KTM RC 125 ABS First Ride Review
Most starry-eyed youngsters carry lightweight wallets. Most of them do love motorcycles. And when you’re young, faired motorcycles are the second reason for the raging hormones inside (The primary reason is known to all). Bike makers then, have been scaling down their fully-faired monsters, to offer a machine which is easy on the pocket, doesn’t intimidate with its power to keep the worried folks at home happy, and still, with its looks, technology and equipment, makes for a great first bike. The KTM RC125 is just that. Or is it more than that? Let’s find out.
KTM RC 125 Appearance
It looks far bigger than what it is and with all that orange or black and white if you like, fat rubber, premium components and the bodywork, the KTM RC125 could be a 200, it could be a 390. All one needs is some stickers. Available in orange+black and white+black, both colour options do get you orange painted wheels, a black-finished trellis-type frame, projector headlamps, fancy mirrors with embedded indicators, and combined together, all those things paint a visually aggressive and fast picture.
Also Read: 2019 KTM Duke 125 Review
How different is the KTM RC 125 compared to the Duke 125?
Priced at INR 1.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), this entry-level KTM RC asks for INR 17,000 more than the Duke 125, which has been selling in great numbers since launch. That wind of change made KTM launch the RC125, which for the extra money that it asks for over the Duke, gets you proper sportbike styling, projector headlamps with LED DRLs, triple-clamp clip-ons, and loads of street cred. The fuel tank capacity at 9.5-litres is 0.7-litre less than that of the Duke 125, while the rest is just the same.
In terms of equipment, the KTM RC125 gets 43mm WP USD forks and a 10-step adjustable monoshock at the back. The front brake is a 300mm disc which gets a radially-mounted caliper, while the 230mm unit at the back gets floating-type grabbing equipment. In terms of dimensions, at 1977mm, the RC125 is 16mm shorter than the Duke, is 12.4 kilos heavier, and sits 18mm closer to the ground compared to its naked sibling.
Is it fast?
Yes and No. The former is because, for a 125cc motorcycle, it does feel quick. The latter, because all things considered, it isn’t a firebreather and it’s a fact. The 124.71cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve motor makes a modest 14.5 PS @9,250 rpm and 12 Nm at 8,000 rpm. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, in terms of in-gear top speeds, the KTM RC 125 tops out at 44 km/h in the first gear, hits 61 km/h in second, 76 km/h in 3rd, 94 km/h in fourth, 110 km/h in 5th and tops out at an indicated 120 km/h in the 6th gear. These are speedometer indicated speeds with a 77-kilo rider onboard.
Those numbers do appear on the digital display rather quickly for a 125cc bike though, as, in true KTM fashion, the engine hits its 10,500 rpm limiter pretty quickly, at least in the first four gears. Achieving speeds upwards of 100 km/h does take a long stretch though, and some ducking needs to be done behind that flyscreen. While doing that, the raised tank offers great support for your chest to rest on it.
The motor’s characteristics make the RC 125 an engaging motorcycle though, where if one rides it aggressively, it keeps the rider busy with the slick and crisp gearbox, paired with a quick clutch. For its strong internal components, the engine retains its punch even after repeated thrashings, which is unlike any 125cc motor out there. In terms of fuel-efficiency, for the added weight compared to the Duke 125, expect a slight drop in the range of 1-2 km/l.
How Does It Handle?
Paired with 110/70 front and 150/60 MRF Revzz rubber at the front and back, the trellis frame feels sorted at all times and will inspire a lot of confidence in a young rider who’s new to the world of motorcycles. For anyone who has ridden faster motorcycles though, the chassis will convey that it’s too brilliant to be paired with an engine that tiny. We liked the steering system in particular, which feels wound-up and is extremely stable at all times. What could have been better though is the grip from those MRF Tyres.
The track was slightly damp when we were riding, but it takes a while for the tyres to lend some confidence before the RC 125 can be pushed. Even after that, the grip at the edges when the bike is leaned over could definitely have been better. Braking capabilities for the performance on tap is par for the course and paired with single-channel ABS, the radially-mounted caliper on the front disc offers good bite and relays a good amount of feedback to the lever.
Is it better than the Yamaha R15?
To be honest, No. Because even though it asks for INR 6,000 less, the Yamaha R15 packs more power, is more agile, alive, engaging, faster, friendlier, and also packs more kit. It offers dual-channel ABS, variable valve actuation, a seriously brilliant chassis, better rubber, and this is just on paper. In the saddle, even for seasoned motorcyclists, it is such a joy, it’s a keeper even after you’re done with basics.
What builds a strong case for the KTM RC 125 is the fact that it gets you a machine which looks identical to the RC 200 and the RC 390, at a price point which is affordable. It is also one for the hardcore KTM fan who is young and is looking at that first motorcycle to work on those riding skills, before graduating to bigger machines. It is also a great motorcycle for someone who just needs a KTM to flaunt that styling and earn some street cred.
|KTM RC 125 ABS Specifications|
|Engine (cc)||124.7cc, Single-Cylinder, 4 Valve, DOHC, Liquid Cooled|
|Power Output||14.5 PS @ 9,250 rpm, 12 Nm @ 8,500 rpm|
|WP USD 43 mm,
|Overall length (mm)
Overall width (mm)
Ground Clearance (mm)
|Kerb weight (kg)||160.4 kg|
|Tyre size – Front & Rear||110/70-17, 150/60 – 17|
|Fuel tank (lts)||9.5 litres|
|Brakes: Front (mm)& Rear(mm)||300mm Disc, 230mm Disc|