Stuart Clapp tests KTM Revelator Prime £5,549.99
KTM isn't new to manufacturing bicycles, despite what our preconceived ideas might be telling us. The company has been building bike frames since 1964. The firm, however, was established back in 1934 almost exclusively to produce its famed orange motorcycles. It took 30 years to turn its hand to the pedal-powered variety of two-wheeled transport.
The launch of KTM Bike Industries, however, was a much more recent venture. Since it was founded in 2012, the rapid rise has seen its distribution reach over 40 countries around the world and production rocket to 190,000 bikes a year.
The KTM Revelator Prime is the bike ridden by French Pro Continental team Bretagne Séché Environnement, the outfit home to 2008 Tour of Britain champion Geoffroy Lequatre. With this in mind, it's no great surprise that the frame is designed to be ?an out-of-the-box race-ready bike.
It's a race bike, certainly, but that's ?not to say that the frame is so stiff that ?its audience is limited to crit racers. On ?the contrary, the Revelator Prime might have found the balance between the ?two opposing forces of compliance and lateral stiffness.
The Revelator Prime is produced ?from high-grade carbon. Designs for the lay-up are drawn at the firm's Mattighofen headquarters and the frames are produced in the Far East, in keeping with the processes of other high-volume manufacturers. Assembly of KTM's premium bikes takes place at the vacuum-sealed confines of the brand's warehouses in Austria. It's claimed that each bike can be traced back to the mechanics who built it and on which day.
From the outset the idea was to make a frame that was stiff enough to race, while simultaneously being compliant enough to take the rider to the finish line in comfort. With that goal in mind, it's safe to say that KTM has put the ball into the back of the net with the Revelator Prime. Acceleration is immediate, whether seated or sprinting out of the saddle.
Small injections of pace are noticeable on climbs, too, thanks to the frame's stiffness around the bottom bracket for optimum power delivery. The PressFit BB is impeccably executed, giving a neat finish to the matt-painted frame.
Also adding to the appearance, as well as enhancing the silhouette, is the internal cable routing. Of particular note is the cable running to the rear mech that passes internally through the chainstay before popping out beside the dropout.
Up front, the fork partnered with the stiff head tube results in razor-sharp steering and responsive handling - both characteristics expected of a pedigree race bike and ones that KTM has instilled in the Prime with great success.
Performance and precision
Much has already been written about the new 11-speed Dura-Ace 9000, so if you don't want to read another glowing report, look away now. The top Shimano groupset marries performance with sleek design, and it's those two attributes that count for it being arguably the best mechanical groupset on the market.
Shifting is precise and delivered with very little effort and the 11-speed cassette that flicking through the gears is greatly improved over the previous 10-speed Dura-Ace. The extra sprocket means the gears are closer in ratio.
Braking has been enhanced, and although powerful, it's easy to modulate. Impressively, this remained the case in wet conditions even with the carbon braking surface.
The test bike came with a compact 50/34 chainset, although KTM gives the customer the option of a standard 53/39 chainset for no extra cost.
In keeping with the Revelator Prime's classy colour scheme is a set of DT Swiss RC 46 wheels made specifically for KTM. Full carbon clinchers, such as these, are becoming hugely popular for their aerodynamic performance, not to mention their ease of use.
Tubular tyres have always been the choice of racers, but as tyres and tubes have improved over time, the benefits of tubulars are rapidly diminishing. If nothing else, clinchers are easier to live with and make the wheels a suitable choice for all occasions, whether racing or training.
Wheels either enhance or hinder the performance of any bike. A decent set can improve speed and comfort and the DT Swiss RC 46 wheelset does both, brilliantly. Handling, even in crosswinds, isn't too much of an issue: the 46mm rim depth is well suited to pretty much all terrain and weather. The manufacturer's stainless steel 240S hubs are laced into the light and incredibly stiff rims. For a meagre 1,523g for the set, they keep the overall weight down, too. It's also worth taking into consideration that a set of these wheels costs around £2,000 alone.
The bike is finished with matching ?carbon Ritchey WCS bar, stem and ?seatpost. The test bike was a 55cm ?and came with a standard 100mm stem. There isn't an option to specify stem length when you order the bike, so chances are this will be the first element that'll need switching to suit.
The Selle Italia SLR Flow saddle is also in keeping with the KTM colour scheme. The saddle's orange stitching is testament to how much detail the designers have gone into when producing the bike.
Orange, if you hadn't already guessed, is to KTM what Celeste is to Bianchi - its identifying colour. Orange may look to some more suited to roadside workers or heavy machinery, but the Revelator Prime is the antithesis of this. It's light and agile and every watt produced transfers to speed.
To find a hand-built race-ready bike of this calibre is exceptional, let alone a ready-built mass produced bike. Whether on long training rides or high intensity efforts, the Revelator Prime ticks all the boxes, leaving it extremely difficult to criticise.
Ritchey WCS Carbon Curve Road
Carbon UD monocoque
Shimano Dura Ace
Selle Italia SLR Flow
Ritchey WCS Link Flexlogic Carbon
52, 55, 57, 59
Ritchey WCS 4 Axis -6 Carbon Matrix
Continental GP 4000 S 23c
DT Swiss R 46 Carbon Clincher