to the decreased horsepower and torque on the lightly loaded 125SX frame. Both the suspension and handling were better on the 125SX. Q: WHAT DID WE HATE? A: The hate list: (1) Weight. Yes, we know that these bikes are 15 pounds lighter than the typical 250 four-stroke, but, sadly, the KTM 125SX and 150SX are 5 pounds heavier than they were back in 2011 (when they had single-side, no-link frames). ( 2) Preload ring. The life of a preload ring is tough. It gets twisted, pounded on and adjusted hundreds of times over the years. It should be made of the hardest metal known to man, not gummy nylon. KTM needs to rethink this idea. ( 3) Gearing. Welcome to the Bonneville Salt Flats. ( 4) Seat foam. It gets softer with every ride—and it isn’t all that firm to begin with. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? 450SXF—and they run 5. 4 to 5. 7 kg/mm shock springs— you can see that the 125/150’s soft shock spring is designed for riders in the 150-pound range. If you are heavier than that, you will need to go heavier on the shock spring. Q: WHICH BIKE HAS THE BEST HANDLING? A: In a world of lumbering, overweight and pudgy- porky four-strokes, riding a quick-revving, lightweight two-stroke feels like watching TV on fast forward. The shared KTM 125SX/150SX chassis is pretty close to neutral and doesn’t have a tendency to oversteer more than understeer—or vice versa. It does what you tell it to do. In our four-stroke-dominated world, two-stroke riding skills have deteriorated; it takes a few rides to get back in the groove. One caveat: both of these bikes need to be ridden hard and put away wet. The crazier you get, the faster they go. So, you might think that they would both handle the same. Not so! Every MXA test rider insisted that the 125SX handled better than the 150SX. We attribute that
KTM 125SX VS. KTM 150SX
Shared joy: How fun is it to ride a KTM
two-stroke with your buddy? Just ask Kurt
Caselli (left) and Daryl Ecklund. They had
fun giving one another a mid-air high-five.