KTM 2013 Media Launch - First rides on the Scarp Carbon 29 • Lycan 651• Bark 20

Aug 7, 2012
by Alasdair MacLennan  
KTM: 2013

KTM may not be the name on the tip of everyone’s tongues when it comes to the mountain bike scene, but that could be about to change. In motorbikes, KTM is a household name across the world, but outside of mainland Europe, there is less notice given to their bicycle division than they perhaps deserve. KTM Bike is a fully-fledged company with a solid history in cycling that dates back to the sixties. Since then, the KTM family has grown and separated, but they are still so close that they even share the same canteen in their Austrian hometown of Mattighofen. The KTM bicycle division has also been successful in the competition side of things, with the current leader of the Under-23’s XC World Cup Alex Gehbauer on board - a rider who’ll shortly be representing both Austria and KTM at the London Olympics.

We were invited to KTM's European press launch to preview and ride select models from their 2013 range. The majority of bikes on show at the launch centred on models with less than 125mm travel, but despite not being the prime Pinkbike genre, they still include some interesting features. KTM were at pains to show their incorporation of numerous new technologies while fully embracing 26-inch, 650b and 29er wheel options, and setting them out with clear intentions as to their purpose.

Technical highlights for 2013

As well as embracing the onset of 650B wheels, KTM are now 100% Shimano in a step away from SRAM. This means that the vast majority of their new bikes now come with the new Shimano direct mount rear derailleur, as well as a matching direct mount offering on the front. Blended with internal cable routing these assist in producing clean and simple lines on the bikes.

KTM SCARP Carbon 29 head tube detail and direct mount rear derailleur
  KTM patented the novel head tube design (left) used on its carbon offerings for 2013. A look at the direct-mount derailleur hanger that will be appearing on KTM bikes with Shimano Shadow rear derailleurs.

Taper steerers are the norm now on the higher-end bikes from virtually all manufacturers, but KTM are keen to introduce this technology further down their range so that, it is available to a broader spectrum of riders. Press-fit bottom brackets are gradually gaining ground and it is no different here, as their ‘new for 2013’ frames all incorporate the system. The 142mm X12 Syntace rear axle is de rigueur on virtually all of KTM’s mid to high-end bikes this year and is certainly very welcome, for it greatly improves the stiffness of the rear triangle, whether it be fitted to race hardtail or longer-travel enduro.

KTM 2013 Press Launch
  KTM floats the shock between the upper rocker link and a forward extension the swingarm. KTM calls it the 'Pro Damping System,' although the design appears under different names on some well known bikes.

Another, and more unique, feature to these bikes is what KTM call the Pro Damping System, or PDS for short, a system which floats the shock between rocker and chainstay to reduce torsion on the damper and introduce a further way to tune the suspension curve. It’s not a new invention, and it’s in use by a number of other manufacturers, but KTM were one of the very first to introduce it to mainstream production use, pre-dating the other big manufacturer to currently use it: Trek.

KTM Riding Impressions: Scarp Carbon 29 • Lycan 651• Bark 20

The three bikes of most interest in the KTM range we saw, were the 29” Scarp, the 650B Lycan (there’s also a 26” option here) and the 150mm Bark. With obvious options in the wheel department, the embrace of the new 650B shows that KTM are certainly one of the early adopters as a number of bikes in their 230 strong range are coming with the new hoop size. They are also clear as to which wheel suits which purpose, providing figures to show relevant benefits and weaknesses of each option. Efficiency in a straight line goes to the 29er with its smaller over-rolling angle, enabling it to roll more readily over larger obstacles in the trail. The downside of larger-diameter wheels is added rotational mass and as a result, a greater 'moment of gyration' (in essence, the measure of how difficult it is to turn the wheel when it is spinning). This means that, although fast in a straight line, the added mass of the 29er is a negative in the turns. 650B aims to breach this gap, offering tangible benefits in straight-line rolling, while retaining a greater percentage of 26-inch agility. Without having a wide variety of terrain to really test the 650B against the others it’s a difficult call to make as to whether it’s really better than the others but it’s good to see the options there for consumers.

Scarp 29”Carbon

-New for 2013, the Scarp is available with two frames; an all carbon model that incorporates both a carbon rocker and rear triangle (used on the Prestige & Prime), and one with just a carbon main triangle matched to an aluminium rear and rocker (used on the Master & Elite).
-Patented new headtube design which distributes forces more effectively while providing great stiffness and lower weight.

side shot KTM Scarm Carbon 29
  KTM's 100-millimeter travel Scarp Carbon 29 is a showcase for its frame and suspension technology. The 29er frame is said to weigh only 2250 grams in carbon.

