2008 KTM Intro: Are You Ready For Electric Start Two-Strokes?

When KTM rider Cyril Despres recently won his third victory in the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro he became the first rider to win on the new 300 EXC-E (which is KTM’s new electric-start 300cc two-stroke). According to Despres, “As riders, we are always concerned about the bikes having any extra weight and I was a bit unsure before the race about the addition of the battery and the electronic starter for that reason. But I have to say it was very helpful in many situations and it is definitely an advantage when you have to stop at rocky sections or to push the bike over rough terrain. It’s actually great to be able to just push that little button to start up again. Also the whole bike is nice to manage and I enjoyed riding it a lot, also with the new tank design. When you are on the bike for 200 kilometers a day it’s important to have a bike that is comfortable and that you feel good riding!

Unfortunately for motocross racers, the electric start two-stroke technology is limited to the EXC enduro line. But, KTM recently debuted their complete line of 2008 motocross bikes in Europe. Here is a sneak peak at what some of the them look like.

Photos by H. Mitterbauer, G. Freeman and H. Peuker


With the addition of the electric start two-stroke, KTM continues with the push button starter on the 450SXF and 505SXF.


The KTM 144 was available in limited numbers last year, but for 2008 it will be legal in all AMA Amateur classes.


KTM’s 250SXF is rumored to be joined in 2009 by a 350cc and 380cc brethren.


This is what the electric starter looks like the 2008 KTM 300EXC-E.


KTM managed to mount an electric starter on the 2007 450SXF engine without gaining any weight over the 2006 engine. The development continues in 2008 with a lower crankshaft weight, lighter counterbalancers, modified clutch and new exhaust cam.


The 2008 KTM 450SXF will have stiffer fork and shock springs. The 2007 springs were too soft.


The 2008 KTM 505SXF is a big-bore version of the 450SXF. The 505 has a 3mm larger bore (for a displacement of 477cc).


KTM continues to do battle in the 65cc class with the 2008 KTM 65SX.  It has a hydraulic clutch.


The KTM 85SX is an option for young riders looking for a minicycle.

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