Dirt Bike May 1983

Rolling Thunder vs White Lightning

Click on a page for a LARGE image (they push 200K - you have been warned!)

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The article opens by proclaiming that the KTM and the Maico are the most powerful open class bikes on the market in 1983 both putting out over 50 horse-power at the back wheel. The bikes are cross-country models - not MX models. The big difference on the KTM between the MX and MXC are that the MXC has a lighting coil, 5 gears rather than 4 (aha! its got four gears!! that's two more than I've used) and higher gearing (!!).
They ask why do these bikes exist? The answer - to go fast in a straight line. This makes them great desert racers (not many deserts in England...). Comparing power the KTM has the edge - top speed for the KTM is quoted at 123.75. The KTM is said to be stable at speed with lots of drive at speed. The KTM is happiest taking the outside line in a corner, or carreening of a berm (I agree with this but its usually because you just can't stop the thing and carry lots more speed than you'd like to - going straight through or over berms is also a preferred line for the KTM). You couldn't ask for a better front brake on the KTM - that'll be the disk brake then, mine has a drum. The KTM was loud even by the standards of the day.
The top glitch for KTM was it weight at 256 1/2 pounds its a bit porky at - thats over 500 pounds with me on it in kit... don't ever try and block pass me! Vibration and old-fashioned clutch were other bitches.

Tecnical Specs


No doubt about it, the KTM is still the horsepower king in the Open class. However, it suffers from too much weight and the vibration from the engine is genuineley irritating.