KTM Enduro Busters – Motohead
KTM is not only the dominant force on the enduro tracks of Britain and Europe, but also in national and world championships thanks to its Red Bull-backed factory team. With a range of bike from 125cc to 300cc two-strokes, and 250 to 500 four-strokes, there really is a bike for all men – and women – from the KTM range. But how different are the factory bikes from the ones anyone can buy from a dealer?
We got the chance to test four genuine 2016 factory KTMs, ridden by some of the top riders in the sport. MotoHead’s Dave Willet got to sling a leg over the 300cc two-stroke of extreme star Jonny Walker and also the 250F of Nathan Watson that he used in his first world enduro championship campaign this year and to finish runner-up in the ISDE, and the 350Fs ridden by top women racer Laia Sanz and Taylor Robert to overall ISDE glory.
WALKER’S WILD STROKER!
For anyone who is a massive two-stroke like me, I couldn’t wait to kick the 300 smoker into life. Except there was no kicking – just a press of a button to bring the sweet-sounding two-stroke alive. Jonny’s bike is obviously fully factory and is a machine that instantly stands out even amongst other factory bikes.
The bike is set up for extreme enduro and you can see the extras needed for the job, such as grab handles to manhandle it over the nastiest terrain. All the little get-me-out-of-trouble bits which would pay dividend in a sticky situation or hard section.
The bike’s brakes and tyres are different to regular enduro bikes, too. The discs are bigger and the rubber is Goldentyre’s best with extra rubber obviously to cater for the extreme rock sections where maximum grip is required.
Once in the cockpit you notice the bar position is slightly rolled back towards you and the levers are a tab higher then standard. Jonny uses Renthal Twinwall 996 bend for the ultimate strength.
Two buttons on the bars are to control the choke, as all the bikes have, but the other is unique to Walker’s bike and is for an electric fan. It’s understandable due the extreme sections the machine faces but I thought it would be the hotter-running four-strokes that would have a fan.
I was the first rider on the bike and the suspension was stiff. I think it had just been serviced and need bedding in which I did. I rode the bike later in the day and the suspension felt completely different, so plush but it gradually stiffened the lower into the stroke it went.
The engine power delivery is so nice for a 300. What makes it so special is how usable the power is; it’s not punchy and neither is it lumpy. The bike just drives and for a 300, it’s got some top end! Normal 300s don’t rev too much but this one does and that’s what makes it so good. The power curve is long and add an extra gear in the equation, compared to a motocross bike, and it goes forever. I really like hi six-speed box and it compliments the two smoker!
• Main difference in the engine is that it has the KTM XC gearbox, so the gearing is different from stock • Fine tuning on the exhaust valves • Akrapovic silencer • Personal carburation set-up • Factory WP suspension with the Trax rear shock • Moto-Master brake discs • Rear brake disc protection • Wheels are standard hubs, Excel rims with different spokes from stock for additional strength • KTM PowerPart Chain guide protection plus swingarm protection on the fixing point • 1.5 litre bigger fuel tank • Radiator fan that can be operated automatically or manually • Neken triple clamps • Different Brembo front brake caliper from stock • Brembo rear brake master cylinder (not so different from standard, but assembled by hand) • Strap on the front triple clamps for pulling the bike out of difficult conditions • Goldentyre tyres and mooses • Renthal handlebars • Supersprox sprocket • Carbon fibre skid plate • Hinson clutch • Regina chain • Factory graphics
Find out more about the amazing KTM enduro weapons right here.
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