We ride so many four-strokes these days that it is always a pleasant break from the thumper world when we get a chance to ride a two-stroke. Now, were not just talking about riding a few laps and then jumping back on a four-stroke, were talking about riding these screamers all day, and then some. The 250SX was just one of three KTM two-strokes we were fortunate enough to ride out at Cahuilla Creek the other day and I would have gladly taken any of them home, scratch that… all of them home. It is really hard for me to be disappointed in a new two-stroke nowadays, especially when that two-stroke is being developed along side the new four-strokes receiving the latest and greatest technology. KTM is making a statement by constantly developing their two-stroke line and it’s good to see that there is still a big enough market for them to do so.
The KTM 250SX saw plenty of major improvements for 2012. To start it off, KTM said “so long” to the PDS System. Yes, the 250SX now has linkage, and just like their thumping SX brothers, this also came with an all-new frame, swingarm and suspension. So what’s the benefit? Well, this makes it a lot easier to find a well-rounded setting and also makes the bike less finicky about spring rates. So fewer headaches due to suspension setup, but most importantly, this system works really well. It only took a couple of clicks here and there to keep us happily charging around the slowly deteriorating Cahuilla Creek Track. That says a lot for any suspension setting, but even more so when mounted on the feather light, fire breathing 250cc two-stroke. Weighing in around two and a quarter and producing upward of 50 ponies, it’s no mystery that suspension setup is key for delivering the power to the ground on this baby. This new setup for KTM kept the two-stroke dance to a minimum and really showed the potential of the motor. And that is not an easy task with this power to weight ratio.
The 250SX not only saw the love the four-strokes received last year as far as chassis and suspension go, but also got some exclusive two-stroke attention in the motor department. This consisted of an all-new intake air boot designed specifically for the two-stroke and also a Moto Tassanari V-Force reed cage. These changes improved the power up top by allowing the motor to pull longer which is a big plus on two-strokes since they like to be revved, but- don’t let all that longer pulling, revving talk fool you. This screamer can pull hard out of any inside rut you can dig your tires into. It flat out rips. Of course, you do have to shift more than a 450. Some people may find this an issue they just don’t want to deal with, but it’s one of those things you will have to weigh out for yourself – 450, more weight, less shifting or 250, less weight, more shifting.
Another issue some might find annoying is the vibration. Since you will be spending most of the time higher in the revs on a 250, it is going to vibrate. We don’t usually get a lot of complaints about the vibration because we are all having so much fun riding these bikes, but it is something to take into consideration. If you really can’t handle it, there are some aftermarket bar inserts out there that can cut down on the vibration. All things considered, whether railing an outside berm or carving an inside rut, if you are in the right gear, the 250SX has the power to get it done. It has got just enough snap that pulls hard and puts the power to the ground. This leads to amazing control when getting on the gas in the corners.
As expected from any two-stroke, the 250SX has that lightweight, flickable feel in the air and on the ground. The weight, power and suspension combined give this KTM a remarkable “go where you want” riding character. The 250SX is effortless to toss around and even when buried deep in a sand berm, the 250SX still manages to keep its lightweight feel. This makes last minute line changes a breeze, but most of all, it makes this bike a lot of fun to ride. Now that definitely calls for a double fist pump salute to the handling department. Oh, and how can we forget about looks? As if you haven’t already noticed, this baby looks trick. Thanks to some new plastics and finally an adult sized bar pad, there will be no question what your motives are when you roll up with the 250SX in the back of your truck. Then top that off with the always-amazing hydraulic clutch and you have one solid fun-loving machine.The 2012 KTM 250SX (along with the rest of the 2012 KTM two-stroke line), proves that two-strokes are not dead. They are alive, and not just alive, but very competitive. We love riding two-strokes and it’s great to see that KTM believes in the continual development of these smile-harvesting, pre-mix burning stallions. Remember, ride a two-stroke every chance you get and most of all, go have some fun!