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KTM to Introduce 250/300 Duke for 2012

The new KTM 125 Duke (pictured) that will appear at European dealers in the Spring of 2011 is the basis for another Duke coming from KTM, displacing either 250cc or 300cc (or both) according to interviews given by KTM’s CEO in Europe recently. 

Riders in the United States have largely forgotten how much fun it is to pilot an ultra-light, single-cylinder motorcycle . . . even one that “lacks power” by today’s jaded U.S. consumer perspective.  We don’t know whether KTM will bring this bike to the U.S., but you can bet they will be watching when Honda’s new CBR250R hits dealers’ showrooms here next Spring at a recently announced MSRP of $3,999 ($4,499 with ABS). 


  1. JM says:

    Used to have a DRZ Super Moto and am sorry I ever sold it. I’d love to have a 690 Super Duke but KTM’s are so pricey and even though I have a dealer about 30 mins away, I’ve never seen more than one on the floor and it usually isn’t a street legal bike. They have a long uphill climb.

  2. MikeD says:

    Being that is KTM and they are re-using the same roling chasis it will be a Single, rigth ? Then make it a 300…no anemic 250 unless it is on par or better than the one used on the Yamaha WR250X.
    How about a “longer lasting street biased 350” off their new motocross 350cc Mill?
    Aprilia!!… get ur sh!th str8 too and slap a 250cc or bigger on your soon to come to the USA RS4 or else.

  3. Joey Wilson says:

    I really admire KTM . . . . very different drummer they march to, in-house Works Performance suspension, first rate components up and down the range. But, I’ll never seriously think about one until they STOP putting thin DIRTBIKE SEATS on EVERYTHING they make !

  4. William says:

    It isn’t just that the KTMs are more expensive than other brands, but trying to find a dealer that sells KTM streetbikes is the other hurdle. There isn’t one in 300 miles of me and I live right in the middle of the U.S.A. (Missouri).

    Recently I was in a Triumph/Ducati dealership here and the salesman told me they are going to be a KTM dealer. I said great, when would they have a 690 Duke on the floor? He said, sorry, we’re only going to carry off road models, we don’t want the street models to compete with our Ducati brand.

    Good luck KTM.

  5. ziggy says:

    …I think I just jizzed in my pants!

  6. John Laptad says:

    Affordable, fun, price point street bikes, great. I think this is great. Kudos to KTM. Now,…. will they please, PLEASE, do what they should have done years ago, what a number of us have been waiting for, MAKE A REAL 690 ADVENTURE!

  7. Morgan from New Zealand says:

    Jack is a big girl if he can’t keep up with city traffic on a CBR125. I deliver mail on a CT110 (Yes, They’re still in production). You can carve city traffic with 8 bhp if you are a real rider! I do 30,000km a year (American can do their own conversion) on the little bike in the suburbs and main roads of Christchurch (pop 300,000). Anyone who says 250s or 400s are too small needs to harden up.

    • Brinskee says:

      I think Jack is talking about a real city and real riding, not traipsing through the countryside dodging sheep along the way… A 400 is just good enough in my city, San Francisco. Anything smaller? Truck is getting bigger in the mirrors… Personally my 950SM is just about right, but even then I wish I had more power at times.

      • MikeD says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself…rigth on.
        I almost got run over by a minivan mom like a month ago, the only thing that saved my Bacon was the response from my UN-ASTHMATIC OVERLY HUGE AND UNNECESSARY for the street 996cc 90* twin engine…Such a horrible thing to happen….HERESY I SAY, HERESY!

        So yeah folks, go with w/e tickles your pickle and don’t b!tch about and judge too much other’s choices. Is all relative….beauty(engine size) is on the eye and dyno-butt of the beholder.

        • Morgan says:

          I well remember when I lived in Sydney Australia (pop 4,000,000) leaving my friend on his Z1000J (KZ1000 to you Americans) for dead through the city traffic on my Yamaha RS125 single (about 12 bhp). I had and RD350LC as well at the time but prefered the lttle bike round town. A little bike can tale the gaps and make the gaps through any city. Go to Europe and see what I mean. It’s not the size of the tool, it’s what you do with it. I also recall that when I took my 350 out of town I was never passed by a 750 or 1100!

          • enrique eon says:

            Some people do have the need to make up what they lack in skill and knowledge with horsepower. They think a bigger motor makes up for smaller a brain.

  8. ohio says:

    The Yamaha WR250X and KTM XCF-W 250 are probably the closest benchmarks for cost and performance. Aside from being lower and shorter travel, I’d expect the mini-Duke to come in between the two in power, weight and price. So ~$7500, ~250lbs, ~32hp. Not an economical bike, but I bet it’ll be a blast for city riding. The Yamaha certainly is.

