KTM launched the RC 125 in India earlier this month and IAB got invited to test ride the supersport segment product from the Austrian two-wheeler brand at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant. Does it have enough charisma to attract the young buyers away from Yamaha’s more power powerful, feature-packed and affordable YZF-R15 V3.0? We swung a leg over the saddle to find out.
KTM RC 125 - Design
In terms of styling, the KTM RC 125 looks identical to its siblings in the Indian market – the RC200 and the RC390 – thus lending it a big bike persona. At the front, there are twin-pod projector headlights with dual LED DRLs that are typical of KTM supersport models. The setup is cocooned inside a transparent mask that extends to become a windscreen. The blinkers, similar to the rest of the KTM products in the Indian market, are LED units. Like the RC200 and the RC390, the R C125 has rear-view mirror-mounted blinkers for a clean look at the front.
The RC 125 features a fairing for better aerodynamics than the naked roadster. The fairing has different graphics along with the KTM branding and part of the RC 125 tag that partly runs on the 9.5-litre fuel tank. The fuel tank capacity is identical to the RC200 and the RC390, although, with its smaller engine and relatively lower power output figures, the RC 125 can cover more miles than its bigger siblings can.
A split-style saddle follows the fuel tank. The rider seat may appear to be compact but it offers sufficient space to move around for cornering or crouching. The pillion seat mimics a rear cowl design to offer a sporty look to the package without compromising on practicality. Behind the pillion seat is a split-style LED tail lamp followed by a rear fender that holds the number plate, a number plate illuminator and LED blinkers. The exhaust, unlike the European-spec model, features a short design for a cleaner look from the sides.
The RC 125 uses a trellis frame, which also underpins the 125 Duke. However, KTM has tweaked the sub-frame for the RC model to match its sporty character. The RC 125 features a sharper steering head angle, shorter trail and wheelbase – all of which aim to offer better agility. We will shed more light on the handling prowess of the motorcycle in the latter part of the review.
The cockpit features the same LCD screen that also displays the information on the 125 Duke, 200 Duke, RC200 and the 250 Duke. Thus, you have a plethora of information available on the display. The home screen offers information such as tachometer, speedometer, gear position indicator, odometer, temperature gauge, fuel gauge and a clock. The “Mode” and “Set” buttons on the left side of the display toggle between the information on the screen. The “Mode” button toggles between the odometer, trip meter 1 and trip meter 2. The “Set” button, on the other hand, brings information such as ride time, average speed, fuel economy, fuel consumption per 100 km, distance to empty and distance to next service.
An addition of a lap timer would have been a great addition to the information-rich display. The large speedometer on the screen is easy to read, and so is the rest of the information. However, unlike the 390 Duke or the international spec-125 Duke, you cannot toggle between the information through the switchgear on the handlebar. We would most likely see the setup on the next generation RC motorcycles.
The build quality looks and feels solid, while the hardware such as 43 mm front forks, aluminium swingarm and projector headlights enhance the premium persona. The KTM RC 125 is available in Orange and White colour options.
Does the engine do justice to the styling?
KTM RC 125 - Engine and Performance
The mechanical specifications of the RC 125 are identical to the 125 Duke, and the fully-faired motorcycle uses a re-bored and re-stroked version of the Austrian brand’s 200 cc engine. The 124.7 cc single cylinder, 4-valve, DOHC motor with liquid cooling and fuel injection system churns out 14.5 PS of peak power at 9,250 rpm and 12 Nm of maximum torque at 8,000 rpm. The engine is linked to a six-speed, constant mesh gearbox.
The character is identical to the 125 Duke, although the addition of a fairing offers better aerodynamics than the naked roadster. The sweet spot for the engine sits between 7,000 rpm to redline where it makes most of the power. That does not necessarily mean that you have to keep the motor on the boil all the time. You can still cruise at decent speeds between under 7,000 revs but the step-up in performance is evident at the higher RPM levels.
In terms of speed, the third gear maxes out at 73 km/h while the fourth will hit 92 km/h on the speedometer. The fifth cog can propel the motorcycle to 110 km/h before reaching redline and rev limiter. In the sixth gear, we saw a top speed of 115 km/h on the long stretch of the test track. However, there were a few more revs left until redline and the motorcycle can achieve even higher top speed on a longer stretch. In comparison, we achieved a top speed of 109 km/h on the same stretch of the test track on the KTM 125 Duke. The six-speed transmission feels crisp and precise with no faulty shifts or false neutrals during the test ride.
