THE 2024 KTM EXC ROARS THROUGH LESOTHO: A LOOK AT THE 2024 ENDURO LAUNCH & NEW KTM EXC MODELS
In the midst of the mountains of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, the roar of KTM EXC excellence brought the area – famous for the ‘Roof of Africa’ Hard Enduro race – alive again, as KTM launched its revolutionary 2024 Enduro machines. 38 journalists from 22 countries traveled to the spectacular location, and as the dust has settled on that iconic trip, we at the KTM Blog delve into the new ‘REDEFINED’ era of KTM EXC.
Jumping right into it with the two-strokes: It was one of the worst kept secrets that back in 2016 Andreas Lettenbichler, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Manuel Lettenbichler’s father and former Hard Enduro racer, tested KTM’s much-anticipated first fuel-injection two-stroke at the Roof of Africa event. Perhaps in homage to that test, and the following success of the TPI (Transfer Port Injection) models launched in 2018, the area of ‘The Roof’ was orange again with the latest evolution and absolute headliner for the 2024 launch – the introduction of TBI, or Throttle Body Injection. Rolled out for the first time with the newly developed TBI, the new two-stroke KTM EXC models highlighted once again their prominence in the hard enduro sector, and this new technology takes the bike’s ‘feeling’ to another level, but still with all the benefits of fuel-injection.
“TBI is an evolution of the revolutionary TPI. We really believe in it, especially as it gives so much more feeling to the rider – like a carburetor – but with all the benefits of fuel-injection technology. For hard enduro scenarios, where you need that bottom-end pull for slow speed, low revs, the TBI is a huge step forward. We initially implemented it on the two-stroke motocross models, and now it’s here in our all-new Enduro line-up,” said Diete Engelbrecht, KTM Product Marketing Manager Offroad.
In addition to the TBI technology, a new electronic power-valve offers so much more in terms of adjustment for riders allowing them to change fuel and air mixture in each gear, meaning more experienced riders can really change the power delivery. This takes them much closer to having the adjustment capabilities of a factory rider. In fact, it seems the ‘tech’ of the new bikes is quite mind-blowing and KTM says the target was to offer more potential for riders to go even faster.
With the 2024 models being 95% new, there was a big expectation over what that meant in terms of the chassis. The entire EXC model range (2-stroke and 4-stroke) relies on completely new chassis components from WP. Capacity-specific adjustments ensure a customized riding experience for each individual model. The 2-strokes have been improved for bottom end torque and the 4-strokes on anti-squat meaning the rear wheel stays planted when you fully open the throttle. The KTM EXC line-up establishes the ultimate benchmark in Enduro. All frames are now hydro-formed, laser-cut, and robot-welded, offering absolute precision, combined with a two-piece subframe.
With a star rider line-up achieving multiple championships, components of the new bikes have been tested and developed with the likes of ISDE outright winner and multi-time FIM Enduro World Champion Josep Garcia, along with FIM Hard Enduro World Champion Mani Lettenbichler, with the translation from their factory machines to the new OEM models. It’s clear that with their input, the new frames offer improved feeling and impact precision for classic and hard enduro, both tested at the highest level.
“In the clay phase of design, the factory riders give very specific input on their preferred ergonomics, which is undoubtedly considered an integral part of the bodywork and chassis development. Mani Lettenbichler, for example, was testing the new model (TBI) at last year’s Roof of Africa event. The R&D of our OEM bikes is in constant exchange with motorsport and the factory riders. Testing new models or prototypes is mainly done in their off-season for logical reasons. We are proud of the results we’ve achieved together,” said Fabian Gusta, KTM Product Manager Offroad.
Looking specifically to the four-strokes, there’s another highlight to mention: The brand new quickshifter, which has never been seen before on an enduro bike, re-iterating the commitment from KTM to give more headroom when it comes to riders reaching the limit of the potential of the bike. The optional quickshifter offers smoother upshifts through the gears from 2-6, along with the ability to keep the throttle pinned – pretty important for those precious seconds in high-speed competition. Additionally, Traction Control is offered as an optional extra. The engine has been tilted backwards by two degrees, with a lower front sprocket to improve the center of gravity and again that improves the all-important feeling for the rider. There’s so much more to delve into, not least the KTM EXC SIX DAYS models, which pay homage to the ISDE event in Argentina this year and come with some exceptional upgrades, but more information can be found on the KTM website.
Back to the event where journalists enjoyed a press intro with typical KTM-level hospitality – menus on sprockets, the finer details taken care of, a picturesque location and all key engineers on hand to answer their questions. Two-time FIM Enduro World Champion Johnny Aubert also joined the event to talk to the journalists and ride with them showing the full potential of the bikes. The media had the opportunity to try the machines out on an incredible 130 km loop in the heart of Africa’s enduro country, approximately 2000 meters above sea level. This picturesque and remote location saw riders embraced by the locals, who enjoy the thousands of visitors that flock to the area for its famous race, year-upon-year. With tight channels, stony ridges, water crossing and open plains to ride along there’s only one word to describe this extreme and challenging track: inspirationally ‘epic’.
The Roof is renowned for its technicality, and it’s clear – you can see by the images that would get any offroad enthusiast excited – that the experience will leave lasting memories for the journalists, both from the event and the opportunity to ride the next benchmark of enduro machines full of new technology from KTM.
Still flying high after Red Bull Erzbergrodeo and Red Bull Romaniacs event wins in the 2023 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, since the KTM EXC launch Manuel Lettenbichler has lifted the covers off another new Enduro model, the KTM 300 EXC HARDENDURO, which features a range of special components with more details to be found in the video below.
To close off, a few 2024 KTM EXC Range highlights:
- Revised engines & chassis for all models
- TBI Technology (2-strokes)
- Quickshifter (4-strokes)
- WP XACT Closed-Cartridge spring fork and PDS Rear Shock system both with new anti-bottoming technology and tool-free adjustability
- Re-designed Triple Clamp
- A new vastly improved LED light system
- A new Offroad Control Unit (OCU) – which has eliminated the need for fuses
- Re-designed fuel tank and ergonomics
- Orange seat
- New design and graphics
- A new front fender fin to deflect the mud and improve cooling