2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125
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2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125

Reviews by Team Drivio | Dec 23, 2023

The two bikes from the same parent company fight it out 

  • KTM is the only brand to have a 6-speed gearbox on a 125cc bike in India
  • The 125 Duke’s liquid-cooled engine makes a decent 14.7PS and 11.5Nm
  • That said, it’s still rather expensive for what is at the end of the day a 125cc bike

The 125cc segment in India and globally is quite an interesting one. It’s globally recognised as an entry level segment, where new beginners get and learn to ride geared motorcycles. Which is why these motorcycles have just enough power to keep you excited without being too intimidating. That said, we haven’t received many powerful 125cc bikes in India over the years. 

But now with the KTM 125 Duke, it seems like things have changed. And now that we have the 2024 iteration of the 125 Duke here, we thought it’d be perfect to put it up against the Bajaj Pulsar NS 125 and see which bike actually comes out on top and becomes the perfectly sporty 125cc bike that’s perfect for beginners. Here’s how that comparison went:

2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125: Designs

Taking a page from the KTM 1290 Super Duke's design, the 125 Duke showcases a sharp, mass-forward aesthetic reminiscent of the KTM 200 Duke. Its sporty allure is accentuated by a distinctive headlight, a sizable rear tyre complementing the stylish tail end, and a black exhaust tip on the underbelly exhaust. The bike's athletic appearance is further emphasised by the split-seat configuration and an exposed chassis.

The 125 Duke's fully digital LCD instrument console provides a comprehensive display of standard metrics, including speed, engine RPM, fuel level, tripmeter/odometer readings, distance to empty, real-time mileage, average speed, and a clock. Notably, Bluetooth connectivity is absent. The bike features a halogen headlamp with LED DRLs resembling fangs, and both the tail lamp and indicators are LED. Safety is addressed with the inclusion of a standard Bosch single-channel ABS.

Drawing design cues from its NS siblings, the Bajaj Pulsar NS125 features a headlamp inspired by wolves, a robust tank, solid body, and a split-seat configuration. While maintaining the family look, the bike's proportions may seem slightly off due to narrow tyres and a slim telescopic fork.

In terms of features, the NS125 opts for simplicity. Lacking an LED headlight and a fully digital display, its semi-digital console lacks a range indicator and gear position indicator. The halogen headlight and LED tail light resemble those found on the NS160 and NS200.

2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125: Engines

SpecificationsKTM 125 DukeBajaj Pulsar NS125
Engine124.7cc liquid-cooled engine124cc engine
Maximum power14.5PS11.99PS
Maximum torque12Nm11Nm
Transmission6-speed5-speed

The Duke’s 124.7cc single-cylinder, 4-valve liquid-cooled motor lacks the ride-by-wire throttle of its current-generation counterpart, but boasts a smaller diameter (58mm vs. 72mm) and a slightly shorter stroke (47.2mm vs. 49mm) than the 200 Duke, resulting in a slower rev build.

Performance-wise, the 125 Duke aligns with 150cc motorcycles like the Suzuki Gixxer and Bajaj Pulsar 150, delivering 14.5PS of power and 12Nm of torque. The linear power delivery ensures easy control, with a slight torque increase around 7000 rpm. Although it may not be a drag race contender, the bike's smooth pull up to its redline of just over 10,000 rpm is noteworthy.

Equipped with a scaled-down version of the NS160's engine, the NS125 houses a new 124.45cc single-cylinder, air-cooled engine with two valves and a single overhead camshaft. Generating 11.99PS of power at 8500rpm and 11Nm of torque at 7000rpm, the engine is paired with a 5-speed transmission. Despite its sportiness, the NS125 proves to be decently frugal, offering a respectable fuel efficiency of nearly 57kmpl.

2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

SpecificationsKTM 125 DukeBajaj Pulsar NS125
Front suspensionInverted ForkTelescopic Fork
Rear suspensionMonoshockMonoshock
Front tyre110/70-1780/100-17
Rear tyre150/60-17100/90-17
Front brake300mm DiscDisc Brake
Rear brake230mm DiscDrum Brake
ABSSingle-channelCombined Braking System

Efficient momentum maintenance is achieved with the 125 Duke's chassis featuring a 43mm USD fork, monoshock, 150-section rear tyre, and a 300mm disc brake upfront, shared with other Duke models. Despite a stiff suspension, rider comfort is not compromised, and the wide MRF tyres instil confidence. The single-channel ABS system ensures ample stopping power.

Compared to the Pulsar 125, the NS125 boasts a longer wheelbase and a slightly heavier build. However, thanks to its unique perimeter frame in the 125cc class, the bike maintains excellent balance and a feeling of lightness. Thin tyres and a monoshock suspension contribute to the NS125's enhanced agility.

The telescopic fork handles bumps effectively, and the slightly firm monoshock suspension doesn't compromise rider comfort over uneven road surfaces. Braking performance is reliable, offering decent bite and feedback.

2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125: Dimensions

DimensionsKTM 125 DukeBajaj Pulsar NS125
Wheelbase1366mm1353mm
Seat height822mm805mm
Ground clearance155mm179mm
Kerb weight159kg144kg
Fuel tank capacity13.4-litres12-litres

Weighing in at 159kg kerb weight, the 125 Duke proves nimble, although the weight becomes noticeable at lower speeds, particularly in parking lots. In itself, while it not be very heavy, but for a 125cc bike it definitely feels quite heavy, especially when turning the bike from one side to the other, say when riding up a twisty road. 

The NS125's responsive steering allows for quick changes in direction, making city commutes enjoyable. Compact and agile, this bike is ideal for navigating through traffic. However, riders need to keep the engine in higher revs to extract the most performance, necessitating downshifts for overtaking.

2024 KTM 125 Duke vs 2024 Bajaj Pulsar NS 125: Price

Available in Electronic Orange with black alloy wheels and an orange-black frame or Ceramic White with orange rims and a black-white frame, the KTM 125 Duke is priced at Rs 1,78,892 (ex-showroom Delhi). Unfortunately, the steep price tag may raise eyebrows, considering the features offered. And given that it doesn’t cost a lot less than the 200 Duke, a lot of people might consider paying that extra bit and bringing home the 200 Duke, and that definitely does make a lot of sense. 

Priced at Rs 1,06,355 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Bajaj Pulsar NS125 is available in four vibrant colours: Beach Blue, Fiery Orange, Burnt Red, and Pewter Grey. The highlight of the NS 125 is hands down its price. With it costing more than Rs 72,000 less than the KTM 125 Duke, it’s hands down the more value for money bike of the two, by a big big margin. And most importantly, it costs quite a lot less than the Pulsar NS160, meaning that it maintains a good gap between the 125cc bike and the 160cc one. 

Verdict

The KTM 125 Duke presents a thrilling ride with the luxury synonymous with its siblings. However, its performance falls short of justifying the high price. As an entry-level KTM, it holds appeal for beginners. Yet, for those seeking a streetfighter without brand constraints, alternatives like the TVS Raider 125 offer more excitement and features for a lower cost. 

Alternatively, riders with a flexible budget may find the Yamaha R15 V4 enticing, loaded with advanced features for a sporty learning experience. In essence, while the 125 Duke has its merits, exploring other options might offer a better balance of performance and value.

The significance of the NS125 lies in its pricing, filling the void between the Pulsar 125 and NS 160. While costing more than the Pulsar 125, it remains considerably more affordable than the NS 160. Offering a commendable balance of fuel efficiency, cost, and performance, the NS125, despite room for improvement in performance, stands out in its category without breaking the bank.