Rule: Save some money to have the
forks revalved by a professional.
can also be unplugged for the stock setting). Map 1 is best for hardpack or conditions where retarding the timing would be beneficial. Map 2, MXA’s favorite map, is aggressive. It advances ignition timing and provides more hit in soft terrain. By the way, these map settings are free. ( 2) Dial in the suspension. If you’re on a budget, reduce the fork oil height. Work in 5cc increments until you find a comfortable setting. Serious racers should ship their forks to a KTM suspension expert (we’ve had luck with MX-Tech) for a revalve. ( 3) Gearing. The stock gearing might work for the wide-open tracks of Europe, but it’s too tall for most American tracks. Gear the 250SXF down by adding one tooth (at least) to the rear sprocket. ( 4) Add a pipe. Buying an after- market exhaust should yield consid- erable power gains. The 250SXF doesn’t need more power, but it does need to move the power down into the midrange.
Are you looking to get your 2014 KTM 250SXF’s suspension set up? Use these specs as a starting point and adjust accordingly. WP FORK SETTINGS We lowered the oil height by 15cc to alleviate mid-stroke harshness, but the only true fix is to send the WP forks out for revalving. They are too far gone for backyard fixes. For hardcore racing, we recommend this fork setup on the 2014 KTM 250SXF (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 0.46 kg/mm Oil height: 375cc (390cc) Compression: 11 clicks out ( 12 clicks out) Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 12 clicks out) Fork-leg height: 5mm up Notes: When the forks are new, they need about an hour of riding to break in. Lighter riders might want to lower the oil height by an additional 5–10cc, depending on skill level. Decrease the oil height until the mid-stroke harshness is gone, but not by so much that bottoming occurs. WP SHOCK SETTINGS The only change to the KTM 250SXF shock for 2014 is one less compression shim in the stack. KTM did change the way they bleed the shock, which they claim will improve performance right out of the crate. We discovered that the 250SXF still has a tendency to hop and deflect on square-edged bumps. After trying a bunch of different settings, we discovered that dialing in the shock required slowing down the rebound and high-speed compression and setting the sag a little lower to take some of the spring out of the compression equation. Oh yeah, avoid square edges whenever possible. For hardcore racing, we recommend this shock setup on the 2014 KTM 250SXF (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 5. 4 kg/mm Race sag: 105mm Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out) Lo-compression: 15 clicks out ( 16 clicks out) Rebound: 13 clicks out ( 15 clicks out) Notes: The shock is very sensitive to sag and getting it to work depends on making careful use of the spring rates, damping and setup choices at hand.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE? A: The hate list: (1) Weight. What was once the lightest bike in the class is now the heaviest. Newfangled technology is the culprit. The linkage, the fuel injection and the electric starter come at a 5-pound price for each item. It’s a Catch- 22. ( 2) Suspension. It’s impossible to share the same basic valving and oil height with the KTM 450SXF and find comfort with the 250SXF forks. As a result, the shock also suffers. ( 3) Engine. We were captivated by the dyno numbers, but on the track, those stats don’t equate. The powerband is Pro-level only. ( 4) Hardware. Wood screws and Torx heads don’t belong on a motocross bike. ( 5) Gearing. It’s wrong, unless you’re trying to set a land-speed record. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Handling. The 250SXF chassis proves that chromoly steel shouldn’t be cast aside, even though aluminum is the popular choice. ( 2) Clutch. It’s smooth like butter. We love the hydraulic clutch. ( 3) Brakes. KTM revised the front brake system. This equated to stronger stopping power and much better feel. Nicely done. ( 4) Aesthetics. We love the in-mold graphics. And speaking of graphics, they are much more attractive than the wretched graffiti design of years ago. ( 5) Sound. The KTM 250SXF purrs like a kitten and passes the two- meter-max and 94 dB tests with ease. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: We are impressed with how far the KTM 250SXF has come in the past five years. The Austrians have built a thoroughbred engine that is capable of taking on the best bikes in the 250 four-stroke class. However, just as with any prized horse, the 250SXF comes with its share of headaches. The WP suspension settings are wrong, really wrong, and the bike is hefty, really hefty. Yet, while the KTM 250SXF may get out of the gate slowly, it would put a few lengths on Secretariat down the stretch because this bike screams on top. It’s just a question of whether you’re fast enough to sustain such breakneck speeds. ;
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