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KTM X-Strada Prime

KTM X-Strada Prime

03.11.23 17:11 248Text: NoMan (translated by Carola Felchner)Photos: Erwin HaidenThey loved and hated each other. Our exiled Upper Austrian rode the strade bianche around Vienna with the creamy white Gravel Bike from the same region.03.11.23 17:11 289

KTM X-Strada Prime

03.11.23 17:11 289 NoMan (translated by Carola Felchner) Erwin Haiden
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They loved and hated each other. Our exiled Upper Austrian rode the strade bianche around Vienna with the creamy white Gravel Bike from the same region.03.11.23 17:11 289

Gravel up your life! This catchy slogan that KTM puts all over the respective pages of their product catalogue, admittedly doesn’t need to be understood as a personal invitation. But it may be, especially when the test bike is handed over with the words: “Keep it for some months. We don’t need it.”

For those not from Upper Austria: The KTM X-Strada Prime, which we will be discussing in the following, was taken over by our test pilot, hailing from the same federal state as the former Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen KG, back in July. Because it was chosen as small as possible (frame size XS/49) and actually from the 2022 model year, KTM didn’t set an urgent return date. Therefore, NoMan could spend a good chunk of her cycling life with it. Or rather: spice it up.

 Gravel up your life! 

KTM promises an experience “more intense than ever before”
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime

By the way, the fact that we are reporting on a 2022 model year in late 2023 is only half as outdated as it may initially seem. Firstly, the previous year’s bike differs from this year’s only in colour (and, thanks to inflation, in price). And secondly, the X-Strada Prime will enter the next model year unchanged because KTM declared it a carryover model.

So, 2022 equals 2024, but in galaxy dust matte (grey+kwiqsand+orange) and for currently an official 500 euros more. Taking advantage of the fact that no one at KTM’s missed the old model, NoMan took the creamy white bike whose colour perfectly referenced the distinctive and discipline-defining gravel roads mentioned in the introduction on these very paths.

But enough palaver; let’s get to work and take a look at the facts!

  • KTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime

Top of the line

The test bike is the flagship of a gravel bike range that KTM developed in 2022 especially for gravel riding, therewith departing from their previous, more road-focused namesakes. The interpretation of the category spans from sporty, even race-oriented, to fitness-focused and urban.
In terms of specs, the dividing line runs almost exactly along the two available frame materials. The carbon model, with three spec packages available, is made for fitness- and adventure-oriented cycling and intended for road or mountain bikers. The aluminium bike, on the other hand, is designed for commuting, transport and cycling in an urban environment and its periphery.

Tech Specs

Frame Premium Carbon/R-2980, 142x12 mm Wheels DT Swiss GR 1600 Spline CL 142/100x12 TA, 622x24TC
Fork RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR, 40 mm, 100x12 mm Tyres Continental Terra Speed TR 40-622 ProTection
Sizes 49/52/55/57/59 cm Handlebar KTM Team Road flare 16°
Shifters Sram Rival eTap AXS HRD 1x12 Stem KTM Team Road 8°, 80 mm
Rear derailleur Sram Rival XPLR eTap AXS 12s Headset Acros AICR internal 1.1/8>1.5" angle limit
Crankset Sram Rival 1 wide DUB, 42t Seat post KTM Team, 27.2 mm/350 mm
Bottom bracket Pressfit Saddle Selle San Marco Allroad Manganese Rails
Cassette Sram Rival XPLR XG-1251, 10-44t Weight 9,48 kg (without pedals)
Brakes Sram Rival, Paceline Rotoren, CL, 160 mm Price € 4,099 RSP (testbike, MY22)
€ 4,599 RSP (production bike MY23/24)

The development department set their focus on ample tire clearance, low weight, and sufficient cargo-carrying capacity. Accordingly, tires up to 45mm easily fit into the frame, and the “target weight” (as KTM puts it) for the carbon frame is 1,000 grams. All models’ forks allow for the attachment of lights, fenders, rear racks, and of course, bottle cages with add-ons like pumps or tool sets. A complete accessory set (except for the last item) is available as standard, but only on the aluminium frame.

  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada Prime

The frame of the X-Strada Prime, currently priced at 4,599 euros, is made from premium carbon, just like the 300 euros cheaper Master model and the Elite version at 3,199 euros. It boasts a very neat and clean design, thanks in part to the cables running directly into the frame through the Acros headset.
Another USP that sets it apart is the Rock Shox Rudy Ultimate suspension fork specifically designed for gravel riding, with 40mm of travel. This increases the tire clearance at the front to a generous 50mm, but it also adds weight. The model in the smallest of five frame sizes weighs 9.5 kilograms.

