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KTM X-Strada 710

KTM X-Strada 710

28.01.21 15:25 10.766Text: NoManPhotos: Erwin HaidenIt looks flamboyant, is technically robust, solidly specced and versatile. KTM's aluminum gravel bike is something to rely on. Read on to learn about the riding characteristics that X-Strada 710 adds to this overall package.28.01.21 15:25 10.766

KTM X-Strada 710

28.01.21 15:25 10.766 NoMan Erwin Haiden Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarIt looks flamboyant, is technically robust, solidly specced and versatile. KTM's aluminum gravel bike is something to rely on. Read on to learn about the riding characteristics that X-Strada 710 adds to this overall package.28.01.21 15:25 10765

Hello again! Don’t we already know the low-set seatstays with a kink and the tapered fork? Yes, we do. KTM Revelator Alto that we presented some months ago showed rather similar characteristics – and the same can be said of the aero model Revelator Lisse.

One might assume that this somewhat distinct appearance is something deliberately opted for by the Mattighofen-based company... with X-Strada Master, their carbon-made answer to the anyroad trend, being the only exception in the road bike sector.
KTM's aluminum versions for fast gravel road riding, however, go one step further in terms of visual distinctiveness: There are additional bridges above the wheels of the X-Stradas’ forks and seatstays “just for the fun of it”, as marketing manager Matthias Grick said back at the 2019 Eurobike new products presentation. We assumed at the time that they were not necessary to ensure stiffness despite increased tyre clearance, but intended to mount the accessories of the LFC version (the abbreviation stands for Light, Fender, Carrier, i.e., a commuter bike with lights, mudguards and luggage rack already mounted) as threaded holes are to be found on the back and bottom of the bridges. Furthermore, the fork is inserted high enough to be replaced by a suspended Gravel model without changing the geometry.

 A distinct kind of bike 

What KTM's aluminum gravel bikes look like.

In 2021, KTM's gravel bikes still feature their distinct “double-bridge fork” and – the past millennium says “hi” – a “brake bridge”. The braking is done by a flatmount disc brake, of course, and the bike also features other standards of modern cycling technology like internal cable routing or thru axles at front and rear.
So much for distinct frame design. The second eye-catcher is the colours: "green purple flip (orange)" was chosen for the second model year of the X-Strada series. The 710-version test bike was of a remarkable shade of metallic green that changes towards an iridescent violet depending on light incidence. But what really makes it outstanding is the orange decals and a hardly visible black gradient at top tube and seatstays. What’s more: the paint seems to be impact-resistant; after two months of riding quite a lot of gravel roads there are no visible marks whatsoever.

The basis of X-Strada 710 is a neatly welded frame made of triple-butted 6061 aluminum tubes of different diameters and a long F13 carbon fork with aluminum shaft at the front, whose two through-eyelets halfway up allow for the mounting of bowless lowrider luggage racks - a fairly rare feature! Thanks to number and position of further mounting points, e.g., for mudguards, rear luggage rack and light or even extra-large water bottles, the X-Strada bike may as well be used for touring, commuting or as an all-purpose bike. The maximum tyre clearance is a generous 45 mm.
What is still visible of the brake and shift cables at the front seems to be well cut to length and perfectly routed - the only look you may consider more appealing and puristic than this one are the emerging headset solutions with their internal cable routing.

Geometry

XS (49)* S (52) M (55) L (57) XL (59)*
Seat tube (mm) 490 520 550 570 590
Top tube (mm) 530 540 560 580 600
Head angle (°) 69° 70° 71° 71° 71°
Seat angle (°) 75° 75° 74,5° 74° 73,5°
Chain stays (mm) 430 430 430 430 430
BB drop (mm) 72 72 72 70 68
Head tube (mm) 95 100 115 130 145
Standover height (mm) 773 788 806 821 831
Wheelbase (mm) 1038 1039 1044 1061 1076
Stack (mm) 566 575 593 605 618
Reach (mm) 378 386 396 406 417