The Scarp Carbon 29 is perhaps a little too much of a marathon bike to really appeal to the average Pinkbiker, but it nonetheless features plentiful detail that’s worthy of showing. The custom head tube will no doubt make its appearance on other bikes in their range in time and the direct mounting systems for brakes & Shimano derailleurs as well as internal dropper post routing are all features that show attention to detail.

KTM SCARP Carbon 29 linkage and head tube detail
  A look at the Scarp's 100mm-travel PDS rear suspension system and the unusual-looking head tube design that is said to increase stiffness there with no additional weight penalty. Internal cable and hose routing cleans up the Scarp's profile.

KTM 2013 Press Launch
  The Scarp is offered in a full-carbon and a carbon-front/aluminum-rear frame - and as a 29er like we tested, or in a 26-inch wheel configuration.

Lycan 651 - 650b Wheels

New for 2013, the 650B Lycan frame sits atop a revised range which sees the 2012 frame retained for the lower models, in part a result of the still elevated costs of 650B parts, thanks to their rarity in most manufacturers’ ranges. Utilizing aluminium construction, the new 125 millimeter-travel frame comes in at approximately 2990 grams and with its high-level spec, results in a more than reasonable all-in weight. The 650B version sits at three spec levels: the top 651, based around Shimano XTR components and Fox suspension; the 652, based around Shimano XT and Fox suspension; and the 653, based on Shimano SLX and Rock Shox suspension.

KTM Lycan
  KTM's Lycan 651, at 125-millimeters of suspension travel, and boosted by its 650b wheels, should prove capable for a technical trail bike.

Without much time on 650B bikes in general, and less still on the demo Lycan available, it is certainly difficult to say whether the new size of wheel incorporates all the benefits, all the downsides, or a mixture of both. It’s also likely to come down to your riding style, ability and trail type as to whether the mid-sized wheel offers up any benefits. The best thing in this regard, is to grab a demo and take it for a spin on your local trails to see how it weighs up.

KTM Lycan 651 suspension and rear dropout details
  Lycan 651 Details: KTM's PDS suspension drives a Fox Float CTD shock (left). Post-type brake caliper mounts for 180-millimeter rotors. KTM specs through-axles on all its upper-end offerings.

KTM 2013 Press Launch
  With only a short interval with which to test-ride the 650b version of the Lycan, we did not get a clear impression of the benefits of the mid-sized wheel.

BARK - 26-inch

A full review of KTM's current Bark model will be appearing here soon, so we’ll only cover it in brief here. The Bark 40 and 20 are essentially the same 150-millimeter-travel frame, carried over from 2012. As with both the Lycan and Scarp, the Barks features KTM’s PDS rear suspension, along with internal routing for cables and an integrated post mount for the rear brake to utilize a 180mm rotor without adaptors. Spec is high, with a Rock Shox Reverb dropper posts fitted to both bikes in the range, as well as a durable mix of Shimano XT and Zee components on the top ’20’ model and SLX/Deore on the lower-priced ‘40’. Both feature the Fox Float CTD shock with a large-volume air can while a Fox Talas CTD fork graces the front of the ‘20’ and a Rock Shox Sektor TK DPC fork on the ‘40’.

KTM 2013 Press Launch
  KTM's Bark 20, with 150-millimeters of wheel travel and more aggressive frame geometry, is more in keeping with the Pinkbike crowd. We are presently reviewing the Bark, so expect the full story soon.

KTM scarp Lycan and Bark geometry

On the back of a strong footing in mainland Europe KTM, expanded to the UK in 2012 thanks to Fli Distibution, KTM's updated range for 2013 will only help to increase both awareness and acceptance of the brand in this new market.

Visit KTM Bikes to see more of their 2013 range


  • 18 1
 doo one on their DH bikes !, please Razz
  • 4 8
flag anguswyatt (Aug 7, 2012 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 got one for sale if your interested? www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1132714
  • 12 3
 Damn, that thing is ugly.
  • 1 2
 Could do with making them look more aggressive, at the moment I'm seeing lycra gimps sporting these bikes!
  • 5 0
 CaptinLip and LewisMurphy - please actually read the article! you'll see this statement pretty clearly written.

