ratios are spaced about right to keep
the motor revving; there are no gaps
to cause problems. The ratios are
unchanged for 2014; it’s just that there
are fewer of them. Sixth gear is gone,
giving the bike a lower top speed.
That’s not a factor on most motocross
As a result of having all that power
up high, the KTM isn’t a bike that likes
to be ridden slowly. It’s a race bike
and likes to be raced. Horsepower is a
marvelous plaything, and it’s fun when
you’re on top of your game; however,
once you’re a little tired, it takes willpower to rev the SX-F. Novices and
beginners typically don’t go that high.
The KTM is a bike with a distinctly pro
The suspension reflects a pro attitude as well. The KTM is stiff by the
standards of the class. KTM made
some changes to the fork to make it
slightly more plush without surrendering any bottoming resistance, but the
spring rates are the same. In the rear,
the WP shock has a 5. 4 kg/mm spring
rate and the fork springs are 0.46mm.
Most test riders preferred slightly over
100mm of sag in the rear, but some
test riders went as high as 110mm.
Many have mixed feelings about the
250’s suspension. In general, it is
more highly regarded than that of the
350SX-F, but it should have been
almost identical. That just goes to
show you that motor characteristics
play a huge role in suspension performance. Yes, the 250 is fast, but the
350 has a lot more power everywhere,
and that takes a toll in comfort.
THE ARCHDUKE OF
As always, we’re delighted with
the overall quality of the KTM. It still
has the only hydraulic clutch of the
five major players, and that’s a huge
benefit. Oddly enough, the pull is a
little stiff. We would love to see the
new DDS clutch on the 250 next year.
KTM is also the only one of the five
with a side-access airbox, incredibly
strong Brembo brakes and a steel
frame (whether you think that’s good
or bad). The KTM is also the only one
with a battery and, of course, the
only one with electric start. The hated
The price of the 2014 KTM 250SX-F is $7999.
R.J. Wageman developed
an instant friendship with
push-button gas cap is gone, but the
plastic preload adjuster just won’t go
away. Still, the overall level of construction and the quality of the materials are a cut above the rest.
So, does all that add up to a bike
that can contend for best in class?
The faster the rider, the more he’ll like
the KTM. Average riders of average
skill will probably find other 250Fs
easier to ride. Horsepower is no longer
the defining feature for 250cc four-strokes; there are the matters of where
and when, and KTM simply has the
most. And when it comes right down
to it, that’s the hard part. ❏