KTM offers an enduro two-stroke trainer under the 200 XC-W name that stands for an impressively build motorcycle, always happy to provide an extremely accurate impression of what smokers are capable nowadays.
While the engine can be compared with at least a 300 cc four-stroke one, the bike weighs only 208.99 pounds without fuel, standing out as a possible blast. So where does beginner friendliness stand in this scenario? That’s what we’re about to find out.
It seems that KTM made no concessions with this bike because, although displacing only 193 cc, the liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, two-stroke w/TVC twin valve control engine is a claimed modern performer. This doesn’t feature an electric start, but does get the benefits of a six-speed transmission and those of a Keihin PWK 36 S AG carburetor. All the premises indicate that we’re dealing with a very responsive, high revving motor that is properly exploited, but which can also be quite tricky to start over and over again out on the treacherous terrain. You’ll hear more of that from us.
The only indicator of the engine’s potential (once this is turned off) is the fact that the bike is built like a much bigger one, having the seat positioned at 38.78 inches from the ground and a ground clearance that is among the most decent you’ll get, 15.35 inches. Maybe that’s the reason why this thing doesn’t come with a skidplate.
Supported by WP suspensions, the wheels can measure either 21 or 18 inches in diameter, depending on the rider’s option, while the performance Brembo brakes (also fitted on high-end models of this class) come standard.
Looking at the multitude of top notch features, it’s impossible not to think that this bike must get its fair share of competitors, but no. The Austrians from KTM are set on offering diversity so not even their fiercest opponent – Husqvarna – doesn’t offer a model in between their 125 cc and 250 cc WRs, not to mention the Japanese crowd.
Despite being in a class of its own, the 2009 KTM 200 XC-W retains the best of enduro design and yet nothing to stand it out from the crowd. We’re talking about those very same tall fenders and narrow seat as well as about a headlight perfectly integrated in what is the attempt to simulate the presence of a front number plate. This does help, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.
The gas tank is mounted well down between the central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4 frame’s tubes, both for a low center of gravity and a clean look. The aggressively styled body panels wrap around that, enhancing the motocross look that the bike clearly intends to replicate.
At the back, you get the nicely shaped number plates and an exhaust pipe that is fairly long considering the engine size. This has most likely everything to do with the engine retuning that we keep hearing about so it is all left for the ride to unveil.
Indeed, KTM claims to have turned their smallest XC-W into a significantly different blast. We’ve come to find that this is partly true as the engine’s character remains user-friendly while providing a livelier feel, especially when exploiting the top end of the powerband. The bike addresses to those who have spent some time on dirt bikes before and who are now planning on getting their way across trails at least as fast and in a rather more refined way.
The engine is just as happy idling along trails as it is when powering the light bike up to the highest hills, over logs and on rocks, the only problem that a starting rider may encounter being the necessity to go through a kick starting routine each and every time the engine dies. Still, this bike never had an electric starter (although it would be nice to see that in the future) so this isn’t part of 2009’s changes.
This year, it was about trying to spread the power as equally as possible across the powerband, ensuring a more linear power delivery when opening the throttle. The six-speed gearbox does help a lot because, being precise and easy to use, it will encourage for it to be used virtually at all times, which translates in learning the trick of properly exploiting two strokes. The clutch resists well to fatigue and feels smooth as well.
Like us, we reckon that most 200 XC-W riders could live with a lower seat and a skidplate. There’s the always present fear of not damaging the lower and most important part of the bike when going over rocks and that tends to retain a rider from getting over an obstacle by all means.
Handling feels sharp and reassuring. We noticed that at all times, the rear end remained stable and consequent in following that front wheels wherever indicated by the rider. In other words, the 200 XC-W chassis feels just as responsive as the engine does.
Coming with a price tag of $6,998, the 2009 KTM 200 XC-W is an affordable bike that meets the demands of most dirt riders and much more.
Having proved light and enough powerful to cover virtually all kinds of terrains, this bike looks, feels and sounds inviting while retaining the best of a two-stroke engine – strong low-to-midrange power and a never ending top end.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 2-stroke
Displacement: 193 cc
Bore x stroke: 64/60 mm (2.52/2.36")
Transmission: 6 gears wide ratio
Carburetor: Keihin PWK 36 S AG
Control: TVC twin valve control
Lubrication: Mixture oil lubrication 1:60
Transmission oil: 15W50
Primary drive: 23:73
Final drive: 14:48
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
Ignition: Kokusan digital 2K-3
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4
Subframe: Aluminium 7020
Handlebar: Neken Aluminium Ø 28/22 mm (1.10/0.87")
Front suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm (1.89")
Rear suspension: WP monoshock PDS
Suspension travel front/rear:300/335 mm (11.81/13.19")
Front brake: 260mm (10.24") disc, Brembo double piston
Rear brake: 220mm (8.66") disc, Brembo single piston
Rims, front/rear: 1.60 x 21"; 2.15 x 18" Excel
Tires, front/rear: 80/100-21"; 100/100-18"
Chain: X-ring chain 5/8 x 1/4"
Main silencer: Aluminium 200-300 EXC
Steering head angle: 63°
Wheel base: 1471±10 mm (58.1±0.39")
Ground clearance (unloaded): 390 mm (15.35")
Seat height: 985 mm (38.78")
Tank capacity: approx. 11 liters (2.9 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 94.8 kg (208.99 lbs)