Comparison Review of KTM 200 Duke and Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS


Backed by a rich legacy of building top-notch performance machines, KTM, based in Austria, is Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. With an eye to expand their customer base KTM entered the competitive Indian market through a joint-venture with Bajaj. Their first product, the 200 Duke, is a street bike that is unlike any other in the country.


If you thought that the Duke was unchallenged in this segment, you’d be wrong. In late 2010, Bajaj set out to rework their highly popular Pulsar series of bikes. Their intention: to offer the Indian consumer a trendsetting yet affordable performance bike. Enter the Pulsar 200NS, a completely new bike designed ground up by Bajaj with inputs from KTM.


With two revolutionary performance bikes pitted against each other, ChooseMyBike puts you on the rider’s seat, to let you decide how they stack up.


A New Beginning – KTM 200 Duke


KTM Duke 200


The 200 Duke was designed with an emphasis on using lightweight materials, so plastic body panels are used rather than metal. The whole bike is built in a tight package that concentrates the mass in the centre. This aids the bike to change direction quickly. The quality of build on the 200 Duke is very high, with attention paid to detail even on the smallest of parts. The 200 Duke is the first bike manufactured in India equipped with a Trellis frame. This design improves the rigidity of the bike and reduces weight, and is also a signature feature on KTM’s road bikes.



Engine & Transmission


KTM Duke Engine


The 199cc single-cylinder engine draws from KTM’s experience in building world-class engines that have won multiple racing championships. The liquid-cooled engine features a short-stroke layout, electronic fuel-injection, 4-valve setup with double overhead camshafts, and is mated to a six speed gearbox.


The exhaust system is cleverly positioned underneath the centre of the bike. The short length of the exhaust improves torque at low rpms, while its central positioning helps in lowering the centre of gravity.





KTM Duke Suspension


The front suspension employs Inverted telescopic forks. This type reduces unsprung mass, and offer better cornering performance compared to standard forks. The forks have a stiff set-up, which improves stability while braking and cornering, but impart a hard ride. The rear suspension comprises of an adjustable monoshock and an aluminium alloy swingarm. Although the monoshock can be adjusted ten steps for pre-load, the rear suspension is just as stiff as the front





KTM Duke Brakes


The bike is equipped with a 280mm, four-piston caliper disc brake in the front and a 230mm disc with a single-piston caliper in the rear wheel. The combination is more than efficient in bringing it to a halt from any speed. This variant does not come equipped with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), although it could be offered as an option in the future.



Multifunction Display


KTM Duke Meter Console


The 200 comes equipped with a fully-digital multifunction display that includes the speedometer, tachometer and key rider information such as average mileage, average speed, riding time, distance to empty meter, gear position indicator, two trip meters, 





The bike offers a riding posture that is upright with the foot pegs placed slightly towards the rear. This posture is comfortable for most, as it does not apply weight on the rider’s wrists. The pillion seat is relatively small in size, and is not too comfortable on long rides.



KTM 200 Duke Performance


KTM 200 Duke Performance


The bike is great to ride in the city. The compact dimensions, lively chassis and the peppy engine come on to their own, making it easy to manoeuver through heavy traffic. The engine delivers sufficient torque at low-rpms to stay ahead of the crowd. Thanks to the short-gearing the 200 Duke can accelerate quickly and also run as low as 35kmph in 6th gear, although the rider would need to work through the gears more frequently.


However, the short-ratio gearbox also poses a problem - the 200 Duke struggles to cruise comfortably at high-speeds. Otherwise, the stiff chassis setup lends good stability when riding on the highway, with enough grunt to overtake most traffic with ease. The standard tyres from MRF offer loads of grip, aiding the bike’s cornering and stability.



The Indian Powerhouse – Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS


Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS


Deviating from the clean and muscular lines of the previous generation Pulsars, the 200NS is a fresh design, with a minimalistic-yet-aggressive approach to the styling. The previous generation’s downtube frame makes way for a lighter and more rigid steel perimeter frame, which improves the bike’s handling and stability at speed.



Engine & Transmission


Pulsar 200NS Suspension


The Pulsar’s engine is based on the 200 Duke. They share the same bore and stroke dimensions, but the similarities end there. The 200NS’s engine is fed via a 33mm carburettor, and uses a single camshaft rather than two to operate its 4 valves. The 4-valve system allows more air/fuel mixture into the engine, thereby increasing power. The 200 NS is equipped with a six-speed gearbox. Bajaj has incorporated the new Triple Spark technology into the 200 NS’ engine. This ensures a more efficient combustion, thereby improving mileage and power output. In a first for the Pulsar series, the 200NS employs a liquid-cooling system. This is far more efficient than air-cooling and allows the bike to run longer without overheating.


