Review: KTM Lycan LT 217 XX1

Tester: Eric McKeegan | Age: 41 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 155 lbs. | Inseam: 32”

KTM isn’t the first name to come to mind when thinking of pedal bikes in the United States. We are more familiar with its motorized two-wheelers, and I’ll admit to looking lustfully at the KTM website, and wishing for an Adventure 690 to make it to market. But, until I got this Lycan LT to review, I didn’t realize KTM’s bicycle arm is over 50 years old and predates the motorcycle division. With a two-pronged dealer and consumer direct approach, KTM hopes to increase the visibility of the brand on this side of the pond.

KTM Lycan-1

The Lycan LT is a 160 mm trail/enduro bike with a hydroformed aluminum frame and linkage-driven, single-pivot rear suspension. Cable routing is internal in the main triangle, and external on the swing arm. The dropper routing is a little odd; internal through the top tube, and external to the post. Clean, but not compatible with stealth routing.

Bottom bracket is a Shimano-style pressfit, which seems to be a good middle ground between threaded and the much-maligned PF30 style. There is a second bottle mount under the downtube, and room for a big bottle inside the frame, a welcome touch. Geometry numbers are pretty standard, with a steeper-than-average, 66.5-degree head angle.

KTM Lycan-2

The parts kit is solid, with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Shimano XT brakes with finned pads and 180 mm rotors, and KTM-branded DT Swiss tubeless wheels. A 125 mm KS LEV DX dropper and Ritchey 760 bar and 50 mm stem are fine choices for the intended use. Fox’s 36 TALAS is a great choice for this bike, and really, any bike of this ilk.

Rear suspension is bob-free while seated, but needs a lot of platform when standing, often more than the shock could provide, even in Climb mode. It really feels like two different bikes when sitting and standing. The trade-off is excellent traction when climbing seated, and I had no issue keeping the Lycan on target and headed up. In a similar Jekyll and Hyde fashion, the Lycan LT can feel slow and cumbersome when poking around in the woods, but get some speed going and the bike really comes alive, revealing an unexpectedly lively nature.

KTM Lycan-4

The suspension was easy to predict when loading it up to pop off trail features, and loved being tossed around. Frame stiffness is on point, but rear tire clearance could use some help; the stock Schwalbe Rock Razor 2.35 had been swapped out for a Michelin Wild Race’R 2.25 before I got the bike due to a tight fit.

The 23.9-inch toptube (17.3-inch reach) is on the short side of things for a large frame these days, but overall it fit in fine with the rest of the geometry.

For the price, the Lycan is fine deal for an aluminum frame with mostly high end parts, and KTM has a couple of cheaper models for those looking to spend less: the 272 at $4,200 and the 273 at $3,990.

KTM Lycan-3

This KTM is worth checking out if you’re shopping for a bike that offers a modern climbing position combined with geometry that’s more nimble than many of the popular 160 mm bikes. Or, for riders who don’t want to show up at the trailhead on the same bike as everyone else. Or, maybe you just want the same nameplate on your dirt bike and pedal bike. The Lycan LT is a good fit for any or all of those things.

  • Wheelbase: 44.9″
  • Top Tube: 23.9″
  • Head Angle: 66.5°
  • Seat-Tube Angle: 74.5°
  • Bottom Bracket: 13.5″
  • Rear Center: 17.2″
  • Weight: 28.2 lbs. w/o pedals (specs based on size tested)
  • Sizes: 17”, 19” (tested), 21”
  • Price (as tested): $6,490
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