2009 KTM 250SX Web Riding Impression - Dirt Rider Magazine

The debate between two-strokes and four-strokes will go on forever. This one is better here, that one is better there, zingers don't cost as much, thumpers are more expensive, fours are harder to work on, but when maintained correctly last longer. The list goes on and on, and with two-strokes getting, well... pretty much wiped off the face of this planet, there is always going to be the question, how great could they have gotten? With all the R&D; and money focused on four-strokes, two-strokes are just barely hanging on and by now, I'm sure everyone has noticed that four-strokes are the top choice for motocross. The problem is, the majority of us haven't even ridden a two-stroke in the past few years and the only thing we care to remember about them, is that they lost to a four-stroke. Yes, I am guilty of the same, but lately, I have been spending a lot of time in the saddle of these screamers. And you know what? It's a good thing that the people at KTM don't feel the same way because they have once again put together an impressive machine. Thanks to them, there is still a two-stroke out there on top of the development curve, and in the thumping world of four-strokes, it's nice to see a bit of love going to the twos.Every offensive trait that I can recall about the motor on a 250 two-stroke was thrown out the window within one lap aboard the 250SX. This Austrian orange has excellent throttle control and surprisingly smooth power delivery. She offers a ton of bottom and mid while still keeping that excellent roll on power that is neck and neck with the latest batch of four-strokes, especially when you consider that you can race this in the 250cc class, against four strokes of equal displacement. The power band is seamless all the way through, which makes this a two-stroke capable of being ridden at just about any rpm, just remember that the total length of the powerband is quite a bit shorter in effective rpm as a four stroke, this KTM is done making power at around 9000 rpm, just when a four-stroke starts to wake up. However, if your riding style does require that slap in the face hit, than all that is needed is a dab of that hydraulic clutch and you will be more than satisfied. The type of ride wanted is all up to the person twisting the throttle. The only place this motor falls short compared to a 450 is on top where the 4-stroke keeps pulling, but with nearly half the motor under you, that's to be expected. Now although this is a minus, it does add some pluses. With less rotating mass in the motor compared to its valve and cam shod brethren, the two-stroke doesn't want to stand up in the turns when getting on the gas. This puts the 250SX right at home railing those ruts and exploding those berms. It also makes it easier to change direction (dodging pot holes or other riders) while the motor is up in the revs. This is still a feeling only found in lighter bikes. Another key point is the lack of engine braking. This allows the rider to carry more speed coming into the turns and is also a lot less critical when letting off on jump faces or in the middle of a whoop section. Some may say that the lack of engine braking isn't as good for slowing down for turns, which is true, but with the new brake system, slowing down is the least of your worries. This thing stops on a dime with outstanding brake feel and control.Now due to the shorter power band, the rider does have to shift more and work a little harder to match the speed of the 450s, but luckily, weighing in at a claimed 208 pounds, the overall light weight of this bike more than makes up for it. The 250SX is effortless to toss around and in turn, the rider spends less energy fighting the bike and can focus more on going forward. This should give the rider more energy at the end of a long moto. However, this same light feel sometimes hurt the two-strokes of the past. In the past, with the same suspension coming off of the heavier four stroke, the lighter two stroke had a lot of harsh feedback coming through the forks. Well, not a problem anymore because all of this has been fixed for '09. Due to receiving the same suspension upgrades as all of the 2009 KTMs, this bike is very plush and works well in all situations. Some of our riders even noticed that because this bike is considerably lighter than the 450, they were able to charge a lot harder into the bumps and rough sections because the suspension had more hold up and didn't blow through the stroke as easy. Now how can you go wrong with that?Overall, the 250SX is an awesome machine, in the two-stroke world and the four-stroke world. Since this bike received the same major improvements in suspension, brakes and cosmetics as the other orange motocrossers, if you like the way those bikes feel, you will definitely love this bike. More and more four-strokes are being sold than two-strokes and the majority of us aren't even giving them a second thought. Maybe if more of these bikes are sold, more manufacturers will be able to keep them going. KTM seems pretty committed and it gives us riders just another option, and a good one at that.