At the first briefing at the 2013 KTM bikes press launch in Austria, it’s quickly become clear that innovation in the bike industry has been the main focus for KTM in their new line up – particularly in wheel size – with the 29er Scarp, a 650B Lycan along with Race and Ultra aluminium hardtails being the highlights.
In adapting existing models such as the Phinx 26in to create the Scarp 29in travel, and pushing the 650B concept with the all new Lycan 125mm trail bike, KTM are not only with the game but arguably ahead of much of the field in this sector of the upcoming mountain bike market.
Frame design differentiation has also stood as a central focus in creating stiffer more responsive bikes to meet consumer demand, a key development factor in KTM’s Research and Development department, headed up by Thomas Pressl. In keeping with these demands KTM has made what they identify as the key bike updates – press-fit bottom brackets, tapered steerers, 12mm bolt through rear axles and KTM’s own Pro Damping System (PDS).
It’s worth noting that the key updates in the 2012 hardtail 29er range paved the way to a 400% increase in the sale of the Myroon according to KTM’s Leo Schmid, Marketing Manager for KTM. “We plan to continue this growth with our 2013 range of bikes,” he added.
KTM are proving their worth with the likes of Alex Gehbauer, the current leader of the U23 UCI XC World Cup aboard the Myroon hardtail 29er stock frame with custom build. Fionn Griffith consolidates the high performance of the KTM bikes range aboard the Aphex DH, blasting a high proportion of the field in the UCI downhill World Cup.
KTM’s constant push for continual improvement in performance and design of their bikes has led to Fli Distribution taking on the sole UK distribution back in February 2012, the UK is going to see much more of the iconic orange Euro bikes.
The new standard in trail bikes? the lycan 651 650b had some unquestionable positives:Heiko Mandl / KTM
The Lycan 651 650B had some unquestionable positives
KTM have pushed their innovation and bike development to the most current designs in the industry. With the 26in Lycan a huge success story for KTM over the past four years – their largest selling bike – and the exceptional growth in sales of 29er mountain bikes for the Mattighofen, Austria-based company, the plan for a 29in Lycan was growing… that was until research suggested that the new Lycan would benefit more from the 650B wheel. 650B is still a little under the radar, but according to KTM’s Owner, Carol Urkauf-Chen, “They offer significant advantages while limiting potential disadvantages to both the bike and rider.”
This is in terms of the over rolling angle (the angle between the tyre and floor), weight and gyroscopic force as compared to the 26in and 29in counterparts; for these reasons, “The Lycan 650B is KTM’s most important full suspension mountain bike for KTM,” says Thomas Pressl.
KTM’s research suggests that compared to a 26in wheel the 650B wheel is only 3% heavier while the 29in wheel is 11% heavier; 650B is further strengthened by the significantly lower gyroscopic force and better over rolling angle than the 26in wheel.
The target audience for the Lycan 650B remains the same with the appearance of the frame and many components relatively similar. Changes made are the slight increase in rear wheel travel from 120mm to 125mm retaining the PDS suspension design (minimising radial forces to the shock) and a RockShox 650B specific fork (130mm). Alloy only frames will keep the cost down and combined with KTM’s design features they hope to also retain the overall aim of, “high performance and quality at good value to the customer,” says Stefan Limbrunner, Head of Sales at KTM.
At 2990g, KTM have accepted that frame isn’t the lightest on the market, but also insist that their aim of ‘performance and capability’ outweighs this factor. The 650B Lycan will be released in the models using the same frame:
651 (€3,499) – Shimano 30sp XTR groupset, XT brakes, Fox Float CTD Large Volume shock, RockShox 650B Revelation RCT3 (130mm) 15mm axle and DT Swiss M 1700 Spline wheelset.
652 (€2,899) – Shimano 30sp XT groupset, XT brakes, FOX Float CTD Large Volume shock, RockShox 650B Revelation RLT (130mm) 15mm axle and DT Swiss 465-D wheelset.
Highlights of the other key features of the Lycan 650B include direct mount front and rear derailleurs and rear disk brake on all models, tapered head tube and fork, smooth welding and integrated cables for a clean finish.
Another highlight of KTM’s 2013 range is the Scarp 29er. Grown from the Phinx – KTM’s 26in brother – the Scarp hopes to bridge the gap to a high end full suspension 100mm travel XC race bike. Just like the Lycan the Scarp will encompass all that is new and innovative in 2013 to ensure KTM is “leading the way in the way of design and practice,” as Stefan Limbrunner claims. Designers at KTM have certainly created a sense of character in the Scarp carbon frame.
“The tapered headtube is designed to maximise stiffness and control and to be recognisable to KTM throughout the range,” Thomas Pressl explains.
The Scarp 29er will be built in four models: the Prestige and Prime with fully carbon frames, while the Master and Elite are to feature carbon front triangles and aluminium rear triangle and linkage. Here’s the Scarp range:
In matching the key frame and component upgrades for 2013 the Scarp, like the Lycan, will also feature direct mount front and rear derailleurs and rear disk brake on all models, tapered head tube and fork, along with integrated cables for a clean finish. Seeing the frame in person is the only way to appreciate the design and precision engineering undergone to make what is one of the most stunning pieces of carbon around, period. The Scarp’s head tube integration to the rest of the frame is the pinnacle of the design for KTM, “stiffness and style” remarked Thomas Pressl. With all the attributes this frame boasts, encompassed in 2250g of carbon, this is a race bike that could even surpass the KTM team’s expectations.
Race and Ultra aluminium hardtails
KTM have increased their hardtail range to provide the consumer with “varying options, with a focus on performance at a price to suit budgets,” according to Leo Schmidt.
The 29er hardtail range will feature six models in all: two high end bikes in the ‘Race’ category (€1,999 and €2,199) and four low to medium range bikes bearing the ‘Ultra’ name (€649-€1,499).
In 26in wheels, KTM have covered all bases, creating eight options to choose from including a women specific design, the Baggy Sue. Prices ranging from €649 in the ‘Ultra’ models to €2,199 in the triple butted aluminium Race models.
The main difference in the line up is the addition of the 650B Race Action 651 with Shimano XT all round for €2,199.
Additionally to the new 650B bike the Race frames in all three wheel sizes have undergone the key 2013 upgrades including, tapered head tubes and fork, direct mount derailleurs, direct mount rear brake and 12mm bolt through rear axle.
KTM have an impressive line-up by anyone’s standards. We’re looking forward to getting these bikes out for some rigorous testing in the near future. Watch out for first rides on BikeRadar and in MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazine.