Its excellent on the track but is it any good on the streets? In a word – yes. But wait, because, like any finance scheme, there’s a quick, perplexingly fast-forwarded note at the end roughly sounding like – ‘Terms and conditions apply’. It really depends on what you’d prefer and what you’d like. If you like your motorcycles fast, loud and of a ‘take-no-prisoners’ disposition, look no further. At this price point, there’s nothing else in the market that offers such bang for the buck. On the other hand, if you want your motorcycles to be comforting, easy-going and hassle-free, you should just buy yourself a nice last-generation Karzima or a Unicorn and be done with it. So, if you belong to Group A here, pay attention. Besides the road test that is coming to you in the forthcoming April issue, here are some notes that couldn’t be squeezed into the print edition –
It attracts attention and how. People are curious as to what this wedgy outlandish orange motorcycle is. One guy thought it was an ‘ATM’ (how I wish!), another exclaimed ‘Duck!’ looking the ‘Duke’ graffiti written on the tank while another safari suit-clad gent thought it was amazing that the ‘Australians’ (probably never heard of ‘Austria’) were doing such cutting-edge stuff. The best one by far was the case of the curious textile shop owner and the conversation that ensued after he saw the bike went something like this –
‘Wow! Price price?’ he says
‘Damn. The down payment is steep! But how much is the EMI?’
Says a lot, doesn't it? And since we're talking money, do note that it is quite steep to insure too. Bajaj's own packaged Bajaj-Allianz comprehensive insurance is around Rs 2600 bucks a year.
It’s light, lithe and very well built. It’s an interesting interplay between muscle and lightness in its design. Seating position is on the aggressive side but easy to get used to.
The ride is super stiff– a tad too stiff for our Martian landscape – and besides the fact that your bum is in for a bad time on any piece of tarmac that’s less than perfect, it makes the Duke rather fidgety around bumpy corners, of which there are a lot of in India.
In dense traffic – like Bombay dense – it does tend to overheat and starts to slow cook your feet like they’re for dinner. Obviously, get moving and everything is back to normal.
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