KTM’s 124.7cc, single-cylinder engine is modern and uses a fuel-injection, liquid-cooling, four-valve, DOHC setup. It makes 14.5hp and 12Nm, which not only are the highest among 125s but are also on par with most 160s sold in India. Power at low revs is expectedly weak, but the motor does come alive at around 7,000rpm and pulls until just short of the 10,000rpm redline. The bike sounds just like a KTM should too, albeit not quite as deep as its bigger siblings.
Performance is good for an engine this size, but the Vbox reveals that the 125 Duke is no match for the fastest of the 160s. The baby Duke is nearly 3sec slower from 0-100kph than the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and even the Suzuki Gixxer can manage the run in 15.54sec.
This engine is paired to a smooth-shifting, precise 6-speed gearbox. And just like on the 200 Duke, the gearbox has very closely packed ratios, which offer an eager performance as well as the flexibility to ride around in higher gears at city speeds. The 125 Duke will touch 120kph on a long straight with the rider fully crouched, but it takes long to get there as the acceleration slows down past 80kmph.
What’s nice is that the 125 never feels hot, despite the fact that the engine temperature gauge lights up all the bars in heavy traffic, like on its higher-capacity siblings.