Bikeboard.en Logo
KTM Revelator Alto Elite 2021

KTM Revelator Alto Elite 2021

24.09.20 06:35 3.018Text: NoManPhotos: Erwin HaidenKTM’s Revelator Alto road bike family is made to lift you up. But how high can you get on a bread-and-butter bike? And what other features does the 2021 elite model have? Our test provides the answers.24.09.20 06:35 3.018

KTM Revelator Alto Elite 2021

24.09.20 06:35 3.018 NoMan Erwin Haiden Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarKTM’s Revelator Alto road bike family is made to lift you up. But how high can you get on a bread-and-butter bike? And what other features does the 2021 elite model have? Our test provides the answers.24.09.20 06:35 3017

Let’s be honest: life is a compromise. The time available for training is rarely enough to reach the desired level of fitness, our cohabitants are at most as perfect as our current mood, and the amount stated on our pay slip hardly ever pays for our dream car. This is the reason why HIIT units, dating platforms and VW Golfs are so popular.
Also, bike manufacturers have always bridged the gap between dream and reality with their model ranges. On one side, there is the version you want: super fast, super stylish, light as a feather; and on the other side, there is the version that got downgraded in every aspect, but works just as well and is just about affordable. However, almost all advertising features the high-priced flagship bikes. Understandably so; after all, there is a dream to sell.

Thus it was almost refreshing when KTM suggested a real bread-and-butter bike for the first test of the 2021 model year: "Revelator Alto Elite offers a really attractive package for ambitious beginners at only 2,499 €", said marketing manager Mathias Grick.
A glance at the data sheet proved the man right for the time being: carbon frame and fork specced with Ultegra gears and 105 series disc brake system and wheels, with a total weight of 8.5 kilograms. That sounded like an extremely fair deal. But would the reality live up to the theory? We were hooked.

 A reasonable bicycle 

What the data sheet says about KTM Revelator Alto Elite

The facts

Revelator Alto is no stranger to BB. In 2019, we already tested a Master version, and only recently, NoPain stated in our new products preview that the line's frames, although technically unchanged, will enter the 2021 model year spiced up in terms of colour and image.
The latter is based on the fact that next year two teams, French B&B Vital Concepts and Italian Vini Zabu, will be competing in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia with bikes from Austria's largest bike manufacturer. Therefore, two "replicas" in the respective team colours (matt carbon frame with turquoise or orange fork) will complete the model range. Furthermore, KTM opted for bright colours which is untypical for the brand. The flashiest bikes come in Green Purple Flip/Orange or Fire Orange/White, the white model is incomparably quieter in its appearance, and the obligatory black and orange combination is reduced to homeopathic doses.
This results in a total of six (!) colour variations for the 2021 Alto Elite and optionally also for the Alto Master. The top model Exonic (€ 7,999) and the entry-level version Pro (€ 1,999), on the other hand, settle for only one design option each.

This unusual variety is applied to a beautifully crafted 1,480-gram frameset that consists of an F12 Performance carbon fork and an R-9820 Premium carbon frame, which means that in terms of material quality, Alto Elite is one step below the top model, which weighs 300 grams less, and one step above the entry-level model, but on a par with the Master model, which costs 2,000 euros more (but comes with complete Ultegra Di2 groupset and carbon wheels).

There are many outstanding visual details that you might love or hate: the oversized, pointed fork ends, which probably don’t have any specific function – except that the asymmetric design might help absorb absorb braking power; the top tube, which is flat throughout, but especially at the front; the triangular seat tube and seat post, which greatly reduce the choice of compatible options but make sure the tip of the saddle always points straight to the front; and of course the low seatstays, which bend into the seat tube and provide less comfort than one might expect, but more about this later.

Technically, the Alto, which is only available with disc brakes, fulfills all requirements of a modern road bike: thru axles in standard dimensions (100x12/142x12) at the front and rear, flatmount disc mounting system, a well done internal cable routing through frame and fork, topped off elegantly and at exactly the right length externally on the cockpit, tyre clearance of up to 32 mm – depending on make and rim width.

