2015 KTM Dual-Sport and Cross-Country Dirt Bikes
The 2015 KTM enduro and dual-sport families represent over 50 years of history in which the Mattighofen, Austria, manufacturer has celebrated a lot of milestone accomplishments.
The first KTM enduro competition motorcycle was manufactured in the 1960s, and a KTM factory team debuted the brand at the International Six Day Trials (now known as the International Six Days Enduro) in 1964, just as the Beatles were taking over the world of popular music. KTM had
when a KTM factory team showed up at the ISDE for the first time. In 1974, Italian rider Imerio Testori won the first European Championship title for KTM.
The next enduro milestone was when the first KTM-made four-stroke machine won the European Championship with Angelo Croci (over 500cc) and Joachim Sauer (350cc) with KTMís first production four-stroke off-road engine, the venerable LC4, in 1987.
However, the true beginning of KTMís off-road dynasty came with the release of the electric-start 400 EXC four-stroke in the late 1990s. In its first test year in 1999, the new bike dominated the World Enduro Championship with factory rider Giovanni Sala aboard.
Since then, thousands of EXC-rooted KTM four-strokes have been sold, raced and ridden in competition around the world, garnering numerous championship titles, in displacement sizes ranging from 250cc up to 510cc. But even throughout the four-stroke revolution, KTM has remained true to its roots, continuing to develop its two-stroke line of enduro machines with the same enthusiasm as its four-strokesóeven going so far as to introduce an electric starter to its 250 and 300 EXC two-stroke bikes in 2008.
KTM is hoping that its 2015 range of XC-W and EXC families will add to its rich history of producing leading-edge off-road and dual-sport motorcycles, and it has gone through both ranges with a fine-toothed comb to offer customers the best machines it knows how to build. While most of these changes arenít be as sweeping as the ones made to its off-road and motocross lines, they are nevertheless noteworthy.
For 2015, the XC-W/EXC chassis will wear the KTM Factory orange usually seen only on KTMís race team machines. Still preferring lightweight, high-strength chromoly steel construction rather than aluminum, they are developed by KTM and produced by WP Performance Systems with the goal of ensuring easy handling and precise cornering while maintaining exceptional stability.
To improve on weight-saving without sacrificing desired stiffness, KTM uses the latest in calculation and simulation software to produce the XC-W/EXCís cast aluminum swingarms with ideal wall thicknesses to achieve these traits while precisely dialing-in flex to maintain a ride quality that isnít harsh.
The WP suspension on the XC-W/EXC models is specifically tuned for enduro racing, with softer, suppler specs and settings to aid traction and comfort in really nasty conditions, and the compression and rebound damping can be adjusted at both ends to suit conditions and rider preference. The WP shock also features separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjustability. The PDS monoshock rear end has also been revised on some 2015 two-stroke models and features an improved seal for a more simplified seal change.
The 2015 models receive a new MAE speedometer that features a clean, minimalistic and integrated design. This includes the warning and indicator lights in a tidy, single unit with clear and more readily available information.
The XC-W/EXC airbox is designed to let the good air in while guarding against dust, dirt and moisture entering the motor. The airbox cover is produced in a two-component process, with new molded-in graphics. The cover and filter offer tool-less removal for fast and easy maintenance. If you ride in tight woods or brush, the cover also has two extra mounting points that allow it to be secured with bolts as desired.
The XC-Ws feature new, black-anodized Giant rims with black spokes that are mated to CNC-machined hubs. The XC-Ws also feature new Dunlop GEOMAX AT81 tires. The EXCs feature the same components but with silver anodized Giant DOT-legal rims for road use. The EXCs also use Metzeler Six Day DOT tires.
Brembo and Galfer wave discs are standard equipment on KTMís off-road range. They remain unchanged for 2015.
The triple clamps on the XC-W and EXC models have been specifically designed for Enduro use and are claimed to support the flex characteristics of the fork to give the rider the best possible feedback from the front-end. The improved communication should increase rider confidence at any speed.
All XC-W and EXC models are fitted with tapered black colored Neken handlebars made of high- tensile strength aluminum alloy. KTMís bar clamps offer four handlebar positions to help tailor ergonomic comfort to the riderís preference. New for 2015 are hand guards that have been manufactured using a new material for better impact resistance and protection.
To improve rider feeling and to create harmony between rider and bike, KTM has come up with a new bodywork shape incorporates a minimalist design for a more ergonomic feel. The panels are adorned with a brand new ďReady To RaceĒ graphic design to complete the look of the enduro range.
