The only weakness in the KTM’s power output remains
at the bottom. It’s not as torquey as the 2015 Yamaha
YZ250F. You still have to rev the KTM to enjoy the bike’s
power advantage. The good news is that, now, revving the
bike seems much more natural. It wants to scream, and
you don’t have to force yourself to hold the throttle open in
search of that narrow band of joy.
A NEW FEEL
We were surprised that the KTM didn’t exactly handle
like a KTM—at least not like we expect KTMs to handle.
The overall feel is more responsive. It steers much lighter
and quicker. For lack of a better description, it’s more
Honda-like. Part of this is because of the weight loss, and
part is because of changes in geometry. There’s a little
less weight on the front end, so it takes less physical effort
to point and shoot. The flip side is that the bike is a little
busier. It never gets to the point where you would call it
nervous, unstable or head-shaky, but if you’re a hardened
KTM rider, you’ll have to adjust to a new deal.
On the other hand, long-time KTM riders will be delighted with the improvement in the WP 4CS fork. Without
question, this is the standard 250SX-F’s most severe
shortcoming. It rated poorly for comfort on hard-packed
choppiness. Many riders took the bike straight from the
showroom floor to a suspension shop. That’s not entirely
necessary with the Factory Edition. The internal components weren’t drastically redesigned, but KTM’s U.S. test
riders worked hard all year to come up with valving and
settings that would work in America. Their efforts paid off.
We still can’t say that the 4CS is our favorite fork, but it’s
much better. As always, it works well on big hits and rolling whoops, but now it doesn’t torture you as badly on the
little stuff between obstacles.
KTM250sX f FACTORY EDITION
On the long list of new parts, there’s a new air filter that’s
easier to install.
IT’S ALREADY LATE
The KTM 250SX-F Factory Edition is an amazing piece
of engineering. The designers started with a bike that was
already fast and made it faster. They started with a bike
that was light, considering it had electric start, then made
it lighter. It still has the best brakes in the business and a
hydraulic clutch. The suspension is better; everything is
The downside is that if you don’t have one now, you
probably won’t get one. The suggested retail price of
$9299 isn’t steep enough to keep them from selling
out quickly. If you missed out, though, just be patient.
Historically, the 450 Factory Edition has been the advance
patrol of next year’s standard model. The 250 should fol-
low the same pattern. In the meantime,
Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha
have work to do. ❏