While KTM bicycles are no longer anything to do with KTM motorbikes, the standout signature orange lower handlebar tape, plus frame and wheel details, certainly give this Austrian thoroughbred an iconic look.
Just as we’ve seen time and time again from bikes designed within the German test sphere of influence, priority is given to high levels of powertrain stiffness. In structural terms that means a big down tube and deep chainstays either side of the supersized press-fit bottom bracket.
In ride terms it means that whatever pressure you put through the sole of your shoe results in an encouragingly positive reaction from the rear wheel, accompanied by a noticeable pickup in pace.
Along with the top half of the frame, there’s more than enough stiffness in the alloy handlebar and stem to make sure that things don’t noticeably bend or buckle when you get out of the saddle to give it full beans.
But, when it comes to performance potential, the wheels are what really gives the Strada 5000 Di2 a clear lead over a lot of similarly priced bikes we’ve tested this year.
A lot of companies have managed to keep the price of their Ultegra Di2 bikes lower by fitting heavier Mavic Aksium or Fulcrum wheels that sit around the 3kg mark with tyres, tubes and cassette.
Great braking and very slick electronic shifting from Shimano Ultegra
The new DT Swiss Spline R23 wheels – shod with our favourite Schwalbe Ultremo ZX-HD rubber – roll in at just over 2.4kg to give the Strada impressive responsiveness at every speed and gradient intensity.
A full Ultegra setup including chain and cassette, not just the motorised highlights, keeps everything as flawlessly smooth as Shimano intended. The top-quality triple compound rubber also means you can pull harder and later on the powerful Ultegra brakes, or choose to leave them untouched in favour of leaning over further, carrying your speed through corners.
The same frame and fork stiffness that helps when the road rises gives crisp clarity on descents. When it comes to taking traction to the limits, you’ve really got to be taking real liberties on very long, very fast hills to get the front end to flutter at all.
Combined with the firm Fi’zi:k Ardea saddle and chunky alloy seatpost and stem, this means you’ll be well aware of what you’re riding over. It’s a firm but fair level of feedback – rather than an unnecessarily punishing ride – and a comfort compromise our more performance-minded testers were more than happy to make to guarantee taking the hurt to others on the hills.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.