Sunday, 30 June 2013

Renault Duster dCi vs Ford EcoSport TDCi

There’s seldom been a more closely-fought fight among vehicles – one of which isn’t even technically available yet! The Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport are set to be each others’ respective arch-nemesis and already we’re seeing camps being formed with strong opinions either way. We took a closer look at the two compact SUVs and compared their bits.

Visual appeal

It’s a mixed opinion this. While the modern kinetic design language and sporty elements used in the Ford makes it more car like and premium, the Renault uses a more simplistic approach. But this doesn’t mean it can’t turn heads, the flared front and rear arches add muscle and give the car a more robust look. The only SUV element in the EcoSport is its height and the externally mounted spare tyre. The EcoSport is more attractive but the Duster definitely has better presence. Inside too, it’s the same story. The interior design in the Ford is new age and the use of black and gloss aluminium detailing gives it a very sporty look like in a hot hatch. The Duster’s interior is bland and very utilitarian in comparison. It offers similar fit and finish but one doesn’t feel as special inside as in the EcoSport.
2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport
2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

Space and comfort

At the front, both the SUVs offer similar space. There is ample leg and head room for front passengers but in the Ford the driver also gets an armrest. In fact the driver is more pampered in the EcoSport. besides the armrest, the Ford also gets height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a steering which is adjustable for both reach and rake.
The Duster’s driver gets a height adjustable seat too, but instead of being continuously variable, it just a two step affair – high or low. The Renault’s steering, again, only adjusts for rake but not for reach. So, finding a good driving position is a lot easier in the Ford.
2013 Ford EcoSport in India rear seat space
2013 Ford EcoSport in India rear seat space
Neither SUV offers a dead pedal but the Ford offers some space to rest your left foot which the Duster lacks. The latter however scores when it comes to shoulder room and visibility. The thick A-pillar and small quarter glass in the Ford results in a big blind spot and will take some time getting used to.
Moving to the back, this is where the lack of shoulder room is most felt in the EcoSport. It’s a strict four-seater and only two adults can comfortably sit at the back. The Duster on the other hand offers more room and can accommodate three adults since the seat is larger. It even features a rear armrest with two cup holders. That said, the Ford surprisingly offers 75mm more rear knee room. But, since the EcoSport is less than four metres long, boot space suffers. At 346 litres, it offers 129 litres lesser space than the Duster. The seats however split 60:40 unlike the Renault’s single folding seat. The roof rails also have mounts to hold a roof box.
The EoSport is also the better equipped of the two SUVs. It gets auto-climate control and SYNC – a voice activated feature to control a host of systems, both of which are missing on the Duster. In terms of safety, the top end EcoSport offers six airbags (four more than the Renault).
2013 Renault Duster in India rear seat space
Rear legroom in the Duster

Engines and real world performance

Both feature 1.5-litre common-rail units but it’s the Renault that puts out more power. The Duster produces 110PS at 3900rpm while peak torque is an impressive 248Nm produced at a low 2250rpm. The Ford meanwhile delivers a lower 91PS at 3750rpm and 204Nm from 2000-2750rpm. This difference on paper is quite evident on the road as well. Power delivery is stronger in the Duster while the turbo lag is less evident.
However, in bumper to bumper traffic the EcoSport is effortless to drive and is less tiring compared to the Renault thanks mainly to a much lighter clutch operation. The EcoSport is happy to take on the highways as well, but the Duster comes across as the more accomplished car for the job. Its engine feels less strained and more alert and thanks to a higher torque rating and an additional sixth gear, it makes for a more relaxed cruiser.
We also prefer the gear shift quality on the Duster; while the Renault offers short throws and crisp shifts, the EcoSport’s five-speed transmission feels more rubbery in its operation.
In terms of outright performance, the Duster is slightly quicker. The sprint to 100kmph comes up in 12.7 seconds while the EcoSport does the same in a respectable 13.2 seconds. The Renault also has a slightly higher top speed. It maxes out at 175kmph, 5kmph more than the EcoSport.

