KTM 400 EX/C


Make Model



2002 - 08


Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valves


398 cc / 24.3 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 89 x 64 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 11.1:1


Twin head pipe, two into one collector, aluminium muffler with Krizman USFS approved spark arrestor


Keihin MX-FCR 3900D

Spark Plug



Kokusan contactless DC-CDI ignition with digital advanced system
Starting Electric & kick

Max Power

32.1 kW / 44 hp @ 8000 rpm


Wet, multiplate


6 Speed
Primary Drive Ratio 30:81
Gear Ratios 1st 14:34 / 2nd 17:31 / 3rd 19:28 / 4th 22:26 / 5th 24:23 / 6th 26:21
Final Drive Ratio 14:50
Final Drive Chain, X-ring


Central tube Chrome-Moly main frame, aluminium swingarm



Front Suspension

WP 43mm upside-down fork
Front Wheel Travel 295 mm / 11.6 in

Rear Suspension

Fully adjustable WP PDS shock
Rear Wheel Travel 320 mm / 12.6 in

Front Brakes

Single 260 mm disc, Brembo double piston floating caliper, sintered pad

Rear Brakes

Single 220 mm disc, Brembo single piston floating caliper, organic pads

Front Tyre

90/90 - 21, Bridgestone M77

Rear Tyre

140/80 - 18, Bridgestone M78
Wheelbase 1481 mm / 58.3 in
Ground Clearance 380 mm / 15.0 in
Seat Height 925 mm / 36.4 in

Dry Weight

112 kg / 247 lbs
Wet Weight 122 kg / 269.0 lbs

Engine Oil Capacity 

1.25 Litres / 1.32 US qt / 1.1 Imp qt

Fuel Capacity 

8.5 Litres / 2.25 US gal / 1.9 Imp gal

The KTM 400EXC factory machine that won the 1999 World Enduro Championship in the hands of Italian maestro Giovanni Sala bears a striking resemblance to the standard, mass-produced 400EXC.

This bike has made a big impression on the 400cc four-stroke market. Simply swing a leg over one and you'll start to understand what all the fuss is about. It has the smooth and clean feel of a motocross bike and it's very easy to slide forward or rearward with comparative ease.

The kickstarter is on the righthand side on the EXC, and it's not a difficult bike to fire up. But hey, why bother when you can press the starter button to fire the engine? The purists who have developed kickstarting to a fine art may be horrified by this laziness but there's no way you'll get around it because electric start is standard equipment.

KTM has taken a slightly different approach to the configuration of the motor in 2000. While most manufacturers have used a 90mm-plus piston with a very short stroke of 60mm, KTM has leaned the other way with an 89mm x 64mm configuration. This tends to increase torque at the expense a more higher-revving incarnation.

The KTM doesn't go off with a bang like the WR or the DR-Z. It's a little slower to build revs but it is easier to regulate wheelspin and improve drive. This has its advantages when climbing ugly hills and those tight, tricky sections on enduro stages.

The power delivery is smooth - almost the same as the Husaberg. However, there is a noticeable peak/spike of power in the midrange and I can't help wondering if KTM put it there on purpose. This spike of power is in the right place to put a smile on your face when you give the throttle a big twist.

The WP suspension package is firm and aimed at the competition end of the market. I had a bit of trouble getting an even response from the inverted front forks on the first ride. The cause was some stiction in the forks that was noticeable even when the bike was stationary. You could push down on the forks and they compressed and extended in a series of steps rather than the smooth action you would expect. I suspect this was due to the fact that this bike had well and truly done the rounds before I got hold of it.

As stiction wasn't a problem on the Husaberg (which uses the same forks), I'm betting that it was overdue for a fork service.

With a bit more time in the saddle of the $9611 machine, I was able to ride around this problem (as you do) and truly appreciate its potential. It's a magic bit of gear when you get used to it - very similar to the Husaberg with powerful brakes that should be caressed rather than grabbed. The motor is exceptional for trail riding and enduro work - the power spread is an excellent compromise of excitement and predictability. I managed to pull off some of the best monos in second, third and fourth gears right up to the balance point, and a touch of rear brake would bring the front back down if things got too scary - it's the easiest 400 to practice the endless mono.

I took the bike to Louee motocross and enduro complex in Mudgee (NSW) and got some second opinions from average to good trail riders. They didn't know what to make of the front suspension, but they knew something wasn't quite right (the aforementioned stiction dilemma). They felt that the EXC had better mid-range torque than the WRs they were riding. They loved the ergonomics and felt that the KTM was much slimmer and lighter than their Yamahas.

Then there's all the nice little things that everyone noticed: the translucent tank and frame protectors above the footpegs. The exhaust is a also work of art (sounds good too) and the Magura bars are quality items.

This KTM has a lot to offer the trailrider and competitor. It's a factory racer that's looking for another victory on the showroom floor - and it's priced to compete well.

Source: BikePoint

Off-road legend Malcolm Smith has come full circle when it comes to motorcycles. He started riding and racing on a four-stroke, but after switching to two-strokes in the mid-'60s, Smith thought he would never switch back. He has, though.

Most of his rides these days are on KTM's 400 EXC. MS has his own bike, but this particular bike is a replica assembled by Scary Fast's Dave Simon. Simon purchased and built the bike, and he is donating it to the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation. The nonprofit foundation will auction the bike on eBay in July, and all the proceeds will benefit the El Oasis Orphanage in Valle de Trinidad, Mexico, which was featured in the movie Dust to Glory. Malcolm assures every dollar donated goes to the orphanage.

Like any MS bike, this EXC isn't high on frills, but it does have a variety of well-thought-out mods that make it work far better on the trail. As far as the engine is concerned, it gets Power Nows on both sides of the carb and an FMF Q2 exhaust system. There are also some protection add-ons, an Enduro Engineering soft seat, a Scotts damper and Slavens suspension front and rear. MS rides the Colorado rocks much of the time, and Colorado-based Slavens came up with a setting that keeps the bike level and balanced.

This 400 EXC soaks up rocks and chop well, and the rear end is very controlled with none of the loose feeling that many plush KTM rear shock setups have. It works fine in whoops as well, but it obviously isn't aimed at wide-open, rough running. The engine is simply magic on the trail, with smooth, controllable but energetic power. The stock 400 pulls smoothly and revs freely, but the MS bike has more zip and energy from right off idle to all the way through the rpm range. Every revolution of the crank generates trail speed. Wheelspin is almost nonexistent. MS usually runs a 13-tooth countershaft sprocket, but with the FMF and Power Now products installed on this bike, he felt it was fine with the stock 14-tooth sprocket.

Our only concern: A lower first gear would be nice. This bike is all about effortless trail miles, especially compared to our long-haul 525 we had along. It is comfortable; with the damper there is no need to hold onto the bar tightly and the rest of the bike is ready for anything. We're not sure there has ever been a four-stroke that is less physically demanding.

You spend all your available energy picking lines and smiling like Malcolm Smith.

We wondered about that grin he has!

Review: Karel Kramer, Dirt Rider