Top test KTM 640 LC4
In the past 14 years, the LC4 evolved into today’s 640. What was left of the former off-road athlete? Are the wild years over? Fatty heart? The MOTORRAD top test provides the clear diagnosis.
Hardenduro equal to KTM LC4 ?? The marketing strategists have diligently tinkered with the image of their bestseller.
Of course, the LC4 was a tough machine for even tough guys from the start. In 1987, KTM presented a compact and lightweight four-stroke engine, the details of which, such as the electric cooling water pump or the typical two-stroke bulkhead between the crankcase and transmission, were just as idiosyncratic as its starting behavior. The 600 LC4 established itself immediately in sports use, crossers and enduro riders were enthusiastic. Intensive model updates softened the initial airs, and after some engines died due to loose contacts to the water pump, there was a mechanically driven circulation pump. With these measures, the athlete became noticeably softer and more accessible to a wider audience.
The breakthrough to everyday enduro came in 1997. After the test run at the Duke, there was the hard enduro ?? the image was long since cemented? with an additional electric starter. And lo and behold, many off-road fans would only be half as tough from now on.
For the top test it can be all the hardness. The marathon starts after a frosty night at minus three degrees – with a kick. Choke pulled at the end of the handlebar, a second step on the starter lever, which is still at an acceptable height, and the engine runs. Scrape the ice from the minimal cockpit during the warm-up phase, then you can start.
Course south, towards the gradually stronger sun. On the trip to warmer climes, the KTM rider is happy about the not too hard and sufficiently wide seat. Of course, the twelve-liter plastic tank does not have marathon qualities, especially not in combination with the drinking habits. After a full throttle sprint on the highway ?? what corresponds to tachometer 155 sitting upright? After just 90 kilometers, the single cylinder prompts you to turn the fuel tap into the reserve position with vigorous shaking. This corresponds to a consumption of over ten liters. At a moderate pace, the remaining 2.5 liters will still be enough for about 50 km before the lockable fuel filler cap has to be down and super inside. When used overland, the 640 LC4 consumes an average of 6.2 liters per 100 kilometers.
But the motorway is not the territory of the LC4 anyway, because at higher speeds it literally exceeds the pain threshold with its grueling vibrations. A current Enduro that tortures the wrists harder is probably only available in the camp of competition machines. The small balancing shaft, which was only added in the course of evolution, is no longer in control of the mass forces, and the consideration in the mirrors is only an unrecognizable caricature from Tempo 110.
In addition, a slight pendulum typical of enduro bikes is noticeable at higher speeds. This life of its own never takes on dangerous proportions, but the signals are clear ?? the steam hammer just doesn’t belong on the highway, it loves the country road.
Here the LC4 swings carefree from one lean angle to the next and can also be quickly forced into very tight bends with the wide handlebars. For this area of application ?? preferably on third-rate low mountain roads ?? fits the pleasantly powerful and easy-revving engine characteristics for a single cylinder. The measured XXX Nm push strongly out of the curves, provided that the gear ratio used is correct. Unfortunately, the gear changes are quite tough? an old ailment. If the engine speed is too low, the chain whips loudly over the swing arm guard. All in all, the connections from one gear to the other are quite acceptable despite the rather long secondary transmission.
As a result of the soft suspension set-up, it is impossible to avoid that the 640 LC4 deflects and compresses violently with every acceleration and braking. However, this is not too tragic as the shock absorber and fork have enough damping and calmness quickly returns. Even in fast-paced curves riddled with waves, the Austrian pulls her way calmly. The deceleration of the front, rather delicate brake disc is sufficient for solo operation. However, the Brembo system reaches its limits when used by two people or when there is a maximum delay to the stand. Longer tours for two on the relatively short bench are not pure pleasure anyway, as the co-driver collides with the solid luggage rack. On the other hand, there is nothing to complain about the distance between the seat and the frame-mounted passenger pegs.
A small highlight is the compact H4 headlight. It is nice and bright and illuminates the road relatively evenly, so that night trips on Landsraße do not turn out to be a bad trip. The correct setting can be achieved only slightly inaccurately but without much fiddling with the on-board tools in a few simple steps. The fact that the KTM technicians not only know their machines from the drawing board is also proven by the compilation of the practical on-board tools. It is only unclear why a bottle opener is on board. In order to be prepared for any eventuality, it is better to replace this with a 14 mm open-ended wrench for attaching the mirror. A four and five hexagon socket (for the brake pedal attachment and eccentric and the luggage rack attachment) was also missing. Experienced enduro riders already have a pair of mounting levers, a spare hose and compressed air cartridges with them in remote areas. And if you have a flat tire at the latest, you learn to appreciate the somewhat unwieldy, but very solid main stand. An additional side stand? maybe made of aluminum? would make everyday life easier.
