There’s a new motor
under the hood and
new bodywork on
the outside. The
250SX-F got the
most attention in the
2013 KTM line.
same. KTM went a little crazy with the bodywork for 2013;
all the bikes have new plastic and a new look. A larger airbox also came along for the ride.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The big question must be answered right up front: is the
KTM faster? Absolutely. The next question is tougher. Is it the fastest? That is
what we have come to expect from newly
designed KTM motors. On the dyno, the
KTM might well make the biggest peak power
number simply because of its new rpm ceiling.
We haven’t tested many of the other 2013
models on the dyno, but it’s safe to say
that none rev as high as the new SX-F, and
rpm is a major component of horsepower.
But, on the track, the KTM still doesn’t
feel especially fast. The new motor certainly feels stronger than the old one, but
getting all the way up to 14,000 rpm takes
a while, and very few riders will go there.
In the middle, where most riders will spend
most of their lives, the KTM is strong enough
to be considered one of the boys. It’s no
longer an outcast in the 250F field, but we still
can’t say it’s as fast on the track as the Kawasaki KX250F.
That bike not only makes big numbers on the dyno, but it
feels fast in the dirt. The KTM, on the other hand, doesn’t
have a very willing feel as it revs up to its limit. With such
a large bore, the piston is probably a tad heavier than that
of the average 250, and that results in a bike that doesn’t
free-rev very quickly. When you clutch the motor, it doesn’t
gain rpm as eagerly as a Kawasaki.
Where the KTM motor excels is at the extremes. Not only
does it rev higher than other 250Fs, but it makes more
The KTM still feels a little long and heavy. Having
electric start is worth the weight penalty.
The new motor excels at both ends of
the power spectrum. It makes great
low-end torque and will scream all the
way to 14,000 rpm.