Lay low: The handling is confidence-inspiring. We love this chassis.
taller aftermarket bars on the 2015 KTM 250SXF, we think they
need to go higher again. Fortunately, KTM sells taller bar mounts
through their PowerParts division.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Handling. Steel frames might seem like a thing of the
past, but they are the future as far as we’re concerned. The
250SXF frame is balanced, absorbent and forgiving, which
equates to a neutral-feeling chassis. We love how the 250SXF
handles in ruts, and there’s no better-handling bike in flat,
( 2) Clutch. There’s no argument over the effectiveness and
ease of KTM’s self-adjusting hydraulic clutch.
( 3) Brakes. Other manufacturers have finally answered the
call and are outfitting their bikes with 270mm oversize front-brake rotors. KTM is still the king of pucker power.
( 4) Aesthetics. In-mold graphics are the way to go. They
don’t rip, tear, fade or show signs of wear for a long time. Good
( 5) Rims. We’ve had trouble with the KTM 250SXF silver
Excel rims in the past, but the new black Excels withstand
abuse from the MXA wrecking crew.
( 6) Shifting. The transmission is seamless. The gearbox shifts
under a load and off throttle, regardless of clutch use. KTM is
one of a few brands to have their transmission configuration on
point—although we think the shift lever should be slightly taller.
( 7) Suspension setup. In the past, the MXA wrecking crew
complained because WP put the exact same valving in the
250SXF, 350SXF and 450SXF. We felt that this “one valving fits
all sizes” was a mistake. Obviously, WP now agrees with us,
because each 2015 bike gets its own distinct valving.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: KTM’s efforts have been rewarded by a massive gain in
market share. They spent money on R&D, while their
competitors seemed to lose focus. However, we think that KTM
needs to start focusing on the power placement of the 250SXF
engine, because the Japanese 250s have their power in the
sweet spot. That said, the major suspension mods and modest
updates everywhere else make the 2015 KTM 250SXF an
excellent bike. The question is, do you look good in orange? ❑
Are you looking to get the 2015 KTM
250SXF suspension set up? Use these specs as
a basis and adjust accordingly.
WP 4CS FORK SETTINGS
WP’s 4CS fork is much better than the old
WP bladder fork for several reasons. Number
one, the mid-stroke harshness is gone. The
clicker adjustments make a noticeable change,
particularly on the rebound side. We found
comfort by going in on compression and
slowing down the rebound slightly.
For hardcore racing we recommend this fork
setup on the 2015 KTM 250SXF (stock specs
are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 0.46 kg/mm
Compression: 8 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 13 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Fork-leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Fork-leg height is a viable solution
to balancing out the fore-to-aft feeling of the
250SXF. On tighter tracks we raised the fork
legs to put more emphasis on the front wheel.
Also note that achieving harmony between the
forks and shock should be your first goal to
proper suspension setup. Having one area out
of sync will wreak havoc on the handling and
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
KTM lengthened the shock by 4mm, but
rear-wheel travel hasn’t changed. The new
shock linkage allows the shock to hang lower
to compensate. Heavier ( 170 pounds or more)
and faster (top Intermediates and Pros) riders
might find that the stock shock spring is too
light for their tastes. We installed a 5. 6 Nm
spring, which improved bottoming resistance
and allowed us room to adjust the clicker settings. The WP shock had a tendency to G-out
while the bike was under acceleration over
braking bumps, so we opted for more high-speed compression damping.
For hardcore racing we recommend this
shock setup on the 2015 KTM 250SXF (stock
specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 5. 4 Nm
Race sag: 104mm
Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out
( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 19 clicks out
( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 13 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: If you’re concerned that the stock
5. 4 Nm spring rate is too soft, then be sure to
measure the static sag after setting race sag.
If static sag is more than 40mm, then it’s
imperative to jump up a spring rate. We
preferred the 5. 7 Nm spring to stock, although
we believe that a spring rate in the 5. 6 Nm
area would work best. Also understand that
the 250SXF is very sensitive to race sag.
2015 KTM 250SXF