Tech Specs

Frame Revelator Alto Elite Premium Carbon/R-9820 Brakes Shimano RT800 CL 140/140 Freeza
Fork Revelator Alto Performance Carbon F12 Shift-/ Brake Lever Shimano 105 R7070
Headset KTM Team drop/in 1 1/8"-1 1/4" road Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra R8000
Stem KTM Team Road 8°, 10 cm Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra R8000 GS
Handlebar KTM Team Road Crankset Shimano Ultegra R8000, 50/34 Z.
Bartape KTM Tape Cassette Shimano 105 R7000, 11-32 Z.
Seatpost KTM CompLink zero Alu aero, 350 Wheels Shimano WH-RS370-TL CL, 100x12/142x12
Saddle Selle Italia X3 Flow Tires Schwalbe One Perf. RaceGuard TLE 28-622
Weight (w/o pedals) 8,44 kg Retail price € 2.499,-

Our test model was delivered with Schwalbe One in 28C, mounted on Shimano's 105 tubeless RS370 wheels. Therefore, mounting wider tyres would have been possible without changing the wheelset, if desired.
The groupset consists of a mix of Shimano Ultegra derailleurs and compact crankset as well as brake/shift levers, cassette (11-32) and chain of the 105 series. The brake discs are of the 105 series as well: two Freeza rotors with 140 mm diameter and R7070 levers, i.e. dual control units with "normal" distance to handlebars.
KTM added a Selle Italia X3 Flow saddle as well as various components from their extensive in-house parts warehouse: handlebars, stem, grip tape, headset, seat post. And voilà: here's your € 2,500 road bike weighing 8.44 kilograms (a little less than specified by the manufacturer) in size 52.

Riding impressions

While the metallic white Alto Elite looked very appealing in the studio, it took some time and several adjustments to get the bike's and rider's dimensions to match and end up with a comfortable seating position.
As far as stack and reach (549/388 mm in size S) are concerned, this road bike has a rather sporty geometry. So far, so good, and (with just a centimetre less reach) almost the same measurements as the test rider’s own road bike. However, the Alto has a strikingly steep seat angle of 75.5°, giving the rider a somewhat central position above the bottom bracket - not suitable at all for the test rider's long thighs. Furthermore, the aero seat post has no setback, which is why it had to be lowered considerably to get to the right height. Considering the high standover height and the long stem, XS would probably have been a more suitable size for a rider with a height of 167 cm – or maybe not, because the top tube would have been quite short then (tyre contact of toes!)...

Geometry

  XS (49) S (52) M (55) L (57) XL (59)
Seat tube length (mm) 490 520 550 570 590
Top tube length (mm) 510 530 550 563 576
Head tube angle (°) 71,5° 72° 72° 72,5° 72,5°
Seat tube angle (°) 75,5° 75,5° 75° 74,5° 74°
Chainstay length (mm) 410 410 410 410 410
BB drop (mm) 72 72 72 70 68
Head tube length (mm) 130 145 160 170 185
Stand-over height (mm) 742 760 781 792 809
Wheelbase (mm) 975 992 1010 1012 1021
Stack (mm) 533 549 564 573 585
Reach (mm) 372 388 402 404 408

After some fine tuning, the sweet spot was finally found and insight was gained: The forward-shifted seating position, which felt a little awkward at first, is quite useful for climbing, as you seem to apply effective downward pressure to the pedal. It also compensates for some of the KTM bike’s overall rather lacking agility when it comes to more or less spontaneous direction changes, e.g. when bypassing potholes or riding hairpin bends. However, there are better configurations for riding fast on flat roads - this little white horse prefers to conquer new heights, as its Italian name suggests.

