Duke vs Impulse vs R15

Three different motorcycles. The three most fun formats of motorcycling. And three different kinds of cool, all under Rs 1.5 lakh (that’s why there’s no CBR250R here, all right?). Ladies and gentlemen, weighing in with the expectations of Indian motorcycling enthusiasts on its broad shoulders, presenting the KTM Duke 200, in the real world for the first time. And in the other two corners, the two extremes of the spectrum it occupies – the Yamaha R15 V 2.0 and the Hero Impulse. A sportsbike, an on/off-roader and a streetfighter that claims to do it all. So without further ado, let’s dive headlong into it, shall we?

First off, this is a gorgeous looking trio. Each one has a purpose, and as we all know, it is purpose that defines beauty. Stuck with that logic, it’s difficult not to appreciate the Impulse’s high-level exhaust and it’s yet another reason, in addition to its tall stance, not to be afraid of Mumbai monsoons anymore. The speedo console has an oh-so-’80s-dirtbike hint to it, while the shiny spoke-shod black rims are a refreshing change from the alloy-onslaught of recent years. However, the beaky front mudguard should’ve been the same shade as the body instead of that unfinished-looking black.

The R15 with its now-dowdy face and scalpel-sharp tail looks a bit confused, though the overall impact is rather fetching – as long as you’re looking at it from the rear, that is. There are some pleasing details though, like that crosshair-design tachometer, the top-notch wheels, the nifty rear numberplate bracket and yes (sigh), the fat rear tyre.