2008 KTM 250 SX - A Year With - Dirt Rider Magazine

From the first time I rode the 2008 KTM 250 SX I knew I wanted to keep my hands on it as my moto bike for the year. It was super light and agile, turned great with excellent steering feel and had just the right amount and type of power. It was fast, not too strong, and as smooth as any motor I've ridden. 450s are just too fast for me, and I hate revving 250Fs to the moon all the time to get what I want. The 250cc two-stroke and specifically this KTM were talking to me.My biggest complaint with this specific bike and all KTMs for 2008 was a harsh feeling in the fork. Through testing I found it was a lot more to do with the shock and too much high-speed and mid-speed rebound damping, nevertheless the resultant harshness hurt my wrists in long motos. The easiest and best thing I did to the bike was add a Fasst Co. Flexx handlebar setup with rebound dampers. This took the sting out of the fork, and though you could still tell the suspension setup was not perfect, you had a hard time feeling it with the Flexx bar.My next improvement was to swap out the stock WP suspension to an Ohlins setup to test out the new TTX shock and fork. The improvement in plushness was instant, but it took a few valve changes to get the ideal setup for my weight and speed. Once dialed I pretty much had a factory suspension setup for myself, it was that good. And it should have been at the $5277 price tag.As for the motor, I primarily left it stock. I tried a number of pipes, but none of them matched the smoothness and overrev of the stocker. Too bad the stock pipe was only good for about 15 hours before it started cracking. I liked it so much I actually welded it three times before I got my hands on another stock unit. And for me the stock muffler's performance and sound output were perfect, too. For the hours in between welding (which was a lot) I ran an FMF Fatty and the stock muffler; this pipe doesn't crack and it gave the bike more snap, especially off idle.Cosmetically I got my hands on a RidePG.com Groovy custom graphics kit which made my bike stand out. To help me get better starts I hooked up a Works Connection Holeshot fork device, which really makes a difference on dirt starts-a necessity when going up against 450s.The only things I replaced all year were the clutch plates, piston and ring (each once). In reality I should have only replaced the ring. But since I had it apart...well, I did the piston, too. The clutch was just for safety as I practiced starts for over an hour one day and I was really beating it up to learn hard launches. The only piece that broke all year was a lower subframe bolt that snapped. I ran Rock Oil two-stroke oil most of the time and tried some of the strawberry-scented stuff, which you could smell even a tank or two after I was on to another mix.At the end of the year I wasn't happy to see my 250 SX go, but I'm looking forward to my new 2009 125 SX. Yes, downsizing was a hard choice since the improved 2009 KTM 250 SX is almost as good stock as my personalized 2008 was. I couldn't have had a better bike for the year, and even though I may not have been as fast on it as I was on some other bikes, I had a lot more fun. As good as the new four-strokes are getting I know there is still a place for the two-stroke: in my garage.