Geometry

XS S M L XL
Seat tube (mm) 490 520 550 570 590
Seat angle 73.6° 73.1° 72.6° 72.2° 71.7°
Head angle 68.1° 69.1° 70.2° 70.2° 70.2°
Top tube (mm) 545 565 586 606 626
Head tube (mm) 125 140 160 170 185
BB drop (mm) 58 58 58 56 55
Chainstays (mm) 430 430 430 430 430
Wheelbase (mm) 1,055 1,060 1,066 1,082 1,098
Standover height (mm) 776 799 824 838 855
Stack (mm) 555 573 596 604 616
Reach (mm) 384 394 401 414 424

Apart from the front suspension, the necessary comfort is rather to be provided by the flexible seatpost than by the frame itself, according to the manufacturer. The KTM Team seatpost, with its 27.2mm diameter, leaves no doubt regarding insertion depth, thanks to a handy height scale on the back of the classically round tube. Notable standards include flat-mount brakes, press-fit bottom brackets, and 12mm thru-axles, 100mm at the front and 142mm at the rear. Additionally, the platform is compatible with double chainrings, meaning that the installation of a front derailleur is possible. The bike comes with 40mm wide tires as a standard.

  • KTM X-Strada Prime

Regarding the dimensions, KTM sticks to their tradition of building relatively long road bikes, which is basically also true in the gravel sector. The Upper Austrians themselves rate the riding position on a scale from “stretched” to “upright” at the transition from the lower to middle third. So, if you have naturally long legs and a short upper body, it is wise to opt for the smaller size. Even for those with “normal” proportions, it’s worth considering a smaller model, depending on personal preferences for handling.

It’s worth noting that, compared to the two other carbon models, the Prime’s front suspension results in a slightly shallower head angle, 1.4 cm higher bottom bracket, and a slightly shorter reach (401mm instead of 418mm in size M).
The smoothness of the ride and the off-road capabilities should benefit from these changes, in addition to the effect of the Rudy suspension fork itself.

 The universally versatile premium carbon frame impresses with its clean design and is cutting edge technology. 

Once again, a KTM quote, because we couldn’t have put it more accurately.
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada Prime

Let’s head outdoors!

The debut of the X-Strada was only partially worthy of a high-quality sports device. It had the privilege of accompanying NoMan for a maiden ride at this year’s Salzkammergut Trophy. As her job was to report on the riders in the rear of the shortest route, this test ride was somewhat less performance-oriented, however.
Before and after that, this fine piece of equipment served exclusively as a means of transport and a shuttle to the lake, swimming pool, or outdoor café during the family vacation. The fact that it not only accepted this demotion, including hours of being chained to trees or fences, without complaint but even cooperated obediently, is still highly regarded by its test rider. After all, it could have just as easily expressed its displeasure about being relegated to an “everyday workhorse”, e.g., by getting a flat tire after navigating through the broken glass behind the beach buffet or acquiring scratches due to improper bicycle lock handling by the children, and so on.

  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime

Subsequently, the KTM was moved from the Upper Austrian Salzkammergut to the surrounding areas of the federal capital of Lower Austria. It was not ridden as often as desired, but it was consistently ridden according to its intended use.
The X-Strada did not keep its characteristics a secret for long. It is, in any case, a stiff and willingly accelerating gravel bike, also because of the sporty riding position. To describe it as “nippy” might be a bit much, mainly due to its weight. It also surprises with agility and liveliness, considering its 68°head angle. It handles high-speed sections safely, but requires some effort in fast corners, and the tires tended to squirm when they had slightly too little air.

The suspension fork immediately tempted to embark on some off-road adventures or deliberately choose bumpy and root-filled paths. And yes, 40mm of suspension travel are undoubtedly more comfortable than none. The adjustable Rudy fork, which can be very finely tuned with air pressure and rebound settings, noticeably helps improve traction and keep the front tire on the ground.
However, whether these benefits justify the necessary maintenance effort (recommended: Elastomer check every 200 operating hours and replacement, if needed) and the construction which is potentially more susceptible to damage, especially on a bike advertised as carefree, is open to question. Aside from the impression of some kind of double imbalance that NoMan couldn’t help having: On one hand, it seems that the front and rear suspension don’t quite match on rough terrain, leading to back pain. On the other hand, the test rider couldn’t quite get comfortable with the additional weight at the front, particularly when it comes to lifting or carrying the bike.

