Old meets new in this clash of design philosophies
Here in India we associate 125cc motorcycles with boring old commuter roles, but KTM broke new ground when it launched the 125 Duke. The bike was recently updated to feature the trademark Super Duke design language so now it looks as sharp as it feels. Around the same time, Honda unveiled its neo retro CB125R overseas. Here’s how the two bikes compares in pictures:
While the KTM looks rather cutting-edge with its sharp and shouty design, the Honda harks back to the past with a classical round headlight and a clean, uncluttered look.
While not quite the LED unit seen on the 390 Duke, the little 125 has received this meaner, more aggressive looking hexagonal headlight. The CB125R does get LED illumination as well as some very neat LED DRL inserts within its round headlight shroud.
Both bikes feature pretty high-tech motors with liquid-cooling and a 4-valve DOHC setup. But it’s the Honda with its 14.96PS power figure that manages to edge out the KTM’s 14.5PS.
Digital instrumentation is present across the board, but while the Duke has to soldier on with the same LCD unit that we’ve been seeing on KTMs since 2012, the CB125R’s display features a crisper, cleaner layout.
On the suspension front, it’s once again the Honda that trumps the KTM. Yes, the Austrian comes with an upside down fork, but it can’t match the 41mm Separate Function Big Piston Fork from Showa seen on the CB125R. This is the same fork used on the CB650R! Both bikes get a preload-adjustable shock at the rear.
It’s a closely fought battle in the braking department. The Duke’s 300mm/230mm disc combo is slightly larger than the CB’s 296mm/220mm, but the Honda makes up for it with a IMU-assisted ABS, while the KTM has to make do with a standard single-channel system.