Test and previews Tue 05 November 2019

KTM Rally Replica - A chimera

Gabriele Minelli is an entrepreneur from Arezzo who has participated in the last two editions of DAKAR, and is the happy owner of a KTM Rally Replica, one of 75 specimens specially built by the Austrian company to meet the demands of racers and teams who long for a bike close to those used by official racers.
To become one of the lucky owners, it’s not enough to have € 31.700 – the official price - in your wallet, you must first have acquired sporting merits such as having participated in a Dakar.
It’s well known that in such long and grueling endurance races, motorcycle and racer enter a sort of symbiosis, a bond that sometimes brings man and machine together. There is an epic video on youtube, by Fabrizio Meoni, that urges his bike not to abandon him upon the victorious arrival at Lake Retba (the Pink Lake).
After many hours spent racing and training this empathy was established even between Gabriele and his "symbiont", so much so that now he has publicly named it ARGO!

The engine - the usual single-cylinder, fuel-injected, 450 cc –, cantilevered on a trellis frame, has been improved to be even more powerful and reliable. The battery and the air filter have been repositioned and the wiring simplified allowing masses to be centralized making the bike even usable, but above all everything seems designed to make routine mechanical work even easier.
To improve the behavior and stability of this Rally on the fastest stretches, the chassis and swingarm have been completely renewed, taking advantage of the valuable suggestions of Dakar winners Toby Price, Mathias Walkner and Sam Sunderland.
Mileage is guaranteed by 4 separate tanks, 2 front ones with a total capacity of 15.5 liters. and 2 rear ones with 15 lt. in total; to guarantee a correct flow of fuel in all circumstances, 2 pumps operated by pushbuttons on the handlebar have been installed, so that emptying occurs in line with the characteristics of the route.
The radiators are bigger as is the fan that forces air against them, an additional radiator for oil cooling and a reinforced clutch are also present. The Excell rims are specially designed for African marathons and the rear one is equipped with flexible couplings.
The suspensions are obviously WP, the front featuring the 48mm closed cartridge "Cone Valve" model, the rear the well-tested "WP Trax". The steering plates and the front brake caliper are made of precious Ergal, the first from a solid block.
The carbon tower with floating road book holder and full RTF commands, full led lights, Scott steering shock-absorber and Akrapovič exhaust complete the countless accessories.

Declared power: 78 hp; dry weight: 139 kg; wet weight in running order:163 kg, including the obligatory 3 lt water reserve placed in a special container under the engine.

On the road
The place where we tested this KTM certainly can’t compare with the desert for which it was designed, but we can safely say that to date we had never experienced the same stability and push as this Rally, always riding with a nice margin of safety.
It is very similar to a traditional enduro, despite the dimension of the tanks there is plenty of room for ample movements, in fact even if the saddle height is rather embarrassing, it has the same maneuverability we are used to with an ECX.
The braking is powerful and very precise, the suspensions calibrated for sandy and fast routes, surprise us for the excellent work on the Tuscan screes.
Gabriele wants us to know that after having raced the 2019 Dakar with this bike, this year he intends to take on the over 6000 km of the Africa Eco Race with the same setup, after having performed the normal routine checks obviously.
On the reliability of the KTM rally, there is no question!

Tester: Gabriele Minelli
Text Pietro Bartolomei
Photos: MBfotopress

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