Big overhaul for the smallest KTM Dukes
KTM’s Duke range has been a winner for the firm for most of the last three decades. A non-nonsense package of a high performance single or twin-cylinder motor in a lively lightweight chassis is always a winner, and bikes like the 990 Duke and 1200 Super Duke charted a course for the modern supernaked class.
The firm’s experience in the dirtbike world was a massive help: the light, powerful engines, skinny chassis and premium suspension design used on KTM MX and Enduro bikes made a great foundation for hilarious road bikes, once you fitted tyres, wheels and brakes to suit the asphalt.
And in recent years, the firm has brought the Duke name to a smaller range of bikes, including the cheeky 390 Duke (see the 2024 update HERE), and a 125cc learner legal bike. Now, those entry-level machines have all been totally revised for 2024.
Both the KTM 125 and 250 Duke share common chassis elements, which is fairly unusual – but makes sense. It means the 125 gets that ‘big bike’ feel, while the more powerful 250 benefits from a smaller, lighter chassis. KTM UK says it’s not bringing the 250 Duke into Britain officially – but there’s the chance of unofficial grey imports from the rest of Europe.
Kicking off with the 125 Duke then, it gets a complete redesign, with new engine, styling and chassis. The single-cylinder engine range is now dubbed the LC4c – c for compact – and KTM says it has used experience gained in the previous generation to make them stronger than ever.
There’s an optimised cylinder head design, new transmission, and smaller dimensions, plus full compliance with the latest Euro 5.2 standards. Bore is the same 58mm as now, but the KTM spec sheet claims a tiny extra 0.1mm on the stroke, up from 47.2mm to 47.3mm, and a 124.99cc capacity instead of 124.7cc. We’re sure we’ll feel the difference on the road…
The chassis is all new too, with a different frame design that has a steel tube section with a cast aluminium subframe, together with an offset side-mounted direct-action monoshock, rather than the central linkage of before.
That means a new cast aluminium swingarm of course, with a curved gull-arm layout. KTM says the side-mount shock is there to allow a bigger airbox and lowered seat height – just 800mm on the 125 and 250, which shows how integrated chassis and engine design has become.
There’s a new triple clamp design, and uprated forks: the 125 has 43mm WP APEX USD non-adjustable open cartridge parts, while the 250 has Big Piston design forks. Both bikes have WP rear shocks with preload-adjustment only, and the radial-mount four-piston front brake caliper is by Brembo’s Indian sub-brand ByBre.
Cast aluminum 17” wheels carry a 110/70 front and 150/60 rear tyre, and the launch bikes have premium Michelin Road 5 2CT rubber fitted – nice.
Electronics are as big a part of the story as ever, and the new mini-Dukettes are packed with the good stuff. That includes basics like LED lights all round and automatic resetting indicators, as well as a 5” TFT colour LCD dashboard with a TRACK display mode, ride-by-wire throttle and cornering ABS with Supermoto function.
The new KTM Duke 125 will be in UK dealers from January 2024, with prices set to be announced around the time of the NEC bike show. More info here.
2024 KTM Duke 125 specifications:
Engine type Single cylinder, 4-stroke l/c DOHC 4v
Displacement 124.99 cc
Bore/stroke 58×47,3 mm
Power 15 PS/11KW @10.000 rpm
Torque 11.5 Nm @7750 rpm
Transmission 6 gears
Fuel system Bosch EFI (mechanical throttle body 33 mm)
Clutch PASC slipper clutch, mechanically operated
Fuelling Bosch EMS with RBW
Frame Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Subframe Bolt on cast aluminium frame, powder coated
Front suspension WP APEX USD 43 mm, non adjustable
Rear suspension WP APEX shock absorber, preload adjuster
Front brake Four piston, radially mounted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
Rear brake Twin piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 240 mm
ABS Bosch 9.3 MP two channel (Supermoto ABS)
Tyres front/rear 110/70 R17 M/C 54W TL – 150/60 R17 M/C 66W TL
Wheel base 1357 mm
Seat height standard 800 mm
Weight (fully fueled) 154 Kg
*The Duke 250 is similar to the 125, with a 249cc capacity, 30bhp power output, and is 11kg heavier.