Showing posts with label KTM Duke 200. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KTM Duke 200. Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Small Displacement Adventure Bike? Tops on my Wish List

Hey!  Triumph!  KTM!  BMW?  Anyone?  You listening?

I know there's been a lot of chatter about the big manufacturers going small, as in smaller displacement to make in-roads through developing countries' markets (India, Brazil), to entice the young and poor into the motorcycle universe with cool, but not terrifying, less-expensive entry-level motos, and to build the better commuter:

Now based in D.C., I cannot stress how important a good commuter can be!

Enter Triumph's 250cc single-cylinder Daytona and Street Single. (EMD: The Twins are Coming)  KTMs baby Dukes. (EMD: The Little Single that Roars)  Honda and Kawi's CBR250R and Ninja 250R, respectively. Even 450s and 500s are making a comeback:

Honda's CB500F. It comes in an X and R, too.

The Baby Duke 250.  There's also a 390.

Future Triumph Daytona 250.  Spy Shot.

All's well and good.  I do love me some baby Dukes and I can see doing some serious traffic slicing on either of those Triumphs.

And I've already waxed on enough over the new Royal Enfield Continental GT.  (EMD: Crossing Continental and Generational Divides)  Granted its a mid-size, but that single cylinder engine isn't going to break any land-speed records and at $5,999, its not breaking the bank:

From the Ace Cafe to Madras?  Count me in!  Video: HERE

What about a 250cc or even 350-400cc Adventure Bike?  Not too expensive.  Not too tall.  Not too heavy.  'Cause not all of us want to travel thousands of miles from home.  On dirt, through mud, cross rivers.

BMW R1200GS Adventure.  Lowest Seat Height: 35"  Weight: 564lbs

Or we really really want to, but can't afford it and can't take the time off, and can't reach the ground well enough to ride any of the Adventure Bikes out there to embark on such a journey.

(ED:  Bitter much, Ann?)

I'm just saying', if Triumph can make a 250cc Daytona and Street Single, and KTM can downsize the fearsome Super Duke, and produce that completely kickass KTM350 sports single, there's no reason why they, and even the ponderous BMW, can't give us a dirt-going Adventure-seeking 250cc or 350cc.

Especially since the Chinese company, Zhonshen, just did:

Introducing the Zongshen RX3

The Zongshen RX3 sports a 249cc engine with a SOHC, four-valves, which is packaged with a six-speed gearbox, producing a respectable 24-ponies with 16lbs-ft of torque.  This is comparable to the Kawi Ninja 250R.

For the less muscle-bound and vertically-challenged (namely me) the RX3's saddle tops out at 31.2-inches and tips the scales at 385 dry weight.  The fuel tank holds 4.2-gallons (16-litres).

Granted, the Chinese still have a ways to go with product quality management.  Although the guys at Asphalt&Rubber do say that Zongshen is one of China's more reputable companies.  And there's no guarantees that this little baby will ever see North American soil.  (Although it is available as the Honley RX3 in the UK, and in Russia and other markets, it masquerades as the Minsk300i.)

But really, this doesn't mean there isn't a market for it here in the U.S.  I, for one, would be first in line.  And first on the trails afterward.


Sourced from Asphalt and Rubber.  For the original article, click: HERE

Sunday, 9 December 2012

2012 Motorcycle Live Show NEC Birmingham

What do self-respecting British bikers do when the winter rain turns to sleet, the roads get covered in salt and the days get so short that if you blink the day is gone?

Go to Birmingham for a day of window shopping at the NEC Bike Show of course. Last year EMD was up the M40 to Birmingham to see the new Ducati Panigale like a rat up a drainpipe.

We embarked with slightly less enthusiasm this year, but any fear that poor economic conditions would leave us with little interesting new metal to ogle were fortunately dispelled. There was actually more of a buzz than for a couple of years - it was as though the manufacturers were saying: "OK, that's enough of this bloody austerity, let's get the party going again".  And once again, the Europeans seemed to be leading the party.

All the manufacturers were there, except for MV Augusta - which was a shame because by all accounts their new Rivale and Brutale 800's were the show stealers at EICMA in Milan.

