Austrian hooligan vs Japanese neo-retro goodness. Which one’s superior on paper?
[Update: KTM has launched the 2021 125 Duke in India. Click here to read about it]
The 125cc-160cc performance segment has been gaining popularity in the country, with models like the KTM 125cc duo, the Yamaha R15 V3.0 and the MT-15. And Yamaha could now add a third motorcycle to its list in the form of the Yamaha XSR155. So how does this neo-retro bike compare against the BS6 KTM 125 Duke, the Austrian brand’s most affordable motorcycle in India, on paper?
Obviously, the Yamaha XSR155 is the superior one here thanks to its bigger, more powerful and torquier engine. It also gets the advantage of VVA technology which helps maintain the balance between low-end grunt and top-end drive. On the other hand, the KTM 125 Duke has a narrow powerband and one will have to keep the engine on the boil to maintain momentum. The Yamaha XSR155 also gains the advantage of a 6-speed transmission with assist and slipper clutch which not only reduces lever effort but also prevents the rear wheel from locking up during aggressive downshifts.
The specifications for the Yamaha XSR155 here are of the international-spec version. Expect the India-bound model to compromise on certain bits, just like the Yamaha MT-15. So it is likely to pack a box-section swingarm instead of an aluminium one and the front fork could be a traditional fork instead of inverted ones. While the international-spec Yamaha XSR155 does not have ABS, expect the one sold here to have a proper dual-channel ABS unit. Also, the block pattern tyre in the XSR155 should make it more trail-friendly than the road-biased KTM 125 Duke.
On the other hand, the KTM 125 Duke’s underpinnings are uncompromising, and are similar to its bigger-engined brothers. The only grinch here is that it gets single-channel ABS to keep costs in check.
Dimensions & Features
The Yamaha XSR155 should be a hoot to ride on the trails thanks to its bigger ground clearance and block pattern tyres. It is also considerably lighter than the KTM 125 Duke, even with fuel. That should have a positive effect in the low speed handling as well as the overall dynamics of the motorcycle. At 810mm, the seat height on both the bikes are pretty reasonable.
When it comes to the features list, the Yamaha XSR155 packs a properly modern LED headlamp and LED tail lamp whereas the indicators are bulbs. On the other hand, the KTM 125 Duke gets LED tail lamps and indicators but the headlamp is halogen to keep the costs in check. Both bikes get a fully digital instrument cluster but the one in the KTM shows real-time and average mileage apart from the regular trove of information.
Price & Verdict
Expect the Yamaha XSR155 to be priced at around Rs 1.30 lakh to Rs 1.40 lakh in India. On the other hand, the KTM 125 Duke’s pricing is on the higher side considering it is still a 125cc motorcycle at the end of the day. For those who like a tech-laden, well-rounded bike tempered with a little bit of retro flavour, the Yamaha XSR155 is worth the wait. The KTM 125 Duke, on the other hand, is apt for those who want to jump onto the orange bandwagon in the most affordable way.