KTM invited us out to Chaney Ranch MX in Warner Springs, California, to ride the new 2019 250 SX-F that features a slew of updates to the engine, suspension, and chassis. Chaney Ranch is an amazing private track in Southern California with several elevation changes, a few larger-sized jumps, and several tight corners. The track conditions were dry in some areas due to the heat and didn’t develop too many braking bumps throughout the day, but we were still able to get a good feel for the bike and enough of a shakedown to notice the benefits from the changes made to it for 2019.

2019 KTM 250 SX-F
The main chassis updates on the 2019 KTM 250 SX-F include a new black frame with increased rigidity, newly designed frame guards, a stiffer upper triple clamp, and a revised swingarm with a longer slot for the rear axle. Also, the WP suspension components have different settings in the front and rear.Jeff Allen

Engine

The changes made to the 250 SX-F engine for 2019 are a new exhaust camshaft with different timing, a new header pipe with a further advanced resonator called a Flow Design Header (FDH), a reworked muffler, a Pankl transmission, a new 44mm throttle body, an improved seal on the Manifold-Absolute-Pressure (MAP) sensor, new ECU maps, a new lithium-ion starter battery, a reworked airbox, different intake snorkels, and revised traction control and launch control settings.

2019 KTM 250 SX-F
Other chassis revisions include a 40mm longer subframe, redesigned radiators mounted 12mm lower, a new fuel tank, new bodywork, a newly shaped seat, new spoke nipples (designed to reduce the frequency of tightening spokes), a reworked bar pad and cover, and new graphics.Jeff Allen

The 250 SX-F is known to be the most powerful 250 four-stroke engine on the market, evidenced by the 2018 model making the most horsepower on our dyno during our 250F MX Shootout, cranking out 37.9 ponies at 13,560 rpm. The 2019 model retains that same fantastic top-end and over-rev, and it continues to pull for a long time before you feel the need to upshift. With such great high-rpm performance, the low-end is understandably slightly mellow and the midrange is really where the bike begins to come on strong and quickly make its way into the top-end part of the powerband.

250 SX-F engine for 2019 KTM
A few of the changes made to the 250 SX-F engine for 2019 include a new exhaust camshaft with different timing, a new header pipe, a reworked muffler, and a Pankl transmission.Jeff Allen

KTM has done an excellent job making a 250F engine that produces such great power in the higher rpm, the part of the powerband where most people ride them, and has been the leader of the class in the engine department for the past several years. After our first day of riding the 2019 model, we wouldn’t be surprised if it remains the horsepower king this year too.

250 SX-F engine for 2019 KTM
Further revisions made to the engine include a new 44mm throttle body, new ECU maps, a new lithium-ion starter battery, a reworked airbox, different intake snorkels, and revised traction control and launch control settings.Jeff Allen

Suspension

The suspension components received revisions for 2019 in the form of new damping settings in the WP AER 48 fork, while the WP shock has an updated main piston and new settings to match with the reworked fork setup and improved damping characteristics as well. Because the Chaney Ranch track didn’t develop very many braking bumps or get very rough on the day we were there, it was difficult to get a good feel for the suspension changes in rougher conditions, but both ends had good bottoming resistance on larger jump landings and the fork retained a plush and comfortable feel on slap-down landings.

2019 KTM 250 SX-F
The increased rigidity of the frame is the most immediately noticeable change when riding the new 250 SX-F as the orange machine responds quicker and easier to rider input.Jeff Allen

Chassis/Handling

The KTM chassis updates for 2019 include a new black frame with a 2-percent increase in longitudinal stiffness and a 10-percent increase in torsional stiffness, newly designed frame guards, a stiffer upper triple clamp, a revised swingarm with a longer slot for the rear axle, a 40mm-longer subframe, redesigned radiators that are mounted 12mm lower, a new fuel tank, new bodywork, a newly shaped seat, new spoke nipples (designed to reduce the frequency of tightening spokes), a reworked bar pad and cover, and new graphics.

stiffer chassis setup 2019 ktm
The stiffer chassis setup makes the handling feel sharper, especially in corners.Jeff Allen

The increased rigidity of the frame is the most immediately noticeable change when riding the new 250 SX-F as the orange machine responds quicker and easier to rider input. Additionally, the stiffer frame makes the handling feel sharper, especially in corners. The improvement in cornering does not negatively affect the chassis stability as the bike maintains great straight-line stability at high speeds. The 2019 model is noticeably slimmer in the radiator shroud area while the newly shaped seat makes it easier to move forward and back.

2019 KTM 250 SX-F
The KTM has excellent top-end and over-rev and it continues to pull for a long time before you feel the need to upshift.The KTM has excellent top-end and over-rev and it continues to pull for a long time before you feel the need to upshift.Jeff Allen

Conclusion

The KTM 250 SX-F was a favorite of multiple test riders in last year’s 250F MX Shootout for several reasons. It has class-leading top-end and over-rev power, plush suspension easily adjusted with either air pressure or clicker settings, and a forgiving chassis that has a great balance between good cornering ability and straight-line stability.

2019 KTM 250 SX-F
To better comprehend and test the new suspension settings, we’ll ride the bike on a rougher track, but overall, we’re very pleased with the 2019 KTM 250 SX-F after our first day of testing.Jeff Allen

After our first day of riding the bike for only a short period of time, we could tell right away that the increased stiffness of the chassis is an improvement and that the bike retains its excellent high-rpm power with a decent amount of midrange as well. To better comprehend and test the new suspension settings, we’ll ride the bike on a rougher track, but overall, we’re very pleased with the 2019 KTM 250 SX-F.

TECH SPEC

PRICE $8999
ENGINE 249.9cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Steel central-tube
FRONT SUSPENSION WP AER 48mm fork adjustable for air pressure, compression and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP shock adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 11.8-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo single 260mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper
REAR BRAKE Brembo single 220mm disc w/ single piston caliper
WHEELBASE 58.4 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 37.4 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.85 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 218 lb. (w/ all fluids except fuel)
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT ktm.com/