KMT’s new e-bike marries trail bike versatility to a grin-inducing 160mm of travel
KTM Macina Kapoho 2972 pairs a mullet wheelset with 160mm of travel. Mismatched wheel sizes is something KTM has done for a while now.
KTM Macina Kapoho 2972 need to know
- New frame design for 2020, built around the Gen 4 Bosch Performance CX Motor
- The Macina Kapoho 2972 keeps travel balanced with 160mm front and rear
- Hidden in the down tube is the 625Wh Powertube battery pack with stem-mounted Kiox display to monitor performance metrics
- Mullet wheel configuration pairs a 29in front wheel with a 27.5in Plus rear
For 2020, KTM has given its e-bike range a major overhaul. In part, this is thanks to the arrival of the latest generation of Bosch motors and batteries, which allow for neater packaging. But a revised suspension design and some neat touches to the frame are as much a part of the development story as the electronic components.
The mismatched wheelsize concept makes a lot of sense too, and on e-bikes it works particularly well, but depending on conditions, the fatter rear tyre can make a huge difference to the ride. The 2.8in Maxxis Minion DHR II on the rear of the Kapoho worked a treat on rocky and dry hard-packed trails. Get it on sloppy mud, however, and the high-volume casing skates across the surface rather than digging in, even with the 25.7kg (56.65lb) weight of the bike pushing down. So if your rides are steep and slippy, you may want to run a 2.5in tyre on the back for a bit more drive and grip.
As I mentioned before, the Bosch Performance CX motor and 625Wh Powertube battery play a big role in how the new bike looks, as both are more compact than their predecessors. But they also impact how the bike rides. The latest Bosch motor packs a mighty punch, as you’d expect, but more importantly it has a lot more finesse than previous Bosch units. There’s more feel through the pedals as to what’s happening at the rear wheel, so keeping all those extra watts of power under control is a lot easier than before.
Running the system in eMTB mode makes for a natural-feeling ride and also makes the other settings somewhat superfluous. Power and the Kiox display are controlled by the four-way remote on the left side of the handlebar. It’s not particularly easy to use the remote when the going gets rough though, nor does it make for the cleanest or most ergonomic pairing with the dropper post lever.
But that’s enough about the electronics, let’s take a closer look at the bike itself. At first glance, 160mm of travel seems excessive for a trail bike, but once the Kapoho gets going you’ll soon be glad of that extra suspension. Yes, the linkage-driven suspension initially feels a little too soft and eager to offer up its travel, but go with it and it makes for a bike that loves to hug the ground and suck up big hits. This does come at the expense of agility though, and riders looking for more dynamism from the ride will want to add volume spacers to the fork and shock to increase support and progression, but they will also be fighting against the bike’s true nature.
In fact, I ended up leaving the Fox DPX2 shock set wide open as the more active suspension really suits the bike. It gives fantastic traction on loose climbs and a bottomless, but never wallowy, feel on the way back down. There’s no real point firming things up for road climbs either as the motor assist masks any perception of power loss from the suspension. And while the RockShox 35 Gold suspension fork doesn’t have the cachet of a Pike or Lyrik, it’s a fine performer and a real testament to the value added by trickle-down technology.
The finishing kit on the Macina Kapoho 2972 is primarily KTM’s own- brand equipment, but a Selle Italia X3 e-bike specific saddle and Ergon GE10 grips show money has been spent where it matters most. The handlebar is 800mm wide and the 50mm stem uses magnets to hold the Kiox display in place. It’s a really tidy looking system, but if you want to run a different stem you’ll lose that integration and need to use a bar mount.
KTM’s branded cable-actuated dropper post was problem free, but 125mm of drop feels a little stingy, even on this size small frame. E-bikes need powerful disc brakes and while Tektro HD-M750s boast four-piston calipers, their performance is best described as adequate. Modulation is great, so for scrubbing speed they work just fine, but when you really want to stop in a hurry, they lack that last bit of bite.
The KTM Macina Kapoho is a sorted e-bike that feels and works cohesively. Its suspension and geometry are dialled for its weight, and while it’s billed as a trail bike, it offers a stable DH bike ride, making it ideal if you’re after your very own self-powered uplift service.