( 2) WP shock. Between the
forks and shock, the rear end
received more attention. Why?
KTM wanted the 250SXF to
feel more balanced fore to aft,
so they softened up the shock
settings. The settings are
considerably softer than what
came on the FE.
( 3) Radiators. The radiators are
comprised of a new aluminum alloy
designed for improved durability. The
radiator guards have a new ventilation
system for greater efficiency and notches to allow dirt
and roost to escape.
( 4) Chain guide. The rear chain guide has been
lengthened to help guide the chain onto the sprocket
teeth more effectively.
( 5) Frame color. We’re not sure why KTM would
ditch the popular orange powdercoated frame in favor
of black. It’s a move that won’t sit well with diehard
KTM owners, who lusted for years after an orange
frame, only to have KTM pull the color after one year.
Goodbye, RAL2009 powdercoating. We hardly knew
( 6) Graphics. Obviously the Red Bull KTM graphics
are gone. The 2016 graphics are rather plain, and the
cryptic KTM logo is barely discernible.
( 7) Brake rotors. The Galfer Wave brake rotors
are lighter by approximately 1-1/2 ounces (front and
rear). They have a new vent pattern, and a keen eye
will notice the magnet fitting for the odometer on the
( 8) Wheels. The silver spokes have been replaced
with black spokes. It’s important to note that KTM had
been applying a special coating to the spokes for years
but discovered that durability was sacrificed.
( 9) Mapping. KTM changed the mapping on the
2016 model for easier starting, more fuel down low
and a better transition from low to the midrange.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REDEEMING
QUALITIES OF THE 2016 KTM 250SXF?
A: Several things stand out on the KTM 250SXF
that differentiate it from anything else on the market.
If the following characteristics are what you’re looking
for in a 250 four-stroke, then find happiness knowing
that KTM has met your needs.
(1) Weight. On MXA’s scale, the 2016 KTM 250SXF
weighs 221 pounds (without fuel). That makes it the
lightest bike in the class. KTM managed to knock 8
pounds off the 2015 model while still keeping the
electric starter. In motion, the 2016 KTM 250SXF feels
nimble, but that lightweight sensation doesn’t
translate as well while soaring over jumps. We’re not
complaining, though. Bravo to KTM for putting the
250SXF on SlimFast.
( 2) Electric starter. For years the MXA wrecking
crew battled internal demons when asked whether
the 250SXF electric starter was worth the extra heft.
Call us lazy, but every test rider overlooked the excess
baggage, because starting the KTM with the push of
a button was so easy. The positives outweighed the
negatives. For 2016, the electric starter is a non-issue.
KTM used a compact and lightweight battery that is
2. 2 pounds lighter. The engineers also shaved weight
in the starter drive.
( 3) Power. The KTM 250SXF has long been tops
on the dyno charts, and that trend continues for 2016;
however, the previous iterations of the 250SXF engine
were misguided. They pumped out serious ponies, but
with the caveat that the dyno curve resembled a hard
piece of spaghetti. There wasn’t any bottom or
midrange hit. And while the 2016 KTM 250SXF isn’t
going to pull stumps out of the ground, the totally
new engine (cylinder head, valve train, throttle body,
cylinder, piston, crankshaft, transmission, cases and
clutch) has a more usable powerband with better
delivery. Mission accomplished.
( 4) Durability. Thanks to ceaseless development,
the life expectancy of a 250 four-stroke is no longer
shorter than that of a mayfly. There are always certain
bikes that outlast the competition. The KTM 250SXF is
one such bike. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
This wasn’t always so, but the new bike is the
product of a new pride at KTM. Despite our best
efforts to destroy the transmission and float the
valves, it held up well.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2016 KTM 250SXF?
A: It is mind-numbingly fast from 12,000 rpm until
giving up the ghost at 13,900 rpm. Speed is not the
question. The machine can do it, but do you have the
talent to keep the throttle grip twisted beyond the
point of self-preservation? Certainly the KTM 250SXF
has no equal at full tilt—aside from its kissing cousin,
the Husqvarna FC250. If you are not ready to fully
commit, then you are not ready for the 250SXF.
How fast is the 250SXF in the parts of the powerband where normal riders spend the bulk of their
time? It’s stronger down low than ever; however, the
bottom end is not overly impressive. True, it is worlds
better than the 2015 model; then again, a banana slug
has more get-up-and-go than the old engine. Off idle,
the 2016 KTM 250SXF snaps to attention, not with the
fervor of the Yamaha YZ250F or Kawasaki KX250F,
but with enough thrust to wake you up. Once in the
midrange, the surge is decent enough to demand
respect. Where the Pro riders live in that high-rpm