Back in 2012, KTM started their innings in India with the 200 Duke and the bike went on to set standards that are still unmatchable by many in the segment. It took KTM not long to introduce their bigger player that offered performance competing with that of the middle weight motorcycles. Currently there are many contenders when we look up to this segment and wonder something is still missing. We do have motorcycles like the Kawasaki ER6n and Benelli TNT 600i for us, but is that enough for the Indian motorcycle market that is booming in recent years.
- Duke’s Followers:
Out of many other things, if there is one thing that the Austrian brand also did right was making the Orange Ride a trend. KTM organises Orange Rides time after time, and Indian roads were not quite familiar with the same kind of gatherings until KTM brought their ‘Orange Ride’ events. As a result, the orange brand went on to grab attention directly on roads and with time made an impression that made KTM one of the most desired brands in the industry. Open Facebook and you will find a large number of groups and pages made for the Duke and you can easily see the kind of fan following the Austrian firm enjoys in India. Apart from that a survey says that buyers often get attached to the brand, if there are good number of 200 & 390 riders in the country, there is a big chance that same buyers will upgrade to the 690 Duke if they have an option of upgrading with the same brand.
- Possibly the best value for money motorcycle on Earth:
The 200 Duke was launched at an introductory price of INR 1.17 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and was praised all over for being a brilliant value for money proposition. Bajaj-KTM was able to price the bike sensibly because of two reasons, first, the bike was manufactured locally within India and second, that it is a single-cylinder not a twin. Same will be the case with the 690 Duke, though there is less chance that the bike will be manufactured in India but being a single cylinder it is bound to cost less than all of its competitors. Doing all the math we can assume the bike shall not cross the INR 4 Lakh limit by any chance and that will give nightmares to its counterparts. A bike that cost this less and still manages to be quicker than the bikes that costs almost double of it, just imagine!
- Atrocious performance out of a single:
Unlike its contenders, the 690 Duke runs on a 690cc 4-stroke engine which is the world’s most powerful single cylinder engine that has ever been put on a bike. Delivering 73bhp of max power and managing almost similar torque number (74Nm), not only is it a ferociously angry single cylinder engine but it will also be responsible for making the bike much affordable. The bike accelerates like an untamed beast, it crosses 0-100 km/hr limit in around 4.1 seconds and when on highways, it can touch 195 km/hr mark. In addition to being fitted with a vibration-damping counter balancer shaft, this latest LC4 engine has an “anti-hopping” slipper clutch and ride-by-wire fuel injection system.
- Three-way adjustable engine power modes and a bunch of electronics:
Again the 690 Duke stands apart when it comes to electronics, the bike is offered with three-way adjustable engine power modes (Sport/Street/Rain) which is a standard feature on the 690. A rider can select a power mode according to the terrain and his need. These power modes are offered as standard unlike competitors in this range. Apart from that, the bike comes with Bosch sourced ABS and optional stability control offered as part of its “Safety Package”.
- Already established extensive service network from Bajaj-KTM:
Let’s count all the current middle weight naked street fighters in India, the first and the most affordable is the Kawasaki ER6n, then comes the Benelli TNT 600i, the Triumph Street Triple 675. Not counting the Kawasaki Z800 and the Ducati Monster of course. Every single manufacturer has a limited service network. Though DSK-Benelli is working continuously to expand the same but it’s still nowhere if Bajaj-KTM’s service network is taken into consideration. And if the bike is launched it won’t be a pain to get the bike to the centre for a quick check-up unlike every other manufacturer of the segment and again being a single-cylinder it will be light on the pocket to maintain the motorcycle in a longer run.
May be it is just the right time KTM should seriously consider about introducing the bike in our market. Do let us know your views on the same in the comment section below.