The 2014 Dakar Rally is still five months away, but KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has tipped the Austrian company’s hand in an interview with KTM’s official company blog. With the goal of making a lighter, slimmer, and better handling machine, KTM has been working on a ground-up redesign of its venerable adventure-racer.
Of course, KTM will still have to use a 450cc single-cylinder engine, per the Dakar Rally’s rules, but Pierer says the chassis will be significantly improved upon over the current iteration.
That goal seems easy enough, as the company CEO disclosed that the current 2013 race bike is essentially using the same chassis when The Dakar had a 600cc engine regulation for factory teams.
Modifying the old chassis to design simply to accommodate the new 450cc lump, KTM’s short-cut to building a new rally racing machine was crude, yet obviously effective.
“Our existing model was so successful for many years and originally we had the 600cc regulation,” said Pierer on the KTM company blog. “We were winning all the time so the promoter and Japanese pushed for the 450 and we put that engine inside the 600 chassis and we still won.”
“However the chassis really is too big and heavy for that smaller engine, so we have done it like motocross with a nice bike that looks good and hopefully Marc Coma will bring it to the finish line first,” he added.
They will have to contend with former-KTM rider Cyril Despres, who has made the jump to the Yamaha Racing factory-backed race team, as well as Honda’s ever-evolving rally project, with its five factory HRC riders.
Source: KTM (Blog)