So what caught our eye?

First up was the new Aprilia Multistrada, sorry the Aprilia Caponord. If you prefer your Multistrada with an Aprilia badge this looks a pretty good take.  Expect 140bhp, Riding modes and semi-active suspension (a la 2013 Multistrada and BMW HP4).

Aprilia Caponord
Aprilia Caponord

Aprilia Caponord semi-active suspension
Aprilia go semi-active too
Next up - we do like a KTM in the morning - road rage on wheels.


New KTM 1190 Adventure
New KTM 1190 Adventure
By all accounts KTM have performed a miracle with the new Adventure. Now another Multistrada challenger with more power, better road manners, brakes and looks - it STILL works well off-road.

2013 KTM Duke 990
2013 KTM Duke 990
The latest Duke 990 may look like a bar-room brawl on wheels, but is a joy to fling around as EMD knows.

2013 KTM Duke 390
2013 KTM Duke 390
KTM now has a great range of different displacement road bikes including the 390 Duke

2013 KTM Duke 390
2013 KTM Duke 390
And even a 200cc version

Moto Guzzi California
Moto Guzzi California
Pretty cool all new iteration of the iconic Moto Guzzi California

Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
Old skool kool or too much lipstick? We couldn't quite make up our minds.

New Triumph Trophy
New Triumph Trophy
New Triumph Trophy: Getting rave reviews not for working as well as the BMW R1200RT - but better - better engine, better screen and brilliant handling - oh and it costs less.  Looks like a winner then.

2013 Triumph Street Triple R
Another Triumph getting rave reviews.  The 2013 'R' is lighter and sharper, and according to Bike magazine is perhaps the most fun bike in the world:

'The Street Triple R is still the number one device for delivering the sheer, simple, noble act of enjoying riding'

'. . .by far the best naked middleweight, dynamically light-years ahead of any GSR750, Z750, Hornet, FZ8 or Monster'

2013 Triumph Daytona 675
2013 Triumph Daytona 675
We were a bit worried about the almost all-new-for 2013 Triumph Daytona 675, as it looks a bit Mr Snouty. Fortunately, it works in the flesh.  And it ought to work even better on the road (and the track). It's gone a bit shorter stroke allowing a higher rev ceiling of 14,400rpm, titanium valves and improved breathing and injection result in two more bhp and more torque throughout the rev range.More changes include a slipper clutch, bellypan exhaust, new forks and revised shock. ABS is a £350 option in the UK.  Riding position is a bit less of the notorious bum-up and therefore takes weight off wrists.

Triumph Speed Triple R
Triumph Speed Triple R
Still full of full-phatt goodness.

Triumph Tiger 800XC
Triumph Tiger 800XC
Lesser-spotted hairy-arsed Tiger. Conquer worlds - with fur. 

Triumph Tiger 800XC
Triumph Tiger 800XC
Great colour this sort of matt combat green though

Metisse Cafe Racer
Metisse Cafe Racer
Incredibly the tiny Metisse outfit developed and build their own air-cooled parallel twin engine. Based in the heart of the Formula 1 engineering centre of the universe in Oxfordshire, they leveraged an F1 engine designer and local suppliers.  EMD rode this bike when it was a secret prototype. Blog story to follow!

Metisse Desert Sled
Probably the most genuine McQueen product on the market. Metisse hand build replicas of McQueen's favourite scrambles bike - otherwise known as the Desert Sled.  Gerry Lisi pictured here with his creation is on good terms with the McQueen estate and his bike is one of the very few products permitted to carry the legendary star's signature.

Gerry has secured a steady supply of vintage TR6 engines that are blueprinted and meticulously re-built at the Metisse factory.  Somehow we suspect that they perform better than the original.  We can also vouch that they are completely oil-tight. . .

Norton Commando Cafe Racer
Norton Commando Cafe Racer
Talking of air-cooled parallel twins. . .

Norton Commando Cafe Racer
Norton Commando Cafe Racer
Unique, classical lines.

Ducat Diavel Strada
Ducat Diavel Strada
After proving to ourselves that the Ducati Diavel can tour this seemed a more logical evolution than you might think. A large screen, higher handlebars, larger seats, revised footpegs and even a grabrail add new practicality.  As do an up-rated generator, two power sockets and 41litres of pannier space.  First innovate then evolve.  Mad, but in a sensible way. . .

2013 Ducati Hypermotard
2013 Ducati Hypermotard
Which brings us nicely to the new Hypermotard.  Bar-end mirrors are now out, water-cooling in.

Ducati Hyperstrada
Also now with added extra touring bits.  Felt a bit small to me after my Multistrada 1200 - but perhaps that's the point - better ft it for smaller riders.  Read more here.

Yamaha FS1E
Yamaha FS1E
Where it all started thirty years ago for the EMD's European correspondent.  The notorious FS1E. Yamaha sold boatloads of these into the UK market where they were classified as mopeds and could be ridden without a license - until the (and as a result of which) the law got changed. I once rode 250 miles on mine in a day.Teenage kicks throughout the (day and) night.

Honda Cup Cakes
No, not knee-sliders, but cupcakes. Very good they were too - as was the coffee.  All free.  Thank you Honda.

2013 BMW 1200
2013 BMW 1200
Now EMD has to admit to being in a minority here having always felt that the GS felt a bit anodyne and lacking in a certain sparkle. While conceding that it might well have been our weapon of choice for circumnavigating the globe, it never made the shortlist for our slightly less ambitious requirements.

Now part water-cooled, and with added grunt and better aesthetics, BMW give the world a lesson on how to take a much-loved product and make it fabulously better. BMW could teach Coca Cola a thing or two about marketing.

A triumph of evolution

Spirit of the Seventies Kawasaki W800
Spirit of the Seventies Kawasaki W800
Chance to catch up with Tim & Kev of Spirit of the Seventies who had a starring spot on the Kawasaki stand for their sweet street-scrambler custom based on Kawasaki's W800 vertical twin.

Conclusion? Motorcycling appears alive and well despite the difficult economic times.  The pace of product development seems breathtaking considering.  But we sense a divergence between Japanese and European focus.  The European brands are soldiering on with ever more sophisticated technology and designs intended as high value discretionary purchases by wealthy middle-age riders in western markets.

The Japanese manufacturers, motivated perhaps by the vast volumes of low-cost small capacity bikes they are selling in Asian markets, are targeting younger less affluent riders in Europe.  The high price of car ownership (and we are talking running costs here - taxing, insuring, parking, fuelling) in European  urban areas is once again driving younger people towards two wheels.  Scooter sales are booming. What was noticeable on Honda' stand for instance was that the lack of interest in the new Fireblade, was made up for by the hordes of youngsters poring over the small cheap bikes and scooters, and the number of mainstream bikers eyeing up the practical new CB500 as an object of real desire.  Times they are a-changing again.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Video: On Board the KTM 200 Duke

I know, I just can't get enough of the Austrian single that can swim.  And rev.  And wheelie.  And slay even the worst urban gridlock.

(EMD: Little Single that Roars; This Duke can Swim)

And now we can watch the 200 Duke do all of this and more in real time, instead of settling for the written word in the form of very enthusiastic reviews (and they all are), here's an on-board video, courtesy of VisorDown:

If I move to LA next year, I am going to have to get myself one of these.  Cheers! 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

KTM 200 Duke: The Little Single that Roars

At a 31.8-inch seat height, its not as low as I would want for a single-cylinder commute-killing urban moto, but its lower than my Ducati 900SS (32.3-inches) and and only a cat's whisker higher than my '95 CBR900RR (31.5-inches).

I do like to play urban guerrilla on the Honda, but technically I justify its existence in the garage as my touring cycle.   And while the 200 Duke is a little shorter on pony-power than my designated city bike, the '82 BMW R65LS, the Austrian moto is a human body's worth of 161lbs lighter.

Plus I agree with Ben Cope at, that the two-stroke engines on the smaller entry motos of old had a raw screaming soul unmatched by any 4-stoke today.  The old air-cooled boxer doesn't even try.  But with a 72mm bore at a 49mm stoke, this "4" can rev.

