James Bracey tests the latest upate from KTM – the Revelator 4000. How does it fare?
Since its inception KTM’s Bike Industries division have been responsible for a number of well-received models, the Revelator road models having been raced up to the highest level.
Interestingly, KTM uses the Revelator name for all of its carbon-framed road bikes despite producing bikes with completely differing frames. The suffix, e.g. 4000, aids the identification of the style and hierarchical position of each bike. The 4000 is positioned neatly in the middle of the numerically labeled TK-Performance carbon range.
The 4000 makes use of KTM’s proprietary TK-Performance carbon fibre to create a frame that blends both performance and comfort features. The oversized bottom bracket, large diameter chainstays and short wheelbase all scream race ready. KTM has combined these with curved and compliant seatstays, a tall head tube and relatively slack head angle to bring a bit of everyday practicality to the frame. The extended seat tube is a neat touch, enabling the Revelator to run smaller front and rear triangles to increase lateral stiffness.
Cabling is all internally routed with entry via the head tube to reduce cable rub. The dropout for the rear derailleur incorporates the cable stop to keep things neat. Di2 compatibility is also built in, as you would expect on a frame at this level. The striking Marseille blue and white paintjob certainly moves away from KTM’s distinctive tangerine-based livery but shares the same ‘shouty’, multiple logo placements as the rest of the range.
KTM have furnished the Revelator with a full complement of quality parts, making sure that immediate upgrading is not warranted. Shimano provide the groupset, with the superlative Ultegra 6800 providing smooth and precise gear changes. In a move that seems to push the bikes more in an endurance/sportive direction, the whole Revelator range comes with a compact 50-34 chainset.
It is also specced with an 11-28 cassette so the gear ratios are certainly on the low side – great for the hills. Ultegra brakes, normally reliable stoppers, functioned poorly on the KTM despite regular adjustment and cleaning. The dependable Mavic Aksium wheels add year-round reliability and KTM have chosen to opt for a grippy Continental Grand Prix as the tyre of choice. Ritchey provides finishing kit, with their entry-level Comp bars, stem and seatpost. Saddle is a very comfy Selle Italia SL Flow, great for all day rides.
The Revelator is a bike that seems to split the difference between being a nose-down racer and long-distance endurance bike. In this current guise it seems to sway more towards comfort and smoothness than stiffness and speed. Don’t get me wrong, the Revelator was happy to be kicked hard and with its short wheelbase and long top tube it would make a good crit racer (it would need a change of gearing to realise this potential though).
But where the Revelator really excels is in providing a ride that seems to iron out any road-surface imperfections, it literally steamrollers over broken ground. The comfort and smoothness was exceptionally good. It felt most at home exploring tiny country lanes, with the slacker head angle and taller head tube providing steadier handling it was confidence inspiring on virgin descents.
The choice of gearing means the Revelator is certainly a bike I would choose for the hills but it really deserves a lighter, livelier set of wheels to really complement the frame.
The Revelator’s dual personality lends it a wider appeal than it should rightly have. The way it reduces fatigue-inducing effects of typical British road surfaces, without resorting to convoluted designs is testament to the clever design input from KTM. The smaller frame triangles and short wheelbase endow the Revelator with the agility and performance to make a great race bike. But when needed the comfort and stability enables you to finish a long ride in one piece. The specification makes the 4000 great value for money, however KTM’s modular approach to the Revelator range means you get the same great frame no matter what price point you are looking at.