2013 Ford EcoSport in India diesel engine
1.5 litre diesel engine in the EcoSport

Fuel  efficiency

It’s a close fight in this round too. The ARAI figure is higher for the Ford (22.7kmpl against the Duster’s 19.01kmpl) and in the real world in exactly the same conditions, the EcoSport again delivered high figures of 12.2kmpl in the city against the Duster’s 11.8kmpl. On the highway, however, the Renault did better. It returned 21.8kmpl, 1.4kmpl more than the Ford. This means the Duster’s overall fuel efficiency of 14.3kmpl is 0.5kmpl more than the EcoSport. Clearly, there’s nothing to choose between the two in the real world when it comes to fuel efficiency.

2013 Renault Duster diesel engine
1.5 litre Renault Duster diesel engine

Ride and handling

Based on the Fiesta platform, the EcoSport shines when it comes to dynamics. The chassis feels well balanced and is very much at home around corners. There is slight body roll and one does get the feeling of driving a tall car but then it still is the best handling vehicle in its segment. However, the steering could have been slightly heavier and offer more feedback like in the Fiesta. The Duster on the other hand, isn’t as involving but is still a capable handler. A wider track and broader tyres does improve handling while high speed stability is impressive. The only negative however is the strong steering kick-back that is felt especially while cornering on undulated surfaces. This isn’t a good feeling and one needs to grip the steering quite firmly. The Renault has the better ride quality, though. It glides over rough roads and potholes with pliancy, and on the highway over undulating roads, it remains completely planted. The EcoSport on the other hand is slightly stiff and doesn’t soak in the bumps as well. How about going off-road? Both vehicles put down power though the front wheels and don’t offer four-wheel drive even as an option, so we wouldn’t recommend one going off-road. But if you still decide to drive on rough terrain and small boulders, the Duster will be the better choice since it offers slightly more ground clearance and even features a metal sump guard.

2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport
2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

Which should one buy?

The EcoSport, yes as odd as it may be, hasn’t been launched as yet. Talk about taking your own sweet time to do things. In any case, when the Ford is launched, we expect it to be cheaper than the Duster. Moreover, it will have more features, will look more upmarket, and though it will have a less powerful engine, the EcoSport’s  performance won’t be significantly off the Renault’s. The Ford then is the clear winner here. It also makes better sense for the city given its smaller dimensions and lighter controls. The only reason to buy the Duster now is if you are specifically looking for a compact SUV that offers enough space for five and their luggage, to travel long distances in.
2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport
2013 Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport

KTM 390 Duke: Should Royal Enfield worry?

The presentation at the launch of the 390 Duke included one slide that listed the specifications of the new KTM versus all the various Royal Enfields. Many thought that this was odd given that Royal Enfields are so well-defined as a nostalgic brand that there’s almost no competition to them. People buying Enfields do not think of other brands and other brand prospects don’t consider Enfields either. As usual, the reality is far greyer.

This slide was presented during the 390 Duke's launch press conference
This slide was presented during the 390 Duke’s launch press conference

