What’s Going On With The 2023 KTM’s?
Getting it straight, here is what KTM’s press release and other media outlets didn’t tell you.
The 2023 KTM’s released last week and there are some noteworthy changes that piqued our interest in the all-new machines. With an all-new bike from the ground-up, there are a lot of changes to talk about and how they may affect the bikes performance on the track.
First up, we’re looking into the transmissions. Originally reported, the 350 XC-F, 250 XC, and 300 XC were all claimed to be 5-speed transmissions just like the SX motocross models. That is not the case as all XC models (other than the 450 XC-F) have 6-speed transmissions like the previous versions did. There were whispers of the new XC models housing XC-W/EXC wide ratio transmissions, but they do in fact carry over the same transmission ratios as 2022, which is a big plus. The semi-close ratio offering with an added 6th gear gives riders two gears for most situations, whereas a wide ratio tranny typically only has one gear for every occasion and can be tougher to use in race conditions. For racers, this is welcomed news as the transmission is what sets the XC’s apart from almost every other manufacturers’ XC Race models.
Next, we’re moving to the two-strokes and the reeds. KTM stated “the reed valve case has received an important design update, with newly added plastic flaps on the outside of the reed valve case for better sealing of the entire intake tract. This new design negates over-fueling in extreme up- or downhill sections with no bogging down or running rich.” The plastic flaps limit how much the reed pedals can open, which in turn limits how much residual fuel can be sent through the intake (backwards). Some riders have experienced a rich feeling or sometimes bogging engine on steep hills, so this should help negate this issue that can be a normal occurrence in an off-road setting according to KTM. But we are not sure how this, especially on XC TPI bikes where only air flowed through the reed, could be the cause of the issue. Even on the carbureted SX bikes, reed stops do control reed “flutter” and not sealing the intake tract during the downstroke of the piston could lead to an over-rev type of sensation where there is a loss of power. With further investigation we were told that even on the TPI bikes there is an occurrence where under very large throttle openings at lower RPM going up a steep hill some fuel was able to get beck behind the reed valve and cause a bogging issue, something that we never experienced during any of our testing. This would cause a bog especially if the bike were to then be going on a steep downhill. when the “stored” fuel was then added to the mixture, unmetered. Oh yeah, you will also need to mix your gas with these bikes, unlike the oil-injected TPi versions seen previously on the XC models and still currently seen on the XC-W models.
Lastly, the 2022.5 Factory Editions are largely the same bikes as the 2023 SX-F models. Aside from the missing accessories, all of the same technology has transferred over to the standard editions without any large changes. The new chassis, suspension, engine, and bodywork grace the 2023 models at a lower price without the added KTM PowerParts accessories like triple clamps, wheels, graphics and seat, and more.