  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
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  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime

As undecided as she was about the suspension fork, the verdict on the groupset is clear. NoMan is full of praise for Sram’s Rival XPLR eTap, which debuted last year. As a rider with very small hands, she appreciates the ergonomics and feel of the levers, as well as their simple adjustability. The shifting is as crisp and precise as expected from the Americans. The KTM combines a single-chainring with 42 teeth with a wide-ranging XG-1251 (10-44 t.) cassette, the slightly heavier of the two options due to the use of steel instead of aluminium for the large sprocket. This results in smooth gear shifts combined with a wide (440%) gear range that is sufficient for a variety of applications. The braking system, also from the Rival group and using two 160mm discs, was always reliable but never quiet - in fact, both the front and rear brakes squeaked loudly and consistently. !#@!!*#!!!*$

The DT Swiss wheelset provides affordable, reliable performance. 25mm high, 24mm inner width, and a weight of around 1,800 grams: these aluminium wheels are classic all-rounders that can also tubeless-ready. Their maximum system weight limit of 130kg is definitely not the reason for the relatively low overall limit of 109kg that KTM sets for the X-Strada. The DT Swiss wheels come fitted with 40mm wide Continental Terra Speed tires, featuring extra puncture protection that seems to pay off. Despite riding across numerous sharp and bumpy sections, NoMan remained flat-free. The dotted profile on these tires that reminds of human goose bumps offers a good compromise between traction and rolling resistance when riding on dry ground. However, if you often ride in muddy and deep terrain, you may want to look for a more aggressive tire, especially since the Conti tires tend to squirm when run at lower pressures to increase grip.

 Gravel riding is a unique experience of cycling. 

And one last time, KTM. Nota bene: It becomes even more “unique” with a suspension fork.
  • KTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
Detailansicht
Rose Trail
DetailansichtMerino jersey from Rose’s bike fashion gravel collection. Offers natural thermoregulation and a comfortable feel for cooler summer or warmer autumn days. Loosely cut, with 3 back pockets plus a zippered pocket, a non-slip silicone waistband at the back, and a reflective logo on the chest. Currently on sale in sizes 34-44 for €44.95 instead of €79.95.
+ More Info
Rose Adventure bib II W
DetailansichtGravel bib shorts with side mesh pockets, a zippered pocket on the lower back, and a mini pocket on the front strap. Comfortable R Classic+ Carbon W pad, comfortably wide and non-slip leg cuffs, and eye-catching shiny logos. Available in sizes 34-44, priced at €84.95.
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Abus Airbreaker
DetailansichtWell-ventilated, aerodynamic, and lightweight (200-230g). A helmet that always keeps your head cool. With Acticage Lite reinforcement, Zoom Ace adjustment system, floating pads, and more. Available in many colours and 3 sizes at €249.95 SRP.
+ More Info
Evil eye Vizor HR Pro
DetailansichtSemi-rimless model with a large field of view and a relatively narrow frame – ideal for small heads! Available in six attractive colours, starting at €235, depending on the included filter technology.
+ More Info
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime
  • KTM X-Strada PrimeKTM X-Strada Prime

Conclusion

KTM X-Strada Prime
Model Year: 2022 (except for the colour, identical to 2023/2024)
Test Duration:

4 months / approx. 600 km

Price: SRP € 4,099 (MY22) or € 4,599 (MY23/24)
+ unique and stylish frame
+ sporty and agile character
+ robust and suitable for daily use
+ Sram Rival XPLR eTap - ergonomics, function & gearing
+ very capable off-road due to suspension fork
- front suspension makes the bike front-heavy and unbalanced to rear in terms of comfort
- noisy brakes
- maximum system weight of only 109 kg
BB Verdict: A gravel racer dressed as a mountain bike

The X-Strada combines the sporty, stretched geometry of a distinctively designed carbon frame with plenty of cargo-carrying capacity and solid mid-range components.
The standout feature of the Prime is the wireless Rival XPLR, with well-designed levers and quick, precise, and surprisingly quiet gear changes. The brakes, although generally functional, were annoying due to constant squealing.
The RockShox suspension fork leaves the test rider with mixed feelings. While it undeniably adds comfort, traction, and safety at the front, it all seems to be painfully lacking at the rear. The front-heavy weight, fewer mounting options, and increased maintenance needs are other disadvantages that come with the Rudy fork.
Hardcore mountain bikers who see gravel biking as a way to build up endurance might be well served by the 40mm of front suspension. However, those like NoMan who approach gravel biking as an extension of road cycling (otherwise a mountain bike would probably be the more comfortable and potent option for off-road riding), don’t need it. A rigid fork, or in other words, the KTM X-Strada Master, would be preferable.

Speaking of upgrading, a lighter, more agile wheelset, possibly made of carbon, would be a great fit for the carbon version of the X-Strada. It would emphasize the frame’s performance-oriented, rigid character and make the KTM a strong candidate for gravel racing. As for adventure riding, the carbon version may not be the best choice due to its limited maximum weight capacity of only 109kg (compared to 117kg for the aluminium version), especially with heavy gear, but it might be suitable when traveling light, e.g., at the height of summer.

  • KTM X-Strada Prime