The RD350 enthusiasts and the Enfield enthusiasts are both vocal communities in the Indian motorcycle internet space. But in both social groups there are two kinds of people.
There are, of course, the true loyalists. These people genuinely enjoy their associations with the brand at a profoundly personal level. They may be realistic enough to sense and accept, even celebrate, what the outside world might call flaws or problems. To them, the maintenance needs of their bikes, their spotty reliability or reputation for having almost no geniune or reasonably priced spares on the market and so forth aren’t barriers to ownership or love. These are parts of the relationship that require immense amounts of time and effort to overcome and make the relationship that much more intimate.
But there is also the other kind of social group member. The one’s who are currently in the cult but aren’t as hardcore as the true loyalists. I am not saying these people are traitors or referring to them in any degrading sense. They aren’t opportunistic, or traitors to the cause.
They are simply people who like something specific (for instance power) about motorcycles and are currently associating with a particular group because that particular motorcycle or brand offers them that specific thing. When something better comes along, they will move on. If the RD350 or the Enfield has left a deep enough impression, they’ll add the new motorcycle to their garage. If not, they’ll replace the old one with the new thing.
To return to that slide, Bajaj and KTM didn’t put up that slide because they think they can ‘recruit’ the whole Royal Enfield following. They are simply making a pragmatic point here.
You see, Royal Enfield enjoys the Indian automatic association of displacement with power. 350cc must be greater than 150cc and 500cc trumps all. This is further bolstered by the fact that our RTOs have traditionally filled in the cc figure in the power column on the registration documents. Even today, My 200 Duke registration card has the cubic capacity column filled in correctly but the power column is empty.
Whether you like it or not, there are more than a few less-informed motorcycle fans out there who think buying the Enfield 350 or 500 gives them the most powerful motorcycle possible. Unfortunately, while they do get a lot of good things from Royal Enfields, outright power has never really been one of those things.
By showing a 375cc motorcycle on the slide, Bajaj is reinforcing the idea that the Enfield 350 even in this twisted world isn’t the toast of the ‘power’ segment anymore. And to those who are better informed, the stark difference in the power, torque and weight columns between the Enfields and KTMs should mean a lot. More importantly, perhaps, Royal Enfield’s prospective customers have shown a few attributes that KTM finds extremely appealing.
First, REs are expensive and their buyers are naturally showing off both that they have the means and that they are willing to dispose their disposable incomes on motorcycles. Every premium segment product should target them as a natural consequence, KTM just happens to be the first direct shot at this bulls-eye.
Second, REs are leisure motorcycles that attract a more affluent, older crowd and off late their motorcycles have taken cognisance of this, I’m looking at you Classic. But this crowd is also the one who is currently stuck in epic wait queues. Royal Enfield is bringing to bear serious effort and investment to bear on cutting the waiting times and reaping the rewards of being able to supply product quicker.
I believe KTM thinks of the customers who really want only the power or performance and are unwilling to wait the low-hanging fruit which can be picked off easily. I further think that Bajaj is shrewd enough to suss out the fact that there will even be hardcore fans who’ve done the whole nostalgic thing long enough for them to be looking at other things. Looking for an upgrade. The 390 Duke is a very reasonable other thing/upgrade on every count.
Is it all doom and gloom for RE then? Oh no, India is way too vast a market for two manufacturers to not be able to survive more than comfortably in the long run. We have too many motorcyclists and currently, not enough choice. The 390 is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t substantially change that reality.
RE will find new legs and new customers when the Continental GT comes out. I believe the new frame and engine will prove to be an good combination. It won’t be a full-on modern motorcycle in nature or feel most likely but, then again, it doesn’t have to be.

The Continental GT will be the natural upgrade for Classic RE owners
The Continental GT will be the natural upgrade for Classic RE owners

If Royal Enfield can capture all the charm and grace of the olden days with a decent enough extra dash of performance and handling, the Continental GT will be a success. If it can bring Royal Enfield to the point — and I believe it will — where the new plant has to run to keep up with demand, it will be job done.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be easy for Royal Enfield either. One of the hardest challenges for motorcycle engineering can often be legacy rather than metallurgy or cost. Royal Enfield knows this very well and the Continental GT is a startlingly different approach to product development for the company.
You can be sure that what RE will learn about quality, development, pricing and performance from the Continental GT will not be restricted to that one model either. The Chennai company is finally moving forward with significant momentum. The new plant is a huge step forward as is the Continental GT. And I see no reason why the momentum will dissipate.
I am convinced that a few Royal Enfield loyals will either add a KTM to their garage or switch out their old thumper to the 390. But substantially, the core fan base will not waver. And Royal Enfield, to their credit, is hard to work ensuring that these fans have something to upgrade to as well.
And that in a nutshell is what it is about. If you, as a motorcycle maker, want people to remain in your family, you must ensure I have something to upgrade to within your fold. Or else I’ll move on.


