It’ll make you grin insanely
Need to know
- 650b e-bike designed specifically for trail riding
- New 250w Bosch CX system offers power assist
- Fox rear shock delivers 125mm travel
- Weighs 20.8kg (45.9lb)
Despite the hefty weight and price, it’s time to find out if the KTM has won over our long term tester Jason…
- Name: Jason Hardy
- Position: Picture editor
- Mostly rides: Surrey Hills
- Height: 6ft 2in
- Weight: 101kg
What attracted you to the KTM?
Having never ridden one before I wanted to see how viable an e-bike was as an only bike, and besides, who would turn down a free lift to the top?
Did you change anything straightaway?
I seem to always get my longtermers at the start of winter, so some Maxxis Shortys gave an instant confidence boost, but apart from that it’s remained stock.
Was the bike easy to set up?
Pretty simple really, set the suspension up, plug it in for a few hours to get a full charge and away you go. You never forget that first turn of the pedals as the power kicks in and you shoot off with a whirr, chuckling to yourself at the ridiculousness of it all.
Having to remember to charge the bike before a ride does reduce the spontaneity of a ‘quick blast before work’, though.
How did it ride?
Considering its humongous weight (20kg!), not that bad. You definitely need to give the bike some extra upper body muscle when threading it down trails, but that extra mass also gave it a more planted feeling. You have to learn to resist setting the power mode to Turbo all the time, which adversely affects the range.
When descending trails, you needed to knock the power right back to prevent any sudden surges when you least need it; a half-crank to get your feet set up for a descent can induce a surge at the wrong moment. Toggling modes also helps with the range, allaying the constant fear of running out of juice.
Did anything break or wear out?
I never resolved the problem of the intermittent screen fault. It seemed to have a mind of its own, turning on and off at random times.
To be fair I never tried resolving this problem with the distributor as I didn’t want to be without the bike, and I’m sure it’s something that would be covered under warranty.
But the heart of the beast — the motor and battery — never skipped a beat.
If you could change one thing about your longtermer what would it be?
The weight… and the price. Am I allowed two things? I never failed to be shocked by the weight when lifting the bike in and out of my car, and it showed just as much out on the trail.
I constantly found myself thinking about which great conventional bikes I could buy for £3,700 (Answer: loads). But like any technology, I’m sure it will come down in weight, and price, over time.
Any e-bike is a unique proposition though, and I would definitely recommend putting aside any prejudices and trying one out. It’ll make you grin insanely and could be the perfect fit for your type of riding.
If I had the moolah for a dream bike garage then I’d definitely have one in the collection. For a lot of people, the tough grind of mountain biking is what keeps them fit, and I’m not sure that making that aspect of riding easier is necessarily a good thing. But if you’re coming back from injury, or in your twilight years, they’re a great solution to being able to just get out and ride. And in my mind, any bike that keeps people riding is a good bike