I’ve never spent much time around KTM’s. We had a dealer nearby who everyone generally agreed was an asshole. It was a small shop and could have been a winner but the guy was a real crook. How he ever landed that dealership (and kept it as long as he did) was a mystery to those of us in the local motorcycle community. As a result, I never spent much time kicking the tires over there. What’s was the point really. I’d never buy a bike from the guy anyway. So as it happens I had to run by the local Suzuki / Yamaha dealership for some parts for the DR650 last weekend and low and behold there on the floor was a full compliment of Orange machines. They had picked up a KTM franchise of their very own! It was a Saturday so took the time to hang out and gave them an honest once over. One of the salesman is a buddy that I’ve known for quite a few years and it was a slow day so I hung around and picked his brain a bit.
Veeeeery interesting stuff….
To start with they didn’t have the full lineup in yet. They had most of the dirtbikes but unfortunately no Dukes or Superdukes. They did however have a pair of the big 990 Adventurer models on the floor. For years I never did “get” these bikes. Oh I’ve seen them plenty in magazines and on the web and such but I’ve never thought much of them really. Plenty of general praise but they always seemed slabsided and very heavy “looking”.
And then I sat on one.
Well damm.. not that is a well balanced bike for it’s size. And it’s a lot smaller (and frankly better looking) in person anyway. Some bikes just don’t phoograph well for some reason. It felt about 150 pounds lighter than it looked and if the power is as good as I’ve read about then it must be one fun ride. Now they are not cheap of course , but lightweight, big power and go almost anywhere performance rarely is. Really impressive “in the flesh” as they say.
Then my brain went ding! There’s your blogpost for the day there Steve-o! Cool! So I came home started to do a little research for this post and tripped across this beauty..
Now THAT is a gutsy build. What a performer this thing must be.
So anyway, back at the dealership, my salesman salesman friend casually pointed to the KTM 30exc 2 stroke I was leaning against and asked, “what do ya think?”…
Now he knows full well that I’m a certifiable 2 stroke loon. And as it turns out, I’ve talked to a few owners of these over the years and the reports are jaw dropping. A tase of what might have been if everyone had stayed with 2 stroke tech. The thing is essentially weightless. It has a highly developed powervalve exhaust that keeps it strong literally everywhere. One mutual buddy of ours (who marshals for CCS/ASRA racing series) named Ron G who has good skills and a serious stable of bikes to match, actually owns a tagged KTM300 2 stroke that I though he bought that way. He has other hooligan bikes for the street so he mostly uses it to ride from trailhead to trailhead when he’s offroading. I always just assume that the guy he bought it from bullshitted it past the tag agency (by some fluke or friend or whatever) and off he went. The old “it’s nice to know a guy” trick. Anyway, Ron G once swore to me that if properly massaged that bike could stand the 450 4-stroke MX class on its head. He said the beauty of that would be that the low dollar amateur racers would not go broke on high priced insanely expensive maintenance every 12 races or so on their titanium valved Swiss watch thumpers. And screw the emissions. It’s just a few bikes. Anyway, I really don’t doubt him about this which is also why I have no doubt that the major manufacturers will NEVER, EVER allow it to happen. Too much investment in new tech to lose races to a simple affordable 2 stroke.
Oh well… sigh.. life goes on… yada yada.. but man are they aver gorgeous.
AND THEN My Super Duper pain in the ass salesbuddy dropped THE BOMB on me…
You know he said, “Ron G titled that bike himself. It was easy.”
I stopped and stared at him. Maybe a little slack jawed.
“As it turns out”, he continued, ” the titles on those bike do not have offroad use only written on them anywhere. And just as important, they’ve got the correct # of digits to satisfy the DMV. Hell an aftermarket enduro light kit and you can tag those babies in Florida and get them street legal”….
…..at least 10 solid seconds of dead silence. I may have stopped breathing. I turned from him, stepped back and just stared at the bike and visualized it with Supermoto wheels. I tried to imagine the sublime ecstasy of what it might be like to ride a waifish, heck almost weightless 2 stroke motorcycle , properly sprung with giant sticky tires and insane power around a place like Deals Gap.
tic tic tic…
“Are you OK?” he asked.
“You’re a prick.” I replied.
He had me. “And why’s that?” he asked laughing out loud.
“Because compared to most sane people I am definitely NOT OK. Hell I wouldn’t even know how to explain this to a normal person much less my own family.”
“Ha! I hooked you didn’t I?” he said.
“Not at over $8000 new you didn’t. I can’t swallow THAT much bait” I said. “But call me if you get a used one in. You never know.”
So I muttered a curse and came home. Logged in and did a search on KTM 300 Supermoto.
Son of a bitch..