As soon as you see the trademark orange and black styling of a KTM motorbike, you know you’re in for something good. Austrian manufacturer KTM has gained a great reputation over the years for building motorbikes that are perfectly suited for just about every level of riding and racing. While KTM has some great 2-Stroke bikes, enthusiasts are looking more and more towards 4-Stroke models, and the 2008 KTM EXC series has a few you just might fall in love with.
What immediately stands out about the KTM EXC is the lightweight design of these enduro bikes. The shrouds are aerodynamically constructed to weigh down the bike as little as possible, with lightweight plastics so it won’t be weighed down. Like many of the bikes in the KTM line, the styling is aggressive, with a distinctive triangular headlight that makes this bike instantly recognizable, and a mud guard and LED tail light in the rear.
You’ll get some great power out of the EXC, thanks to its new, lighter, more efficient XC4 engine, redesigned especially to suit the special demands and requirements of enduro racing. Speaking of the demands of enduro racing, one of the realities of these types of bikes is that they tend to require a lot of maintenance to keep them performing at the top of their game. The design of the 2008 KTM EXC actually makes maintenance much simpler than you might expect, with bigger, more easily accessible valves and a generally more elegant design than some other enduros. Vibration is minimal and the transmission is smooth, and if you’ve ridden KTM bikes before, you’ll probably agree that the engine on the EXC is the most efficient and reliable one they’ve ever produced.
But all that aside, how much will you enjoy riding a 2008 KTM EXC Bike? The answer is, quite a bit, probably. The more flexible swingarm and adjustable shock absorber means you can get almost exactly the type of ride you want every time, even in rough terrain and other tough conditions of the type you’re likely to encounter when enduro riding. Take your favorite motocross bike and give it some trail riding flexibility, and you’ve got a KTM EXC. This type of bike needs to be able to give you precision when you need it and power when you’ve got room to open things up, and the EXC can definitely do that, and the comfortable seat and compact body means that most riders will be able to ride one of these all day long if they want to.
What about the brakes? No worries here. Quality Brembo disc brakes will help you adjust to sudden corners and downhill runs fearlessly, with solid stopping power and nice feel, especially in front.
You have your choice of the 450 model with the more than adequate 449cc displacement engine, or the 530, with a monstrous 510cc engine. Both offer plenty of power and stability on the trail. Which one you’ll choose will largely depend on how you feel when you take it out for a spin and what your particular motorbike needs and desires are.
The bottom line is that when you come to the motorcycle shop equipped with your checklist for your ideal enduro bike, you’ll probably find yourself checking off every box on the list. There are a number of interesting enduro bikes out there, but you’ll be cheating yourself if you don’t at least include the KTM EXC in the conversation, and you’ll be in very good company if you ultimately decide the EXC is the right bike for your enduro needs.