KTM aluminum frame

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1/12/2018 3:06 PM

Anyone know if KTM has ever tested an aluminum frame for the MX bikes?

If they keep pushing for lightweight, it would seem like a logical step.

The 2005 YZ250 aluminum frame was 5 pounds lighter than the 2004 and had similar characteristics. I’m aware that it wasn’t exactly the same and not liked by some, namely Chad Reed, but with more development I think they could have gotten it right.

I always hear about how the Japanese OEM’s use aluminum because it’s cheaper, so I don’t think it’s cost prohibitive. Or, is the cost savings only realized by using the street bike style frames that Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki utilize?

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1/12/2018 3:11 PM

KTM doesn't need to get anymore light weight, they're already 5 years ahead of all the other brands in the weight department.

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1/12/2018 3:12 PM

Steel is a better product for the purpose anyway in IMO

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1/12/2018 3:14 PM

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1/12/2018 3:22 PM

Pretty certain they have test bikes with aluminium frames but they just stick with steel because to them it's still better. Something along those lines.

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"Sorry Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower."

1/12/2018 3:28 PM

I've look all over and cant seem to find it... but one of the magazines did a behind closed doors article on KTM a couple years ago and they showed an aluminum frame they had been testing.

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1/12/2018 3:35 PM

Not surprising. They had linkage bikes back in the PDS days that they were constantly testing and doing development on and always said if they got to a place where it was better than the PDS (because the linkage bike came with a 3-5 lb weight penalty IIRC) that they would release it. It took a while, but they finally did. The aluminum frame must not be there yet. Maybe someday it will be?

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1/12/2018 3:43 PM

skup11 wrote:

I've look all over and cant seem to find it... but one of the magazines did a behind closed doors article on KTM a couple years ago and they showed an aluminum frame they had been testing.

That would be MXA. They had pictures of KTM aluminum frames that had been tested in the article you are referencing.

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1/12/2018 3:45 PM

I wonder if Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki are working on a steel frame after the beating they are taking from KTM/Husky in the showrooms?

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2015 Beta 500 RS, history: 99 KTM 300, 87 CR250, 84 KLR 600, 82 GPZ 550, 81 KX 250, 80 KX 250, 79 Montesa 414 VE, 78 250 VB, 77 360 VB, 76 360 VA, 75 YZ 125, 74 TM 125, 72 TS 125, 60's West Bend Go Boy Kart

1/12/2018 3:46 PM

Are they at a crossover point where the same frame rigidity/strength in an aluminium frame would have to be heavier? I'm no metallurgist so it's a genuine question.

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1/12/2018 3:53 PM

Steel has a higher ultimate tensile and yield strength compared to aluminum. Since the anticipated loading criteria is the same for a motocross frame made of steel or aluminum, less material is needed with steel to carry the same loading. Although the density of steel is higher than aluminum, there is much less of it present compared to the aluminum chassis. Steel also has desirable fatigue strength qualities as compared to aluminum. I believe the KTM/Husky chassis is already about 1~1.2 kg lighter than the comparable aluminum chassis. Why ride a beer can when you can ride a steel horse anyway?

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1/12/2018 4:09 PM

you can tell that the frames are steel because of the way they are

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1/12/2018 4:36 PM

Here's a link to an article with the head of R&D. There are pics of the proto frames they've messed with.

https://www.cycleworld.com/2015/04/08/on-the-record-phillip-habsburg-ktm-head-of-research-and-development-cycle-world-interview

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1/12/2018 5:05 PM

I think this excerpt from that article pretty much explains it:

We are 100 percent committed to steel frames. The problem with an aluminum frame is you need much more space, and you want to make an off-road bike as small and light as possible. We have five different off-road models with gas tanks ranging from 6 to 12 liters. If you go to an aluminum frame, it’s almost impossible to create a big fuel tank in a normal shape. Another thing is flex is quite hard to get right. Development of a steel frame is also much easier. With aluminum you have different castings and machined pieces, and with steel you just cut the tube and weld it. You can make many different versions in a short time, which makes it faster to develop new things for production.

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1/12/2018 5:11 PM

You can see from my avatar I spent some time riding an aluminum framed CR500, which of course wasn't a factory bike. The big engine was a tight fit of course. Last year I changed to a KTM 250SX, and WOW!! It sure is easier to work on! If I ever got the itch to build another 500 conversion, it would be using a KTM frame. That's my plug for steel frames, fwiw.

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1/12/2018 5:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/12/2018 5:28 PM

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If it can't be fixed with a hammer, it's an electrical problem.

