Reviewed: KTM Duke 200 and RC200 – The Fun Loving Siblings!

When it comes to big fun on two-wheels, KTM is one of the best at it. Most of the bikes it makes has some racing pedigree, with the brand dabbling in major race series the world for as long as most of us can remember.

And it is through everything that it learns in its racing endeavors that it makes some of the best bikes in the business. And the great thing about the KTM brand is that it has a bike for every budget and riding preference.

Take the two models seen here for example. Priced at RM13,888, the Duke 200 is the smallest sibling of the Supermoto range of KTM bikes. Those in the know will understand that when it comes to supermotos, KTM is arguably the best at it.

On the other hand, the RC200 is priced at RM15,888 and despite sporting a full fairing, it shares the basics with the Duke 200 such as the engine, the electronics, the suspension and the braking system. But it offers a very different riding style as compared to its naked sibling. In these two bikes, there’s something to satiate two very different riding preferences.

Powering both bikes is a 200cc, single-cylinder engine making 26hp and 19.5Nm of torque. Now that may not sound like a lot of power, but it is the way the power is delivered that makes a huge difference.

Almost all that power is made at the upper end of the RPM band and that gives the engine a rev happy character. Both bikes need to be truly strung up to be fully enjoyed and it is not that difficult to do that thanks to a slick-shifting 6-speed gearbox.

The Duke 200 features a close ratio gearbox while the ratios on the RC200 are a little higher. That and different engine tuning gives both bikes different characters.

The Duke 200 for starters feels like the naughtier one of the two siblings. It’s upright Supermoto-like sitting position adds to the drama it offers. It has a purposeful feel to it. Like it is always ready to take on the tightest of corners at your favorite track.

It also comes with two riding models – Road for regular everyday road riding and a Supermoto mode as well. And because the bike comes with a twin-channel ABS system with braking duties managed by ByBre calipers, this mode basically limits ABS intervention at the rear wheels. And this allows the rider to lock up and slide the rear wheel into a corner. It is an amazingly fun feature for a bike with this price tag.

The suspension is made up of 43mm upside down forks provided by WP Suspension upfront and a WP monoshock at the rear, adjustable for pre-load. There really is no drama with the suspension system soaking up and having just the right amount and consistent dive. Giving it a very predictable, sporty yet comfortable riding character.

But what makes the bike truly fun and easy to ride is the fact that it is extremely lightweight – weighing in at just 140kg (dry). This was achieved by using high quality lightweight materials and a new split steel trellis frame that saves weight and adds rigidity.

The position of the exhaust too contributes to the nimble handling of the bike – making it a breeze to pick it up and drop it into corners all day long. The exhaust of the Duke 200 and RC200 has been placed at the very bottom of the bike, and it is a functional design. With most of the exhaust load placed at the bottom of the bike, this lowers the center of gravity and concentrates the weight at the bottom, making it easy for the rider to pick up the bike mid corner. Something like a pivot point.

Despite its sport character and aggressive design, the Duke 200 is surprisingly frugal. The fuel tank measures in at 13.4-liters, and in a real-world test during the few days that we had the bike, we saw a range of 360km. The official fuel consumption figure is rated at 13.4-litres per 100km, an astonishing feat considering that the Duke 200 is meant to be a fun naked sport bike.

But while the Duke 200 offers a naughtier approach to riding, the RC200 is more polished. The Duke 200 loves it when you manhandle it and chuck it in and out of corners, and perhaps wheelie your way into the next corner. The RC200 though prefers long sweeping corners with a transition to tight, hard corners.

The RC200 is a proper track day weapon, one that you can also ride daily to the office thanks to adjustable handlebars. The clip-on handlebars are 15mm higher than the previous generation models for a more comfortable ride. And at just the turn of a screw you can lower it by up to 10mm for a more aggressive sitting position ideal for track days or for a corner carving ride up the mountain.

The design of the bike is the first thing that attracts you. It looks like a proper sports bike and that is because it has been designed using the same CFD software as KTM uses to design its Moto3 race bikes.

Up front, the headlight and windshield look like they are part of a single element but are three individual components that house the halogen headlamp, the Daytime Running LED lights, and the turn signals. If you blacken it and stick on a number, it looks like the front of a race bike.

But it does not only look like a race bike, but that windshield also offers class-leading wind protection. Making the RC200 incredibly comfortable to ride even at high speeds, but yet looks menacing.

And that is the very essence of the RC200, a bike that does not only look like it was born on a track, but track life is why it was born in the first place. Everything else in between is just something the RC200 just happens to do and does it well.

Even the side mirrors are purposeful, having been specifically designed to be aerodynamic, the mirrors are also foldable to give the RC200 a slimmer profile which makes it easier to slice through traffic when needed.

But looks aside, the RC200 has some serious performance credentials identical to the Duke 200. It shares the same engine, the same suspension and even the same ByBre braking system with a Bosch 9.1 MB two channel ABS braking system.

And just like the Duke 200, the RC200 too comes with the same two riding modes. The Supermoto mode also manages ABS intervention and an experienced rider will enjoy locking up and sliding the rear of the bike on track days.

Adding to the joy of riding the RC200 is a new lightweight split trellis frame that is identical to the Duke 200, but this time it comes with a bolted on subframe that is said to add to the stiffness of the bike, letting the rider place it exactly where he wants it to be before and in a corner.

The RC200 is undoubtedly a proper entry level sport bike that will appeal to those looking to trade up from an underbone or simply looking for their first sport bike. But its sporting abilities aside, it also offers some decent practicalities such as the larger fuel tank that measures in at 13.7-litres and provides a range of over 400km in the right hands.

And that is the appeal of the Duke 200 and the RC200, sporting abilities with everyday practicalities. And this time, KTM Malaysia is also throwing in a free maintenance package that includes free engine oil, free labor and a free air filter worth RM1,237 until March 31st, making this the best possible time to get one if you are looking for a bike for some corner munching fun and for everyday practicality.


KTM Duke 200
Engine: 200cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke
Power: 26hp
Torque: 19.5Nm
Gearbox: 6-speed, wet multi-plate clutch
Suspension: WP Apex 43mm (front) WP Apex Monoshock (Rear)
Fuel tank: 13.4-litres

KTM RC 200
Engine: 200cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke
Power: 26hp
Gearbox: 6-speed, claw shifted
Suspension: WP 43mm (front WP Apex Monoshock (Rear)
Fuel tank: 13.7-litres

Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a J300. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels.

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