REMEMBER THE 380?
At the close of the 20th century open-class two-strokes
were cashing out and heading for the door. They were still
offered, but they weren’t selling well. Four-strokes were
coming and 250 two-strokes were more fun. The 500cc
two-stroke was simply too hard to ride, but there was an
attempt at finding a more manageable displacement from
several makers. KTM was always the king of odd-ball
engine sizes. There was a 550, which turned out to be a
movement in the wrong direction. There was a 350, and
much later there was a 360.
All were flawed in some
way. The last stand of
actually the best.
In 1998 the
by a 380. It
KTM Factory Services
wheels found their way
onto the Dragon.
If you look long and hard enough, you can
find anything on eBay. The suspension is
Showa’s A-kit from just a few years back.
displacement, but KTM engineers put so much effort into
making it different from the previous year’s 360, they had
to give it a different name. By 2000 it was a genuinely
good motorcycle, but no one cared. There was no future
for the open class.
Some people, however, didn’t forget. Bob Casper is one
of those. He’s a 50-something motocrosser with a thing
for two-strokes. He has several Honda CR250s of various
ages, and he recently built his own aluminum-framed
CR500. He rode that bike for a while, but it had a bit too
much power, too much vibration and was too much like a
30-year-old Honda 500. Then he saw the ad on KTMTalk.
com—a 2013 Factory Edition, or the “Dungey Replica”
as people called it then, with a 2000 KTM 380SX
motor. His perfect bike already existed and he
didn’t even have to build it.
It turned out that Jimmy Wilbourne, a like-
minded two-stroke fan in Alabama, had the
same idea. He merged the 380 motor with
a current (at the time) chassis. It wasn’t the
easiest project, but then no engine swap is
a bolt-on operation. The whole lower cradle
had to be cut out of the original 380 frame
Making the motor
fit requied that
the cradle from the
original frame came