First look: 2024 KTM EXC factory race bikes break cover
The start of the 2023 Spanish Enduro Championship brought us our first proper look at the 2024, yes 2024 two-stroke and four-stroke EXC enduro models ridden by Josep Garcia and Jaume Betriu.
We’re expecting to be on the launch of the MY24 EXC range in late Spring this year but in the meantime, the factory riders are out on the new bikes already. And with the start of the ’23 enduro season in Spain, two were out blinking in the Galician sunlight like Spring lambs.
Josep Garcia’s 2024 KTM 250 EXC-F: “Nothing to do with the old one”
Josep Garcia was announced as switching to the 2024 250 EXC-F and we spoke about the move in our interview earlier this month.
Last weekend though was the 2022 vice EnduroGP World Champion’s first time out on the new bike and the Spaniard ripped the win by almost one minute on day two. “It went very well” the Spaniard said with the understatement of the weekend.
“On the first lap, with the special stages untouched, the truth is I hadn’t had the opportunity to train in this setting yet before coming here and it went great. I think we still have things to improve, but it's been very interesting to be here with the new bike.”
Josep took the chance to try different settings on the 250 during the weekend: “We made some small changes to the suspension that have helped me to be more confident and not to make the mistakes I made yesterday. I feel very good both with the bike and physically, I haven't had any crashes all day. We are going in the right direction.”
Garcia’s 2024 KTM 250 EXC-F is likely to be heavily based upon the 2023 250 SX-F which was launched last year. Enduro21 took a deep dive into the 2023 SX-F range, spinning a few laps on the new bikes and trying to figure out the details of which traditionally are transferred to the enduro models a year later.
2023 SX bikes and what we expect to see on the EXCs this year:
- Improved suspension plus new triple clamps and handlebar mounts to reduce stress and chances of bar twist.
- 15mm shorter and 100g lighter shock with same amount of travel. New linkage also helps improve ground clearance, plus new swing arm flex characteristics and fresh shock mount position (no longer connected to down tube).
- New standardised frames essentially
- New electronics includes a rollover sensor, LED hour meter with fuel status displayed, a quick-shifter as standard working off a gear position sensor with the ECU in 2nd to 5th gears (not 1st) and throttle position, along with traction and launch controls (which can be turned off).
- A heap of changes to make working on the bike easier including two bolts to remove top of the engine to check valves.
- The subframe has “improved impact stability” and new exhaust mount points.
- A twist in the engine location in the frame repositions the front sprocket for less anti-squat. The 250/350 engine is also 8mm shorter.
- Completely redesigned head with new porting, valve timing, and cam. The result is an engine with more air flow and throttle response. The 250 also has a new bore and stroke for 500more rpm.
- New bodywork/plastics design including radiator side panels for improved leg clearance and narrower ergonomics (check the new vs old panel design on the first gallery image above).
- The new (MX) tank design means a symmetric design to the panels, plus a new front fender to shake off mud better.
Impressed by the generic family feel across 250, 350 and 450 (almost like the same bike with different power units), we wrote about the completely new frame design and affects on the handling, stability and feedback at the time.
Read more on our test here: Tested: 2023 KTM SX-F range – riding impressions and clues to the ’24 enduro range
Jaume Betriu’s KTM 300 EXC
As Enduro21 also revealed in our other interview ahead of this opening Spanish Enduro round of the season, having raced the 500 EXC-F for three years Jaume Betriu will compete on a factory-spec TBI fuel injected 300 EXC in the 2023 Enduro World Championship.
“I already had the idea of making some change.” Jaume told us. “In the end, this great opportunity came up, which is to race the 2024 KTM EXC 300 all year to develop it together with the KTM R+D team.”
The role came about following a KTM factory test at the WP Eric Auge facilities in Spain, Betriu’s race team. They proposed the idea of developing the yet-to-be released version of the fuel injected, two-stroke 300 EXC and the KTM factory ran with it.
Factory TBI injected two-strokes have been racing in the Hard Enduro World Championship for a while now with some of the KTM Group riders using versions of, or developments from, the TPI engines.
But Betriu rolling out at the weekend on the new TBI (throttle body injection) model is the first time we’ve seen the pre-production version of the bike expected later this year break cover in traditional enduro.
Tight lipped on the 2T
Despite all of this R&D happening out in the open, everyone is a little tight-lipped still about details of the ’24 EXCs. The WP Eric Auge team are rightly cautious of saying anything or letting us publish more detailed images for fear of the Austrian manufacturer.
But Betriu did explain “The 2024 EXC two-strokes continue to be injected and incorporate the electronic exhaust valve, which is a great step forward.”
“Regarding the chassis and swingarm,” he adds “there is a big change and in general the whole bike is much more stable and predictable, as well as having very good traction. I think they have evolved the bike a lot and we will try to evolve it further.”
Read the full interview here: Five minutes... Jaume Betriu: “I will compete with the 2024 KTM EXC 300 to develop it with the KTM R+D team”
Photo Credit: Future7Media | Nicki Martinez