"it’s not a new invention, and it’s in use by a number of other manufacturers, but KTM were one of the very first to introduce it to mainstream production use, pre-dating the other big manufacturer to currently use it: Trek.:
  • 4 2
 I don't understand why have KTM went to Single Pivot(Faux Bar) this year, because so far they have used the Four Bar design. And as far as I know, next year the Specialized FSR patent will be gone, so then KTM will go back to Four Bar?
  • 3 3
 specialized will probably, as always, renew its patent...look how many company use the fsr system, do u really think specialized will just let it go?
  • 7 0
 Im pretty sure you can't renew patents. They last 20 years after the initial filing and then that's it.
  • 3 0
 It takes a special act of Congress to renew an existing patent, so most patent holders must make the most of the standard 20 years. (I didn't write this)
  • 3 9
flag dfiler (Aug 7, 2012 at 8:13) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, i'm baffled by these expensive carbon bikes that use inferior suspension design. If i'm spending that much on a bike, it has to have better axle path and suspension/brake interaction than a primitive single pivot.
  • 6 1
 Inferior wheel path? In my opinion, the Specialized suffers from one of the worst wheel path: Vertical to forward. Single pivots are on of the best designs for wheel path: an arc that can be rearward for majority of the travel. Just look at nearly any moto on the market. They're all single pivots with a linkage driven shock. And look at some of the best bikes on the market still today, Zerode, Flatline, Commencal, GT, TR450, etc. They're all linkage driven single-pivots. Now most of these are still going to suffer more than the FSR in braking, but as far as wheel path, aka picking up more speed, I'm much rather take any other bike than an FSR. Now with that being said, IMHO, Dual Link suspension designs are superior to all.
  • 5 1
 Yeah, every design has it's pros and cons. But in my opinion FSR is just more hyped than it is actually better than Single Pivot.

Wheel path > braking problems
  • 4 0
 I love my single pivot Tomac Snyper but I trail tested a Stumpjumper EVO with FSR and it was so much faster. I credit the FSR. The geometry surely helped as well...
  • 3 0
 Specialized's patent only holds water in the 'States, and you can't get a KTM here. So, either one has nothing to do with the other, or KTM is looking at bringing product to the USA and is covering their ass.
  • 7 1
 Quoting from wikipedia... "Under current U.S. law, the term of patent is 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date (which can be extended via Patent Term Adjustment and Patent Term Extension). For applications filed before June 8, 1995, the term is either 17 years from the issue date or 20 years from the earliest claimed domestic priority date, whichever is longer."

The Specialized FSR patent numbers as they're listed on specialized frames are 5,509,679 , 5,678,837 , and 5,899,480. You can look them up if you want to read specific descriptions on the USPTO.GOV website. The first one relates to the original 4-bar FSR that had the shock mounted behind the seattube and was granted on April 23, 1996 and its earliest filing date is Jan 1992 since it was a continuation of previous patent applications, which were abandoned as the claims contained within evolved. 20 years from the earliest filing date would have had it expired already so the 17 years from issue date is the one that matters, which means it expires on April 23, 2013. The second patent number is described as a continuation of the 679 patent in its description of claims, and covers 4-bar designs where the shock is NOT attached to the seat tube. It was filed for April 16, 1996 and granted October 21, 1997. The third patent number is listed as a continuation of the 837 patent and expands the language further as to what Horst Leitner claimed was being invented. The third was filed for June 23, 1997 and granted on May 4, 1999.

Now to why KTM would employ a seatstay pivot when the FSR patents are going to be expiring in sequence in the next few years is either because they want to move into the US market NOW and don't want to work out a license agreement with specialized or because its easier to design a stiff rear end when not employing a horst-link layout.
  • 2 0
 Incidently, the 679 patent is still owned by Horst Leitner's company (the assigned name is 89908, Inc. in Laguna Beach, CA, which is where HL is from and where Amp-Research was located). If you search the patent lists for that assignee name, you'll see other patents from HL related to hydraulic vehicle steps and pickup bed extenders.... which is what HL got into and prompted selling the bike patents he did.... there's more money to be made being a supplier of car/truck accessories to the big automakers than in producing bicycle frames. the 837 patent doesn't show who its assigned to currently. The 480 patent is assigned to Specialized.
  • 2 0
 just in case its also lost on some people... KTM have been making push bikes since the 60's they are not some new company and a certain Horst Leitner worked for KTM, before he moved to the US.
  • 2 0
 I always assumed moto bikes used the designs they use due to simplicity and weight. I don't know if one exists, but could you imagine how much you'd have to beef up a moto bike with a dual link suspension design? Not to mention the absolutely mad stress you'd put on all of those pivots/links? I figured that because of our sport and the light weight of the bikes, that allowed designers more room to play with suspension designs.

