KTM RC 125 Road Test Review – affording Orange Bleed

The Indian automotive sector, as a whole, is going through a slowdown since the beginning of 2019, and has already started affecting the sales charts of most OEMs. Public spending went down, and were the KTM’s sales figures, which were decreasing month by month. The dropping numbers and slowing economic conditions finally made the KTM launch the 125cc KTM Duke, the most accessible authentic Orange experience money can buy then.  

The Duke125 since its launch has been riding on high strides. With this learning, KTM has now launched the RC125, which has become the most affordable fully faired offering from KTM’s portfolio. It is also the only one, currently in the 125cc market. It’s engineering, design and features and its DNA has been inspired by and carried forward from the KTM RC200. Interestingly, the 125cc KTM Twins have always been manufactured in Chakan, Pune but were never made available for sale in the Indian market. It could presumably be because back then the 125cc segment was only populated with commuter motorcycles. Sure, they are now as well, so it seems like it is actually the rising prices and general inflation because of which KTM’s finding it hard to keep itself accessible at a lower price point & survive in a price-sensitive market. And that explains KTM’s move, to an extent, at the very least.

The RC 125 has a lot in common with its bigger brother, the RC200. There’s so much that one can’t make out if it’s an Rc200 or an Rc125 with-out closely looking at the badging on the bike. The Rc125 has got a typical KTM-like angular full fairing with twin projector halogen headlamps dominating the front and a high set tail section finished off with a sleek LED tail lamp.

The instrument cluster too is borrowed from the RC 200. That means you get all the fancy info like coolant temperature, range, dual trip meters among other basic info. Oh, and there’s a shift light too to round off the sportiness package. Speaking of which, the bike gets low-set clip-ons complementing the rear-set foot pegs. This arrangement guarantees you properly aggressive riding stance, ready to attack corners.

Overall fit and finish are top-notch, to say the least. I am pretty sure, most of you would want to have a bike in your garage that feels like an actual sports bike & looks and makes you look cool as Cucumber with an efficiency & maintenance cost that won’t hurt your pockets deep.

In comparison to all the current 125 to 150cc offerings present in India, I can definitely say that the Rc125 offers the best-in-class Sports riding experience & safety features in the segment. The Rc125 is only the 2nd motorcycle in the Indian market currently after the Duke125 to offer dual-channel ABS in a 125cc segment bike, making them very safe in terms of riding in real-world; a feature even Yamaha’s mt15 misses out on, it gets only a single channel ABS upfront.

Overall cycle parts other than then engine have been carried down from the Rc200, which means they both use the same chassis, the same WP USD front suspension and Mono-shock at the rear , same 17 inch alloys, 300mm & 230mm brake setup and the same 110 section front and 150 section rear beefy tyres with identical body panels. To differentiate the Rc125 aesthetically, KTM has launched it in a new paint scheme with 125 badging with sporty graphics & decals.

The Rc125 as the name suggests comes equipped with a 125cc single cylinder engine with 4 valves and Dual Overhead camshafts mated to a 6 speed slick gearbox. This is the same liquid-cooled power mill from the duke125 which produces a torque figure of 12Nm and power of 14.95bhp, which on paper might not seem very impressive in case you ride 150 or above cc bikes.

But I beg to differ, the Rc125 has made me change my opinion that 125cc bikes can’t be fun; they can be, they just need to be built right with the right vision. Though the engine does feel a bit sluggish in the initial 50m of starting from a stop, all because KTM decided to use the same tires from the Rc200, which in my opinion are a bit heavy for the bike. But there’s an upside to it too, the bike behaves as if it has traction control inbuilt in it which will surely help new riders.

The bike gathers momentum slowly before the KTM engine comes to life. Past the 4k rpm mark, the KTM genes come into play and the engine accelerates like a war horse from here on. The bike can easily cruise at 80-90kmph with ease and touches of a top speed of 115kmph while it delivers a mileage of 40-44kmpl. With a 10.5 Litres of fuel capacity, the Rc125 offers a full to an empty tank range of 360-400kms before you refuel. The exhaust does not fail to impress & delivers the typical KTM exhaust note even on such a small engine.

The ride is vibe free most of the times, unless you aren’t red lining, which you would be incase you are cruising on an open highway. The ride is very engaging and does not make you feel you are riding a 125cc bike at any point of time. The bike can surely be used for highway short rides too with good mileage figures and abundant power on hand making its case strong. I won’t be surprised to see a group of Rc125’s travelling across India on their machines. A 125cc bike too can be a Hooligan is something nobody really thought of, but KTM did and is currently the largest selling platform of engines being sold in India from the KTM stable.

As mentioned earlier, the Rc125 borrows the chassis and suspension setup from its elder sibling the Rc200. The 300mm radially mounted front disk brake with 4 pistons and 230mm rear Single piston disk brake mounted on 17inch alloy wheels with MRF 110/70-17 & 150/60-17 rubbers are also exactly the same, which simply guarantees the same Rc200 ride experience at a cheaper price tag and a more fuel efficient engine with only a little power to compromise off course. The Rc125 offers an ample 178mm of ground clearance, making sure the under belly does not become a problem in real world road conditions. The riders seat height is 820mm and the bike weighs just 135kgs, making it accessible to a huge segment of the market.

Only thing that might stop you before you purchase one of these Eye candies is the cost. The Rc125 comes at an ex-showroom price of 1,47,000/- which exactly isn’t a steal deal. The same or less amount of money can get you one of the below bikes – Yamahas R15 or MT15 or Fz25, Apache 200 or 160, Pulsar 200NS0,180F,220F or 200RS.  But then, none of them will never ever make you bleed’s orange.  

Words – Suraj Sawant
Photography – Govind Gadekar & Smruti Gaimukhe


 

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