The Duke 200 is easily one of the most fun to ride machines to ever set rubber on Indian soil. Swinging a leg over the 810 mm high seat, you naturally settle into an aggressive but comfortable riding position. Turn the key and the comprehensive digital dash reads ‘Ready to Race’, which is enough to make the hair on the back to declare a high alert. And then it goes back down a bit when you start up the bike. It’s not as gruff sounding as you’d expect, not when standing still anyway.
However, up the revs and dump the clutch, and until around 7000 rpm, it makes a throaty roar, though it turns into a harsh scream after that till 10,000 rpm. The short stroke motor doesn’t seem to have bottom-end power - no, it’s not what you think. Combined with the ultra-low gearing (in keeping with true streetfighter tradition), it seems as if mid-range starts off right from idle - it’s that strong! Twisting the throttle in any gear at any speed sends a pleasant tug at your shoulders, the Duke hinting not so subtly that it wants to go, go, go!
You need to have a quick left foot to keep up with the motor while blasting off from standstill, and thanks to the sweet-shifting six-speed gearbox, it’s always a joy to do endless acceleration runs. And what you get for your efforts is 0-60 kph and 0-100 kph in a claimed 3.3 seconds and 9-odd seconds, and a top speed of 135 kph. But life isn’t always a straight line. And thank God for that.
MORE ON PAGE 4>>