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KTM 200 EXC
Fork - In 2003, all EXC models will be
outfitted with White Power USD 48 mm forks. In contrast to the 43 mm of 2002,
the new fork has now three bushes per fork tube, which ensures a better
guidance of the inner tubes during compression travel. Both wipe and radial
shaft seal, as well as the bearings, were obtained from new suppliers and, in
combination with a new fork oil, ensure a markedly improved response.
KTM also improved chromium quality of the fork coating to prevent excessive
“pumping up“ of the fork in use. The fork plates on the Enduro models were
adapted to the new fork diameter.
I’ve had quite a few dirt bikes over the 30 years I have been riding off-road; from my first, a 1975 Honda XR75, to my last and favorite, a 2003 KTM200EXC. In between I had several Kawasaki KDXs; 80cc and a couple of 200cc bikes; a Yamaha YZ125; and an ATK250 (American made dirt bike!). My last few years of riding have been in the Missouri Ozarks. It is hilly, rocky & can get pretty steep. I bought the YZ125 because it was light weight & easy to “throw around” but what I found was that when I got it in the tight & rocky woods the on & off power band (no power down low & then it’s all there) was too tricky for me, so I was slipping the clutch a lot.
The KTM200EXC has been the perfect bike in this environment. I bought my bike used from a dealer that had it on consignment. It had only 72 miles on it, so it was still in almost new condition. My favorite thing about the bike is the engine. It lugs down lower than the 400cc 4-stroke engine on my Suzuki LTZ400 Quadsport, without dying. When I twist the throttle it winds up quickly & goes, probably faster than any 200cc bike should. I like the feel of the hydraulic clutch, which has not faded, but also which I haven’t had to abuse because of the way the engine pulls at the lower rpms.
I weigh about 175lbs, stock it has soft enough suspension to not break your teeth out on the rough & sometimes square edged terrain here in the Ozarks. It also hasn’t bottomed out on me either, not that I am taking any super cross sized jumps.
I like the easy access airbox, no tools needed to open or remove the filter. When I bought the bike one of the radiators had been bent a little, probably from being laid down. I knew I would probably do the same or worse so I purchased some radiator guards. They came in handy. With the rocky terrain I decided to add some more protection to the bike. I installed some real nice & not so cheap Cycra hand guards & also a rear disc guard that I made from a piece of aluminum I had on hand, real cheap. The bike already had an engine skid plate in place. The KTM chain guide has held up well, even in the rocks.
I really enjoy riding the bike but have two complaints with it. First, the front fork seals are leaking again, this being the 2nd set. Next the seat is pretty hard or maybe I’ve just gotten soft riding on the cushy ATV seats. That’s it for complaints; I really like the bike A LOT.
The bike came with an owner’s manual that puts all of the Japanese owner’s manuals I’ve seen to shame, KTM is made is Austria. It is very detailed with good pictures for everything but a complete rebuild, though it does have a breakdown of every single part that the bike is made from & its’ part number (down to the nuts & bolts inside the engine). It comes with a primary big manual, a separate book for the engine, one for the front suspension & one for the rear. Now these are not shop manuals you have to buy, they are what comes with the bike, very nice. Most of the manuals for the Japanese machines give few details in a small booklet & then say “take it to an authorized dealer” for anything more than gapping the spark plug. Having detailed manuals is good because there aren’t as many KTM dealers as there are for the Japanese brands, but I think people are catching on to how good these bikes are off-road. I see quite a few of these orange bikes now.
KTM uses high quality components such as WP suspensions, Renthal handlebars & sprockets, Acerbis plastics & so on. Nothing has broken from lack of quality, except possibly the front fork seals.
The bike is pretty quiet, having a very large stock silencer & spark arrestor, which is handy these days for off-road riding.
KTM offers 200cc, 250cc & 300cc 2-stroke off-road bikes. The 200cc bike is considered KTMs trail bike with the 250cc used in more of the racing applications & the 300cc used for more wide open terrain. I’ve heard that the 300s work well in tight stuff, too, as they can be tractor like but will also really move in the desert when opened up. You can find these bikes in XC trim with a wider spaced gear box & also the 250 & 300 with an electric start versions, sweet. For the non-pro like me this bike is plenty fast but can be hopped-up if desired. KTM has a catalog full of specialized parts that you can buy or the aftermarket has quite a few also. In my opinion this bike is ready for what it was designed to do (handle tight, tough, slippery terrain) right off the showroom floor. Now if I could ride like David Knight maybe I would need a faster bike.
Thanks for reading, God Bless & go for a ride with someone this weekend.
Owner's review, The Lemondade Digest