  9. Ron says:

    I’m not tall at all and not concerned about seat height. I road all over Laos on a TTR250 and its seat is about 35-36″. I don’t know what the fuss is about. If you drop it, just pick it up. Am I missing something?

  10. PeteP says:

    Why do you have to touch the ground with both feet? Ricky Carmichael used to use a stepstool to start. Gaston Rahier used to start off sidesaddle. Learn to overcome.

    • mpolans says:

      I bet they weren’t starting and stopping all the time on the street. Riding on the track is different.

  11. big bopper says:

    The link provided by Jack on the 125cc lists it’s seat height as 31.8″ KTM says they are building the 250/300 on the same platform so that height should suit plenty of riders.

  12. Jack says:

    My experience with a Honda CBR125. Pull out into traffic and the sphincter instantly begins to contract. Wring it out in 1st to redline, grab second and do the same, then repeat with 3rd gear. Look down at the speedo and see your going 15 mph. Sphincter contracts some more as the truck begins to fill your rear view.Power shift into 4th at redline and pray you don’t miss a shift. By the time you wring out 5th your almost up to speed with the city traffic.

  13. MarkF says:

    WOW! This 250 might just be way better than the Suzuki DR400SM. I want one!

  14. dbarker says:

    I feel just the opposite about seat heights. I’m 5’6″ on my best day. There have been many bikes that I’d have liked to own but they were too tall. I’m glad to see small bikes coming to the USA. I just traded my Harley FXD Superglide on a Honda CRF230L(dualsport) and Honda Elite 110(scooter). The little bikes are way more fun than my Harley ever was.

  15. Vrooom says:

    Wow, lot’s of concern about seat height in both directions. KTM’s are typically tall, however I recall my old Duke having a seat height in the range of 34″.
    I think the success of this model is going to come down to price. KTM’s are typically more expensive than their competition, at least in the off road arena, though generally more capable. If they can sell this for less than say $6K, it will work, for $8-10K people have too many options.

    • Tim says:

      The problem, as I see it, is that you can buy a Versys for around $6,000 new with the huge discounts dealers are offering, and I’ve seen KLR 650’s for around $4,800 brand new,maybe the best bargain in motorcycling.

      I’ve owned 250 to 450 cc bikes and they are just not capable on the highway. Even the 450, while it kept up with traffic on the highway, had to pretty much have the throttle pegged to do it. I was never comfortable at highway speeds on bikes that had to be pushed that hard.

      A Versys weighs under 400 lbs, handles better than most sport bikes due to the great ground clearance, light weight and wide bars, and you can take a 3000 mile trip on one in complete comfort if you replace the stock seat (I’ve done those sorts of trips twice.) I also have a Triumph Sprint sport tourer, with possibly the best all around motor ever to grace a motorcycle, and I choose to take the Versys on longer trips. The Versys riding position is better and it is much better in cross winds.

      I’ve got nothing against smaller displacement bikes in theory, but when they get into the $5,000 to $6,ooo range, there are much better choices.

      All that said, this bike looks like it would be a blast to ride around the neighborhood.

      I predict they’ll be hot sellers in Europe, but not here. Parent’s might buy them as first bikes for their teenagers, but there aren’t enough of those parents out there to make it a sales success here, and they’re competing against a very good Kawasaki 250 and the new Honda 250, at lower prices.

      • Tim says:

        “…A Versys weighs under 400 lbs…”

        You should put the wheels and tires back on and weigh it again. It’s closer to 475, ready to ride.

        “I’ve got nothing against smaller displacement bikes in theory, but when they get into the $5,000 to $6,ooo range, there are much better choices.”

        You are equating displacement/horsepower and physical size with being “better.” Not everyone wants a 500 lb. street bike with 60 or 70 horsepower, (or 160 – 170 for that matter). I’d rather have comparable performance from a bike that weighs ~150 lbs. less and only needs 35 or 40 HP. I don’t think a bike is worth more just because it has a bigger engine. You are correct that it wouldn’t sell in great numbers here in the US.

  16. RAD says:

    I like it looks like a blast .

    I can have fun on my daughters yamaha 50 .
    I know this thing would be fun .
    I have the perfect road .

    Can KTM make it price competitive .

  17. cyclox says:

    put a 2T motor in it, throw on some decent tires and take it to the track!

  18. trent says:

    I’ve always wanted an extra 50-100cc on the (pre-2008) Ninja 250 without porking it up. If KTM sells a 300cc Duke in the U.S., and it isn’t too expensive, I’m going to make a concerted effort to put one in my garage.

  19. steve says:

    I’d love to have one of these… the CBR 250 is too low powered & too sportbike-ish. I am buying a 1971 Triumph 650 Street Tracker to satisfy my desire for an old school classic bike with super moto style handling but the single cylinder KTM is just the ticket!

