Plus Bike Review: KTM Kapaho 27.5+: Full Suspension from Austria

Written by David Wildman

Check out our full List of Plus Bikes (updated regularly):
http://www.ridealongside.com/plus-bike-list/

While KTM Bikes are new to the states, they’ve been building bikes since 1964. This Austrian based company prides itself on products that are fueled with cutting edge design and manufacturing. Right now they are focused on making a name for themselves in the American market. With opportunities for average joe weekend warrior rider to link up with them via ambassadorship and offering bike shops great KTM dealer opportunities.

I had the opportunity to join forces with them and take part in their KTM Ambassador program. While looking over all their bikes, I settled on the KTM Kapaho 27.5+ full suspension rig. This beast of a bike packs just about everything most mountain bikers could want into one bike.

Climbing:
You might not be the first one to the top of the mountain, but you definitely won’t have any issues navigating the rocks and roots as you ascend. The tires that come stock are the Schwalbe Rocket Ron (27.5 x 3) tires, which allow you to effectively creep/crawl your way to the top. Added to the tires is the rear Fox Float CTD (Climb Trail Descend) suspension allowing you to flip a switch to Climb and pedal with minimal bob (unwanted compression) in the suspension of the bike. Up front, the Fox 34 fork also has the CTD option, but I found it best to leave the front fork on the Descend mode, allowing the bike to absorb even more of the terrain to help reduce bouncing off roots and rocks. *Note: I was riding in DuPont State Park North Carolina so differing terrain might be more suitable to switching the front fork to Climb or Trail setting.

Descending:
Here is where you will make up some time and catch the riders that might have ascended faster. The added benefit to plus size tires give you the feeling as if you’re floating down the mountain. The combination of the Fox Suspension and the plus size tires gave you a Cadillac like ride as you descended. KTM developed a new rear suspension called SLL (Straight Line Link). In layman’s terms, this allows the rear suspension to be hyper sensitive to small bumps (great for climbing) and high absorption to big hits (great for descending) while keeping high pedaling efficiency (great for climbing and pedaling through the flat sections of the downhill). This along with the Kindshoc LEV-DX hydraulic dropper seatpost allows you to maximize your descents over large drops, by dropping the seat in seconds with a flip of a switch, makes you feel as if you can take on anything. As I descended Big Rock Trail at DuPont I wasn’t getting the snot kicked out of me. The bike absorbed a large amount of the terrain features, allowing me to strategically navigate the descent. Added bonus for the plus size tires on descending, if you make a mistake the bike will help you out (in most cases).

Bike Details:
Frame – Alloy Trippleb
Rear Suspension – Fox Float CTD (SLL) allows for 125 mm of travel in the rear
Front Fork – Fox 34 130, FIT4, CTB with 15×110 thru axle
Drive Train – Shimano Deore XT M8000 36-26 in the front. Shimano Deore XT M8000 11-40 in the rear.
Shifters – Shimano XT M8000 Shadow plus, DM
Brakes – Shiman Deore XT M8000, Roto 180/180. Shimano Deore XT M8000-11 i-spec
Hubs – DT Swiss straightpull CL – 110/15TA // 148/12
Wheels – KTM-DT Team II Plus B DT / Tubeless
Tires – Schwalbe Rocket Ron
Seatpost – Kindshoc LEV-DX hydr adjustable Post 125mm

KTM also offers direct shipment on all bikes. If you see something you like, on their page, you can add it to your cart and have it shipped to you. When the bike arrives all you need to do is throw the front wheel on, handlebars, seat & seatpost, and pump up those tires. While direct shipment is on the newer side of the bike industry, KTM makes sure that the bike is tuned and ready to ride. This being said, FedEx & UPS are not always perfect. You might have to take it into your favorite local shop to get minor adjustments done, but I view this as an opportunity to show the latest KTM bike and share with people all about KTM and how they are more than motocross.

All-in-all this bike is a great addition to the fleet. I’ll be able to take this bike on any trail and have a great time. Not to mention it will be great for bikepacking too! I might even dare to say that this is the only MTB bike I need in the fleet… just kidding! You can never have enough bikes!

To find out more about KTM Bikes visit www.ktmbikeindustries.com

The  KTM Kapaho 27.5+ retails for $5,995.00.

Reviewer:
David Wildman – Founder / Board Member of Fully Packed Adventure Ministries www.fullypacked.org
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