All of the fuel tanks on the XC-W and EXC are made of lightweight translucent material and have a release mechanism on the ¼ turn bayonet filler cap that can be opened quickly and easily. The cap design is supposed to facilitate quick refueling during competition.
KTMís aluminum silencers are known for their outstanding performance while ensuring low noise levels. Spark arresters are standard on the four-stroke models.
KTMs proven integrated cooling system routes the coolant from the cylinder head through the frame triangle directly to the aluminum radiators made by WP.
The XC-W and EXC feature a new, more efficient wiring harness with an advanced ECU that features lightweight connectors and fuse mounts to save weight and simplify the electrical system. The 200, 250 and 300 XC-W models also have a new, lighter 3Ah battery, which helps to knock off a little more weight.
With the smallest displacement of the KTM four-stroke range, the 250 XCF-W offers a strong engine combined with and agile chassis. While the chassis is unchanged for 2015, KTM did address a few details in the power train. For 2015, new O-rings on the oil pump suction screen offer more durability for the 250ís liquid-cooled, DOHC, fuel-injected motor.
The 250 XCF-Wís DDS (damped diaphragm steel) clutch and transmission have also been revised. The clutch basket has been modified to shave a few grams of weight, while the 250ís six-speed features a new, longer overdrive sixth gear.
350 XCF-W & EXC-F
It may not feature the largest capacity motor in KTMís off-road line, but the 350 XCF-W is regarded as one heck of a good enduro machine thanks to a compact, DOHC engine that delivers Open-class brawn along with low weight to make the bike easier to handle. The 350 EXC-F offers these the same benefits in a dual-sport platform for riders who like to commute to and from their chosen off-road riding areas.
The 2015 350 XCF-W and EXC-F both benefit from the same revisions to oil screen O-rings inside the engine as the 250 XCF-W, and both also receive the lighter DDS clutch basket to reduce rotating weight.
400 XC-W, 500 XC-W, 500 EXC
KTMís 450 and 500 XC-W models are the most powerful enduro machines the company sells, combining low weight and high displacement in a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected SOHC four-stroke engine. The 500 EXC is almost universally recognized as the best single-cylinder dual-sport motorcycle ever produced, as it retains all of the XC-Wís off-road capability with the added benefit of street-legal components for maximum versatility.
For 2015, the DDS clutch basket has also been reworked to make it lighter, and the oil pump suction screen has new O-rings for increased durability in the extreme riding conditions these machines are likely to see.
The baby in the two-stroke line, the KTM 200 XC-W is similar in basic concept to the 350 four-stroke in that it offers a pleasant combination of a 125cc-sized handling with engine power that is closer to a 250. The 200 XC-W is extremely friendly at the same time, boasting such conveniences as an electric starter for easy and reliable engine starting, making it a good choice for less-experienced off-road riders stepping up to their first serious off-road motorcycle.
The 200 XC-W features a few changes to improve its performance and reduce weight. Out back a new WP shock features a mono-seal joint ring for an improved seal and simplified seal change. The 200 XC-Wís engine performance is also expected to be smoother this year, thanks to revised carb settings. Lastly, KTM has fitted the 200 with a new 3Ah (Amp-hour) battery that is lighter and efficient.
The KTM 250 XC-W is one of those gold-standard two-stroke off-road machines, with a solid legacy of competing at or near the top of its class for decades. For 2015, KTM has put even more R&D resources toward improving an already excellent motorcycle.
The 250 XC-Wís liquid-cooled, electric-start, two-stroke engine receives new power valve setting with an opening point that is 200 rpm higher than the previous setting for a smoother power delivery. It also gets a new ignition curve to complement the power valve setting, along with new carburetor settings. KTM has also addressed the sealing of the engine via a new ignition cover and gasket and also a new inner clutch cover gasket. Like the 200, the 250 benefits from the new, lighter 3Ah battery, but it also receives shorter gearing on its electric starter to increase torque for easier starting.
The 300 XC-W is a proven winner in off-road competition, offering a step up from the 250 XC-W without stepping away from what makes the 250 so great. Its combination of big-block two-stroke performance in an easy-handling chassis make it a good choice when the going gets really difficult. The extra torque of the 300 makes it easy to ride, and thatís a big part of why the 300 is so popular with veteran off-road enthusiasts.
Not surprisingly, the 2015 model benefits from many of the improvements made to the 200 and the 250, including the new ignition cover and gasket, the new inner clutch cover gasket, new carburetor settings for smoother power delivery, the new 3Ah battery and the shorter gearing on electric starter for higher initial torque and better starting.