Riders who compete in the E1 class and crave for that two-stroke low-end torque can now benefit of the new KTM 105 XC. The engine is more powerful than ever and the new chassis makes it handle like no other thanks to being lightweight. The only thing the new and smallest XC needed was the addition of new plastics.
Even though it is marketed as an enduro motorcycle the bike is truly able to perform excellent on any motocross track due to its engine that features improved flow rates, new keystone rings mounted on the optimized piston and the new V-Force three-membrane unit. What sent this bike off the road and slightly apart from the track were the big fuel tank and the six-speed gearbox, ideal for long time riding on any terrain.
2008 Husqvarna CR125
A claimed motocross bike, the new Husqvarna CR125 is a great competitor for the KTM 105 XC as it covers the pass from minicross to real motorcycles. The Husqvarna features a 124.8cc two-stroke Liquid Cooled Single w/ HTS Power Valve engine which is mated to a six-speed transmission. It does provide more engine power and that required Brembo brakes to stop the 205 lbs mass. But the goodies cost and in this case the MSRP is $5,399.
2007 Honda CR125R
The Honda CR125R ($5,499), although not revised for 2008, has a great history of winning championships thanks to its 125cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder two-stroke engine with RC valve. Like any true motocrosser, the Honda features close-ratio five-speed tranny. Built for the track, as well as all the other Japanese bikes in the given class, the Honda is clearly a too powerful competitor for the KTM 105 XC which makes us head towards Kawasaki and Suzuki.
2008 Suzuki RM125
Suzuki is competing with the RM125 which has a wide powerband and more controllable power delivery than ever before coming from the 124cc, two-stroke, single cylinder, liquid-cooled, AETC, crankcase reed powerplant and given to its $5,099 it is easier to position it next to the subject of this review, but even easier is when it comes to the 2008 Kawasaki KX100.
2008 Kawasaki KX100
The last mentioned is also the most appropriate contender as it prepares beginners for the big leagues. It manages to do so with the help of a 99cc two-stroke, single-cylinder engine equipped with KIPS. It seems that not all manufacturers are aiming at this target public and among the Japanese bikes the Kawasaki is the most beloved. And the suggested retail price of only $3,349 really sets it apart.
In order to be talking about performance and reliability when a simple look is being taken at it, the KTM 105 XC is packed with muscle. It receives brand new plastics which are meant to define its racy looks, as well as virtually every design feature of this XC.
The front fender looks prepared for high jumps while the number plate and mudguards present us as being a true dirt bike. The small thumper is covered on the right side by the two-stroke specific exhaust while the side panels which blend in smoothly with the fuel tank and seat, cover the cylinder in their attempt of looking like on the bigger XC models.
Seat is small and narrow, perfect for young riders seeking a motorbike that helps them corner ideally as it accommodates them in order to control the center of gravity as efficiently as possible.
At the rear end you will notice an arrow looking rear fender which still manages to protect the rider from mud thrown by the 18” rear wheel.
As all the other bikes in the lineup, the 105 XC is distinguished by its orange color and white “KTM” writing on each side only that this time the rims aren’t covered in black paint like the rest of the models in the Offroad Competition XC lineup.
A ride with the new KTM 105 XC is enough to make junior beg for it. I can say this without a single doubt as the bike performed excellent even with the 162 pounds of adult on its saddle.
Even though not hard-hitting accelerating and the suspensions being a little too soft for me, I managed to receive positive feedback and if you consider the fact that it is designed for teenagers, you will immediately reach to the conclusion that this one is a real blast.
The two-stroke motor delivers its power in the low-and-mid-range which makes it suitable for incursions on the motocross track. Here, the engine didn’t give signs of weakness even though I kept the throttle wide open in most situations. I could use a bit more top-end, but the younger rider will be an easier task for this small bore engine so I won’t criticize it too much. After all, the six-speed gearbox is there to keep the rhythm going.
Weighing only 150 lbs, the KTM is extremely easy to maneuver both at low and relatively high speed so it completes with its task of being a true initiator into off-road riding for every single young rider that finds the way on its saddle. Cornering on the track is very precise and the bike is easily guided on the best line, the one that all riders seek for better lap times.
Off the road it will perform like no other in its class as it has enough power to climb some pretty steep hills and pass through small rivers. The 43mm WP fork wasn’t my dearest friend as it was soaked up bumps too easily as it is soft and friendly with the new rider.
Even though I was a bit heavy for the KTM 105 XC, what totally surprised me were the brakes which provide strong stopping power even for me, not to mention to riders who are really meant to ride this off-roader.
Bottom line, the brand new KTM 105 XC manages to accomplish with the purpose for which it was created, and that is to provide a smooth pass from minicycles to full-sized motorcycles and it brings a real feel of what the fully grown rider will experience on bigger motorcycles.
Having an MSRP of $4,784, the smallest XC is also the cheapest, but considering the fact that this ride is addressed to a biker situated in the process of gaining experience, it can also be considered a bit expensive. Compared to Kawasaki’s KX100 which is offered for $3,349, it is clearly more appreciated by its manufacturer, but riders who got a feel of a KTM would never consider buying anything else.
No matter the cylinder capacity, KTM always delivers reliable and awesome performing motorcycles that put an end to any competition on and off the track. The 105 XC is no exception and riders will not only see it as a simple trainer, but the machine that opened the gates towards a long riding career.