KTM’s 250s have proven to be popular machines in the two-stroke world due to their rideability. KTM has been progressing its smokers and ever since the new model launch in 2016, the bike has been rated highly and the model just keeps improving yearly.
This year the machine has received a new body design which isn’t just to change the cosmetics but improve the riding feel by offering improved points of contact.
The frame, swingarm, linkage, seat and suspension settings are also different too. Which makes the bike feel completely different on track to the 2018 model.
The movability is even better and that wasn’t exactly bad. In fact, you wouldn’t have thought it could have been improved. It’s a benefit of KTM’s massive global test programme in everything from rider simulators, 3D printing to test new parts as well as test rider feedback.
I’ve been riding the new smoker at a few tracks now which offer different surfaces and I find the general bike setup rides and handles well on most terrains.
The power delivery is awesome and most will find its very rider-friendly. It likes to be ridden in high gears, so you use the torque of the motor which is easy to do on the hard pack. When the ground conditions got a little loamy and you have more load on the engine which requires you to ride higher in the rev range, the motor needs a little more revs and a few more ponies on top.
I tried playing around with my gearing but it didn’t achieve what I was looking for. If I knocked a few teeth off the rear, second still didn’t stretch out as much as I’d like. And changing to a bigger 51-tooth rear kept third in play more and it also gave the bike a tad more pull out of tight turns. I found the benefits of this different gear ratio meant I didn’t have to short shift from second to third!
The focus now is to improve the midrange and top end power with an aftermarket exhaust. I took a trip to DEP and they made a few different pipes for me to try which I did over the course of two days.
It’s safe to say I found a great pipe to really boost the bike. Find out how we developed and tested it on the next page.
By Dave Willet. Photos by Adam Duckworth
First published MotoHead Issue 21