakh price tag on-road for the Duke 250 to make things irresistible. However, the Duke 200 is an iconic motorcycle and still continues to do so. Bajaj-KTM did not wanted to mess with it and to keep cost down, they have kept the old Duke 200 and refreshed its engine with emission compliance and upgraded the cosmetic part a tiny bit as well. What does this bring us to? Should you buy a trusted and frantic companion or should you be sensible and get the new Mr. Logical Duke 250. More is always better? Less can be more fun? We just rode them back to back and bought you an extensive review of the Duke 250 which you can find below. And now it is time to tell you what the Duke 200 and Duke 250 offer to you in all prospective
Styling becomes critical here. The new Duke 250 gets a completely new design with new tank, extensions, a much better headlamp and a large tail-lamp is here to make things better. Duke 200 is identical as before, the only changes are to the tank which gets revised graphics which are basically Duke and 200 decals along with the KTM brand stickered together. The orange wheels are highlight, which surprisingly aren’t seen on the Duke 250. KTM has made some clever changes to keep both models visually appealing. Duke 200 always begged for either orange frame or wheels though.
Duke 200 continues to have a taller stance, but the Duke 250 is shorter and stubby which makes it look compact but has the essence of a true street-fighter from Europe to attract buyers. As far as cosmetic upgrades are considered, the Duke 200 has its charm and despite the styling wasn’t great at first sight in 2012, the design grew on all of us an Duke 200 in this new avatar does look rather impressive, especially with the orange and white scheme on offer.
Speedo And Ergonomics
Speedo and switches are downright identical on both bikes and there isn’t much to explain and these units were first seen in the new RC twins that were launched last month. Ergonomically, Duke 250 has a higher seat height, but the Ground clearance is lower which doesn’t make it a deal breaker. However, the Duke 200 has 810 mm of seat height and has higher ground clearance so it isn’t a problem either. Seat base and comfort is high on the Duke 250 as the seat is much wider and longer and far more superior than the Duke 200 for rider and pillion.
Duke 250 has more rear set pegs but they are placed lower so they liberate more legroom along with more seat height which makes it great for tall riders. Duke 200 continues to be a bit cramp for tall riders, but short riders won’t have problem who fall below the 5’9 bracket.
Engine and Gearbox
When it comes to performance, the Duke 200 and Duke 250 don’t feel much different in acceleration. 60 and 100 km/hr is done in the same vicinity and isn’t a deal breaker. However, Duke 250 has the higher top-speed and doesn’t bang against the rev limiter quite often as the Duke 200. Low-end and mid-range torque in both motorcycles is more than adequate. However, the Duke 200 makes you feel that it delivers power faster because the ratios are closer and its weighs less than the Duke 250.
Despite the fact it gains 5 kgs more over the previous bike which was 141 kgs wet and now it is 145 kgs wet, the Duke 250 uses higher power and torque advantage with taller gearing and the majority of the power coming in mid and top-end range thanks to taller gearing. Duke 250, as you can imagine by now, has the engine based on the Duke 390. If you have ridden one you would know that power-band is more fun on the highway and overtaking someone isn’t an issue. Major difference is in refinement.
Duke 250 delivers power in a very uncanny way, when you consider KTM of the past or the Duke 200 for example that we are comparing it to. The power delivery is almost creamy smooth and there are only vibrations at the pegs but only at redline and not throughout the rev-range. The new fueling system and design have made sure of this. Duke 200 has smoothen out a lot also while NVH levels have also dampened a bit, but still isn’t close to the Duke 250.
All of this makes the Duke 250 easier to live with on a daily basis. City rides in traffic, intercity highway commute is set to get quicker and we expect both to deliver same fuel-efficiency as Duke 250 is geared in a more practical manner, something that we all wished from the Duke 200 since day one. This should also make the Duke 250 more touring friendly. Larger fuel-tank and fuel economy of 30 km/l and more means that you can expect a tank range of almost 400 kms, which is quite a lot.
Overall, the Duke 250 is more clever and practical. Duke 200 with its slighted added refinement and close ratio gearbox along with a frantic attitude just got better too. Tough decision as expected and it now depends on what the riders are looking for as their requirement.
Ride and Handling
Dynamically, both have similar hardware. Look closely you can see Duke 250 gets adjustable suspension on both ends, but Duke 200 gets adjustable rear suspension only. Both motorcycles have very good MRF tyres, which are better than the units before. Surprising fact that back in 2012, the MRF tyres C-Revz were considered good, but complains from keen enthusiast over the time and consumers prompted MRF and KTM to develop these special tyres known as C1 and FC1. Originally they were set to replace even the Metzelers and they do a fantastic job on these two motorcycles, which is a bit difficult to digest for some people. At the end of the day they actually do the job really well as our track test confirms it.
Duke 250 has a lower handlebar and suspension travel has been dropped and along with revised ergonomics, the Duke 250 feels like a tiny super naked when it comes to ride, handling and also ergonomics. Duke 200 on the other hand has a taller stance, the center of gravity is higher and that means you have all the agility in the world to deal with any kind of situation. Be it traffic or track day as it full fill the job really well and provides a lot of fun while riding.
However, the Duke 250 shows that it is Mr.Logical with its approach as the lower center of gravity means its more poised, offers better feedback from the chassis and is more conventional in its approach when compared to motorcycles of its category. Despite that, it still is very superior than all its competitors which are now massively dated.
Coming to another critical aspect is the brakes. Surprisingly the Duke 200 performs better here with a good initial bite and feedback from the lever despite the 300mm disc brake at the front as before. However, the same setup on the Duke 250 wasn’t expected and it doesn’t deliver on crisp feedback either. Lever pull is higher in the Duke 250 than the Duke 200.
However, post that there is always enough stopping power from the brakes to bring the motorcycle at halt. Duke 250 deserved a new kit from the RC twins which includes a revised master-cylinder, 320mm disc brakes and changes to the caliper. Both motorcycles have the four piston, radially mounted calipers which are made by Brembo.
Duke 250 Vs Duke 200 Comparison Review, Verdict
Clearly, the Duke 250 shines with its improved behavior in every aspect. Wait for a road test and we will tell how other things fair out. However, we have ridden Duke 200 and 390 more often as they are our long term motorcycles and we can tell you that the Duke 250 is clearly Mr. Logical here as it offers more refinement, more power and more importantly, a character which is far more suited to an wider audience.
Duke 200 has nothing going wrong and with similar performance in an area where riders spend the time most, the Duke 200 has an abstract charm which will help it get buyers and loyal fans will stick to their guns. This isn’t the first time the Dukes have fought. Duke 200 and 390 in the past have separate audiences and both motorcyclist swear by their machine and criticize each other for their minus points. Let’s not forget the fact the Duke 200 is good Rs 30,000 cheaper than the Duke 250 which is quite a lot of money for some.
For whom if that doesn’t matter they can still consider Duke 200 if he or she wants to. Anyways, the Duke 250 is now waiting for the people who still can’t make the jump to the Duke 390 or think that much power isn’t that requirement. Duke 250 though is more practical with more fuel range, comfort and on boasts of easier to ride characteristic too. Hence, the Duke 250, as we keep saying it again and again, it just fills the void as perfectly as a heart shaped chocolate in a heart shaped box.
2017 Duke 250: 1.95 on-road Mumbai
2017 Duke 200: 1.65 on-road Mumbai
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Duke 250 Vs Duke 200 Comparison Review