Anchoring department, once again, is identical to the 125 Duke. The RC125 uses a 300 mm disc at the front and a 230 mm disc at the rear with ByBre sourced callipers to shed speeds. The feedback from the brakes is strong and the heavy braking before turn 3 did not result in any unwanted drama. The motorcycle does miss dual-channel ABS, which is a letdown but the single-channel safety net at the front, along with anti-lift system at the rear, delivers satisfactory results. The ABS and anti-lift system are not switchable.
While the engine feels just as impressive as the 125 Duke does, it is the ride and handling department that takes the package to a completely new level.
KTM RC 125 - Ride and Handling
Unlike the 125 Duke, the RC 125 is designed for the racetrack. As mentioned above, it has sharper steering head angle, shorter trail and wheelbase than the 125 Duke. This makes the RC 125 more nimble and engaging than its roadster sibling. The forward-leaning riding position adds more aggressiveness to the KTM RC 125 and pushing it around the test track was entertaining.
The full fairing design offers better windblast protection, while the saddle packs sufficient space to move around while cornering or crouching on a straight line.
A pair of 43 mm inverted telescopic forks at the front and a 10 step adjustable monoshock at the back perform the shock absorption tasks. The suspension setup gives a lot of confidence while cornering. The MRF-sourced Revz rubber offers decent grip for everyday use, although track junkies should opt for sticker tyres for better grip around the corners.
The motorcycle feels smooth for most of the part, although some vibrations are noticeable as the motorcycle gets closer to its 10,500 rpm redline.
Should you buy one?
KTM RC 125 - Verdict
KTM aims to attract the attention of young buyers with the RC 125 and its aggressive styling with borderline maniac looks will do the job perfectly. The engaging engine, premium hardware and sporty ergonomics further compliment the styling and make the entry level RC a near perfect package. However, it has an uphill task to compete with the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0’s advanced setup and affordable price tag.
In case you missed our previous reports, the KTM RC 125 was launched in India at INR 1.47 lakh*, while the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 is priced from INR 1.39 lakh*. Along with the lower price tag, the YZF-R15 V3.0 packs a dual-channel ABS, more powerful engine, Variable Valve Actuation, assist/slipper clutch and the famed delta box frame, which makes it a more value-for-money deal.
However, if you have an emotional corner for the Austrian brand, the RC 125 is a perfect way to be a part of KTM’s family.
KTM RC 125 vs. KTM 125 Duke vs. Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 - Spec Comparo
|Model||KTM RC 125||KTM 125 Duke||Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0|
|Engine||124.71 cc, Single-Cylinder 4-Valve, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled, Fuel Injected||124.71 cc, Single-Cylinder 4-Valve, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled, Fuel Injected||155 cc Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valve, fuel injected with Variable Valve Actuation|
|Max Power||14.5 PS @ 9,250 rpm||14.5 PS @ 9,250 rpm||19.3PS @ 10,000 rpm|
|Max Torque||12 Nm at 8,000 rpm||12 Nm at 8,000 rpm||14.7N.m @ 8,500 rpm|
|Gearbox||6-speed constant mesh||6-speed constant mesh||6-speed constant mesh with assist and slipper clutch|
|Weight (Kerb)||160.4 kg||148 kg||142 kg|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||9.5 litres||10.2 litres||11 litres|
|Brake (Front)||300 mm Disc, Radial calliper||300 mm Disc, Radial calliper||282 mm Disc|
|Brake (Rear)||230 mm Disc, Floating calliper||230 mm Disc, Floating calliper||220 mm Disc|
|ABS||Single channel||Single channel||Dual Channel|
|Suspension (Front)||Inverted telescopic fork||Inverted telescopic fork||Telescopic Forks|
|Suspension (Rear)||Monoshock - 10 steps adjustable||Monoshock - 10 steps adjustable||Monoshock|
|Seat Height||835 mm||818 mm||815 mm|
|Ex-showroom Delhi Price||INR 1.47 lakh||INR 1.30 lakh||INR 1.39 lakh|