He also tossed the stock handguards in favor of Enduro
Engineering ones. The craziest parts on the bike are the
footpegs, which are a prototype MTA design. They have
large heel supports that extend behind the peg and are
theorized to offer more surface area for control.
The stock KTM handguards are really just brush guards.
We’re glad the bike comes with something, but for real
woods, you need hand armor like the Enduro Engineering
handguards on Larry’s bike.
A Pro Circuit pipe and silencer will give the 200 a little hit,
but it’s still no faster than a stock 125 motocross bike on top.
At the other end of the powerband, the little bike does a
good 300 impression.
MTA is a company that centers around wheels and everything about wheels. TCR hubs are laced to Excel rims with
both Bridgestone and Maxxis tires. No one can say that Larry
isn’t even handed.
These footpegs are still on the drawing board at MTA; they’re
designed to offer more control and be easier on your feet.
You’ll hear more about them soon.
AN OLD FRIEND
We haven’t ridden a KTM 200 in a long time, but for
the life of us, we don’t know why. It’s one of the greatest
bikes ever. Even though the machine weighs no less
than a typical 250 two-stroke, it feels like it’s filled with
helium. It virtually floats. Nothing is scary when you’re
on a 200. The bike can hit almost anything without consequence. Oh, sure, we can give part of the credit to the
suspension, which probably has the cushiest settings of
anything in KTM’s line, but the real secret to its handling
magic is really no secret at all. It’s all about the motor.
The 200 has such modest peak output that it’s hard to
get in trouble. Even a 125 rider will think it’s sleepy. Of
course, that’s because a 125 rider won’t think to let the
motor lug down to a super-low rpm, then pull it way
back up without the use of the clutch. The motor runs
sweetly down low, and that’s where you tend to ride it.
We admit that four-strokes have a much more low-rpm
torque, but they don’t encourage the rider to hang out in
that zone. There’s too much risk of a flame out, even on
the best carbureted (or metered) thumper. The 200, on
the other hand, is delighted to run in the idle zone.
The flaw in the mix is any wide-open space. A KTM 200
is like a lizard that lives in tiny cracks and tight confines.
Put it in the open and it no longer seems so quick. The
200 runs flat on top. Back in the days of the KDX200, it
might have seemed like a revver, but not today—not when
a 250F can sing all day at 13,000 rpm.
ONE OF A KIND
It’s cool to be the best at something. The KTM 200
gets the “daily double” by being the best motorcycle in
two different categories. First, there’s no better machine
for super-tight trails—certainly not any four-stroke—and
it has almost nothing for company in the two-stroke
world. Second, it’s the best bike for a novice to grow
into. Fluffy campground bikes are just too limited and
tend to be left behind as their owners move on. The
KTM 200 won’t be left behind—and we’ll add a third trophy. The 200 is the perfect bike to keep veteran riders
coming back for more…and more and more. ;