The fact that KTM owners cannot resist a detour into gravel terrain is certainly also due to their bike. Because despite the numerous fabric conditioners over the years, the 640 LC4 still has the crisp off-road qualities of its ancestors. With slightly increased damping on the fork and shock absorber, the classic shoots confidently through thick and thin. The stately weight of 160 kilograms with a full tank cannot be ignored. But the Alpen-Krad is still one of the lightest of the everyday. The Austrians also did a great job with the fall prevention with forged hand levers and robust plastic parts. The sensitive coolers are also quite well protected, as the handlebars usually hit the ground first.
However, the standard Metzeler Enduro 3s are not very enjoyable. While they still appeal on asphalt with good grip and neutral steering behavior, they seem downright helpless on loose surfaces. Lateral guidance and traction are only available on solid ground or on rock. If you want to exhaust the potential of your LC4 off-road, there is no avoiding more rugged alternatives. For the off-road tests, Pirelli MT 21s were installed on a trial basis, offering an acceptable compromise between asphalt and off-road suitability.
The long final gear ratio is more important off-road than on the road, so swapping the 16-tooth sprocket for a 15-tooth sprocket is recommended for an extended enduro tour. The clutch can withstand intensive grinding work, but the KTM can be driven more relaxed, especially in slower passages. At the latest in trial-like sections, when the course of the mulipath forces you to cross larger boulders, the exchange is worthwhile. And for off-road use you should also dismantle the luggage rack that stands a little above the bench, otherwise bruises are unavoidable when standing up on steep descents.
As a four-stroke enduro of the old style, the LC4 is not one of the handiest when it comes to tight right-left combinations. But you can come to terms with that if you’re not on the hunt for seconds. The strength of the KTM is rather the stable straight-line stability. However, it is more uncomfortable to push over the front wheel. An unfortunate alliance in connection with the production tires. Here, too, the tire change to the Pirelli MT 21 helps, with which the motorcycle is literally forced on course due to the better grip.
D.he limits of the suspension elements are reached in the transition from brisk to sport-oriented driving. Sure, cross-slopes are not the home of the 640, after all, they don’t want to be a competition bike. But the 640 LC4 can cope with sporty enduro riding, possibly even sniffing racing air at a first hobby competition. And that’s what makes this enduro so special: its versatility. Because which motorcycle suitable for everyday use offers such a wide range of applications.
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Top test KTM 640 LC4
Was there anything else? – KTM LC4-E 640
Was there anything else? comfortable parking support a somewhat larger and, above all, lockable tool compartment a modern cockpit possibly in digital design with tachometer, oil thermometer and adjustable trip master rearview mirror, in which you can see more than wildly jumping distorted images even at a speed of 110 Chassis settings fork: rebound XXX (XXX) clicks , Compression stage XXX (0) clicks open shock absorber: rebound stage XXX (XXX) clicks, compression stage XXX (XXX) clicks open ((footnote) brackets for off-road use
Braking measurement Braking distance from 100 km / h 40.6 m Average braking deceleration 9.5 m / s2 Comments: Front brake requires high manual force, satisfactory controllability in cold and hot condition. Fork dips extremely far and warps noticeably.Surprisingly low tendency to fade even after five emergency braking.Handling course I Best lap time 21.5 sVmax at the measuring point 97.2 km / h Comments: Motorcycle dips heavily at the front and rear when changing lean angles, with slight twisting of the Fork. Relatively low steering forces required due to wide handlebars and narrow tires. Handling course II. Best lap time 28.3 sVmax at measuring point 53.6 km / h Comments: In Enduro style (pushing) it drives very easily and on tight lines. Only the long-stroke spring elements are disturbing. Grip balance not optimal, first slips over the front wheel. Orbit 0 46m Best lap time 11.0 sVmax at measuring point 53.6 km / h Comments: Satisfactory cornering stability, no touchdown. Not at all funny: Even in the circular path, the front wheel sometimes slips earlier than the rear wheel when cornering constantly.
Conclusion – KTM LC4-E 640
The KTM 640 LC4 manages to combine terrain characteristics with everyday qualities. And so it comes close to the ideal of many tunnel friends who have always been looking for “one for all”. With the 640, the concept has probably reached its highest level. It is mature down to the last detail but also exhausted. There will hardly be any further development.
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