2013 KTM 390 Duke first ride

Can I lean it further? Is it safe to do this on a public road? Even one as empty as this? I’ll feel better if I look further ahead… But can I turn my head back and up any further? The questions pile up fast and heavy. Ahead, ride leader, Andreas of KTM R&D is an indistinct spec. Both of us are in the middle of a long, fast, sweeping hairpin (yes, the Austrians make these really fun hairpins that last forever in the mountains around Salzburg), heeled well over. The pace is up, the sun is warm, the bike is hot and we are out playing.
The questions are coming because the new Metzeler Sportec M5 tyres feel unfamiliar while the rest of the KTM 390 Duke feels familiar but different. Like an old buddy who grew up and matured all of a sudden.
When I hopped on at the hotel porch, I allowed the feel of the 390 to come to me. And my first impression was that this was a stiff feeling motorcycle. Very rigid, indeed. And in the first few meters of riding it became obvious that the first impression was correct. On the brakes, it seemed to dive less, on the gas it pitched up noticeably less, it felt less absorbent over manhole covers and generally felt like someone had taken a wrench and just tightened everything  more than a few notches.

2013 KTM 390 Duke
2013 KTM 390 Duke

And now, two hours and some 150km in, I’m liking the stiffness and have gotten a hang of these tyres. R&D manager (street) Sebastian Sekira explained it to me later. “The chassis is identical to the 200 Duke.” As in the trellis frame, upside down front fork, radially mounted callipers, rotor sizes, rim and tyre sizes are all exactly the same as the smaller Duke. “But there are three critical differences. First, the bike you are riding is European-spec, which means the spring ratings and damping fluid spec is the same as what you will get in India but we use different shims in the suspension for a stiffer, sportier ride. In India, you will get a softer [damping] setup for your roads.”
This variation in suspension setup is true of the 200 Duke as well and a good thing for us. In hindsight, it dawns on me that if we had to ride a motorcycle this stiffly suspended on our roads, even the most hardcore of us would be annoyed by the jittery, harsh ride quality that would inevitably result.

2013 KTM 390 Duke wheel
2013 KTM 390 Duke wheel
“The second difference are the new Metzeler Sportec M5 tyres which will come to India as well.” Why? Is something wrong with the MRFs? “No, the MRFs are actually excellent. But when we decided to make the 390 Duke we realised it would be a premium product and that it would hit as much 160-170kmph flat out. So we specified these new Sportec M5 tyres for the bike. They are better overall than the MRFs by a small margin, but have significantly better wet weather performance.”
Despite near-zero snow/rain conditions through the two week media preview, our group were the lucky ones to enjoy fully sunny weather and had no chance to test wet grip. Or, thankfully, the warmth of our, ahem, winter gear.

2013 KTM 390 Duke
2013 KTM 390 Duke

But this much was clear, the Sportec is a stiff tyre that takes a bit of getting used to in terms of reading feedback and interpreting it. But once you sync up, it has immense grip, both when upright and when leaned over to the edges.
The MRF is excellent and it has proved to be hard wearing too – we see 200 Dukes at OVERDRIVE’s track school all the time which are doing their fourth or fifth track weekend on the same tyres without significant degradation. We will see how the Sportec M5 holds up, but if the long sweepers are any indication, this tyre is going to be immense amounts of fun. And 200 owners should be able to buy them at KTM service centres and upgrade their bikes at will.
“Finally, we have ABS. This is the latest generation Bosch ABS, and will be standard.” And you can see the hardware on the bike. Each caliper has two cables running out of it — one braided hydraulic hose coated in black plastic and one that reports wheel speed data to the ABS ECU — and slotted discs mounted on the rotor carriers. KTM have given the bike a ‘secret’ ABS toggle switch (unmarked on bottom left of instruments) that will turn the ABS off at standstill should you want to.

2013 KTM 390 Duke chassis
2013 KTM 390 Duke chassis

The chassis, of course, is the easy bit to grasp. The engine is a more involved exercise. Sekira says the engine was originally set to be based on the 200’s unit, but as the design progressed, the two engines became more and more different. Now only the finger-followers in the valvetrain are identical to the 200 in the whole of the engine.
The 375cc engine is very, very oversquare featuring a wide 89mm bore and a short 69mm stroke, which means a whole new block. With due regard for the intended performance, the piston is now forged rather than cast like the 200. The block is Nikasil coated for high performance and longevity. It also removes the need for cylinder liners making the bore unit lighter and more compact.
Feeding this is a new fuel injection system (new ECU plus bigger throttle body) as well as an all-new engine head.  And at the bottom is a new crankshaft leading to an all-new gearbox.

2013 KTM 390 Duke meter dials
2013 KTM 390 Duke meter dials

All the ratios are different to ensure all that power is used effectively. KTM have also added the one suggestion we had for the 200 from the off. Sixth gear is really tall and that allows the KTM 390 Duke to settle into a highway groove and munch miles. We believe the 200 Duke will also shortly receive this kind of a gearing change.
If you follow motorcycles with any interest whatsoever then you know the numbers already. The new engine weighs just 36kg, which gives the bike a dry weight of 139kg. As in this whole shebang weighs just 10-odd kg more than the 200 Duke. On the other hand, a 1:12.9 compression ration, bigger displacement etc allow the engine to make 44PS at 9500rpm as well as 35Nm at 7250rpm. Redline is 10,500rpm. I believe the technical term here is “Holy Cow!”
But allow me to tell you that the initial impression isn’t holy cow, it is more like, “Well, fast but not as wild as I expected.”

2013 KTM 390 Duke headlamp
2013 KTM 390 Duke headlamp

First, there are now big single vibes at idle. Which are damped well enough by the bar-end dampers. But you will notice them as a rhythmic vibration in the bars. And at 3,000rpm they will disappear leaving you with a smooth, more authoritative sounding engine. When I came back and rode the 200 Duke my first impression was that someone had turned the bass and power on the bike off.
At 4,000rpm, you can already feel the extra urgency of the bigger motor and by 5,000rpm the sound deepens and the engine is properly beginning to pull. The thrust keeps increasing all the way to about 10,000rpm, allowing you 500rpm more headroom before you must shift up. The way the bike arrives at 130-140kmph says that in India, this will be a fearsome thing to ride.
We saw about 155kmph on the deserted mountain roads and official top speed is 160kmph. Sekira points out that this speed arrives in sixth but before redline. The motor (with this gearing) simply cannot cut through the air beyond that speed. In other words, if you are light or exceptionally aerodynamic, there is more speed to come. Indeed, the slim Sekira himself claims to have seen 170kmph on the speedo.
Now to the “not as wild as you expected” bit. The 390 Duke has changed in nature from the frenetic 200. Each gear, for example, lasts a while and you aren’t changing up and down the box in the staccato fashion a la 200. Sixth is a great highway gear – 100kmph is just 5000rpm and 120 is only 6500rpm. And even in sixth, passing Austrian cars going 130-ish on the highway usually needs only more gas and only occasionally a downshift.