Do you get the sense that I am attempting to rationalize myself a new motorcycle?  Um, well...


Meet the KTM 200 Duke - a compact, feisty single, revving its screaming orange-black-white livery to a street near you:

How fast do you think I just took that corner?

There is just something about this KTM single. 

Initially, there were just rumors of a new mini-Duke.  Larger than the 125 baby.  But not the handful that is the 900 Duke.  

Then a video of the new machine.  Swimming.  (EMD: This Duke can Swim)

What?  This is a very important feature on a motorcycle.  Who knows when the Potomac River might flood?  And when I move to L.A. next year, California could fall in to the ocean after a major earth quake.  A swimming 200 Duke could be the only escape...

And I'm rationalizing again.  But look at it:

It just looks like it will run you over and pick its chain clean with your bones. Traffic and pedestrians, beware!

Plus, lots of rev.

Tiny flick-me-over waist:

Standard, comfy seating position for the few times it can't weave through gridlocked cagers.

Which, all combined with a fly's weight, mean a rip-roaring, knee dragging spin through the twisties or your neighborhood cul-de-sac, as you u-turn within a single lane and do it all over again.

(Bikes are better, even in the city:  EMD: Small Motos; Big City)

The only question left: How do I justify this mini Duke and maintain a spot for my R65LS in my garage and not just my heart?


Sourced from and MCN.  For the original VisorDown article, click: HERE

Monday, 18 June 2012

Video: Small Motos. Big City.

I realize that this is a Euro-centric motorcycle blog, and there isn't a Euro-bike in the video.  But stay with me, it does have a connection:

Europeans are far more prolific urban commuters and riders than Americans, who lean toward weekend warrior cafe-hopping.

Which might explain the American preference for heavy weight cruisers and liter-bikes:  They're great in a straight line, but they share a turn radius with a river barge and handle quick start-stop-and-swerve maneuvering with all the grace and aplomb of a damp bath towel:

Oops.  The Captain should have started turning a few miles earlier.

So what if you're American, live in a major urban area, and still feel the need for a two-wheeled commute?  You know, like Europeans do.  (See, I told you there was a Euro-connection.)

Turns out, you do have options.  And the guys at Hell for Leather online magazine are happy to show you how much better it is to ditch the cage and abuse the pavement on a traffic-slaying, smaller sized, motorbike:

(It would be even better if the remaining 49 States would take California's and the rest of the world's lead and allow lane-splitting.  I'm moving to SoCal just so I can engage in it without fear of yet another ticket.  That, and to to stalk the HFL guys - have the biggest crush on Wes Siler!)

Throw in the superior fuel mileage, decrease in travel time, access to "alternative" routes,  low up-front and maintenance costs on the bikes, plus that all-important fun factor (dodging city traffic; so much better than simply playing a video game, baskside planted to the couch!) and its clear that speedy and small on two-wheels is the only way to travel in the city.

And if you want to use a Euro bike?  I ride an '82 BMW R65LS through the streets of Washington, D.C. and wouldn't trade it for anything (post-rear suspension and front brake line upgrade; subjects of future EMD posts, coming soon).

Want a more modern ride?  KTM and Aprilia offer great smaller commuter motos:

KTM's Baby Duke 200

Aprilia RS4 125 - for the track and the commute.  A two-fer!

And, as anyone who has ever sat astride a Triumph Bonnie knows, the Bonnevilles and Triumph's Street Triple, as well as the Ducati Monster 696, also make great city bikes, albeit more expensive, and subsequently, cringe worthy, when exposed to urban dangers.

The moral of the story, other than HFL's Ride Apart online series is awesome and continuing to get even better?

Cities are better from two-wheels.  Period.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The KTM Duke 200 can Swim

KTM's Baby Duke 200 is expected to compete in markets where smooth pavement and intact bridges are sometimes optional and occasionally a luxury.

Concerned that the customer base wouldn't be convinced that this Austrian moto would be able to withstand the rigors of the Indian roadways or southeast Asian countryside, KTM set up a demonstration to show that their new Baby Duke could, um, swim with the big fish?

Don't know about you, but I'm left wishing this Duke was coming stateside.