Life is all about transitions—small ones and big ones—and it’s all about making them smoothly. In the life of an off-road rider, there is no bigger hurdle than moving up from a small bike to a full-size trail machine. For some riders, this transition is effortless. For others, moving up from the comforts of a small bike to the faster speeds and added weight of a big bike can be a nightmare. We hate to say it, but a bad transition can turn a rider off from the sport. Finding a perfect machine for this time in a young rider’s life can create many challenges, and that’s what brings us to this project. Our buddy Jay Clark’s son, Spencer, was ready to make the leap, so we teamed up to make the ultimate off-road transition machine without going bankrupt.
Spencer’s current ride is a CR85 big wheel. The 250Fs on the market are a little too tall for him and pack a lot of punch in the power department for tight technical trails. KTM’s 200XC-W has proven to be a good all-around trail machine straight off the showroom floor, so we started there. After months of searching online, we found a used 2007 KTM 200XC-W that wasn’t going to drain our bank account. Our project 200XC-W was definitely used and abused by its former owner, so a complete tear-down was necessary. When purchasing a used bike, Jay says it’s always important to check over the cases, cylinder and cylinder head for any signs of a major problem. If you have to replace these items, it can get really pricey.
Once we got our online gem home and started inspecting it more closely, we realized our build was going to be a little more complicated than originally expected. The engine had to come out. We removed the cylinder and split the cases. We installed Hot Rods’ complete bottom-end kit, which was balanced by Crank Works to the exact weight of the new Vertex piston. The cylinder was toast, so we sent it and the head off to Millennium Tech to get it repaired and re-coated. Our main goal was to produce good, usable power throughout the powerband and still be able to use pump gas, so no major changes were made internally. We did, however, install a V-force reed cage for a little more response and an FMF Fatty pipe with a Turbine 2 core silencer. The FMF Turbine 2 silencer would make us legal to ride, spark arrestor-wise, at any OHV area in the United States. With any bike that has sat for an extended length of time, completely checking over the fuel system is critical. Our 200 is carbureted and was extremely dirty, requiring a new needle/seat setup. Spencer showed Jay how to clean out every passage way to ensure it was done correctly. The jetting that we decided on is very close to stock. Here is what we ran.
Main jet: 160
Pilot jet: 40
Air screw: 2 out
Stock needle: In 3rd clip position
While the crank and cylinder were out getting worked on, Spencer buffed out the cases, and we took the frame down to Phil Johnson at San Diego Powder Coating to get that factory-orange bling applied. With the bike completely apart, it was easy to replace all the suspension bearings, and we did so with complete kits from Pivot Works. Factory Connection went through the front and rear suspension completely, replacing seals, bushings and bumpers. They didn’t stop there, though, shortening it up to a 1/2 inch when they re-valved and sprung it to be a little friendlier for vertically challenged riders. Chuck at MetalTek also got in on the action, shortening up the subframe, along with Travis at MotoSeat, who shaved the seat foam down a bit. These are all minor things that can make a huge difference in the overall picture.
With most of the major components of the 200 build back in place, we installed Cycra’s complete plastics kit, including the full-wraparound handguards and a full-coverage carbon fiber skid plate and pipe guard from P3 Composites. We also added a little bling in the wheel department with a complete wheelset from Tusk Racing. It features orange-anodized hubs with black rims topped off with Dunlop’s new AT81 front tire and D803 trails rear for improved traction on slippery rocks.
As far as the bike build portion of Spencer’s KTM 200XC-W is concerned, we can honestly say it was a success. The bike fits Spencer perfectly. The lowering of the suspension, seat and subframe definitely worked. The power delivery comes on earlier than with his CR85, making it easier for tight trails, and it pulls stronger in the midrange and top end. The Cycra wraparound handguards are doing their job, and the P3 Composites pipe guard is earning its keep as well. We tried not to go bankrupt while building the ultimate transition machine for Spencer Clark, but we failed miserably. We will be the first to admit that we got a little carried away, but can anyone really blame us? Fun was had by all, and Spencer even showed dear old dad a thing or two in the garage. Now that is priceless!
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