Alun Davies discovers that his riding skills are improving by the day thanks to the simplicity of the KTM 250 EXC-F
Leonardo da Vinci is best known as a painter, and in turn for the Mona Lisa. However, in the sophisticated realms of the ABR office, Leonardo is better known as the originator of the term ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’.
Not that he ever said those exact words of course, as the poster boy Renaissance Man was far more cultured and coined it as ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. Just in case you’re wondering, it was the US Navy, in the 1960s, which edited Leonardo’s phrase into the more ubiquitous KISS principle.
‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’, was adopted as the principle on which the design of naval warplanes should be based. The simpler the design, the less complex the engineering and the more likely a guy with a spanner and grease gun, on a huge chunk of metal floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, would be able to fix it.
And, the link here into KTM is from my experience at a recent press launch where the company’s marketing director was extolling the cornerstones of the ‘KTM Way’, one of which happened to be ‘if it’s not essential then we do not include it’. This, incidentally, was the rationale behind why KTM does not fit a shaft drive on its larger adventure bikes.
Anyway, I’m reminded of this stripped-back principle every time I look at and ride the 100kgs of the KTM 250 EXC-F. There is nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there and yes, it is all the better for it.
That’s not to say there’s no sophisticated stuff out of sight behind engine casings and fork legs, because there is.
Having resisted a drop in power from a DRZ 400 for far too many years, I’m now firmly of the opinion that the 250ccs of the KTM, coupled with the simplicity, lighter weight and excellent suspension, is improving my riding ability by the day. Not only that, I’m getting more enjoyment out on the trails, riding tough sections with a level of competence I thought I’d never reach and just getting out there more. Job done.
However, it’s not all plain sailing, as Leonardo would undoubtedly have said at a KTM press conference, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sore arse’. I need to investigate that seat.