KTM has a firmly entrenched reputation as an innovator in the dirt bike community. The 2009 KTM XC is more proof that the Austrian company is not resting on its laurels but continuing to stay at the forefront of the development curve, especially in the now rare category of two-strokes. Not many companies are currently producing two-stroke motorcycles, but instead of rushing to follow the four-stroke crowd, KTM has chosen a different path. Because it remains unconvinced that there is ""no market for two-strokes,"" KTM has kept its two-stroke dirt bike offerings up to date with current technologies. The 2009 KTM XC represents one of KTM's powerful two-stroke entries into the dirt bike market.
KTM's engines represent the pinnacle of two-stroke engineering. KTM offers several different engine sizes for the XC models: a 125cc, a 250cc, and a 450cc. These engines are liquid cooled and feature TVC twin valve control. Designed as quick revving and tuned for mid- to high-range rpms, all of these two-strokes feel most comfortable when accelerating at high rpms, rather than rocketing forward from a standstill. The transmission is geared to take advantage of the two-stroke's strong mid-range torque, so riders will enjoy moving from second to third gear. Here, the engine offers quick throttle response and plenty of power for competitive motocross events. A Keihin PWK carburetor feeds fuel to the engine and is complemented by a aluminum exhaust placed under the seat.
KTM's suspension system on the XC amounts to a cross between off-road and motocross types. This means the XC is capable of handling the bumps of raw terrain, but can also compete on man-made motocross tracks with equal ease. The suspension does lie on the stiffer side of the spectrum. A high 38.8-inch seat and 14 inches of ground clearance give the rider plenty of room to ensure clearance of all sorts of obstacles that can be encountered when off-roading or when hitting the big jumps on a motocross track.
Braking on the 2009 KTM XC is provided by high-quality Brembo brakes. A 10.25-inch disc with double pistons supplies the stopping power up front and is backed up by an 8.7-inch disc with a single piston in the rear. With an ultra-light curb weight of 243 pounds, these brakes perform an excellent job of slowing the XC down when the rider needs them.
Ergonomics on the KTM XC are suited to motocross events. With a high seat height and handlebars within easy reach, the riding position is well suited to the big jumps of competitive motocross. The bike is easy to control for experienced dirt bike riders, and can be kept stable under a variety of conditions. Even with the rear wheel spinning and kicking up lots of dirt, the XC gives the rider confidence that the bike is always under control.
The exterior styling of the 2009 KTM XC hints at its purpose. With minimal bodywork, the off-road tires dominate the XC's profile. This is not a bike with excessive fairing, but instead, one that means business. Offered in KTM's traditional orange and black, this machine looks as raw and aggressive as dirt bikes get.
With so many options for dirt bikes, it is great that KTM offers such a strong two-stroke bike that will appeal to a wide range of dirt bike enthusiasts.