Russell Bobbitt’s KTM 250 XC-F - Factory Bike Friday

While we were in Sumter at the National Enduro race, we had mechanic Charles Marchant give us the lowdown on Russell Bobbitt's KTM 250 XC-F bike inside this edition of Factory Bike Friday.

Mechanic: Charles Marchant

Russell Bobbitt kicked off the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series with a runner-up finish at the series opener in Sumter, South Carolina. Russell was riding a 250F at Sumter and told Dirt Rider that he thinks the smaller bike is the hot ticket for national enduro series. While we were in Sumter, we had Russell’s mechanic, Charles Marchant, give us the lowdown on Russ’ bike.

Russell Bobbitt's KTM 250 XC-F with mechanic
Mechanic Charles Marchant with Russell Bobbitt's KTM 250 XC-F.Photo by Shan Moore

Marchant told us that he and Russell spent a lot of time testing the 250F versus KTM’s 350.

“Russ got on the new 350 and that thing is a monster compared to last year’s 350,” says Marchant. “KTM did a good job improving the bike, and they did as well with the 250F. We just compared some lap times on some places that rides a lot and he was quicker on the 250F. That’s what we’re going for is faster lap times. So that’s why he chose the 250F.

“The horsepower of this 250, it’s putting out numbers really similar to what the 350 put out last year on the old bike. I think that’s kind of why he chose this bike. This is a bike that he feels happy with in that range. He feels that bike is a lot more flickable and he can get it through the turns and the tight trees a lot faster and easier. I think that kind of weighed into his decision as well.”

The big change for 2016 is the frame, which is all-new for 2016.

“The frame is thinner,” says Marchant. “It’s got new head stay mounts and it’s pretty much just like the MX bike now – it’s a very similar frame. Russell said the handling of the bike for him seems way more planted than what last year’s version was, and that’s a huge improvement for the handling.”

Factory KTM 250 XC-F front wheel set up
Starting at the front of the bike, Russ runs a front brake caliper from an older model. Stock is a 24 millimeter, two piston front brake caliper system and what Russ is running is an older version that has two 28 millimeter pistons.Photo by Shan Moore

“We tried it just on a whim and used a stock front master cylinder and just added on a 28 millimeter caliper. It’s gives a very real progressive feel. It feels a little bit different and it takes a little bit to get used to. Russ has been running it now for the last three weeks. He did a couple local races with it. He’s really happy with it.

I’m wanting to think that caliper came on ’06. Maybe a 525, 520s, but it could be a little older than that.”

Factory KTM 250 XC-F rear wheel set up
Russ’ rear caliper is stock, although his teammate Charlie Mullins runs a factory Brembo. Marchant tells is that Russell is relatively easy on his rear brakes.Photo by Shan Moore

“The rear caliper is stock but it has a special coating on it to help resist heat,” says Marchant. “Russ really isn’t hard on brakes at all, as compared to the other enduro riders in his class. So it’s something that he’s running as where the other guys need the factory Brembo to help out with that heat.

“Last year Russ hardly wore his brake pads. They were a little discolored but they looked brand new after a race. I was really surprised. In the past working with Charlie and even Cory Buttrick, those guys smoke their brakes after each round and you’ve got to make sure you take out the seals and rebuild the entire brake system just because the seals are cracked from so much heat. It’s a full rebuild on those guys.”

As far as aftermarket items, you really have to start with the exhaust system, which is an FMF, and it’s specially tuned to the riders.

“Our factory services department and our crew chief Tony Hall, they’re at FMF a couple times a year really making sure we can get the most for our riders out of the system and putting power to the ground,” says Marchant.

The triple clamps are from the Power Parts catalogue and they’re the SXS factory KTM triple clamps. Russ runs a 22 millimeter offset which is same as stock.

“It’s adjustable, and that’s a huge benefit for those triple clamps ,” says Marchant. “You can play with that, 20 offset, 22 offset. We went back and forth a little bit and he just felt the 22 is what he prefers.”

The rotors are from Galfer, which you can buy through KTM or Galfer. Russ can get his choice of rotors to run, but he likes the feel of the Galfer.

For gearing, Russ and his mechanic settled a 13/49 final ratio for the Sumter race.

“We tried 13/48, 13/49, and 13/50,” says Marchant. “The 13/51 was way too snappy, as was the 50. But it was kind of in our field. We went to the 14-tooth counter sprocket and played around with a 50, a 51, and a 52 rear sprocket. The 14/52 is real similar to a 13/49 and to a 13/48. It’s kind of in-between there. He liked it, but comfortability-wise he really likes the 13/49 he said. So we just kind of stuck with that.”

As for the WP suspension, a 4CS system fork comes stock on the bikes – one side is adjustable for compression, and one side is adjustable for your rebound. But Russ is running an upside-down, closed cartridge, cone valve system. That’s what the KTM factory team has been using for a while. They are 48mm units.

“Some people think we run the 50s and we don’t,” says Marchant. “We run the 48s. The motocross team runs the 50mms.”

Marchant takes a fan from an EXC version and puts it on his bike and it runs off a temperature sensor and at a certain temperature that the team determines feel it kicks on. When it gets below that, it kicks off.

The Rest Of The Story:

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  • P3 skid plate
  • Super B batteries
  • Aceribis
  • Motor X
  • Renthal
  • Dunlop
  • ZipTy shark fins
  • RK chains
  • Renthal sprockets and handlebars
  • TM Designworks