  20. Mr. Mike says:

    I hope the trend of light-weight, high performance smaller displacement bikes like this hooks the younger and future generation of U.S. riders so that the culture of bigger-is-better overweight, under performing cruisers dies out with the baby boomers and their ilk. Full disclosure: I’m a member of the worst generation (Baby Boomers).

  21. jamie says:

    just put a 505 xcf motor in it and i’d buy one….

  22. Calvin and Hobbes says:

    it would be both terrible and ironic if this bike, looking as good as it does, sounds like a Zuma when it accelerates…maybe they should make it two stroke.

  23. MGNorge says:

    Other than styling which is always subjective, with KTM it’s going to be the cost. Mainstream USA equates size, physical and displacement, to dollars spent. These would be a tough sell here unless the 250-400cc street scene was red hot. There was a day.

  24. KTMer says:

    As a KTM owner, I can tell you that the seat heights are generally the highest you can get, and the legroom (seat to peg) is also the most you can get on a sporty bike. That’s one of the main reason’s I have a SuperDuke. A huge bonus is that it performs as well as, or better, than other sportbikes in the corners, even the GSXR I owned. KTM has really got a great product that is the essence of motorcycling for many of us. They don’t have all the bells and whistles you get with many other bikes. But that’s a plus that becomes obvious on your first test ride.

  25. GMan38 says:

    If I were to get one of these, I’d just go ahead and turn in my license and get it over with.

    • Tim says:

      Ha ha. My exact comment, the first time I saw the Duke II was, “That’d be like setting my driver’s license on fire.” Yeah, I thnik I could get in a lot of trouble with the 250/300cc version, too.

  26. GP says:

    I am happy to see more small bikes come to market. I only wish they were multi-cylinder bikes, instead of singles, but I guess then the price would place them too close to their larger bretheren. These projected 250 and 300cc bikes are an example of KTM’s earned reputation of listening to its consumer base, and acting quickly – something the other manufactureres have so far been unable, or unwilling to do.

  27. asphalt surfer says:

    The 125cc KTM is cute but let’s face it- there would be no sales in any quantity to make it worth bringing to the US. Too expensive for kids and too slow for most adults.A 250-300cc would be great if it were a 2-stroke. I agree with Thoppa that a 400 or maybe even a 350cc would be needed in a 4-stroke to get any thrill passed the government smog and noise control mandates. Aprilia gets it- with their RXV series of 550-450 V-twins, although again it proves a very limited buyers market for premium lightweights.

    In addition to modern liter bikes I own an 85 KR RZ350, which is without a doubt the most fun of them all to ride around town. With modern suspension and brakes even in its existing chassis and mostly stock engine it would be an absolute urban “stomp”.

    Probably a category better left to custom limited production hand build bike builders.

  28. duckboy says:

    ktm is now the production leader on small lightweight highperformance street bikes!!! this genre of bike is needed in today’s market. cities are getting more and more congested and heavy large displacement bikes are just impractical and not as fun as a good lightweight bike! thank you ktm.

  29. Thoppa says:

    It’s great to see KTM expanding the Duke range. I have a KTM 640SM (150Kgs) and a Honda XLR250R (114Kgs); both awesome bikes with great suspension, but the 250 doesn’t have the torque to have a real blast. If KTM made a 400 Duke ( a retuned 450 engine ? ) then no question I’d get one, but a 250 or 300 just doesn’t do it for me.

  30. Eric says:

    I had a CRB125 for a while and it was a lot of fun to ride and a great little commuter. The 250 will be a really good “other” bike for a lot of riders.
    I currently have a dualsport 350 and a standard 650. I’ll be looking to add the CBR250 with abs to the garage this summer.

  31. Tim says:

    Nobody cares how tall I am or how much I weigh, (seats and ride heights and suspensions can be adjusted up or down to suit people’s frames so it’s really not an issue), so I’ll just talk about the bike(s). Other than the graphics, I think I could really like this motorcycle. This is pretty much what I thought of when I first saw the Duke 125 announced. Just because it doesn’t weigh 500+ lbs doesn’t mean it’s not a “real” motorcycle. I’ve never owned a KTM, mostly because of pricing, but this one really tempts me.

  32. John Stokes II says:

    I live on the eastern side of Illinois, where the roads follow the section lines, meaning very few curves. A light single cylinder bike is a joy on twisty roads, such as on the western side of this state, but over here, my Speed Triple makes up for the lack of turns with it’s grin-inducing power.

    I’d love to have one, Honda 250 included, if I lived where it would be fun.

  33. Drew Kazee says:

    I think the 125 would be great if they would bring it to the USA.

  34. Wilson R says:

    The best news in the article is the the Honda CBR250R will be priced at $3,999. KTM is sure to cost a bucket-load more money than the Honda.

