Ranking The Best KTM Motorcycles Ever Made – HotCars
KTM has risen as one of the top motorcycle producers in the world, and cool designs aren’t the only reason these bikes sell like hotcakes.
You can’t think of dirt without thinking of KTM. This European company has made a name for itself for producing some of the wildest, fastest, and most extreme dirt bikes money can buy. That is why it is Europe’s biggest manufacturer.
KTM bikes have won numerous championships in deserts, mountains, backroads, and other dirt bike tracks across the world. Their wild success has seen the company venture into new territory such as car manufacturing, unleashing the wild KTM X-Bow sports car to the wild, and several road bikes as well.
Design is not the only thing that makes KTMs special. Rather, the two-stroke motor tucked under the frame is what makes most of their bikes sell like hotcakes. These 10 in particular, are the ones that should be on your wish list.
Only two KTM electric dirt bikes are sold in the US. This is one of them. The KTM Freeride E-XC is one of the fastest-selling electric dirt bikes in the US with the X-SX following it closely. That’s because the E-XC was the first to cross into the American borders.
This electrified madness is exciting to ride by all means. The E-XC packs a powerful motor connected to a battery pack that delivers peak power for a considerably long time ensuring that you have a ton of fun on the track. The permanent magnet synchronous electric motor delivers 21.5 hp and 31 lb-ft of torque on the tap.
The unique name on this ride comes from the International Six Days Enduro series. That’s because the KTM 450 EXC-F Six Days was built to be an endurance cross-country motorcycle. And that, it does not fail in, plus a lot more.
The 450 EXC-F Six Days is more than an endurance bike. It is also a street-legal machine that comes packed with all the necessary features to make a wild 450cc four-stroke motorcycle tame. Take it to the dirt track and wild outdoors and the EXC-F Six Days can handle just anything thrown at it.
The reputation of the KTM 250 SX is huge in the industry. First, its two-stroke engine is one of the wildest you can ever get. Second, if you’re looking for a small and light KTM, then this is the bike you would buy.
Combine a light and small bike with a wild two-stroke and you get a bike with one of the best power-to-weight ratios in the industry. The lightweight chassis allows the 250 SX to tackle any terrain thrown at it while still not sacrificing performance. The WP suspension makes the ride smoother with the hardy brakes adding confidence to the rider when jumping through the massive crests in the wild.
The KTM 300 XC-W Six Days features in KTM’s wildly popular Six Days lineup of dirt bikes. But unlike most bikes in this lineup, the 300 XC-W is a two-stroke. Other than that, nothing is fundamentally different between it and its close cousins.
Nonetheless, under the control of a biker, the 300 XC-W feels more thoroughbred with excellent performance all around. That two-stroke motor has been optimized for raw performance with the bike’s design offering great weight distribution for a wild riding experience. The 300 XC-W also gets a new balancer shaft that reduces engine vibrations.
In 2020, KTM shook up its naked bike lineup adding a new lightweight chassis and updated 1,301cc liquid-cooled LC8 V-Twin motor under the frame. In 2021, they maintained the new formula albeit with a few tweaks and updates to their bike, the 1290 Super Duke R.
That means that the new machine is wilder than before. Without even considering the magic going on in the power unit, the riding experience of this bike is magical enough to plant a huge grin on your face. The 1290 Super Duke R rides exceptionally well on the race track and open road. The easy handling and top-spec riding aids make using the full bandwidth of the V-Twin’s power quite easy.
Most KTM owners have fond memories of this bike. The 125 SX has served as the entry bike for most dirt biking enthusiasts. It has created so many champions in this very competitive world of dirt biking.
Yes, the KTM 125 SX is not the wildest KTM money can buy. But it is the fastest and easiest to handle for anyone just starting in the 125cc category. What works for it is not a bunch of tech gizmos that work in the background to make you smoother and faster. Rather, the KTM’s humble trick is effectiveness, simplicity, and small size.
Most bike enthusiasts argue that the KTM 690 SMC R is one of the best-looking Supermoto bikes ever made. For 2021, this wild KTM machine comes with the legendary 629.7cc single-cylinder LC4 motor that is liquid-cooled. The power figures, however, are the same as last year.
The engine modes are different. The KTM 690 SMC R comes with Street and Supermoto riding modes. It also packs the latest fully-adjustable WP APEX suspension, a trellis frame, cornering ABS, road-focused tires and brakes, Supermoto-enhanced ABS, and Quickshifter+. All that for a bike that is only in stock mode.
This is the evolution of the KTM Supermoto 950. That means that the KTM 990 Supermoto R is built to be wilder, faster, and more passionate.
Under its frame, the 990 Supermoto R gets the 999cc LC8 motor from the Super Duke R. It also packs Brembo brakes with monoblock radial-mount calipers. That 750 V-Twin power unit delivers 114 hp and 71.5 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt is sent to the rear wheel via a six-speed manual transmission through a final chain drive. At the front, the 990 Supermoto R packs a 48mm WP USD adjustable suspension for a very comfortable ride.
KTM’s latest release is nothing short of exciting. The 2022 KTM 450 SMR was built ready to race, borrowing heavily from the KTM 450 SX-F that set the industry benchmark for what a proper dirt bike should be.
The 450 SMR features a powerful but compact single overhead camshaft engine that produces power in a very effective way. To extract all the performance it can get, the 450 SMR packs premium components that add to its competitiveness and completeness as a proper Supermoto racing bike.
This bike is nowhere near road legal. The KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition was built purely for bike racing. The SX in the name stands for Super Cross which means only hardcore riders with a knack for the rough terrain can extract the most out of it.
What makes all this magic possible is the wild 450cc power unit that’s bolted within the slim and lightweight frame. That four-stroke power unit delivers a lot of punch. Surprisingly, the bike remains quite controllable despite packing that much power thanks to a powerful front brake disc and a host of other features that give it great handling.
Charles Bravins is a car aficionado who loves anything on four wheels and a big engine (of course). He loves the petrolhead, cultural, Top Gear, The Grand Tour, and most recently farming thanks to Clarkson