KTM Lycan 3.0 – First Ride review

Confidence inspiring newcomer

Our rating 
4.3 out of 5 star rating 4.3
GBP £1,569.99 RRP | USD $2,160.00

Our review

Naturally fast, quick witted, impressively smooth and enjoyable
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KTM are better known for top class off-road motorbikes, but they’ve been making push bikes for decades too. The two brands are now separated, but this fast, smooth and enjoyable all rounder certainly shares the family heritage.


Ride & handling: Faster-than-average responses are better for racers than rioters

The Lycan is a new bike for KTM, aimed at what Germanic bikers call ‘tour’ but what we’d call ‘trail’. Either way, the 120mm (4.72in) of travel is bang-on for balancing control and cushioning against excess weight.

If we’re honest, we tend to associate the words ‘tour-fully’ with nervous handling, low control, fireroad bashing machines. Thankfully the Lycan is way more fun than that.

It is a steep-angled ride for its travel (70 degree head rather than the current benchmark 69 degrees) so it does tend to snap into turns and stir the front tyre around in wet conditions. 

There are tons of very good trail bikes around right now, but we enjoyed the ktm from the first ride.: there are tons of very good trail bikes around right now, but we enjoyed the ktm from the first ride.

The RockShox Reba fork is composed enough to let you push it hard without disturbing balance or poise. The stiff frame and wide bars keep it under control, making it much happier on descents than other similarly angled trail bikes.

The floating Fox RP23 shock is smooth and progressive, making it easy to lean back, effectively slackening the angles and increasing straightline stability. Quick-witted handling is a bonus in tight singletrack or climbing and the KTM never hesitates in getting the power down or communicating traction levels. Low tyre weight and efficient power delivery mean it accelerates well despite being a slightly heavy bike for its price and category too.

There are tons of very good trail bikes around right now, but we enjoyed the KTM from the first ride. Its faster-than-average responses nudge it more towards racers than rioters though.

It’s a ktm jim, but not as we know it: it’s a ktm jim, but not as we know it

Frame: Stiff and confidence inspiring, with 120mm of travel

The fully hydroformed and curved front end is usefully stiff. The rear seatstays swell towards the tips giving a stiff connection across the rear axle, and the 3D rocker is taut too. The chainstays carry both the main pivot and the lower shock mount, creating a fully floating system.

There’s reasonable tyre space, clean cable routing and conventional bottle placement. The dropped driveside chainstay can cause chainsuck though, so keep the chain lubed and loved.

up gives a ‘bottomless’ suspension feel: up gives a ‘bottomless’ suspension feel

Equipment: Some of our favourite new kit

The Lycan boasts two of our favourite new kit arrivals. The RockShox Reba 120 fork is light, stiff and well controlled at high speed and over rocks. The Shimano SLX transmission with XT rear mech ‘upgrade’ works flawlessly too and the SLX brakes are plenty powerful. 


Schwalbe’s Rocket Ron tyres are new too. They’re seriously light and fast, with decent all-year-round grip, as long as you don’t push them too hard and deform the slim knobs and carcass. The SLX hubs suit high mileage-use and the Mavic rims are proven classics.

SLX brakes prove plenty powerful enough: slx brakes prove plenty powerful enough

Product Specifications


Name Lycan 3.0
Brand KTM Bikes

Brakes Shimano SLX hydraulic disc 160mm rotors
Cassette Shimano SLX
Fork RockShox Reba Race 120mm (4.2in) travel
Frame Material KTM L.R.R Tour 120mm (4.7in) travel
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX
Handlebar Ritchey Comp
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT rear mech
Rear Hub Shimano SLX
Rear Shock Fox RP23
Rims Mavic XM317 rims
Saddle Selle Italia X2 Light Man TA
Seatpost Ritchey Comp
Shifters Shimano SLX
Stem Ritchey Comp
Year 2009