The name’s Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen – commonly known as KTM, thankfully – and they’re good at what they do. Bloody good. When they’re not busy annihilating the competition at the off-roading bits – like winning the Dakar 11 times straight and numerous motocross championships – they focus on their street line-up and that annihilates whatever competition is left on the road. Or more like, they’d eat them raw. They’re edgy, mad, exceptionally capable, thoroughly engineered and fundamentally awesome. Now though, they’re targeting global domination with their new Indian collaborators and part-owners – Bajaj. And their first weapon of choice is here – the KTM Duke 200. Better known as the most potent streetbike to have ever been manufactured in India.
Sublime. The word is sublime. The coherence and fluidity with which this KTM goes about its business is something to be experienced in real life. It’s like the first time you tried an iPod way back then – it feels marvellous, elegant and effortless. They’ve filtered the bigger displacement Duke experience down to the 200cc segment and the way they’ve pulled it off is by not sacrificing components and quality. It might sound obvious but it’s easier said than done. If you scale it up a bit and change the stickering, it could well be mistaken for a 500cc single. Kiska Design, the folks behind KTM’s edgy design language, have pulled off another crisp, well-defined and purposeful motorcycle. There’s muscle where you want it – like the tank – but elsewhere it’s almost minimalist in nature, employing crisp, sharply defined elements that look like they were slash cut into form using the famous Austrian Glock field knife. Even when you’re on it, if you look down, you cannot escape this feeling that you’re wedged onto a modern art installation. So, here’s how you start – take one trellis frame, one set of beefy WP forks and one WP monoshock, a 300 mm front and a 230 mm rear disc, put it all together, throw some finely sliced wedgy panels into the mix, add generous amounts of solid engineering know-how and then put all your efforts into the heart of the meal – the motor.
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