riders. That didn’t work for very long, because KTM’ North
America’S David O’Conner ratted Daryl out by telling the
assembled crowd, “Don’t let him fool you, he is a Pro!”
Daryl didn’t argue; he put his helmet on and lined up with
three-time Erzberg champion Jonny Walker, who would be
Daryl’s tour guide for the day.
It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to have one of the
world’s great offroad riders taking you over hill and dale,
especially since Jonny just happened to be one of the rid-
ers that Daryl worked with when he was a trainer. When
Jonny saw Daryl walk over to his group, he said, “Don’t
worry, Daryl, if you can’t make it up a hill, I’ll ride the bike
up for you and you can just walk up.”
Like old trail-riding buddies, Jonny and Daryl played
cat and mouse on the fast motocross-style part of Ore
Mountain. Rolling on the power, Daryl could feel that the
KTM 250XC-W TPI bike was no slouch. In tight corners the
throttle response was instant, but it wasn’t easy to find the
right gear to get back into the meat of the powerband. At
the first big hill Daryl stayed in Jonny’s shadow, who was
on KTM’s 300EXC TPI (which will, not be imported to the
USA until 2019), as they snaked their way up a difficult
climb. Daryl’s ascent was going just fine until he hit the top
end of the power range and he started to wheelie, almost
looping out part way up the hill. Trying to shake the rust
off, he watched two of the other riders in the fast group
loop out on the hill.
After the fast group all made it to the top of the hill,
Jonny led the group on some tight singletrack. The 250XC-
W TPI felt like it was between gears on the tight stuff.
Second gear was jerky and put too much weight on the
front end, while third gear couldn’t get out of its own way.
Daryl had to abuse the clutch to keep the rpm up. The
good news was that the bike wouldn’t stall. You could start
from a dead stop and put the bike in sixth gear and still
manage not to stall it. It was awesome. Once one guy tried
riding in an ultra-tall gear, everybody in the group tried it
and was amazed.
Once the trail opened up, it was possible to test the
top-end power of the EFI smoker. It took a while to get
the bike going and into the meat of the power. Towards
the top of the midrange, a big surge of power would hit
abruptly. It wasn’t uncontrollable power, but it was too
much at the wrong time for offroad riding. When wringing
the 250XC-W TPI out, it gave the impression that it was
on the rich side, as though the bike wouldn’t totally clean
out, but it stayed consistent across 2000 feet of elevation
When the group came to the last hill on the first test
ride, Daryl was dragging his tongue at the back of the pack
(too much typing and not enough riding). At the top of
the hill the top-end hit caught him off guard, and the bike
looped out from under him in front of the whole group.
True to his threat from that morning, Jonny casually picked
up the bike and finished the rest of the climb with ease.
After some lunch, the group went out again. This time
Daryl was on the Euro-only KTM 300EXC TPI. The same
fast motocross-style trail led to the big hills, singletrack
MXA rode both the 250cc and 300cc fuel-injected KTMs at
Erzberg, but the 300 won’t be coming to America in 2018.
and finishing loop. It made for a good comparison between
the two bikes. Daryl noticed the 300 revved out faster than
the 250XC-W TPI model, but not by much. In the tight corners a flick to the clutch would get the power right where
it needed to be. The powerband reminded Daryl of the
Husky TX300 that MXA converted into a motocross bike.
Up that first difficult hill the 300’s power was right where
it needed to be at all times. It was confidence-inspiring.
It had the power you needed when you needed it. The
rear end tracked similar to a four-stroke. In the tight trails,
where second gear was used on the 250, Daryl managed
to use third gear all the time and even pull fourth in some
sections. The more generous midrange power allowed the
bike to be ridden in a higher gear. This made the bike feel
nimble, manageable and easier to ride. It felt exactly like a
carbureted bike, exactly like MXA’s TX300.
We don’t even have to mention the hydraulic clutch, electric starter, superb braking and no-tools airbox—they are a
given on a KTM. We don’t want to sound harsh about the
KTM 250XC-W TPI. It really is an amazing feat to build a
fuel-injected two-stroke. Not just one that ran, but one that
could pass strict emission standards. KTM is the first of the
“Big Six” to market a Transfer Port Injection machine that
is close to or just as powerful as tried-and-true carbureted
bikes. The 250XC-W TPI has the potential to be as good
as the 300 TPI. Why? Because the 250 TPI and 300 TPI
operate off the exact same running gear, injector nozzles,
ECUs and cylinder design. They are spitting images of
each other, save for the bigger piston.
With a little work on the ECU mapping, power-valve
settings and gearing, the 250XC-W TPI could easily be
brought around to run like the 300EXC TPI. We are
pretty sure that KTM will iron out the bugs on Daryl’s
250 before it hits the American shores. At Erzberg,
there was no time to make the changes needed, so the MXA
wrecking crew looks forward to getting our hands on this
bike in the near future. Kudos, KTM, on breaking the mold
once again, because achievements like this have made KTM
the juggernaut they are today. ❏
KTM’S 2018 TPI TWO-STROKES
AT THE IRON GIANT