2013 KTM 390 Duke
Shumi does a burnout, which is pretty easy on the 390

And that is what I missed in what is otherwise a deeply impressive motorcycle. I personally loved the frantic nature of the 200 and I am waiting to ride the Indian spec in India to see if I like the grown-up nature of the power delivery of the 390 in our environment or not. That is the only remaining question for me. Because the rest of it is obvious.
That a motorcycle this quick, this light, this responsive, with this kind of alert handling is likely to be priced at Rs 2.2-2.5 lakh is a no brainer for any serious motorcyclist. And Bajaj should confirm the final price and delivery schedule in the first week of June is our estimate.
Visually it does look like the 200, only flashier, but the rest of the package is extremely persuasive. It should also have enough power and capability to keep up with much larger machines on your favourite mountain road and absolutely blitz anything short of a well-ridden sportsbike at the racetrack.
Then again, the RC390 comes out next year…

2013 Honda CBR250R Launched with limited-edition Repsol replica

Honda has finally made official the 2013 CBR250R. There are no mechanical changes over the previous bike, Which means the engine is the same 25PS DOHC 249cc single cylinder unit we know and love for its easy torque and excellent highway manners. Refreshed CBR250R comes in 4 new paint schemes including the iconic Repsol racing livery

Honda CBR250R Repsol colours

Honda has fired a swift response to the KTM 390 Duke, launched just two days ago, by introducing the 2013 edition of CBR 250R bike. The updates, though, are merely cosmetic and the new CBR250R is now available in 4 new colours – Sports Red, Black, Pearl Sunbeam White and the hottest and priciest of the lot – the iconic Repsol racing livery that also adorns the RC213V MotoGP bike.

Honda has cleverly kept the Repsol edition a limited one, putting it on sale only till October 2013 and that too in C-ABS variant. C-ABS, for the uninitiated, stands for Combined Anti-lock Braking System which essentially adds more bite to the bike’s braking capabilities. Other standout features on the new CBR250R include blacked-out alloys and exhaust heat shield. The Repsol edition, however, gets orange alloys. As aforementioned, there are no changes to the mechanicals and the CBR250R will continue to be powered by the same reliable 250cc, 26PS mill as on the outgoing model.

The prices are Rs 1.56 lakh ex-showroom for the red and the black model and the C-ABS models are an additional Rs 29,000 (Rs 1.85 lakh). The fetching white colour model costs an additional Rs 1,000 over the red and black — Rs 1.57 and 1.86 lakh respectively for the standard and C-ABS versions. The Repsol replica will only come, as we said as a C-ABS model and will cost Rs 1.92 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, which is a premium of Rs 7,000 over the base red or black C-ABS CBR250Rs

New Honda CBR250R Pearl Sunbeam White colour

The new bikes will be available across all Honda dealerships by the end of the month and as per prices below. The question that comes to mind now is whether the changes to the CBR250R are enough to combat the KTM 390 Duke, which is all new, offers better performance, and comes with a whole lot of customisation options aside from being cheaper as well at Rs 1.80 lakh?

“CBR250R is one of India’s favorite and most Awarded sports bike. Now, continuing this legacy in 2013, we have enhanced the aesthetic appeal of CBR250R by introducing 4 new colors catering to expectations of Indian racing fanatics. The Limited Repsol Edition shall bring the racing DNA of Honda Repsol team’s MotoGP bike for young racing enthusiasts and we are confident it will be well received by them”, said Mr. Y. S. Guleria, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.

This is the second premium motorcycle launch in two days, following the KTM 390 Duke, which was also launched at Rs 1.8 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.

Standard C-ABS (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Sports Red Rs. 1.56 lakh 1.85 lakh
Black Rs. 1.56 lakh 1.85 lakh
Pearl Sunbeam White Rs 1.57 lakh Rs 1.86 lakh
Repsol   Rs 1.92 lakh


              Back then, KTM revived the pure, unadulterated single-cylinder motorcycle in the form of the "original" Duke. Judging by the latest 690 Duke that stands before us today, much has been gained: smoothness, room for a pillion passenger, long-distance ability. But what it has never lost is its intensive and elemental ride dynamics. The most cutting-edge series production single-cylinder of our times and a precision chassis with a wealth of outstanding components turn every trip on the 690 Duke into an incomparable and unforgettable riding experience.