* Not available for model variant X-Strada 710

As far as geometry is concerned the new gravel bikes’ top tube got a little bit longer and the steering angle flatter (now 70° in size S) which increases its length all in all by up to 4 cm (wheelbase, size S: 1,039 mm). Seat angle (75°... some may want to switch to a seatpost with more offset), chainstay length (430 mm throughout), head tube length (100 mm) and seat tube length (520 mm) remain the same.
With my body height of 167 cm and an inner leg length of 78 cm I would rather have taken size XS, just as with Revelator Alto. The high head tube and only moderately sloping top tube made for a standover height I did not feel comfortable with anymore, and the very stretched riding position (reach 386 mm) probably only felt okay because of my former race ambitions. The smallest size, just like the largest, is, however, only available with less expensive specs (720, LFC and 730 fit), not for their top model 710. Therefore, I had to opt for the standard of 52 cm.
Either way: geometry-wise X-Strada is on the smooth, long and flat side of the Gravel bike spectrum, its STR ratio (consistently approx. 1.49) does not make it the sportiest of its kind.

The line-up includes the fitness bike 730 with straight 70 cm handlebars for a reasonable 1,249 euros, the commuter bike at 550 euros more, and two classic versions. While X-Strada 720 with Shimano's GRX 2x10 is on offer for 1,599 euros, a 710 bike specced like our test ride costs 2,199 euros.
For the carbon model X-Strada Master, which by the way is also only available in three sizes, another 1,100 euros are due. As mentioned at the beginning, this model has nothing in common with the bike described here except the name.

Tech Specs

Frame X-Strada AL6061tb STIs Shimano GRX RX810 2x11
Frame size 52/55/57 cm* Front derailleur Shimano GRX RX810
Fork X-Strada Gravel carbon/alloy F13 Crankset Shimano GRX RX600-11 (46/30 Z.)
Headset KTM Team drop/in 1.1/8"-1,5" Rear derailleur Shimano GRX RX810 Shadow RD+
Handlebar KTM Team Road Flare 16° Cassette Shimano HG700-11 (11-34 Z.)
Bar tape KTM Tape Chain Shimano HG601-11
Stem KTM Team Road 8° Wheelset KTM Line - Shimano 105 R7070CL/DT Swiss 533d 622x22TC (100x12 mm/142x12 mm)
Brakes Shimano RT800 CL 160/160 Freeza Tires Schwalbe G-One Bite Perf. RaceGuard TLE 40-622
Saddle Selle Italia X3 Flow Weight 10,9 kg (w/o pedals)
Seatpost KTM Team 27,2/350 Price € 2,199 SRP

* Lower-priced versions also available in XS/49 cm and XL/59 cm

With X-Strada 710 you'll get the following specs: a mechanical Shimano GRX 800 groupset (2x11), including 160 mm disc brakes - with the only exception being the RX600 crank (46/30 t.). The 105-level cassette offers the widest possible road gear ratio (11-34 t.). Furthermore, you'll get Schwalbe's G-One Bite tyres in 40-622, a Selle Italia X3 Flow saddle, and from cockpit to rear wheel plenty of KTM's own parts; above all the wheels, which actually are a combination of inexpensive, 22 mm wide DT Swiss Enduro rims and Shimano's 105 hubs with 12 mm thru axles (front 110 mm, rear 142 mm).
This set-up pushes the bike's weight up to a somewhat worrisome 10.9 kilograms - maybe the tubes of frame, handlebars or seatpost aren't hollow?

Riding impressions

Never mind - across all disciplines, overall weight doesn’t seem to be reason for criticism anymore. Therefore, I won’t dwell on this ancient way of thinking and quietly push the unsuspended, in comparison to a mountain bike delicately wheeled, yet equally heavy or even heavier bike outside and undauntedly climb onto the saddle …

Irony mode off, honesty mode on: I cannot not criticise a whopping eleven kilos, pedals included, on a road bike, no matter how suitable for off-road riding it may be. My usual first ride rituals like some short accelerations, some sprints, some pushing over bumps, some climbing ASO were always accompanied by some “Doable, but …” thoughts.
After a short time on the saddle, however, I realised that the bike’s weight did not have as dramatic an effect as I had worried it would. The X-Strada will never be an agile and nimble ride, nor is it a bike for fast accelerations or uncatchable uphill attacks. But I reckon that's not what KTM had in mind, anyway, given the geometry and spec options.

