In light of the success of the 125 Duke, KTM has now introduced its fully-faired twin, the RC 125, at Rs 1.47 lakh. Does a 125cc offering do justice to the price? We swing a leg to find out
For a 125cc single-cylinder offering that costs north of Rs 1.2 lakh ex-showroom, the KTM 125 Duke has done pretty well so far. Contrary to what its displacement suggests, it isn’t your ‘regular’ commuter. The trellis frame, upside down front forks, rear monoshock, and wider tyres are proof of that. And for all that it offers, we thought that the bike is priced reasonably well too. With the 125 Duke, KTM has tried to evolve the customer’s mind into appreciating the superiority of components.
Expanding the 125 range further, KTM has now brought in the fully-faired RC 125 at Rs 1.47 lakh – a move that raises a lot of questions. We are the Bajaj test track in Chakan to answer them all and the most obvious one – is the RC125 worth the price?
Answering that question in a line – exactly like the larger RC 200 and 390. The only noticeable difference is in the graphics, and of course, the RC 125 badge on the fairing. With the black beak and the twin projector headlamps, the RC125’s face is reminiscent of Marvin the Martian. It gets the same large windscreen, the clip-on handlebar, the edgy fuel tank and the integrated pillion seat. Despite the fact that this design is now at least half a decade old, it still looks sharp and aggressive. More importantly, KTM has managed to make it look relatively fresh with the new glossy graphics.
Just like the rest of the RC range, the seating posture in the RC 125 is too committed. The clip-on handlebar, the 835mm seat height and the rear-set foot pegs, give it a naturally aggressive stance. While this worked splendidly at the test track, riding for long in the city can get a bit uncomfortable. Moreover, the bike does feel a bit cramped for room. While the integrated pillion seat looks fancy, it is a bit too high to get on to.
Engine and Performance:
The RC125 borrows its motor from the 125 Duke – the same 124.7cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled unit. At 14.3bhp and 12Nm, power and torque figures are identical to the naked sibling too. Interestingly, the power is more or less similar to some of the 160cc offerings on sale. The RC125 feels a bit weak towards the bottom and low end of the rev range. It is only when you rev it past the 7,000rpm mark that the engine starts to feel livelier. It continues to feel eager right up till the 10,000rpm redline, at which point you start to feel some vibes on the pegs. Overall performance is impressive and the bike feels rather stress-free at about 90km/h. As far as top speed is concerned, we could manage a speedo indicated 122km/h.
The RC125 comes paired with a 6-speed transmission. The tightly packed ratios mean you can slot it in the top cog from about 45-50km/h. This should not only help while riding in the city but also ensure that the RC125 is a judicious sipper.
Ride and Handling:
KTM has made no compromises in terms of components. Even the RC125 gets a trellis frame, upside down forks and a rear monoshock – just like its larger siblings. This definitely reflects in the way it goes around corners. The shorter wheelbase and the tighter rake angle play their part too. The aggressive riding posture adds more weight to the front, giving it better feel and confidence to attack corners. The baby RC is a heavy motorcycle, especially for a 125cc offering, but the weight is well balanced and you don’t quite feel it even on switchbacks. That being said, in the interest of better performance, we wish KTM had employed some weight saving measures. The Bajaj test track wasn’t the ideal testing ground to judge the bike’s ride quality, but given its posture and the stiff suspension, we expect it to be a bit harsh.
KTM is known to offer superior components on its products – the braking hardware on the RC125 is a testimony of that. The RC125 gets a 300mm disc up front and a 230mm setup at the rear, and while the regulations make CBS mandatory for all motorcycles below 125cc, KTM has still fitted it with a single-channel ABS. While there is sufficient bite from the brakes, there is a fair bit of travel before you get there. Ironic as it may sound, better braking could have made the RC125 feel a bit faster around the track.
At Rs 1.47 lakh, the KTM RC 125 is quite an expensive proposition. Sure, it does get a fully-digital instrument cluster, projector headlamps, rear disc brake and ABS, but then as does the KTM 125 Duke and it is Rs 17,000 cheaper. When you look at the competition, things get even more difficult for the new KTM. The Yamaha YZF-R15, which is a larger motor, with more power and torque and a dual-channel ABS, is Rs 8,000 cheaper than the RC.
In terms of pricing then, the RC125 doesn’t bring great value to the table, but there is no denying that it can be a great tool for someone who wants to learn the art of motorcycling.
- KTM RC125
Engine: 124.7cc / Single-Cylinder / 4-Valve / liquid-cooled
Power: 14.3bhp @ 9,250rpm
Torque: 12Nm @ 8,000rpm
Price: Rs. 1.47 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)