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Showroom: KTM X-Strada Master

Showroom: KTM X-Strada Master

10.06.22 13:32 5.138Text: NoManPhotos: Erwin HaidenA special guest in our photo studio: The new gravel bike from Mattighofen, made of carbon and designed for any kind of action - from adventure riding to cycling races10.06.22 13:32 5.139

Showroom: KTM X-Strada Master

10.06.22 13:32 5.139 NoMan Erwin HaidenA special guest in our photo studio: The new gravel bike from Mattighofen, made of carbon and designed for any kind of action - from adventure riding to cycling races10.06.22 13:32 5.139

After some trials in 2018/19 and their own – very road bike-like – series featuring one carbon bike plus four aluminum models last year KTM treats their gravel bikes to a completely new look in 2022.
Only the name remains the same: X-Strada. The two frames (one carbon, one aluminum) are complete makeovers that were developed specifically for gravel riding this time.

This cycling section leaves lots of room for interpretation: from sporty, even competitive, to fitness-oriented and urban.
The frame material is pretty much the decisive factor when it comes to specifications; while the carbon model is made for well-trained and adventurous road cyclists and mountain bikers, the aluminum bike is made for commuting, transport, moving the body and for the city and its periphery.

 Gravel up your life 

KTM spices up cycling life with the X-Strada

The bad news: the new X-Strada bikes will probably not be available until (late) summer this year. The good news: a (non-ridable) carbon model recently was delivered to the Bikeboard editorial team to be inspected thoroughly through the rigorous lens of our camera.
The first verdict: promising! Of course, a showroom will never replace real-life riding, and a showroom is not a test. But as far as we can tell from the studio inspection, the X-Strada Master definitely seems promising.
We don’t know if this first and purely visual impression paired with technical facts such as specs and geometry data will be complemented by some real-life riding experiences in autumn. For now, a detailed review of the off-road road bike from Mattighofen will need to do.

Frame

The developers focused on large tyre clearance, low weight, and many options to transport luggage. Accordingly, tyres up to 45 mm easily fit between the stays, the “target weight” of the carbon frame is 1,000 grams and the fork is compatible with lowrider luggage racks.
Other mounts allow for the mounting of lights, mudguards, rear pannier racks and, of course, bottle cages with add-ons such as a pump or tool set. Bike models carrying the abbreviation “LFC” in their name come fully equipped with lights, mudguards, and pannier rack, but are only available with aluminum frame.

The X-Strada Master’s frame is made of premium carbon, just like those of its big brother Prime and its little brother Elite. At the front, it is complemented by a rigid fork made of performance carbon. Only the top model comes with a Rock Shox Rudy Ultimate suspension fork specially developed for graveling as standard.
Standards worth mentioning are flat mount brakes, press fit bottom bracket and 12 mm thru axles in width of 100 or 142 mm. Furthermore, the platform is compatible with double chainring cranks, i.e., you may mount a front derailleur.

The bike’s look is clean with cables running directly into the frame through the Acros headset. The few Bowden cables the X-Strada Master needs – it is specced with a wireless Rival group set – only re-appear directly at their destination; but the same would also apply to a mechanical shifting group.
According to KTM it is purely for reasons of appearance that the bike got its distinctive tapered fork blades and the lovingly designed junction of top tube, seat tube and seat stays – which looks a little like the legendary triple triangle design of the good old GT bikes, and the flat connection of the two frame halves appears quite massive. A nice counterpart and a great bridge element to the prominent, slightly triangular front part!
The necessary comfort is supposed to be provided by the flexing seat post rather than the frame itself according to the manufacturer. One thing that the 27.2 mm diameter KTM Team provides for sure is some certain knowledge of insertion depth, as a handy height scale is printed on the back of the classically round tube.

