Filled with power and agility, the KTM 250 SX is most likely to dominate the MX1 charts and so make a name of itself with the help of a super light and stable frame on which a quarter liter two-stroke engine is being fitted. The suspensions received new settings, but you shouldn’t worry about the maintenance as it is as low-cost as possible.
Did you think that two-stroke motorcycles are dead and buried? Not yet! It is what the 2008 KTM 250 SX proves as it still goes strong and launches countless careers to the highest culms of success. The advantage with two-strokes is that they’ve always delivered decent power and they’ve been easy to maintain, but KTM retained only the low-maintenance part as this 249cc two-stroke engine is damn powerful.
First launched in 2000 as a motocross bike fitted with a 249cc two-stroke engine that came to live using a kickstarter and transmitted its power through a five-speed gearbox, the 250 SX clearly defined how a two-stroke motorcycle should look, feel and perform. Both brakes had discs, so it is clear that what KTM aimed at was performance. Color options were Orange/silver.
In the year 2004, the SX received a new chromium molybdenum frame and new WP suspensions that definitely launched the bike again.
Only a year later, the engine was to receive its much needed goodies consisting in a Keihin PWK 38 S AG carburetor and Kokusan digital 2K-1 ignition system.
By 2006 model year, all KTM needed to do was to redesign the 250 SX in order to look brought up to date and a bit more aggressive. They painted the rims black as well as the fork while the plastics were KTM Orange.
But the manufacturer wasn’t completely satisfied with the visual impact that the Orange-Black contrast created, and for 2007 the decals covering the side plastics were black, something not very often seen at KTM.
2008 brought the “brighter” 250 SX as the decals are now orange as well as the bike’s plastics. Also, the maker’s name on each side was white for a more appealing design.
From the very first day of production, the KTM 250 SX was up against the best motocross bikes in the business, and we can not talk about the best without mentioning the Japanese manufacturers together with their truly successful models.
Honda is used to winning championships with the CR250R for more than 30 years, so it would seem hard to dethrone such a filled-with-history MX motorcycle. But the KTM is another beast and it does manage to compete with Honda’s two-stroke power and ultra-trick, aluminum-framed chassis technology.
New for 2008 is the Yamaha YZ250, a two-stroke motorcycle that does its best in delivering awesome power and quick handling, becoming one of the most bragged track machines. It all relies on its 249cc liquid-cooled two-stroke engine fitted with reed valve inducted system and a five-speed tranny, like on all quarter liter motocrossers. But what really sets it apart from the competition is its lightness and responsive handling feel.
The Suzuki RM250 is another track favorite as it delivers race-proven performance and has the handling characteristics required so situate on top of the podium. Now, the chances are even bigger as the low to mid-range power and the increased torque at high RPM are everything this two-stroker needed in order to stand out once and for all.
KTM’s constant development and attention to detail also reflects on the way its products end up looking and the two-stroke SX models aren’t out of the question as they all look pretty much the same.
For 2008, the 250 SX receives new plastics and decals for a more attractive look that determines the motorcycle press to situate it on top of any comparison when it comes to the way it looks.
During the bike’s previous years of manufacturing, its maker tried to establish the best balance between black and orange, something that only became reality in the 2008 model year. Only now the Orange is preponderant on the fenders, number plates and a little on the side panels, while the Excel wheels are painted black as well as the fork. Mudguards and seat are also black.
The bike’s exterior lines are sharp and aggressive, kind of like the bike’s character, but this can only be found out by taking it for a spin or two.
All it requires in order to change your opinion on two-stroke motorcycles is for you to through a leg over it and get a feel of the amazing power and torque amounts available. I did so and although my opinion on two-strokers was pretty good, it managed to make it even better when I twisted its throttle out on the motocross track, where it can be best valued.
I was immediately impressed by the awesome torque delivered from down low and it was great fun jerking it a bit and pop a few wheelies in first gear as it is the easiest thing for the bike to do that. The liquid-cooled 249cc single cylinder, two-stroke engine is tuned to perform excellent at any given RPM level and in any of the five gears so the 250 SX is an incredible opponent for the crowd in the MX1 class.
What is most enjoyable on the SX is the way it corners. You can have this bike in and out a corner in a split second so it is strongly recommended that you don’t blink when you do so. Thanks to its agile behavior and lightness (only 208 lbs), it can be easily maneuvered and taken through corners, but the amazing low and mid-range power is the feature that results in excellent lap times as the rider can accelerate strongly out of corners and pass away its opponents.
Like a true motocross ride that disposes of a 250cc motor, the 250 SX is fitted with a five-speed gearbox that is very easy to use and offers an appropriate gear for any riding type or situation. This bike is also great fun when after exiting an aggressive corner in second or third gear, you widely open the throttle and the power comes roaring as you prepare for a high jump.
But if you plan on making high jumps, landing should be your second big thought and that requires damn good suspensions. Thank KTM that the 250 SX was fitted ever since 2005 model year with reliable suspension, 48mm WP USD fork up front and WP monoshock PDS at the rear. Bottoming resistance radically increased starting with the given model year and this model was more able to prove its engine performance and qualities as it became being ridden harder and harder. And things haven’t changed until this day.
You should also take in consideration the fact that most motocross tracks are a bit tricky and place tight corners right after big jumps so after landing safely you will be most likely needed to brake strongly. It is the moment when you will meet the Brembo disc brakes (260mm front and 220mm rear) and if you are lucky you will be as impressed as I was. If you’re not lucky, I don’t want to know what happened. Strong and reliable, the Brembo brakes will have you covered as fast as the acceleration.
Awesome all around package and among the most competitive in its class, the subject of this review will mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship between you and the Austrian manufacturer.
There is no purpose on making a bike competitive on the track if its MSRP draws it back. But this is not the case as we are talking about $6,298. We already began seeing the Orange two-strokers on the motocross tracks and their owners declared themselves very pleased with the product they received for the buck paid.
The biggest two-stroke motorcycle that you’ll find in the Austrian manufacturer’s lineup is also the most powerful and competitive and given to the fact they all look the same, you should really start making the difference by riding the one and the other. I did so and my conclusion is that all the two-stroke SX models in the lineup are powerful, reliable, and a true victory partner in their specific classes.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 2-stroke
Displacement: 249 cc
Bore x stroke: 66.4 x 72 mm (2.61 x 2.83")
Transmission: 5 gears
Carburetor: Keihin PWK 36 S AG
Control: TVC power valve
Lubrication: Mixture oil lubrication 1:60
Transmission lubrication: 15W50
Primary drive: 26:72
Final drive: 13:48
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
Ignition: Kokusan digital magneto CDI
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4
Subframe: Aluminium 7020
Handlebar: Tapered Renthal Aluminium Ø 28/22 mm (1.10/0.87")
Front suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm (1.89")
Rear suspension: WP monoshock PDS
Suspension travel front / rear: 300 / 335 mm (11.81 / 13.19")
Brakes, front / rear Disc brakes: 260 / 220 mm (10.24 / 8.66")
Rims, front / rear: 1.60 x 21"; 2.15 x 19"
Tires, front / rear: 80/100-21"; 110/90-19"
Chain: 5/8 x 1/4"
Main silencer: Aluminium
Steering head angle: 63.5°
Wheel base: 1475±10 mm (58.07±0.39")
Ground clearance (unloaded): 385 mm (15.16")
Seat height: 925 mm (36.42")
Fuel capacity: approx. 7.5 liters (2 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 95.4 kg (208 lbs)