The new Duke is equipped with the latest version of the legendary LC4: A whole 690 cm³ of displacement, twin ignition featuring plug-selective mapping for the best and most effective combustion, plus extended service intervals of 10,000 km and even lower fuel consumption – never has it been as elegant, cultivated, sporty and effective to be powered by one cylinder. And never has the need for more cylinders been more questionable. 50 kW (68 PS) provide, thanks also to drive-by-wire, extremely powerful and free-revving thrust at all engine speeds, hence making light work of the equally lightweight 690 Duke. It has adopted such well-known standard production goodies such as active engine casing ventilation and the anti-hopping clutch that effectively prevents rear wheel chatter when down-shifting hard.


The finely balanced crank drive of the 690 single-cylinder converts terrific combustion pressure into unrivalled single-power - thanks to its balancer shaft, which eliminates vibration even better than ever without having any detrimental effect on the life of the super-single.


The electronic engine management system always gets optimum performance out of the ingenious LC4 engine. More advanced technology than ever is taken advantage of in 2012 for this purpose: Twin ignition with individual mapping for each spark plug ensures that the mixture is always burned effectively, irrespective of load and engine speed. And then genuine drive-by-wire, in other words electronically controlled throttle valve actuation without any mechanical linkage. So that the electronics always apply the power as perfectly and therefore smoothly as possible, above all on transition from throttle closed to throttle open. How good does that feel? Simply indescribable. So check it out!


The Duke not only impresses with low weight and perfect chassis geometry; the centralisation of masses - for example, by positioning the brushed stainless steel pre-silencer under the engine - also contributes to its playful handling and razor-sharp precision.
The disconnectable dual-circuit ABS system with 9M+ modulator tuned in cooperation with Bosch offers total protection against over-braking, while maintaining the full effect and perfect feedback of a genuine sports brake thanks to very fine sensors. Weighing no more than one kilogramme, the ABS system therefore allows extremely sporty braking. And prevents nose-overs actively and effectively.



Lightweight components in a large, lightweight entirety: The 9 kg lightweight tubular space frame made from chrome-molybdenum steel and the 4 kg lightweight, high-quality, pin-jointed, die-cast swingarm impress with extreme levels of torsional stiffness, providing the less than 150 kg 690 Duke with excellent tracking stability.



Well-equipped for every situation: The WP upside-down fork on the Duke with a 43 mm upright tube diameter and the pivot-arm articulated WP pressurised-gas monoshock excel with perfect tuning and an unbelievably broad spectrum of use for all demands, from relaxed cruising to racing around closed circuits.


New rims may not appear to be such an innovation at first sight nowadays. What new rims mean for a manufacturer perhaps becomes rather clearer measured against the present-day degree of perfection of practically all the parts of a motorbike: But major improvements don't just take a couple of minutes these days. KTM has nevertheless allowed the best technicians to play around with very clever computation software until an extremely lightweight, aesthetically elegant but still very stable and durable set of rims emerged from the casting die. Slightly lighter, but far less rotationally inert because the weight was saved predominantly at the rim ring. The result? Faster acceleration, shorter braking distance, quicker changes of direction – simply a faster motorbike. Cool, don't you think?


The Duke's extremely powerful and easily applied Brembo® brakes impress with outstanding controllability. At the front wheel, a radially-mounted, four-piston, fixed brake calliper bites onto a floating, 320 mm brake disc.


The disconnectable dual-circuit ABS system with 9M+ modulator tuned in cooperation with Bosch offers total protection against over-braking, while maintaining the full effect and perfect feedback of a genuine sports brake thanks to very fine sensors. Weighing no more than one kilogramme, the ABS system therefore allows extremely sporty braking. And prevents nose-overs actively and effectively.