Geometry

XS S M L XL
Seat tube (mm) 490 520 550 570 590
Seat angle 75° 75° 74° 74° 73°
Steering angle 70° 71° 72° 72° 72°
Top tube (mm) 540 560 580 600 620
Head tube (mm) 125 140 160 170 185
BB drop (mm) 72 72 72 70 68
Chainstays (mm) 430 430 430 430 430
Wheelbase (mm) 1041 1047 1054 1069 1085
Standover height (mm) 757 780 805 820 827
Stack (mm) 542 560 583 590 603
Reach (mm) 400 410 418 431 442

In terms of dimensions, the X-Strada finds the happy medium of the current standard for rather sporty gravel bikes. If you are looking hard to find something unusual to point out, it will probably be the seat angle that at 74° is slightly steeper compared to competitors' bikes.
It should be mentioned, however, that KTM remains true to their tradition of building rather long road bikes, even in the Gravel sector. The wheelbase of 1,054 mm for size M may be a first indication of this; the reach of 418 mm is definitely generous. The Upper Austrian company locates the seating position between lower and middle third on a scale from "stretched” to "upright”.
So, if you have rather long legs and a short torso, you'll definitely be better off with one size down. And even "normally” proportioned people, depending on personal preferences with regard to riding behaviour, are advised to at least check if a smaller sized frame might be the better choice.

Specs

With regard to its price of € 3,899 the Master is closer to the Prime (€ 4,099) than the Elite (€ 3,099), but in terms of weight it clearly wins; 40 millimetres of suspension on the otherwise lighter and more exclusively specced top model add too much weight to come anywhere near the Master's 8.9 kilograms.

What do you get for your money, along with various in-house parts (seat post, stem, handlebars) and a Selle San Marco saddle?
First of all, the Sram Rival XPLR eTap AXS with twelve gears, but only one front chainring. KTM combines the 42-tooth chainring with the wide-ratio (10-44 t.) XG-1251, which is the slightly heavier of the two options available because the large sprocket is made of steel instead of aluminium.
We still lack personal experience with Sram's new gravel-specific components. However, the bare figures and the impressions gained with the road cycling counterpart promise precise “transmission for all” paired with harmonious gear changes and a wide gear range (440%).
The bike also brakes with Rival components, and two 160-mm brake discs.

Tech Specs

Frame Premium Carbon/R-2980, 142x12 mm Wheels DT Swiss GR 1600 Spline CL 142x12 TA, 622x24TC
Fork Performance Carbon, 100x12 mm Tyres Continental Terra Speed TL 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°, 90 mm
Rear derailleur Sram Rival XPLR eTap AXS 12-f Headset Acros AICR internal. 1.1/8>1.5" angle limit
Crankset Sram Rival 1 wide DUB, 42 Z. 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, 10-44 Z. Weight w/o pedals 8,8 kg (prototype; series according KTM: 8,9 kg)
Brakes Sram Rival, Paceline Rotors, CL, 160 mm Price € 3,899 RRP

The reason to opt for a DT Swiss wheelset probably was its affordable, unagitated reliability. GR 1600 Spline wheels are the all-rounders in the Swiss company's gravel portfolio, 25 mm high, 24 mm inside width, weighing around 1.800 grams. The aluminum wheels have 350 hubs including an 18-tooth ratchet freewheel system and are tubeless-ready. With their maximum system weight limit of 130 kg they are definitely not to blame for the comparatively low overall weight limit of 109 kg that KTM indicates for the X-Strada.
The DT Swiss wheels come with 40 mm wide tyres ex works, to be precise with Continental’s Terra Speed with extra puncture protection. If you often dig through deep and muddy soil on your gravel rides, you will likely opt for an alternative with bigger studs. As mentioned above, there is room for tyres up to 45 mm. For fast riding on dry ground, however, the dotted Continental tyre that is slightly reminiscent of human goose bumps is probably a good compromise between traction and rolling resistance.

Conclusion

The X-Strada combines the athletically elongated geometry of a quite distinctly designed carbon frame with plenty of options to mount luggage and solid mid-range parts. The highlight when it comes to specs is the wireless group set newcomer Rival XPLR. Whether the wireless gravel group set will ultimately deliver what the Sram universe promises unfortunately needs to remain unanswered at this point.
One thing is certain, however: with their nine-model gravel series, KTM created a wide-ranging line-up that offers a bike for various kinds of gravel riding – from daily commuting with the aluminum bike to ambitious gravel racing with the carbon model.
Really tough bike packing adventures might be too much for the X-Strada’s maximum permissible weight of 109 kg as it limits the amount of luggage, at least for heavier riders. But it would be easy to change to the more off-roady tyres that would be needed for such rides.