But let's be honest: climbing mountains with a bike that weighs 8.5 kg? Spoiled brats like our test rider usually choose bikes that weigh about one kilo less to do so. And indeed, the Revelator’s weight, especially the 1,980 g wheels, is noticeable, e.g. if you want to ride faster: in hard attacks, breakaways or on speedy hill rides.
As soon as the road leads steadily uphill for a longer time, everything turns out fine; rider and bike become one in their fight against gravity and conquering metres of altitude gradually but constantly becomes meditative fun. This is partly due to the well-shaped handlebars with narrow top that are wrapped with a very comfortable nonslip tape, allowing a safe grip for small hands even when they're wet from sweat.

Descending on the opposite side of the mountain is just as pleasant. As mentioned before, the steering behaviour is not overly agile, but very well balanced. Once the direction is set, there are no surprises. The Alto reliably runs steady, in bends as well as on straight roads, conveying a pleasant sense of safety with its relatively flat steering angle and long wheelbase.

 Leave the valley behind 

KTM’s recommendations for the Revelator Alto

However: what the bike could do more with is riding comfort. The rather stiff frame that is indeed designed for propulsion, the dead straight aero fork, the hardly damping handlebars, the seat post without offset ... all this passes on bumps, vibrations and shocks more or less directly to the rider.
This may seem surprising, especially in view of the low seatstays, which are generally a way to allow the seat tube more flex. But it doesn't change the fact that wider tyres and an offset seat post (which would probably require a shorter stem) would be great tuning measures for the Alto Elite bike – even before changing to lighter wheels or taking other steps to reduce weight.

As far as functionality is concerned, the tester could file no complaints. Specs of this KTM Alto version are well matched, and the price is more than fair.
The Shimano mix groupset works smoothly, accurately and sufficiently fast. The brake system is powerful, easy to control and – this is especially important for beginners – predictable. 140 rotors may seem a bit weak for riders with a body weight of more than 85 kg and/or for alpine use, but they were perfectly able to brave all stress and strain challenges that we came up with.
Tyres and inner tubes remained puncture-free during test rides, too, despite several unexpected construction site visits. By the way, thanks to its weight of almost 2 kg, the tubeless-ready wheelset should withstand (almost) anything – and it did. Furthermore, the low-profile wheels remained completely unimpressed by crosswinds. Rain rides were avoided at all costs to enjoy a beautiful Indian summer, so nothing can be said about Schwalbe One’s wet grip. In dry conditions it seemed reliable and not only limited to the tread.
Last but not least, it was pleasing to hear that the bike made no noise at all. No rattling of badly installed internal cables, no brakes grinding, no bearing clattering, no screw squeaking – simply nothing. Many a high-end road bike could take this as an example...

Conclusion

KTM Revelator Alto Elite
Model year: 2021
Test duration: 4 weeks
Price: € 2.499,- SRP
+ reasonably priced
+ good workmanship
+ balanced riding behaviour
+ reliable parts
+ versatile
+ 6 colours to choose from
o central seating position
- low riding comfort
BB judgement: Being reasonable is rarely so much fun!

Admittedly, it is not very attractive to opt for a particular bike for sensible reasons instead of being a little more daring, a little more willing to take risks, a little bolder perhaps. The KTM bike reflects none of the latter three, although it has its own form language and offers more design options than many online configurators. It will probably take a few more Tour de France and Giro appearances before Revelator Alto becomes the new cool.
But until then, this carbon road bike is a well-balanced and reliable partner at a really fair price for a wide range of activities: from short after-work rides to daily training sessions to long-dreamed-of mountaintop climbs on a cycling vacation.

There will be no surprises apart from the unexpectedly low riding comfort. Due to its weight the Alto Elite is best ridden at a steady pace, climbing uphill efficiently thanks to its steep seat angle. At a higher speed the bicycle will stick to the road safely, running steadily in general, providing fun in almost all riding situations. It changes direction smoothly, but not excessively fast. All parts work quietly and reliably; wheels and contact points offer easy tuning potential in terms of comfort and weight.