Europe’s Euro 5 and India’s BS6 emissions standards forced many motorcycle manufacturers to update their lineups in 2021. For KTM, that included revising both the 125 Duke and the 250 Duke models to meet the new regulations. While engines received the most attention, Team Orange seized the opportunity to upgrade the duo’s aesthetics as well. Both received hand-me-down fairings and headlights from their bigger sibling, the 390 Duke.
Despite the recent makeover, it seems like KTM has even more upgrades in store for the eighth-liter and quarter-liter Dukes. Spotted testing out in Europe, the bikes look like they’ve shed the 390’s clothes to don their own bodywork. Along with the new stylistic identities, the littlest Dukes look like they’ll also gain a host of chassis and engine upgrades.
Starting with the runt of the pack, the fairing-less 125 Duke sports the same two-piece frame configuration, but the trellis pattern is noticeably different on the test bike. The main frame seems more robust with additional crossbeams, and the subframe looks much longer than the current unit.
KTM also updates the swingarm with a new support brace that arches up and over the chain drive. Unfortunately, the 125 Duke hit the road without its new bodywork, so we don’t know how it will differentiate itself from its larger counterparts. Fortunately, the 250 Duke took to the streets fully clothed.
Flaunting a new front body panel, the quarter-liter naked bike seems primed to forge its own identity within the Duke family. Unlike its smaller sibling, the 250 Duke ditches the trellis subframe for a composite version, a change that the 1290 Super Duke adopted in 2020. That new subframe also gives way to a side-mounted rear shock, far different from the Duke’s current center-mounted setup.
Along with that change, the swingarm receives the same arched support brace as the 125 Duke. Given the swingarms’ design similarities, we could speculate that the 125cc variant would also feature a side-mounted rear shock. On the other hand, the 250’s swingarm boasts a new wavy design in lieu of the traditional trellis pattern. Up front, the 250 Duke wears handguards and a dated headlight, so we fully expect KTM to reveal more design details in time.
While the photos clue us into KTM’s plans for the wee Dukes, we don’t have any intel on the brand’s updated eight-liter and quarter-liter powerplants. Of course, the 125 Duke and 250 Duke platforms aren’t due for an upgrade for a while, so KTM has time to work out the kinks on the baby naked bikes.