  35. gore-tx says:

    That is exactly what I want! When I saw KTM was making a Duke 125 I thought they should have gone for a 250/ 400cc one. If they indeed produce a KTM 300, I want one. They have a partnership with Indian giant Bajaj so it should help keep the cost down. European (pre)views talk about a well designed, well finished product. European standards at Asian cost.

  36. Norcal Mike says:

    Oh, as for these bikes…I love ’em. Too bad that they will suffer from price bloat like all KTM bikes. Being a rider of a DRZ, I only wish that I could afford the 990 SuperDuke as the 400 just takes a beating at highway speeds, which a bike needs to be able to handle.

    Basically, on the street, 125 and 300 may not be enough to cut it. I do not feel that I am of the power hungry crowd that has to have the biggest and fastest. I still think the DRZ is the best bike for the money made -it just needs better legs for the street, and small displacement is always going to be at a disadvantage there.

    • enrique eon says:

      Does anybody here know about the 650 Duke?

      It is true, they are pricey. But thet are good.

      If performance is not so much the issue, a 650 DRZ, KLR or CRF works just great.

  37. Norcal Mike says:

    I am continually amazed by all the comments about seat height. Particularly the one from Milo about touching both feet on the ground and then making a car statement about only tall people being able to drive. GET REAL, or get used to being a midget..
    At 5-10, I am about average for a male, and I RARELY if EVER place both feet on the ground at a stop light. Those who ride, are more concerned with how a bike fits while actually riding the bike.
    If you wanna sit still and feel the seat creeping up your crotch, buy a hobby horse and pretend you are riding while sitting in your garage wearing your new A-star leathers, and make motorcycle noises while doing so.
    The best riders in the world happen to be short of stature, but you don’t hear them complaining about only getting their toes on the ground during the several seconds before the start of a race…

  38. Tim says:

    They’re great looking little bikes, but the price I’m seeing thrown around is just crazy high for the 125. I hate to think what a 250 or 300 would run. When you can buy a real motorcycle like a Versys, or SV 650 for the same price a 250 or 300 KTM would likely bring, it doesn’t seem to me like KTM is likely to sell many of them in the states. They may do OK in Europe, where new riders often have displacement limits put on them, but not here.

    • Jack says:

      Isn,t it interesting though that we are willing to pay 6-8 thousand for an offroad bike of similar displacement. Why is that?

  39. Brinskee says:

    I like what KTM is doing here. Personally, being 6’5″ and 215lbs, I have to agree with those that say bikes are getting too short (and tiny). It’s tough to find bikes that fit anymore… so I won’t personally be riding these bikes, but I love the direction!

  40. phil says:

    @Milo, I can only ride BMWs. All the other bikes are too small. Too many short-arses around, I guess, particularly in Japan…

    • Mickey says:

      Other than cruisers I don’t see where one could say seat heights are too low. Most are 32″+ and many are closer ro 34″.

  41. Milo says:

    Most manufacturers still dont get it. all they have to doo is look at rideres at stop lights and they would notice that even six foot plus riders cant touch both feet on the ground. Could you imagine trying to sell a car that only tall people could drive.

    • Zombo says:

      Since I’m 6’3″ with long legs and most these days cars don’t have enough leg room – yes! Yes I can ! Really what’s one car among most seemingly built for those no taller than 5’9″ with their sparse leg room ?

    • Superchicken says:

      That must be the dating site 6′ men that can’t touch the ground on their bikes, because I’ve yet to meet a modern bike where I have trouble flat-footing it. Honestly I’d like more so I don’t have to lower the pegs and sacrifice cornering clearance to get a bit of legroom. I will admit that I’m a bit gangly though. Either way I think it’s entirely fair that more compact people have to deal with not being able to flat foot the bike when I have to deal with highwater pants and short-sleeved jackets.

  42. Momichael says:

    If it was a least a 300 cc and the seat height wasn’t ridiculously low then I would consider this bike. Seat heights have gotten so low over the years that it has taken the fun out of cycling. Most people over 5′ 10″ need a bike that will let them sit on it comfortably. Let’s put the fun back into commuting.

    • Vrooom says:

      Have you tried a dual sport? I can’t think of a single dual sport with a seat height less than around 32-34″? You can get yourself a KTM with a 36″ seat height. I’m thinking you are mostly referring to cruisers and sportbikes. Even standards are typically 32″. I’m 6’1″, and have no problem on a V-Strom, KLR, heck I even make a Tuono work.

  43. rojaws says:

    With belt drive and 300cc I would be tempted to buy.

  44. John says:

    I’d buy one if they keep the seat height reasonable. Even cooler if they make a dual sport version that doesn’t give nose bleeds.

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