Or is this bike the total
Dick Burleson abuses our 200 while enjoying the
Michigan boulder zones. The bike has very supple
suspension and a motor that loves to be short-shifted in the search for traction.
KTM prides themselves on being the ultimate niche marketer. Scoffed at a few short years ago, they
now own the off-road world, and they deserve credit
for their constant appetite for improvement. KTM has
almost single-handedly forced the continued evolution of the two-stroke, with yearly innovations and
thoughtful technical improvements. Racing is an integral part of their development program, and KTM has
dominated almost every facet of off-road competition.
But there-in lies the rub. Where does their 200XC-W
fit into the puzzle of machines designed to win races?
2012 marks the return of the 200XC-W to KTM’s lineup following a one-year hiatus. The engineers made
major changes to just about everything except the
engine, which has only received subtle modifications.
No worries, since KTM’s target audience liked the
powerband the way it was. The frame is brand new and
incorporates KTM’s PDS single-shock non-linkage,
which is designed primarily for off-road. With a central
shock mount and better torsional rigidity, there is
decreased longitudinal stiffness and more isolated
shock force. The goal is a smoother, more tractable ride
from a bike that is still around 5 pounds lighter than a
standard linkage-equipped machine. The swingarm is a
new one-piece unit that is cast and features improved
flex characteristics. Out back, the WP PDS damper is
7mm longer and uses a new preload adjuster.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?