Feel absolutely free to correct me if I'm mistaken. This was just an assumption I always had and never bothered diving into deeper research wise.
  • 2 0
 cyrix, I have pic's of dual link moto cross bikes. If your interested drop me a pm and I'll send you a few pic's. They were developed starting in 1978 through 2006 by Boyesen Engineering. RVV
  • 1 0
 Rvanderveur, please send me those pics too. I tried google 'em but I've found nothing, but I'm interested in seeing them. Smile
  • 1 0
 Hmmm, it seems that many people assumed my criticism of a expensive single pivots was an attempt to promote Horst-Link/FSR. There are many more options than that, everything from floating brake to VPP, DW, split pivot, etc.
  • 3 0
 you'll find images of pretty much all the 2013 bikes up here (including the new DH bikes)

  • 3 2
 how many different commuter/cruiser bikes does a company have to make??? lol
  • 4 1
 Bullit to put it in perspective. Trek sells more hybrids per year (mostly the FX) than all the rest of their bike sales put together.
  • 1 1
 looks like a 303 rdh minus the rail
  • 2 1
 "it looks like a marin quad dh with a different suspension design"- statements like those annoy me, its a bike! theyre not copying its just they all look similar
  • 1 0
 Exactly, they "LOOK" alike, nobody would ever say a M9 looks like a like a demo, they dont all look similar, just some do
  • 1 0
 What a nice bike. I liked it the first moment I saw the picture... What stunned me, yet I think is a natural progression and a cool thing; KTM, making mountain bikes! Interesting. Not surprised. It set me back for a moment. I remember them from my motocross riding days... That was or is a giant name in Motocross.

Bikes are expensive these days..

This is a 29'r, Cool.....
  • 5 3
 Why are people hating? Trek actually took the design from Ktm. And just because there a moto company does not mean they know nothing about bikes. Ignorant douchebags
  • 1 1
 Looks like a fun trail shredder the rear triangle looks ......kind off...flimsy...i don't know though iv never rode one.although most bikes with that style suspension geometry have a vertical cross members in the rear triangle to keep them from cross flexing...bike looks sick i thought ktm just make moto bikesHelmet ,well looks like a good start.
  • 1 0
 What about those Electric bikes like the KTM egnition lim88, www.ktm-bikes.at/e-bike/e-bike/KTMegnitionlim88.php?lang=EN or that electric motorcycle called the freeride? Did they bust out at the demo?
  • 2 0
 Really love the look of the frame on that scarp Big Grin looks really futuristic and cool Smile
  • 1 0
 That headtube section look like herman munsters head. Ktm should be making beefy huck bikes instead of these 29s for the fancy lads.
  • 2 0
 i got told they were realising one this month sometime a new model
  • 3 5
 The 650b review was awesome!
"Didn't get much time on it you'll have to see for yourself"
Now for my ventana el chucho review. Pictures arebon the web site don't know how it rides . Might be good might be bad you'll have to find out on your own.
  • 5 0
 It's not a review. It's a media launch, meaning it's a preview, or first impressions.
  • 1 0
 Oh yea never mind
  • 2 1
 if they make road bikes i doubt pros will use them, the officials will think they've got motors
  • 1 0
 KTM can do what ever the hell they want, but i still dont understand why you would want a 29r xc bike with a soft tail.
  • 7 6
 I wouldn't trust that mech hanger against a stiff breeze.
  • 5 4
 Def looks sketchy.
  • 8 3
 Have you two read nothing about the direct mount stuff Shimano has been doing for the past 1/2 year?
  • 5 4
 I've had, but I don't find it interesting. It just looks like a fix for that flimsy little extra part on the Shadow derailleurs....
  • 2 2
 Having just ridden a bunch of bikes with direct mount. I can say it is waaaay better than what you are using now. It's stronger. Wheel changes are deninatly easier. Also the rear mech is tucked in closer to the wheel. Shifting is also improved. Don't knock it until you try it.
  • 4 0
 sounds like hype to me. first thing that i thought was that it looked like a derailleur hanger. they replaced the hanger with... a hanger.
  • 4 0
 I'm confused as to the point of it, looks to me like they just beefed up the hanger so sure it would improve shifting but wouldn't that make the mech easier to break because the hanger won't absorb the impact?
  • 2 0

