There’s new suspension across the board, too. Still WP, but redesigned and labeled ‘Xplore’. The forks now have the compression and rebound circuits separated into the two legs, compression left, rebound right. Meanwhile the new PDS shock is smaller and 600g lighter and we note that, significantly, rear wheel travel has reduced from 335 to 310mm (that’s an inch in old money) – which probably contributes to the 10mm reduction in seat height, now 960mm across the range. Steering angle is unchanged at 63.5º but the fork offset has changed (again, they do it every year) now to 22mm, was 20mm. Whether this significantly rebalances the bike we’ll have to see. We’d like to think so.
The rear brake has seen some subtle changes too. There’s +10mm on the lever length and –2mm on the brake pistons (down to 24mm) and this may allow a little more sensitivity. If you’ve had the regular experience where braking into turns you’ve locked the rear brake and consequently stalled the motor, then this small mod may well be very important to your ride enjoyment, perhaps more than the rest combined.
There are other changes too. The seat is now even flatter, thanks to some judicious sculpting which sees the front of the seat lowered by 14mm and the rear by 8mm. The bodywork changes certainly refresh the bikes’ look. The radiator-tank panels are pleasingly minimalist while there are distinct edges to be found in most panels that help define the aesthetic. With Kiska design there’s been some hot and cold reactions to past designs, but this definitely registers at the hot end.
One very odd move though – back to cast triple clamps after getting milled units, at last, only last year. And, honestly, why can’t KTM fit a bash plate as standard equipment – how much would it hurt their bottom line? Anyway, as said, there’s plenty more detail and for that go to www.ktm.com or go to the websites of those media outlets who think to cut-and-paste the technical briefing notes ‘in toto’ passes for professional journalism (ah, getting snaky there…!).