KTM 520 SX
Issue: December, 2001
What we thought: We love this motor. Somehow it manages to be mellower and faster than a Honda or Yamaha. And oddly enough, KTM suspension works better on the 520 than it does on the two-stroke models. Still, suspension has to be considered its weakest point.
Most popular mods: Pro Circuit pipe, suspension revalving.
Bottom line: On fast tracks, it?s the best big four-stroke. For most circuits, though, the Honda and Yamaha rate a little higher.

Issue: November 2001
What we thought: Someone at KTM knows how to make power. The 2002 KTM 250SX is an absolute rocket. The rest of the bike is classic KTM; harsh suspension, harsh seat, harsh handling.
Most popular mods: FMF and Pro Circuit make pipes that make the KTM?s power a little more manageable.
Bottom line: Eat your Wheaties and hang on; the KTM can win races if you?re up to it. Other bikes are less demanding.

Issue: October 2001
What we thought: Here we have the best motor in the 125 class. Unfortunately, we also have the worst suspension in the class. Overall, it?s important to note that in the 125 class, the motor is everything.
Most popular mods: Suspension revalving (Race Tech, Factory Connection).
Bottom line: A top pick for Pros and intermediates.

Issue: January 2002
What we thought: The KTM sits right on top of the 65 class with only the Kawasaki KX65 for company. The KTM is the faster of the two and more importantly, it is finally as reliable as it should be.
Most popular mods: Champion Cycle suspension. A DEP pipe gives the KTM more low-end. Most riders then gear the bike taller with a 48-tooth rear sprocket.
Bottom line: Best in show.

Issue: April 2002
What we thought: Minis have come a long way since we were kids. The Pro Jr. LC is positioned as the second-highest bike on KTM?s complex hierarchy of 50s. It is taller than the Adventure models but not as aggressive as the Pro Sr.
Most popular mods: Few modifications are allowed in the strict world of mini racing until you move up to the Modified Class.
Bottom line: KTM?s line of 50s is like a subway map of New York. All of them are much higher quality than they were just a few years ago.

Issue: March 2002
What we thought: This is an incredible bike. It has so much power that it should be a monster. But it?s easy to ride on tight trails as it is on wide-open roads. The electric starter always works and the bike never lets you down.
Most popular mods: Handguards, Scott?s steering damper, FMF, Pro Circuit or White Bros. pipe.
Bottom line: The best all-around big four-stroke made.

Issue: February 2002
What we thought: Possibly the ultimate trail/race bike for the woods. The electric-start EXC isn?t quite as fast as a WR426 or an uncorked DRZ, but handles great and is amazingly reliable.
Most popular mods: Scott?s steering damper, FMF, Pro Circuit or White Bros. pipe.
Bottom line: One of the very best bikes of the year, any category.

Issue: December, 2001
What we thought: We choose a KTM300 for the 24-hours of Glen Helen for a number of reasons. It?s smooth and easy to ride for long periods, it has significant electrical output (for powering lights) and it?s reliable. Even a seizure wouldn?t stop the two-stroke 300, whereas any failure on a four-stroke is big.
Most popular mods: Scott?s steering damper, FMF pipe.
Bottom line: The 300 is realistically in a class by itself. If you want smooth, old-fashion two-stroke power, this is it, unless you resort to European rarities.


Comments are closed.