Dirt and Trail August 2019


450 and 500 EXC-F

The bigger machines, the 450 and 500 EXC-F particularly,

are great at tracking and sticking to a line along the

faster sections of the course or the rocky up hills when

you’re driving on the gas to make it to the top – in those

circumstances the planted feel and grip is very welcome.

Part of that planted feel is down to the new WP XPLOR

PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock absorber.

For MY2020 a new second piston and cup in the shock

increase resistance against bottoming, to match the forks.

The bigger EXC models like the 500 are really good

at letting you stick in one or two gears, second and third

mostly, and simply use the strong and torquey power from

low to high revs. This was also the bike which showed off

the new seat best of all. A slightly different shape and new

foam inside make it more comfortable and grippier.

An improved axial mount for the decompressor shaft

means more reliable starting and a new, more efficient

integrated engine breather system reduces oil losses.

All now come with a fan as standard.

One thing I noticed on the trail is the big bikes rev

more freely and that, in part is down to the short cylinder

with a 95mm bore housing a new piston, which KTM say

improves performance and engine speed strength but

lowers vibration.

It is a lot to take in but the message is clear out on the

track; the big bikes get easier and easier to ride and like

we said earlier, that ability to stick in one gear, especially

on the 500, is a real bonus.

The 250 EXC-F

Revving up to a claimed 12,800rpm, the MY2020 250

EXC-F is a different beast.

With a new 78mm bore cylinder and raised

compression ratio from 12.8:1 to 13.8:1 you can tell that

in part the development for this bike has carried over from

the successful KTM 250 SX-F motocross engine. If the

450F can at times feel like a bike for the pro rider on a race

track the 250F makes you feel like a pro.


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