Manaal (MM): Scooters can be fun, no second thoughts there. These gearless creatures are super easy in the city but that’s about it. They can never even come to close to offering the Thrill of Riding that a motorcycle can. I agree, the TVS NTorq 125 and Aprilia SR 150 are fun yet practical, but not even close to my orange pocket rocket. The 125 Duke has been a surprise package from KTM. It retains all the goodness of the 200 Duke, including its chassis, high-quality componentry but yet, it is friendly; friendly for noobs like us who have just started our motorcycle journey. My friend Hari’s TVS NTorq 125 is a great enabler, but can Robin ever be as cool as Batman? And, chicks don’t dig scooter guys, do they?
Hari (HK): The TVS NTorq 125 is a cool cat. It sounds delicious, goes like stink, looks uber-cool, is practical with a lot of storage space, comes with an all-digital cluster with Bluetooth and yet is a lot of fun to ride. And I’d agree to disagree, but the KTM 125 Duke is not the most practical thing out there, is it? Especially for this Valentine’s Day special test. I agree that chicks dig motorcycles, but all that gear sir, is not going to save you from her wrath when she finds out that the orange rocket has best seat padding in the history of seat padding. I hope you get sarcasm Mr Manaal. My yellow chick-magnet though (not my words, the lady says so) is comfortable enough for riding all day long. Oh, maybe because the beautiful bouquet, her make-up kit, and my soon-to-be-lighter wallet could be easily dumped in the 22-litre storage space and do not have to be carried around. Jokes apart, after picking up Gargi, we straight away headed to a cozy café.
MM: You Hari, on your puny 9bhp scooter will not understand why a rider needs to be all geared up on a motorcycle. Yeah, the seat may not be the plushest, but then we aren’t here to take our dates to Goa, are we? My date was comfortable behind me and the small pillion seat was to my advantage here. It does not have underseat or a foot board to stash the bouquet, but the jacket does the job anyway. As for the wallet, being a journalist, I don’t sleep on a pile of cash which means my wallet is as slim as my phone. She even stops on a dime, the KTm that is. And yeah, my date is low maintenance too (she carries no make-up kit). Let’s talk about the time you took to reach the café? Maybe your boring ride sucked the fun out of this whole brawl (read date) already.
HK: I know the KTM 125 Duke is cool but my TVS NTorq 125 isn’t slow. Hitting 60kmph in 7.48sec, it’s not like she has two left feet. I agree, the 125 Duke looks swanky especially in this orange shade with orange wheels, orange decals and orange what not! But while you run through the short-shifting ‘box, I simply twist the throttle and keep going. The TVS NTorq 125 is pretty quick, all the way to 80kmph which is perfect for city conditions. And while at it, she keeps me comfortable and my lady as well. The NTorq is one of the most powerful scooters out there and also gets a three-valve head, unlike others. It isn’t mad fast like the KTM 125 Duke but 5 minutes slower to the destination doesn’t change the world. I’d rather savor the time spent with my girl.
MM: The KTM 125 Duke may not be as quick as the 200 but it’s definitely faster than your NTorq. I agree that she takes time to wake up and gathers momentum only past 6,000rpm but after that it’s all fun. As I slip the clutch, the front end tries to lose traction and Shweta grabs onto me. Sadly, you’ll never experience this kind of ‘love’ on your NTorq.
HK: See that console? TVS calls it the Smart Xonnect system. It lets me connect my phone via Bluetooth and then I can brag about the features such as geo-fencing and navigation. While you’d need to spend extra money for a handlebar mount, I’d simply await directions from my TVS NTorq 125. And Gargi won’t be angry with me as the TVS NTorq 125 will tell me if she’s calling! So no missed calls and lanes as well. Not just that, the TVS NTorq 125 also comes with bar-ends and an engine kill switch. Have you ever seen that on any other scooter? That’s not it; the underseat storage also gets light and I can also recharge Gargi’s phone battery thanks to its in-built USB port. Did I tell you about the Sports Mode? It not only has a 0-60kmph timer but also displays the best top speed clocked. I always end up racing against myself every day and even share the times with Gargi and her friends for more brownie points. What features does your KTM have?
MM: The Sport Mode is a marketing gimmick. What yours cannot do are wheelies, stoppies and slides. And ask Hrishikesh Mandke, girls like stunters. And thanks to the single-channel ABS, I can always lock the rear and leave bits of rubber on the blacktop. Have you tried getting your knees down on the TVS NTorq 125? I don’t recommend you even giving it a try but thanks to the Duke’s sublime chassis, I can simply go to Lavasa and ask Shweta to click some pictures and post them on Insta. It’ll not only get me likes but win me a lot of brownie points from her best buds too. Shopping malls are also great to go hooning around. Sigh, there’s so much you’re missing out on.
HK: Did you say shopping? We did tons of it, as you can tell by the loaded floorboard and the wide smile on Gargi’s face. Nevertheless, after dropping the ladies back home, we continued with our war. And I am sticking with my weapon of choice – the TVS NTorq 125. It’s a great scoot and one of the best amalgamations of fun and practicality. And for the price of your KTM 125 Duke, I can get two of those! One for Shweta and the other for Gargi. You think you can still win this?
MM: There are many fishes in the sea. And with the KTM 125 Duke as my wingman, I’ll never be short of catch. I love its looks and that chassis deserves to be celebrated just like Valentine’s Day. So while you wait for 2020, I’ll simply go out and celebrate V-Day everyday on the KTM’s saddle.
No matter how much we argued, in the end, it was all up to the ladies. Fortunately, Shweta found the KTM a lot more exciting than the TVS NTorq 125 (lucky me! – Manaal). On this side of the universe, Gargi preferred the NTorq 125 because it made sense and was much more practical. From now on, forget the brochures, just ask the ladies! Don’t all the married men do that?
Words by Manaal Mahatme and Hari Kudchadkar