The new 690 Duke inherits many of the benefits of its predecessor: for example, the low weight of less than 150 kg, the first-class handling and the outstanding brakes. Particularly pleasant is the place of work on the two-piece seat: Comfortable while still being set up for all dynamic riding situations, because the gathered sitting position and freedom of movement behind the ideally angled, wide aluminium handlebar provide perfect support for controlling the bike.




Thanks to the mechanical and electrical refinements, the new 690 Duke uses even less fuel than ever. Even though the last Duke had already won international consumption comparison test rides with ease. Duke riding will therefore be even more economical and environmentally friendly, while remaining unashamedly fleet-footed, sporty and dynamic.



New licence regulations came in to force in January 2013 and there have been some incorrect reports over which models fit into which of the new licence categories. The new rules include a maximum power to weight ratio for the A2 licence. Contrary to most of the overweight competitor models, KTM motorcycles are designed to be as dynamic and lightweight as possible to guarantee maximum riding pleasure and increased safety at the same time. This does mean they can exceed the power to weight ratio, however by fitting a difference performance map they can easily be made suitable for the new licence rules and you still benefit from advantage of riding a lightweight motorcycle.
Holders of an A1 licence can ride:
• 125 Duke
Holders of an A2 licence can ride:
• 200 Duke
• 390 Duke*
• 690 Duke*
• 690 Duke R*
• 690 SMC R*
• 690 Enduro R*
* With alternative performance map fitted.



Design Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, liquid-cooled
Displacement 690 cm³
Bore 102 mm
Stroke 84.5 mm
Performance 50 kW (67 hp)
Starting aid Electric starter, automatic decompressor
Transmission 6-speed, claw shifted
Engine lubrication Semi-dry-sump lubrication with 2 rotor pumps
Primary gear ratio 36:79
Secondary gear ratio 16:40
Cooling system Liquid cooling system, continuous circulation of cooling liquid with water pump
Clutch APTC™ Anti-hopping‑clutch / hydraulically operated
Ignition system Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment


Frame Tubular space frame made from chrome molybdenum steel, powder-coated
Fork WP Suspension Up Side Down
Shock absorber WP Suspension with Pro‑Lever linkage
Suspension travel front 135 mm
Suspension travel rear 135 mm
Brake system front Disc brake with radially mounted four-piston brake caliper; floating brake disc
Brake system rear Disc brake with single-piston brake caliper, floating
Brake discs - diameter front 320 mm
Brake discs - diameter rear 240 mm
Chain 5/8 x 1/4” (520) X‑Ring
Steering head angle 63.5°
Wheel base 1,466±15 mm
Ground clearance (unloaded) 192 mm
Seat height (unloaded) 835 mm
Total fuel tank capacity approx. 14 l
Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)
Weight without fuel approx. 149.5 kg

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Apple unveils iOS for the Car

Apple iOs for the Car - video screencap

Today at Apple's 2013 Worldwide Developer's Conference, the House That Jobs built debuted iOS in the Car, an upcoming feature for iOS devices that mirrors what your iPhone can do on your car's in-dash screen. A perfect port of your iPhone's screen wouldn't work, since its dimensions don't match those of most in-dash screens, so what you'll see, according to the demos shown by Apple on stage, is something like an auto-optimized version of the iPhone's new operating system, iOS 7.

Apple says that 95 percent of vehicles sold today are already able to work directly with iOS devices for music and playback control, but iOS in the Car will expand that functionality to also include phone calls, maps/directions, and sending and receiving iMessages using your vehicle's screen or eyes- and hands-free using Siri. It's basically Apple making a move to replace the built-in hardware and software that came with your car, and makes us wonder how automakers will react to all those iPhone users circumventing the OEM's own full-featured infotainment and navigation systems in favor of mirroring Apple's.

We'll find out soon enough, as Apple already has a pretty big list of automakers on board to integrate iOS into their cars by 2014. The list includes Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevy, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Acura, Opel and Jaguar. To see what iOS in the Car looks like in action, scroll below to watch a clip from today's WWDC keynote.