1/12/2018 5:31 PM

motoXracer971 wrote:

Here's a link to an article with the head of R&D. There are pics of the proto frames they've messed with.

https://www.cycleworld.com/2015/04/08/on-the-record-phillip-habsburg-ktm-head-of-research-and-development-cycle-world-interview

Nice and thanks for providing

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1/12/2018 6:18 PM

It's cost and the almighty $.
KTM uses real chromoly steel, when the Japanese made frames they kind of started out chromoly but over the years the material quality dropped to save money and as suspension improved and riders were hitting larger jumps, their steel frames would not last as long and stretch slightly over time, just ask Chad Reed. Aluminum is easy to work with and cost less to make than a real chromoly steel frame. KTM's sister company or a division owned by one of the principle owners of KTM (WP) makes the frames and other parts for KTM.
Some say aluminum is not a superior material for motorcycle frames, its just easier to make, does not stretch like the older Jap steel frames and cost less to make.

https://www.wp-group.com/oem/

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1/12/2018 6:32 PM

Photo

lol
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1/12/2018 6:33 PM

Lol


Photo

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1/12/2018 6:36 PM

Ktm steel frames are “stronger” yet their forks have problems snapping off... haha

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2009 Kawasaki KX450F
2009 Kawasaki KX250F
2002 Suzuki GSXR 600

1/12/2018 8:59 PM

Cygrace74 wrote:

KTM doesn't need to get anymore light weight, they're already 5 years ahead of all the other brands in the weight department.

The chromoly frames actually weigh less than the aluminum ones.

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Did i do that?

1/12/2018 9:08 PM

I hope not. Aluminum frames ride like crap compared to the KTM steel.

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1/12/2018 9:43 PM

crusher773 wrote:

I hope not. Aluminum frames ride like crap compared to the KTM steel.

So how do you explain the 2018 Zook and Honda being raved as great handling bikes in shootouts?

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

1/12/2018 9:54 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/12/2018 9:56 PM

Aluminum the answer to the Pingree problem?

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Alright Lunger, Let's Do It

1/12/2018 10:43 PM

crusher773 wrote:

I hope not. Aluminum frames ride like crap compared to the KTM steel.

kiwifan wrote:

So how do you explain the 2018 Zook and Honda being raved as great handling bikes in shootouts?

Yes they corner nice with rigid frames and 20kg heavier bikes settles down nice lower speed like cadillac cars to compare sport cars.

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1/12/2018 10:58 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/12/2018 11:00 PM

Andy_Greenney wrote:

Are they at a crossover point where the same frame rigidity/strength in an aluminium frame would have to be heavier? I'm no metallurgist so it's a genuine question.

The aluminum frames are stiffer. And aluminum is more consistent (frame to frame comparison).

For example, in MotoGP, Casey Stoner used to complain about Ducati's steel frames because even tho built identically, their was still roughly a 15% difference in characteristics. No 2 bikes were ever the same. It made testing a bitch.

Aluminum is said to have about a 5% difference. Ducati just skipped the aluminum and when to carbon for their frames, which are so consistent that it's impossible for just about anyone to tell two frames apart. And with carbon, you have infinite ability to pick where you want stiffness and where you want flex, and how much. That's a topic for another day. But it's sorta relevant here because with aluminum frames, engineers have more options of where they can make a frame stiff and what parts they want to flex.

With the torque & twisting that a modern 4 stroke racing motor can create, aluminum has it's advantages. And yes, it is cheaper to produce. But the frames do last longer. Pro's can wear out a MX frame in a ridiculously fast amount of time. I was told that when Dungey first went to KTM, he was burning thru frames faster than suspension. That's nuts.

But that shows how much the steel frames flex. Which is great for feel. Great for the average consumer who isnt going to wear out the frame anytime soon.

Im no frame expert. That's just my understanding of it all from asking a lot of questions to factory engineers. Im fascinated by this sorta stuff.

I would never expect KTM to produce a aluminum frame. They're too committed to offroad. There's a reason all the Euro brands that focus on building enduro bikes all use steel. Aluminum's best suited for supercross. And KTM is having no problem making steel work there. So I just cant see them going aluminum, what's the incentive? Aluminum isnt necessarily lighter. Some of these aluminum frames are damn heavy (Yamaha for example).

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1/12/2018 11:48 PM

The problem to me is not weight, its how heavy the bike feels.
I weigh 140 pounds so im not a very big guy, and my current bike is a -17 Crf450 as i am waiting for my -18, the bike i hade before that was a -16 450sxf.
Many claim to feel a weight difference and all that, i never felt a difference in weight in the pits, but damn did i feel it on the track!
The ktm feels soooo heavy compared to ANY Honda, it was near impossible to throw a whip with the orange POS.

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1/12/2018 11:56 PM

So much bro science in this thread.

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1/13/2018 12:03 AM

Lastander wrote:

The problem to me is not weight, its how heavy the bike feels.
I weigh 140 pounds so im not a very big guy, and my current bike is a -17 Crf450 as i am waiting for my -18, the bike i hade before that was a -16 450sxf.
Many claim to feel a weight difference and all that, i never felt a difference in weight in the pits, but damn did i feel it on the track!
The ktm feels soooo heavy compared to ANY Honda, it was near impossible to throw a whip with the orange POS.

You suck at whips then. Haha, i'm just joking!

Every individual has it's own preferences and we have 6 different major brands with lots of models. Then we can add TM, Alta and various enduro brands and the result is a bike for everyone!

That is such a good thing about MX/offroad at the moment. There is a perfect bike out there for everyone! Some might not like a KTM, Yamaha, Honda or what ever, guess what? There are so many good bikes out there at the moment that in a 99% certainty there will be one that fits that person like a glove.

There is way too much negativity when it comes to riding and our sport these days. It actually looks pretty good from my view. Especially since electric bikes are coming.

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