Quick change: The
map switch is on
A: We found solace by making these changes:
(1) Mapping. Do yourself a favor: Dig out the map
switch in the airbox and set the dial to Map 2. Once it’s
programmed into the ECU, you activate it by flicking
the handlebar-mounted switch rearward to the two dash
marks. It only takes a minute to change. Best of all, it’s
( 2) Gearing. How strange. We geared it up and we
geared it down, but we didn’t stick with the stock
( 3) Exhaust pipe. We made great strides in the
power department after installing various aftermarket
exhaust systems. To date, we’ve had our best luck with
the FMF Factory 4.1 ( www.fmfracing.com). It added
bottom-end hit and was most noticeable through the
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Black frame. For years we’ve begged KTM to
powdercoat its frames orange, and it finally did…for one
year. Bring back the orange!
( 2) Shock collar. Be very kind to the plastic shock
collar. It doesn’t take much abuse before it’s rendered
incapable of adjustment. We lube the threads after
washing the bike and always pry the preload ring with a
long screwdriver rather than hitting it with a punch.
( 3) Gearbox. Shifting wasn’t an issue, but finding
neutral in the pits was next to impossible.
( 4) Spokes. Yet again, the spokes nearest the rim
locks become loose in short order. Watch all of them like
( 5) Gas cap. Don’t overtighten the gas cap or you may
never be able to loosen it again.
( 6) Sprocket bolts. We recommend applying copious
amounts of blue Loctite to the threads.
( 7) Exhaust. Removing the stock exhaust requires
several annoying steps, including removing the shock.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Weight. The KTM 250SXF tips the scales at 221
pounds, and that’s with an electric starter. Very nice.
( 2) Tires. KTM took a risk by equipping its motocross
lineup with Dunlop MX32 intermediate tires instead of
tires that last longer but don’t perform as well.
We love the MX32 tread.
( 3) Brakes. They need no introduction.
( 4) Powerband. KTM woke a sleeping giant in the
250SXF engine. It’s a high-rpm romper. Its 43. 76
horsepower is a new production-bike record.
( 5) Accouterments. It’s hard to go wrong with a
hydraulic clutch, in-mold graphics, self-cleaning footpegs,
no-clog shift lever, ODI lock-on grips, launch control
switch, easy-access air filter and preprogrammed maps.
( 6) Suspension. While we don’t love the WP units, they
are considerably better than anything offered on previous
KTM 250SXF models.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: KTM just keeps popping out new machines. The
2016 KTM 250SXF powerplant is the best ever. Who would
have thought a few years ago that a production 250 would
pump out almost 44 horses? We love the revamped powerband, which although still focused on Pro riders is usable by
riders of all skill levels. While the WP suspension isn’t anything to write home about, at least it moves now. Plus, it’s
hard to overlook the plethora of upgrades unique to KTM
that add to an already sterling package. The KTM 250SXF
has rounded the corner and is edging to the front.
MXA’S KTM 250SXF
This is how we set up our 2016 KTM 250SXF for
racing. We offer it as a guide to help you find your
own sweet spot.
4CS FORK SETTINGS
“Plush” is the best word to describe the WP 4CS
forks. They are geared towards light riders who don’t
put too much energy into the front end. We cranked in
on the clickers until they stopped bottoming and used
the rebound to slow down the ramping-up effect. For
hard-core racing, we recommend this fork setup on the
2016 KTM 250SXF (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 4. 6 N/m
Oil height: 100cc
Compression: 6 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Fork-leg height: 3mm up
Notes: We love that WP uses no-tools adjusters to
make clicker changes a breeze. There’s no need to
drop the oil height this year; in fact, we stiffened up
the compression in order to keep the forks from
bottoming. Fast riders might have to add 10cc of oil.
The rebound adjuster is very sensitive and should be
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
It’s nice that KTM embossed a sag-scale line on the
rear fender to ensure that riders are measuring their
race sag in the proper location. For hard-core racing,
we recommend this shock setup for the 2016 KTM
250SXF (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 45 N/m
Race sag: 105mm
Hi-compression: 1-1/2 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 8 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 6 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: We turned the high-speed compression
damping in to help hold the shock higher in its stroke,
especially under a load. Depending on rider preference,
we ran around 105mm of race sag to balance out the