Larry Popp is a twisted knot of indecision. As the man who runs MTA, one of the country’s
major motorcycle parts distributors, he’s up to his
rather large ears in motorcycles 24/7. Yet he
never has time to ride. Over the years, he’s tried
several remedies. The last one was a Honda
CRF450R. That was a bad idea. If you don’t get
out to ride much, the last thing you need is a
450cc motocrosser; it’s more likely to make you
dread your next ride.
Now Larry’s fickle favorite is a 2010 KTM
200XC-W two-stroke that he set up for himself.
His latest ride strikes us as much smarter. This is
probably the perfect bike for an experienced rider
who just doesn’t get out often. It’s a bike capable
of going anywhere and going there very quickly.
Best of all, it won’t try to eat you along the way.
ONE OF A KIND
The KTM 200 occupies a place somewhere between
icon and cult bike. There once was a full class of 200cc
trail bikes, but it was dying when the KTM came out and
took over. The reason was simple: The Japanese always
saw the 200 as a price-point machine, so bikes like the
Kawasaki KDX200, Yamaha IT200 and Honda XR200R
were designed to be inexpensive first and competitive second. KTM saw things differently. The original 200EXC was
designed as an off-road racer, and it was a top-of-the-line
showcase for new technology. It was actually the first PDS
(no shock linkage) bike in KTM’s line back in 1998 when it
was released as a special-edition blue Jackpiner. It also
was the first KTM with a hydraulic clutch. But what really
made the bike special was the fact that it could be ridden
by a beginner, just like the other 200s, and it also appealed
to hardcore East Coast woods racers. Everyone loved the
KTM 200, and Japanese makers couldn’t update their 200s
DEPARTMENT OF INDECISION
Larry Popp runs MTA, a big distributor
with its headquarters in Louisiana,
which is prime KTM 200 country.