Yamaha FZ 25 vs KTM Duke 200 Comparison Review

Updated on: Mar 04, 2017
Duke 200 vs FZ25 Comparison Review:

"Low-end is quite weak, requiring you be quick with the throttle as well as the gearbox. But you never get tired of it either, because it treats you to a glorious soundtrack and keeps warbling along happily, keeping you thoroughly entertained along the way"

Pricing & Features Comparison:
The Yamaha FZ25 retails for 1.35 Lakh Rs on road Delhi, which is 25,000 Rs. cheaper, than the KTM Duke 200, costing 1.6 Lakh Rs. Both bikes are equipped with a rear disc brake, but neither of them offer ABS, even as an option.

Performance & Tractability Comparison:
There is no replacement for displacement, goes the adage. Whoever said that, was obviously a fool! In spite of being 50 cc down on the FZ, the Duke is 30% more powerful than the FZ, in terms of power-to-weight ratio. Even its torque-to-weight ratio is marginally better, than the FZ. The difference in performance on road, is also clearly noticeable. The Duke 200 accelerates from 0-100 in just over 9 seconds, the FZ, takes over 12 seconds to get there. Duke's top speed, is also marginally higher than the FZ's. Skimping on technologies like liquid cooling, DOHC, 4-valves and a 6-speed gearbox, has taken a big toll on the Yamaha's performance.

However, that is just the beginning of the story. The real difference between the two bikes, lies in their personalities, which are as distinct as day and night. The FZ is more silent, smoother, much more tractable at lower revs, and feels more unstressed, less demanding to ride, than the Duke. The Duke on the other hand, feels more high strung, more on the edge! Right from its unusually high-pitched idle, it feels like it is already on its marks, set, and ready to go! Low-end is quite weak, requiring you be quick with the throttle, as well as the gearbox. But you never get tired of it either, because it treats you to a glorious soundtrack, and keeps warbling along happily, keeping you thoroughly entertained along the way.

Its the Duke, and not the FZ, which feels like a true spiritual successor, to the old RX100. Shame on you Yamaha!

Power-to-Weight Ratio (PS/ton): FZ25 - 141, Duke 200 – 184 (difference 30%)
Torque-to-Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): FZ25 - 135, Duke 200 – 140

Power (PS@rpm): FZ25 – 20.9@8000, Duke 200 – 25@10,000
Torque (Nm@rpm): FZ25 – 20@6000, Duke 200 – 19@8000
Kerb Weight (kg): FZ25 – 148, Duke 200 – 136

Displacement (cc):
FZ25 – 249, Duke 200 – 199.5
Gearbox: FZ25 – 5 speed, Duke 200 – 6 speed

Reliability & After Sales Service Comparison:
Yamaha easily has an advantage over KTM, when it comes to the inherent reliability of their bikes. Firstly, Yamaha has been making motorcycles for several decades longer than KTM and has built a bulletproof reputation for reliability, all over the world including India. Secondly, bikes like the FZ25 aren't really pushing the envelope of engineering, employ simpler technology and are generally built with a higher factor of safety, compared to the KTMs. KTM's bikes have always tried to extract the last drop of performance from their machines, resulting in some well known teething troubles and have proven to be much more demanding, in terms of maintenance than equivalent Yamahas.

Fuel Efficiency Comparison:
Expect both bikes to return identical fuels efficiency as each other, in real world conditions.

Test Mileage (kmpl): FZ25 – 40, Duke 200 - 39

Fuel Cost (for 60,000 km): FZ25 – 1.35 Lakh, Duke 200 – 1.35 Lakh

Resale & Cost of Ownership Comparison:
5 year old Duke 200s, retail for around 85,000 Rs. in the used bike market today. Expect the new one to retain slightly lesser residual value, over the next 5 years, as the Duke, will have become more commonplace by then, and many more exciting competitors, will have made their entry into the market. The FZ25, is bound to fetch a slightly lesser resale value than the Duke, mainly because it can easily get mistaken for the ubiquitous FZ16, by majority of the population. Overall, the Duke 200 works out to be just 15,000 Rs. more expensive, than the FZ25, in terms of Overall Ownership Cost.

Resale Value (after 5 to 7 years):
FZ25 – 65,000 Rs.
Duke 200 – 75,000 Rs.

