Hardtails from European brands sometimes falter in the UK, where riders tend to be more aggressive than their counterparts on the Continent. However, Austrian brand KTM says it has designed the Ultra EVO DiM specifically for trail riding, so I was interested to see how it stands up to UK use.
KTM Ultra EVO DiM frame
The KTM has a mullet setup – it rocks a 650b rear wheel and a 29er front wheel. This is intended to give the bike an agile and playful character without sacrificing too much momentum over bumpy terrain.
The angular-looking frame is built from 6061 aluminium alloy and is available in only three sizes.
Reach figures (the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre-top of the head tube, which affects how a bike feels when you’re stood on the pedals) are conservative – just 452mm on our size-large bike. Taller riders may struggle to get a good fit.
In addition, seat tubes are relatively long (460mm, large), preventing smaller riders from sizing up to a larger-than-normal frame to get more reach.
However, the 65-degree head angle is what you’d have found on a hardcore enduro bike a few years ago, and the 74-degree effective seat tube angle is on-trend for a modern hardtail.
In terms of features, the frame has now-standard Boost hub spacing, semi-internal cable routing, plus mounts for mudguards and a rack. Tyre clearance isn’t fantastic, but it’ll accept 2.6in rear rubber. Chainstay protection is minimal, making for a noisy ride.
KTM Ultra EVO DiM kit
The KTM has a competitive spec, but no standout parts. You get a 130mm-travel, air-sprung RockShox Recon Silver RL fork with slim 32mm stanchions and a fairly basic Motion Control damper, which has external rebound and compression damping adjustment.
The drivetrain is from SRAM’s lowest-tier SX Eagle 12-speed range and uses an 11-50t cassette, not its wider-range 10-52t option.
Shimano’s two-piston MT410 brakes offer adequate power, and you can tweak the lever reach.
Fairly wide (30mm, internal) own-brand rims laced to Shimano hubs are wrapped in Performance-grade Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, in a 2.6in rear width and a narrower 2.35in up-front.
The stem is suitably short at 50mm, and the 150mm dropper seatpost is pleasingly long.
KTM Ultra EVO DiM ride impressions
Thanks to its smaller rear wheel, the EVO feels fun on the trail, with poppy, playful handling. It darts into corners with an urgency some other bikes lack, and turns with ease. While the 440mm chainstays aren’t the shortest, you can still easily lift the front wheel.
It climbs well, too, thanks to its fairly steep seat tube angle, which puts you in an efficient pedalling position over the BB.
Although the reach is short, the chainstay length keeps you in a balanced position, and I didn’t have to shuffle my weight around to find traction or keep the bike tracking up steep climbs.
I like the rubber lugs at the cable entry ports, which stop the internally routed control lines from rattling.
The cheaper SX Eagle drivetrain doesn’t feel as refined and crisp as more expensive 12-speed setups, though, and the chain jumps around when pedalling over rougher sections of trail.
While the tyres roll fast, helping the KTM to feel sprightly when climbing, I didn’t have complete trust in the firmer Schwalbe rubber compound when pushing hard on the descents, and they did lose traction.
That made it challenging to get the most from the EVO’s agile handling.
Also, the Performance casing felt less damped than on rival bikes, adding a more pingy feel to the ride. The RockShox fork works well, with good sensitivity and progression, but I noticed its shorter travel and skinnier, marginally flexier stanchions in rough sections.
For my 173cm (5ft 8in) height, the large frame was okay, but for riders looking for a longer, more stable bike, the KTM isn’t the best here.
The frame has rubber plugs for its internal cable routing, minimising cable rattle and water ingress.
There are mounts for mudguards and a pannier rack, plus bosses for two water bottle cages
The 760mm handlebar is adequate for most trail riding.
KTM Ultra EVO DiM geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||74||74||74||74|
|Head angle (degrees)||65||65||65||65||65|
|Seat tube (mm)||360||410||460||510||550|
|Top tube (mm)||582||602||622||642||662|
|Head tube (mm)||90||90||105||120||140|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||60||60||60||60||60|
KTM Ultra EVO DiM bottom line
I had a lot of fun riding the KTM Ultra EVO DiM, and I’m sure you will, too – if it fits you. It does, though, need some spec changes to realise its potential, most notably new tyres.
How we tested
The £1,500 mark has become a highly competitive price point for hardtail mountain bikes in recent years, with many brands offering versatile builds that pack in a solid spec for the money.
We put four trail-focused hardtails around the £1,500 mark to the test to see which came out on top.
All four of the bikes on test are built tough to withstand some abuse, so while they may not be as fast over the roughest terrain as a more expensive full-suspension rig, they shouldn’t be any less fun to ride.
While the hardtails tested here all serve a similar purpose, individual brands often prioritise different ride characteristics, giving each machine its own feel. These reviews and our in-depth buyer’s guide to the best hardtail mountain bikes should help narrow down the choice.
Other bikes on test
|Price||EUR €1499.00GBP £1500.00|
|Weight||13.74kg (L) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||M, L, XL|
|Headset||KTM Team Trekking|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 29x2.35in (f), 27.5x2.6in (r)|
|Stem||KTM Team, 50mm|
|Shifter||SRAM SX Eagle|
|Seatpost||KTM Comp DP 30|
|Saddle||KTM Comp MTB|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM SX Eagle (1x12)|
|Handlebar||KTM Comp Trail, 760mm|
|Bottom bracket||SRAM DUB BSA|
|Frame||6061 Aluminium alloy|
|Fork||RockShox Silver RL, 130mm travel|
|Cranks||SRAM SX Eagle, 32t|
|Chain||SRAM NX Eagle|
|Cassette||SRAM SX Eagle PG-1210, 11-50t|
|Brakes||Shimano MT410, 180mm rotors|
|Wheels||KTM Enduro Plus, 30mm rims on Shimano MT400 hubs|