Sport-Enduro comparison test


Sport-Enduro comparison test

Beam man and sons

He who laughs first laughs best. With the new 520 Racing, KTM wants to stir up the sports enduro market. And indeed, the competition pales in its shadow.

Everything happened so fast. Three years ago it shone for the first time in the southern French spring sun? Yamaha’s new Moto Cross factory machine. Without warning and yet revolutionary. A 400 cm³ four-stroke engine with tiny dimensions and little weight, pressed into the handy chassis of a quarter-liter two-stroke crosser. As simple as the idea, so blatant its effect. Suddenly it was clear that four-stroke off-road machines – until that day, complacent, the synonym for clumsy handling and treacherous technology ?? can be different. Small, light, handy and yet powerful.

Europe’s first answer to the affront from the Far East was at INTERMOT in Munich last autumn: the EXC 400/520 Racing from KTM. Even more uncompromising in terms of the concept. No matter whether in the Moto Cross or in the Enduro version. The new, lightweight four-stroke engine sits in a virtually unchanged 250cc Moto Cross frame. There is also an electric starter as standard. Sports successes too. The factory machines won the Enduro World Championship in the 400cc four-stroke class in 1999 and won several races in the Moto Cross World Championship.

This autumn, the KTM is also shining in the southern French sun. For MOTORRAD, the large enduro version, the EXC 520 Racing, shines with its competitors from the tunnel scene. Husqvarna TE 610, in a sense the grandmother of all four-stroke sport enduros. For the 2000 season, at least the rear is slim? thanks to a single silencer instead of the previous two. There was also a new Dellorto carburetor, new clutch linings and a stiffer swing arm and, above all, the new upside-down fork from Marzocchi. Next door is the Husaberg FE 501. Also with a new upside-down fork, this time from White Power. A revised adjustment of the shock absorber, as with KTM without deflection, modified cylinder head and hydraulically operated clutch round off the novelties. As the last challenger, the VOR EN 503 remains known to scene connoisseurs by the name of its creators, the ingenious and contentious brothers Vertemati. Said willingness to conflict, however, separated the creative spirits from the rest of their company, which has since developed the legacy under the name VOR. It also comes up with a new upside-down fork, from Paioli for a change. A narrower tank, the new Dellorto carburetor, hydraulically operated clutch and a more progressive rocker arm should equip the Italian for the new millennium.

Enough of the technology. Marc Morales from the south of France ?? The one with the jet helmet and glasses mask – highly decorated as an enduro fighter, two-time winner of the Atlas rally and this time test colleague, knows every path and every footbridge in his home country after twenty years of professional sport. We save ourselves warm-up exercises. You know: four-stroke. Kick, kick, kick. But the bolides are collegial. With the husky, one kick is usually enough. Unusually the VOR. The kickstarter wants to be kicked forward. First astonishment, then enthusiasm. Works while sitting and without contortions. Three or four kicks and the bolide runs. The Husaberg makes it more complicated. The kick starter sits high up and is angled forward. Hardly anything works while sitting. If we had only ordered the E-Start version of the »Berg«. Only the KTM driver can grin with relish. Push the button and the day is your friend.

Finally all singles are chugging away. A little later we roll over dirt roads that have been pushed up. Time to get used to the ergonomics of the steeds. Sitting on the Husky is as comfortable as ever. Everything in its place, and when standing, the narrow frame rear no longer forces you to bow your legs. The Husaberg is slim as always. There is mountain air to sniff at the VOR. The tight seat reinforces the impression of sitting more on the machine instead of in it. The KTM is completely different. Narrow, low, relatively high handlebars ?? so sit and stand moto crossers.

The smooth slope also allows the vibrations of the large monos to be perceived much more consciously. No matter if Husky, VOR or Husaberg? None of them like high speeds. Tortured, they would like to vibrate their rider down. The three are guaranteed to teach everyone the tip of shifting up and letting the engine run at low and medium speeds in no time at all. KTM leaves it to the mood of its boss. If you want to shoot it, please. The clatter in the handlebar ends has been deleted without replacement thanks to the balancer shaft.