Sorry man, figured being out on the bike was a little more productive than spending 1/2 a year reading about it.
  • 2 3
 Then why are you replying to my comment/ this article and not riding your bike? And you might want to go back and reread how my sentence was structured, unless it would take you 1/2 a year to read a few articles.But then if that's the case, that time might be better invested in some more schooling.
  • 1 0
 As much as I would absolutely LOVE to get into what sounds like a truly mind-blowing debate about the structuring of sentences, I think I'm going to pass. I do however wish you all the best in your ongoing quest to start pissy arguments over matters that have absolutely zero relevance to the case in hand.
  • 1 0
 Some nice metal/ carbon there.
  • 2 1
 Wish they's sell their bikes n the US!!
  • 1 1
 I think they'd have a lot of legal trouble with Trek since they're using the Full Floater suspension design that Trek patented in the US.
  • 3 1
 on the contrary, trek copied this suspension system. ktm uses this system long before the trek used to see this on ktm at least 3 years before trek
  • 2 1
 But KTM has never sold bikes Stateside before, and Trek has the US patent for the design. So therefore KTM would either have to pay Trek or try to modify their design enough that it wasn't similar to Trek's design.
  • 2 1
 Ever heard of "prior art" ? Just because a company has been granted a patent doesn't mean it can't be invalidated.
  • 1 0
 Ever heard of "Money talks and bullshit walks?" Trek would just sue the shit out of KTM the moment they tried to bring their bikes to the US.
  • 1 0
 Having done a patent search myself (and by a patent attorney) for something unrelated - patents are in force world wide - not just the originating company. If Trek holds a patent - then KTM is either paying them for the right to use their patent (as everyone did to Specialized when they bought the rights to the "horst link") or it is in some way different in design. - danielsilva is absolutely correct - if it already exist as prior art- anywhere in the world - it is invalidated. Do you know for sure Trek is the patent holder? KTM has been in the bike business since the 60's, Trek since the 70's.
  • 1 0
 Sure KTM has been making bikes longer, but Trek has been making bikes in America. KTM has not. Patents in Europe do not carry over to the United States.
  • 1 0
 I was not talking about patents. just responding to a post that said the KTM stole the design of the suspension and not the reverse. regarding the patents we all know that these marketing brands who happens to make bicycles!!! is immediately patent in all
  • 1 0
 I don't see a post where anyone said that KTM stole the suspension design.
  • 1 0
 f"#"$ i`m reading this post whay to fast...
my mistake.
if the post was in Portuguese i was not argue with anyone Smile
  • 1 0
 @seraph - patents anywhere in the world or -prior art are valid the world over - That's why any company anywhere can sue anyone for taking their idea. It's very hard yes to do, but if they're willing to pursue it and have the resources, they will. Many times it's not worth it. Maybe KTM had it first. Who knows - who cares - the bikes are cool.
  • 3 1
 Cool Smile KTM is awesome
  • 2 1
 Lycan 651lookg great. To bad it only has 125mm of travel..
  • 1 0
 they make long travel bikes as well...
  • 3 2
 that scarp has the ugliest head tube ever.
  • 2 1
 I never knew ktm made MTB
  • 1 0
 check them out - www.ktm-bikes.at
  • 2 1
 Name of this bike is easy to mistype.. Scrap... oO
  • 2 1
 KTM have the most coolest bike ever.
  • 1 0
 We must get US dealers on board with KTM bike industries!
  • 1 0
 Dunno about everyone else, but I think the Scarp frame looks pretty sweet.
  • 2 0
 im in love
  • 1 0
 and the pinkbike cencorship wins again! brilliant!
  • 1 0
 Looks sick
  • 2 1
 They have funny names.
  • 1 2
 This just looks far too flimsy!! One big hit with this and it looks like it would snap in two!!
  • 1 0
 Lets see a DH Bike!
  • 3 6
 Look out KTM, Trek will be hot on your ass for using their Full Floater suspension design.
  • 1 1
 seraph, the "Full Floater" design was patented by Donald Richardson back in the late 1970's. Suzuki caught wind of the design and "borrowed heavily" from 1980 through 1985 it resulting in litigation where Suzuki had to stop using the design.

It's funny how the bicycle industry is heavily influenced my the moto industry.

  • 1 0
 Sure sure, but Trek Bicycles is a huge company and they can afford high powered lawyers who will sue the shit out of KTM if they try to bring their bikes into the States.
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