Instead, the bike quickly turns out to be an uncomplicated, reliable and tough partner for all rides that do not aim at records, maximum performance and speed. Which doesn’t mean that this KTM bike is not up for some high-speed fun. Once it gets going, it makes for quite an exhilarating ride: it runs smoothly, steadily and stays on track.
So, no reason to be cautious when going downhill - unless tight zigzag bends need to be mastered; in that case, the bike requires a little extra push and considerably more time than a fully developed race bike. No surprise considering the steering angle of 70 degrees...

As real Enduro rims of course remain unimpressed by some mellow Gravel action, the pothole that bends X-Strada’s wheels still remains to be found. The solid wheels are definitely a very positive side-effect of the weight aspect. They shine of course above all off-road, but also on bad roads and with a heavily packed bike you do not need to worry about what terrain you are riding on.
Fortunately, the tyres are on the same mission: Schwalbe’s Bite version of the G-One tyre takes whatever may come – the allrounder with some extra grip off-road will remain reasonably under control.
It combines good rolling characteristics and really convincing puncture protection with a lot of cornering grip and traction in dry to wet conditions. It tends to float downhill when it's muddy, but paradoxically it still remains controllable and makes even riders who actually can do without (like me e.g.) try some deliberate and precise rear wheel drifts. Of course, every gravel tread has its limits uphill, but G-One Bite guarantees sufficient traction for much longer than some of its competitors.

As the X-Strada 710 is not exactly what you’d call a revelation in terms of suspension and comfort, I was given a good shake, especially when the ground was frozen during the last few days of testing.
Those who dare and wish to improve this have to do so via tyre pressure – which the bike absolutely offers potential for as though shipped with tubes, wheels are tubeless-ready.
But who needs a sissy set-up when he or she can have the top GRX groupset with its great shifting precision, braking performance and, above all, off-road handling? Shimano's gravel components are a real joy and asset, from the grooved, higher hoods to the possible gear ratio ranges (474% in the combination tested – this makes many situations rideable without too many annoying jumps) to the reliability and power of the (thank God noise-free!) brakes.

Last but not least, the bike is an inconspicuous ride, which actually is a compliment as contact points are as good as they can get: the saddle is non-slip, well-padded and has a central relief channel; the handlebars have a moderate flare and are both round and easy to grip throughout.

Fazit

KTM X-Strada 710
Model year: 2021
Test duration: 2 months/428 km
Price: € 2,199 SRP
+ Sturdy build
+ Solid and sensibly equipped
+ Numerous mounting points for accessories (lights, fenders, etc.)
+ Suitable for lowrider racks without bow above the wheel
+ High-quality paint
+ Smooth running
o Divisive looks
- Weight of 11 kg
- Not very comfortable
BB verdict: Durable companion for having fun in various terrain.

KTM X-Strada 710 is a durable gravel bike, a solid rouleur and flaneur, because it loves long flat rides. The curvier or more winding the trails become and the more mountainous the topography, the more determined steering and pedalling needs to get. However, the bike feels like a very safe ride due to its great directional stability on gravel downhill sections or at high speeds. If you are looking for a vivid and nippy ride, better go look somewhere else, as apart from its geometry, this extravagantly built and varnished off-road bike is also too heavy for that.
X-Strada rather is a good, smooth running companion for asphalt and gravel roads, cycle- and field paths. Sturdily built, specced with high-quality GRX groupset and a wheel/tyre combination that is really tough, but also runs smoothly, the bike does not only seem to be predestined for short spins, long weekend adventures, carefree daily use and anything in between. Thanks to appropriate mounting points for lights, mudguards, pannier racks and bottles, it may also serve well as a reliable commuter or touring bike.