Akin to the 200 Duke, the 200NS also has its exhaust end-can fitted underneath the bike. The underbelly exhaust lowers the bike’s centre of gravity, and improves its cornering ability.





200NS Suspension


The 200 NS has non-adjustable 37mm diameter telescopic forks at the front, and an adjustable monoshock at the rear. The mono-shock is gas-charged, and offers more cushioning than hydraulic shock absorbers.





200NS Brakes


The bike features a 280mm disc brake at the front, and a 230mm disc at the rear. The petal pattern discs cool faster, thereby retaining their effectiveness over longer durations.



Instrument Console


Bajaj Pulsar 200NS Meter Console


The 200NS comes with an instrument console that consists of a digital speedometer and an analogue tachometer. As with all the Pulsars, the switch symbols are all backlit, making them more visible in low-light.





The 200NS offers a relaxed riding posture for a streetfighter bike, with the arms placed comfortably high on the clip-on handlebars, and the feet placed slightly towards the rear. The pillion seat is wider than the Duke’s but can get a little hard on long rides.


Pulsar 200 NS Performance


Bajaj Pulsar 200NS Erganomics


Thanks to the sporty chassis setup and the torquey engine, the 200NS is a lively bike to ride in the city. The compact dimensions allow the bike to manoeuver through traffic with relative ease, while the power and torque on offer make light work of passing slower traffic.


The 200NS makes for an able long-distance tourer, aided by the comfortable ergonomics it offers, and relaxed cruising nature of the engine. The tall gear ratios and the low-end torque ensure that the bike rarely runs out of steam, making overtaking easy. The only sore point is the hard seat cushioning, which make it difficult to ride for extended durations without halting.



Technical Specifications



KTM 200 Duke

Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS

Engine Capacity

199cc single cylinder, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled

199cc single cylinder, carburetted, liquid-cooled





25 bhp @ 10,000 rpm

23.2 bhp @ 9500 rpm


19.2 Nm @ 8000 rpm

18.3 Nm @ 8000 rpm


186 bhp/ton

158 bhp/ton


9.5 seconds (0-100 kmph)

9.7 seconds (0-100 kmph)

Top Speed

136 kmph

136 kmph


280mm disc, radially-mounted 4-piston caliper (front),

230mm disc, floating single-piston caliper (rear)

280mm disc, floating 2-piston caliper (front),

230mm disc, floating single-piston caliper (rear)

Front Suspension

Inverted Telescopic Forks

Telescopic Forks

Rear Suspension

Adjustable Monoshock

Gas-charged Adjustable Monoshock


MRF Zapper REVZ 110/70 R17 tubeless (Front),

MRF Zapper REVZ 150/60 R17          tubeless (Rear)

Eurogrip 100/80 R17 tubeless (Front),

Eurogrip 130/70 R17 tubeless (Rear)

Kerb Weight

135 kg

145 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity

10.5 Ltrs



35 kmpl (Avg)

40 kmpl (Avg)

Price (Ex. Showroom, Delhi)

Rs 1,35,000

Rs 85,706


KTM 200 Duke Pros


- Acceleration

- Handling

- Build Quality

- Features



KTM 200 Duke Cons


- Hard ride quality

- Short-ratio gearbox hampers ability to cruise on the highway

- Narrow pillion seat



Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS Pros


- Price

- Performance

- Handling

- Braking

- Touring capability

- Features


Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS Cons


- Hard seat

- High seat height

- Vibrations at highway speeds






If you’re someone who’s looking for an adrenalin-packed, nimble-footed, and highly-responsive performance bike, the 200 Duke is the one for you. The engine and chassis package make every commute a treat. However, the minor shortcoming in the form of the hard suspension setup means the 200 Duke is best suited only for well-surfaced roads and short road trips. The 200 Duke is priced on the higher side for a 200cc bike, but it is justified by the numerous features and the high-quality components that it offers.


On the other hand, the Pulsar 200 NS is for the rider who wants a more relaxed yet fast bike. Thanks to its taller gear ratios, the Pulsar is the better bike for cruising long distances, but the hard seat and high-speed vibrations detract from the experience. As an overall package, the 200NS offers exceptional value for money, and makes performance motorcycling accessible to a wider audience.



By Jaichandran Jayapalan


DisclaimerThis review is purely based on the test conducted by "". All views expressed in this review are that of's, and not of the manufacturers'.  


Also read:

1. Vespa LX125 Review

2. Yamaha Ray Z Review




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