In case you don’t already know, the standard 2016 KTM
250SX-F is an incredible bike. It has the fastest 250 four-stroke motor ever produced for sale to the public. We got
our first glimpse of it exactly one year ago on the 2015 1/2
Factory Edition. At that time the whole point was to get this
motor into the hands of the factory riders as soon as possible. A few hundred also made their way out to the public.
Now that the new motor has been released to the general
population, we know it’s legit. It really is that fast. There are
also a bunch of features on this bike that are carried over
from the standard model that are worth mentioning. The
motor is electric start only with a lithium battery providing
the initial fire. The 250 and 350 models are the last KTM
motors to use a coil-spring clutch; all the others now use
the DDS diaphragm clutch. The ignition has three settings
to tailor the power delivery. You can access two of them
through a handlebar switch and the third with a trip into the
airbox. That handlebar switch doubles as launch control,
which theoretically increases traction on the way to the first
turn, then switches off when you chop the throttle.
Having already dropped its big bomb, KTM had its work
cut out to make the new Factory Edition seem special. It
got the same look and color treatment as the GoPro/Troy
Lee factory team and even comes with Jessy Nelson’s lucky
number 13. It has orange-anodized triple clamps, an orange
frame and an FMF Factory 4.1 slip-on titanium muffler. The
bike also has taller gearing than the standard model, but the
biggest change of all is the fork. It is new to the U.S. and
replaces the somewhat unappreciated WP 4CS front end.
N FIRST THINGS FIRST
Just to confirm what you already know, the bike is a
rocket. It’s faster than a Yamaha YZ250F. It’s faster than
its blood brother, the Husqvarna FC250, and it’s faster
than the standard 2016 KTM 250SX-F. With the FMF
exhaust, the Factory Edition makes even more top-end
power near the top of its screeching 14,000-rpm redline.
When the rev limiter comes into cancel the party, the
power is still climbing, wanting to make more. Down low
the motor has never felt especially torquey, but the dyno
shows otherwise. The KTM actually is just as strong as
anything in the class in the basement, but it seems mild
in comparison to the output later in the powerband.
That sleepy low-end feeling is even more pronounced
on the Factory Edition because of the change in gearing.
The gearing is 14/51, as opposed to 13/50 on the standard model. That makes the bike rev out longer in each
gear. We suspect this comes from the European test
team—those guys seem to love tall gearing because they
ride slippery tracks with long straights. We preferred the
gearing on the standard model, and it didn’t take us long
to switch it over. Everything else about the motor is exactly like we expected. The gearbox is tight. The Brembo
hydraulic clutch is stiff but consistent, and the starting is
easy once you get past the cold-blooded battery. It’s when
you start talking suspension that everything changes.
the muffler for
Edition, but the
head pipe still
Do you want an orange frame like the factory guys? Clearly, KTM
wants to make the Factory Editions very exclusive.