Riding high on the success of the 125 Duke, KTM has now introduced its fully-faired twin – the RC125 – at ₹1.47 lakh. But does its fairly small 125cc engine justify its price?
For a 125cc single-cylinder offering that costs north of ₹1.2 lakh (ex-showroom), the KTM 125 Duke has done pretty well since its launch in December 2018. Contrary to what its displacement suggests, it isn’t a ‘regular’ commuter. The trellis frame, upside-down front forks, rear monoshock and wide tyres are proof of that. And for what it offers, the bike seems reasonably well priced too. With the 125 Duke, KTM has given the needed impetus to Indian consumers to help them look beyond the price of an offering and appreciate its superior components.
Expanding the 125 range further, KTM has now brought in the fully-faired RC125 at ₹1.47 lakh – a move that raises a lot of questions. We took it for a spin at the Bajaj test track in Chakan to find some answers, the most obvious of which is – does the RC125 justify its price?
The RC125 shares its design cues with the larger RC200 and 390. The only noticeable difference lies in the graphics. And, of course, there’s the RC125 badge on the fairing. With the black beak and the twin projector headlamps, the RC125’s face is reminiscent of Marvin the Martian.
The RC125 gets the same large windscreen, clip-on handlebar, the edgy fuel tank and the integrated pillion seat. And while this design is now at least half-a-decade old, it still looks sharp and aggressive. And somehow KTM has managed to make it look fresh with the new glossy graphics.
Just like the rest of the RC range, the seating posture of the RC125 is far too sporty. The clip-on handlebar, the 835mm seat height and the rear-set foot pegs give it a naturally aggressive stance. While this works splendidly at the track, riding in the city can be a bit uncomfortable. Moreover, the bike also feels a bit cramped and could do with a bit more room. While the integrated pillion seat looks fancy, it is a bit too high to hop on to.
Big things come in small packages
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 at the bottom and low end of the rev range. It’s only when you rev it past the 7,000rpm mark that the engine begins to feel livelier. It continues to feel eager right up till the 10,000rpm redline – but here you start to feel some vibrations through the pegs.
Overall, the performance of this bike is nothing short of impressive – and it feels rather stress-free at about 90km/h. As far as the top speed is concerned, we managed to get 122km/h on the speedo down the straight.
The RC125 comes paired with a 6-speed transmission. The tightly packed ratios mean that you can slot it in its top cog at about 45 to 50km/h. This not only helps the RC125 during city riding but also makes it a judicious sipper.
Around the track
KTM has made no compromises in terms of the components. The RC125 gets a trellis frame, upside-down forks and a rear monoshock – just like its larger siblings. This 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 while attacking 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 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 out in the real world.
KTM is known to offer superior components on its products – and the braking hardware on the RC125 is a testimony to that. The RC125 gets a 300mm disc upfront and a 230mm setup at the rear. And even though the regulations make CBS mandatory for all motorcycles below 125cc, KTM has still fitted it with a single-channel ABS. While the brakes offer sufficient bite, there’s a fair bit of travel before you stop. Ironic as it may sound, better braking could have made the RC125 feel a bit faster on the track.
At ₹1.47 lakh, the KTM RC125 is quite an expensive proposition. Sure, it does get a fully-digital instrument cluster, projector headlamps, a rear disc brake and ABS, but so does the KTM 125 Duke, and the latter is ₹17,000 cheaper. When you look at the competition, things get even more difficult for the new KTM. The Yamaha YZF-R15, which has a bigger motor, more power and torque and dual-channel ABS, is ₹8,000 cheaper than the RC.
But while it may not be the best value, it does have the makings of a great starter pack. If you want to hone your skills on a motorcycle right from the onset of your riding life, the KTM RC125 is undoubtedly worth the investment.
- KTM RC125
Engine: 124.7cc / Single-Cylinder / 4-Valves / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 14.3bhp @ 9,250rpm
Torque: 12Nm @ 8,000rpm
Price: ₹1.47 Lakh ( Ex-Showroom, Delhi)
X-Factor: The RC125 is great for someone who wants to really learn the art of riding.