KTM : Killer To Mothers' dreams?

A widely held perception is that KTM personifies the worst fear of an Indian mother - "Paundraka", the buffalo / vehicle of Yama- the Hindu god of death. The mere mention of the brand invites scornful looks and warnings. Although there are no official studies or surveys that substantiate this  stigma, mothers are keen to heap all the blame on the machines.

The Bajaj owned Austrian automaker has picked up quite a few sobriquets and raked up a few trolls as a result of its infamous affinity to accidents. Here we go.


Ripples radiated across the nation when Bajaj produced India's first sports bike, Pulsar, in the 00's.  As a part of maintaining its stranglehold on the subcontinent, the automaker bought a stake in the Austrian performance vehicle brand, with a deal to produce and distribute its offerings in the country. Click here to read more about Pulsar

The investment paid off spectacularly. KTM became overwhelmingly popular with the urban youth. With its sporty looks and power packed performance, KTM  quickly conquered the hearts of the millennial and Gen Y.

The 24 HP Duke 200 reaches 60 kmph from rest in a meager 3.2 seconds. Considering the state of the pothole ridden Indian roads, it might appear unnecessary. The target audience- the immature riders in their 20's - are keen to push the vehicle to its limits and indulge in showboating. The lack of proper sports bike training facilities coupled with dreadful riding conditions and hotheadedness make a deadly potion. The powerful performance is sadly not backed up by good brakes. The older models don't even come with an ABS. It appears that the makers were not as keen on stopping the
vehicle as it was in launching.

To further confuse the riders, the power delivery is exponential, as against the linear delivery on the pulsars. Thus the difficulty to handle increases exponentially with RPM.  It is something that could take a lot of getting used to.

Flip Side

As per the latest regulations of Motor Vehicle Act, it is now mandatory for all motorcycles in and above the 150 cc class to have ABS as a standard offering. This should put the worried hearts at some ease. Also, KTM has realized the potential of the 125 cc market and the smaller models are added to its India lineup, which is significantly less powerful than its predecessors ( Mothers, heave a sigh of relief).

As it always has been, a bad works-man blames his tools. These are not vehicles meant for the  noobs. The power demands respect and can prove to be more than a handful in inadequate hands. It can either be a sickle in the hands of a peasant or a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon. It is therefore imperative that one gain sufficient experience on the less powerful motorcycles before graduating to the bigger ones.

The much abused Uncle Ben cliché is invoked once again- where it is as apt as anywhere else.
"With great power comes great responsibility"

About author

Pranav PS is an F1 fan from Trivandrum. An incurable petrol-head,he has unconventional takes on all subjects. You can reach him at pspranav10@gmail.com

Post a comment