MotoOnline.com.au tests the 2020 KTM 150 EXC, 250 EXC and 300 EXC.
KTM recently hosted it’s 2020 EXC-F and EXC international media launch in Bassella, Spain, where the new generation enduro models were showcased for the very first time. MotoOnline.com.au had the opportunity to sample the entire range, including the 150, 250 and 300 two-stroke models.
Where we rode:
The media launch took place at Bassella Experiences, about two and half east of Barcelona in Spain. The venue is a dedicated off-road park, and a unique 12km enduro loop, including a special test, was put together for the international press to put the bikes to the test. The trail offered varying surfaces and obstacles, including challenging rock sections, steep ascents and descents, tight and technical trail, plus fast and flowing trails.
For year model 2020, the entire EXC-F and EXC range has undergone a major overhaul, with the new generation EXC two-stroke line-up delivering a host of enhancements and refinements over its predecessor – the major being all three bikes are now TPI. KTM’s target for its 2020 range of enduro bikes was to make them more rideable, which is the result of significantly developing the chassis, suspension and engine package. The latest incarnation of the EXC range offers an engine that is more efficient and produces greater power, the chassis has been reworked with optimised stiffness, the cooling system has been refined and the exhaust system – particularly for the 250 and 300 models – has undergone significant development. All-new bodywork graces the range, however there’s more to it than just aesthetics – the panels have been intelligently designed to maintain strength while cutting down weight, while they’ve been reworked to slim the bike down, particularly on the exhaust number plate, which is now symmetrical with the left-hand side. The airbox has also undergone a makeover to improve airflow, and despite the adjustments, it still utilises the same air filter as its predecessor. As always, the KTM is fitted with only best componentry, including WP XPLOR suspension, Brembo brakes – which are clear standout – hydraulic clutch, Giant rims, Neken handlebars and electric starter.
All 2020 EXC models feature new high-tech, lightweight chromoly steel frames. They retain their race-proven geometries, but by redesigning certain areas and optimising stiffness, it’s resulted in improved stability and a more playful ride. The laterally attached engine head stays – the connection between cylinder, head and frame – are now made of aluminium, reducing vibration and further contributing to precise cornering. All-new for 2020 is the WP XPLOR fork and WP XPLOR shock. The fork is 48mm diameter, and is a split fork design developed by WP and KTM. While each side is fitted with springs, they have separate damping functions – compression damping is on the left and the rebound on the right. At 75kg and intermediate skill level, the fork felt right in the ballpark for my weight and ability, although I didn’t alter the clickers at all to further tailor the settings. You can really feel the potential with the fork, and I think additional time on the bike with some fine tuning would be all that’s needed to settle on a comfortable setting. The shock utilises KTM’s PDS (progressive damping system) design, unlike its motocross siblings – this is where the shock is directly linked to the swingarm without an additional linkage system, reducing weight and lowering the chances of hooking on rocks. The WP XPLOR shock offered a comforting feeling in standard trim, once again, I didn’t adjust the clickers. The bikes tracked exceptionally well, especially in more chattery sections, while it seemed to handle obstacle with ease. The suspension package really ties in well with the reworked frame, offering a comfort-inspiring feeling with the bike.
KTM’s revolutionary TPI system is now standard across range, providing a major boost to the line-up of two-strokes, including the newly-added 150. The benefits of TPI ensure the engine always runs smoothly and crisply, removing the need for pre-mixing fuel and re-jetting, while improving fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. The 150 EXC is a playful bike to ride and was an absolute joy to maximise its power. It has just that little bit more power and torque than what a 125 would, making it just that bit easier to navigate through trails and obstacles. For MY2020, the 250 EXC has had its power delivery smoothed out, and the ability to switch between two maps – smooth and aggressive – made all the difference with this bike. I mainly rode with smoother map, which made the bike feel incredibly rideable, while the more aggressive map offered a more snappier power delivery that you’d come to expect from a 250 two-stroke. The ever-popular 300 EXC is my pick of the range – the power delivery is smooth and manageable, and there’s enough power and torque on tap that you can just lug it around. This is where the TPI really comes into play, as the power is always instant and consistent.
The 2020 KTM EXC range boasts an incredibly playful and competitive line-up of enduro bikes that offer great power, exceptional handling, and a list of premium components. The 150 is a great addition which was really enjoyable – I can really see this bike striking a chord for those two-stroke enthusiasts who want a small-bore enduro machine to rip around on, and of course, aspiring off-road riders. It’s tough the split 250 EXC and 300 EXC – both are obviously very similar, however it’s the power delivery of the 300 that takes my pick.
Engine type: Single cylinder, two-stroke
Capacity: 143.7cc, 249cc, 293.2cc
Bore/stroke: 58mm x 54.5mm, 66.4mm x 72mm, 72mm x 72mm
Seat height: 960mm
Weight: 96.8kg, 103.4kg
Fuel capacity: 9l
More details: www.ktm.com/au