Custom: TM is the only manufacturer that will tailor a bike
just the way you like it straight from the factory.
jetting and improved bottom-end power.
Q: WHAT DID WE THINK OF THE
A: We quickly developed a love/hate relationship
with the Kayaba 48mm forks and in-house TM shock.
Depending on the test rider, the relationship could sour
or bloom in a few laps. It was difficult to find common
ground among our faster and slower test riders. The
Kayaba forks are based on the 2011 Yamaha YZ450F
forks. Many test riders felt that the fork settings were
too Eurocentric, with soft spring rates and a tendency to
blow through the stroke. At the bottom of the stroke the
2015 TM 250MX
forks were harsh and uncomfortable feeling. We added
oil to improve bottoming resistance, but it was more of a
band-aid fix than a be-all, end-all solution. Given our
druthers, we would work with a competent Yamaha
suspension tuner to get the forks dialed in properly.
As for the TM-built shock, it was a work of art. There
were over 40 clicks of adjustment on compression and
rebound. We found good shock settings for every test
rider, but no two settings were alike. The 250MX
suspension is geared toward a slower rider or someone
who rides on smooth tracks. If this isn’t you, then be
prepared to spend money on getting the bike dialed in.
Q: HOW GOOD WERE THE BRAKES?
A: We are always pleased with an oversized 270mm
cauliflower rotor. TM’s brake combination is unique in
that it uses Brembo calipers mated to Nissin master cylinders. The stopping power is worthy of a factory bike. The
faster the test rider, the more he appreciated the brakes.
Q: HOW WAS THE GEARING?
A: It came with a 13-tooth front and 49-tooth rear
sprocket, which wasn’t a good combination. Shift points
had to be made in awkward places, such as going off the
face of a jump. The stock gearing made the engine rev
out too fast, which transferred weight from the rear to
the front of the bike. We made big changes by going to a
14-tooth countershaft sprocket, which is the equivalent of
going 3. 5 teeth smaller on the rear sprocket. That change
broadened the power range and eradicated the unusual
shift points. It also gave us more gearing leeway by
making the rear sprocket usable with small tooth changes
in either direction.
Q: HOW WAS THE CLUTCH?
A: The TM, just like the KTM and Husqvarna,
comes standard with a self-adjusting hydraulic clutch.
We expected it to be a Brembo clutch, but it used an
in-house, TM-designed slave cylinder. We loved it.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Bolts. The Allen bolts fill with mud and have to be
cleaned out before you can remove them. TM uses Allen
bolts on the plastic parts, clutch cover, seat, engine cases
and ignition cover.
( 2) Rear sprocket bolts. There are nine bolts holding
the rear sprocket to the hub. We like the peace of mind
of knowing that the rear sprocket is not going to come
off, but there is such a thing as too much peace of mind.
( 3) Handlebars. The TM 250MX comes with ape
hangers for handlebars. If you are a tall rider, they will
suit you; otherwise, round-file them for something better.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Hydraulic clutch. The self-adjusting hydraulic
clutch is a nice touch. TM joins Husky and KTM in the
future—or are Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki in