It’s good to be king
Weight without fuel: 219 pounds. MSRP: $8699.
KTM is in the driver’s seat for this year’s 250 MX
shootout. The 250SX-F is the lightest in the class. It has
electric start, and for years it has been the fastest too. The
motor is a very sophisticated double-overhead-cam design
with a valve train that uses finger-followers between the
cam and the valves in order to allow extremely high revs.
The only thing that held it back was suspension, and last
year KTM addressed that with the WP AER 48 air fork.
The bike offers a number of ways to alter that powerband
through a map switch and traction control, but no matter
which setting you use, it’s a pro-level revver. For 2018 KTM
took a wait-and-see approach. The bike didn’t get any
mechanical changes aside from a beefier battery and some
suspension tweaking. It did get a few cosmetic updates,
including that orange frame.
STRONG POINTS: There’s no arguing with horsepower.
The KTM remains the fastest bike in the 250 class. It has
more peak power, and it revs forever. It also has a broad
powerband, starting in the middle and going up. It gained
a few ounces this year, but at just under 219 pounds, it
remains the lightest bike in the shootout, if only by a 1/2
pound compared to its blood brother the Husqvarna.
More good things: We still think the WP AER 48 is the
best air fork. The hydraulic clutch is excellent. The
brakes are strong, and we love the e-start.
WEAK POINTS: You have to be aggressive to ride the
KTM to its full potential. If you don’t rev it, it doesn’t do
anything special. It’s also geared too tall for most riders.
The electronic mode switch is of limited usefulness.
BOTTOM LINE: KTM won last year’s 250 MX
shootout, so it’s the bike to beat. Most of the other bikes
have only slight changes, so it only has to withstand the
attack from Honda to be on top once more.