Total Cost of Ownership:
FZ25 – 2.05 Lakh
Duke 200 – 2.20 Lakh

Handling & Ride Quality Comparison:
Yamaha, is known for being the leader in dynamics, across any segment of two-wheelers, be it the Ray automatic scooter, or the M1 Moto GP race-bike. The FZ25 is no different. The unexpectedly supple ride-quality, coupled with the flawless cornering manners, that Yamaha has achieved in the FZ, is nothing less than phenomenal. But what makes it simply astounding, is that Yamaha has done it, using the same rudimentary cycle-parts, that you find on bikes, costing no more than 50,000 Rs, like a cheap diamond frame, a simple rectangular swing-arm, non-USD front forks and a non link-type rear monoshock, similar to what has been present on the Unicorn, since the time when it retailed for 50,000 Rs. on road, over 10 years ago!

KTM may not have the know-how, and the decades of experience that Yamaha has. But they have more than compensated for it, with some cutting edge technology. The Duke 200 gets a complex, yet lightweight trellis frame, an intricate die-cast aluminium swingarm, and top-shelf upside-down forks. This has made the Duke lighter, as well as more rigid than the FZ. Plus it has a much more stiffer suspension setup than the FZ. This has made it noticeably more agile and quick on the turn-in than the FZ. However, the FZ feels more forgiving over, mid-corner undulations, than the Duke. The Duke is also no match to the FZ, in terms of ride quality.

Wheelbase (mm): FZ25 – 1360, Duke 200 – 1367+/-15

Ground Clearance (mm): FZ25 – 160, Duke 200 - 178

Tyre Size:
Front: FZ25 – 100/80R17, Duke 200 – 110/70R17
Rear: FZ25 – 140/70R17, Duke 200 – 150/60R17

Comfort & Ergonomics Comparison:
The FZ25 is a much more comfortable bike than the Duke, no two ways about it. It has a bigger, more comfortable set of seats and an upright, fairly relaxed riding stance, that lends perfectly, to hours and hours of touring, without any pain or soreness, in any of the rider's body parts. The Duke on the other hand is like a school desk, as if, it is meant to keep the rider alert, rather than comfortable. It has one of the hardest and tiniest seat cushions and a slightly forward set riding position, with wide handlebars, which gives a commanding riding position, perfect for slicing through rush-hour traffic. But it can get quite tiresome on longer rides and downright painful if the roads are even a little bit bumpy, or broken.

Seat height (mm): FZ25 – 795, Duke 200 - 810

Verdict:
The FZ is like a serious, middle aged, hard working office secretary. She is dependable, diligent and capable of following all of the rider's demands. She can be a practical city commuter, a relaxed tourer, a novice racer and even a mild off-roader at times. And, can keep up all this hard work happily for years, never demanding anything more than a regular salary and a Diwali bonus i.e. regular servicing and timely replacement of regular wear-and-tear parts.

 But then, your relationship with her lacks a personal connection. Once the office hours are over i.e. the ride is over, you wish her good bye, and don't give her a second thought till you meet her again, the next morning. You never feel the urge to hang out with her, just for fun. In a couple of months one of the competing brands will certainly launch a marginally cheaper, slightly more powerful, and a tad bit more efficient model, and then, that will automatically become the best candidate to get the job done, and the FZ25, will slowly move down the ladder of people's consideration list, and fall entirely out of their consideration set, to be forgotten forever.

The Duke on the other hand, is different. She's like a mistress. She tugs at your heartstrings. She actually sets your pulse racing. You become infatuated with her, right from the first time she says 'hello' with her sweet exhaust note. Duke cajoles you into getting naughty with her. Once she gets you hooked, all you wan't, is to ride her all day, no pun intended! Without getting into any more details, all you need to know is that, the Duke is special. Bikes like it come along once, every couple of decades. They are a result of lucky coincidences, and are to be enjoyed while they are still available.

 The last of its kind, was the Yamaha RX series, which landed on our shores, back in the 80s, and lasted up to 2005. The decades of pleasurable riding that its owners enjoyed, was definitely worth much more, than those, who proudly saved a few litres of fuel, with their 'fill it, shut it, forget it' branded motorcycles. We don't have a verdict for this comparison, what we have instead is a heartfelt plea, to all the prospective motorcycle buyers out there, to think about the value of memories, that will last you for a lifetime, and listen to your inner child, as afterall you are about buy a toy!

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