Marc turns into a meadow. A brown meandering curve marks the route of a recently held four-hour enduro. Cross test, as Marc says. One more opportunity to get to know the engines. The VOR is in its element in the narrow space. Endless pressure from below. The black woman hangs on the gas quite spontaneously, almost like a two-stroke engine. For Birger, our hobby enduro rider, clearly too intense. Jorg, the experienced DM crosser, is having fun. But only as long as it remains tight. On the faster sections, the VOR mutates into the four-stroke engine of the old guard. It revs up only unwillingly, the strong engine reactions harden the rear suspension like it was in the past. The Husaberg is similar. It’s a bit less brutal downstairs, but the Swede is easier to turn off. Motor reactions: see BEFORE. Husqvarna shows neutrality on studded tires. Whether from the very bottom, in the middle or all the way up, the husky pulls and pulls and pulls. Even if, as I said, it shakes vigorously in the upper regions. This is called user-friendly. KTM knows something like that too. But in Austria it is interpreted differently. As soft as butter, the 520 pulls it out of the speed limit. The often tortured comparison with the electric motor has to serve again. There is no other way, because nothing is more appropriate. But nobody is satisfied with the lower speeds. Even Birger involuntarily lets the EXC cheer. If it weren’t for the brute force that drives the KTM from mid-rev, the KTM propellant would immediately be estimated at 100 cubic centimeters less.

The same impression when handling. The KTM skilfully hides its pounds. Nimble, she whizzes down the angle slope. Subjectively, she is far below her colleagues in terms of weight, objectively she weighs an impressive six kilos more than the Husaberg. What the Swede can follow the longest. The VOR doesn’t like it so tight because of its high seating position, the Husky because of its noticeable excess weight.

We leave it with the zigzag game and turn onto a gravel path. Pure enduro. Loose stones give the tires little traction. What the suspension doesn’t swallow, throws the wheels off track in a flash. The VOR pilot notices it most clearly. Despite the Ohlins strut, the Italian hops uncomfortably and restlessly over the scree. At least the paioli fork is sensitive. On the other hand, it finally came through after the jumps in the cross test. Similar to the Husaberg. Fork see BEFORE, shock absorber a tad softer. Husqvarna is all about comfort. Fine on the gravel roads, but constantly on the breakdown limit on the bumpy cross test. Completely unimpressed by anything, the KTM rolls over the jarring track. Regardless of whether it is a shock absorber or a fork, the White Power elements take away any horror from the bumpy road. All the more astonishing because even the jumps in the cross test cannot make the KTM break through. Also amazing, because the Husaberg basically uses the same spring elements, but cannot hold a candle to the fork from the same company in terms of responsiveness or puncture resistance.

The path becomes narrower and narrower and ends in a dried-up stream bed with football-sized, round stones. Forget all performance. Balancing, dosing, conducting is required. Not a case for the Husaberg. The hard use of the engine at low speeds, a clutch that does not separate completely, and the hard suspension make it difficult to keep the Swede on course. And when the engine dies, the inappropriately placed kick starter is annoying again. Even the VOR doesn’t particularly like it in the Steinmeer. With her, the engine hacking too much to roll over the stones in a controlled manner, the suspension buckles and the clutch disengages insufficiently even when the adjusting screw on the hand lever is turned in to the maximum. At least one is happy about the Kickstarter. The husky gets along better. Smooth engine characteristics, soft suspension and a clutch that ?? despite seemingly outdated cable actuation ?? Works great, the comparatively plump dimensions of the older lady from Lake Varese cover up. The chamois is allowed to play the KTM again. The electric starter alone transforms the convulsive fear of the engine’s death into calm. The gentle motor and the sensitive suspension do their part to make the trial insole an absolute experience.

D.he bushes clear, we stand a few meters in front of our transporter. The off road tour is over. Marc nods inquiringly: “Et, laquelle? ” And which? We look furtively at the KTM. He smiles. “Moi aussi.” Me too.

1st place – KTM EXC 520 Racing

The points evaluation is only inadequate: The new KTM is the absolute boss in the ring. The overall concept of the 520er Racing is years ahead of the rest of the large-capacity sports enduro world. Suspension, handling, engine: everything is great – and then there’s this electric starter.

4th place – BEFORE EN 503

Even in the enduro version, the VOR is bluntly committed to its motocross origins. The powerful but rough engine, the stiff rear wheel suspension and the high seating position are more suitable for robust cross-slopes than the undergrowth ?? even if the technology of the VOR appeals.

3rd place – Husqvarna TE 610

The great old lady of the sports enduro scene is still doing respectably many years after its creation. For tough off-road use, however, its pounds and sluggish handling are significantly heavier than the sensitive suspension and powerful engine can help.

2nd place – Husaberg FE 501

The Husaberg can only barely stand out from the Husqvarna. But flyweight alone is not enough. The “mountain” is still missing from the finish. At least the great handling and the good brakes compensate for the moderate starting behavior and the quite rough engine.

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