For 2008 the KTM 250 XC-F is not only characterized by a very light and agile four-stroke engine, but by a new chassis and completely new bodywork. Built for the track, the XC-F delivers extreme low end power that is also transmitted to the XCF-W, a symbol of reliability and performance.
The much awaited 250s from KTM are not necessarily strongly revised motorcycles as they deliver pretty much the same power with a little bit more low-end pull, but have determined riders to pay in advance and wait until the last year ended so they could get on their bikes and ride an 2007 SX frame and look stylish with their new SX plastics.
Impressive performance at all rpm levels was KTM’s goal before marketing the bike and with the power on these things, I reckon they’ve pretty much succeeded. But in order to get on the podium or touch a rider’s heart, the magic has to start rolling.
Husqvarna offers the two most appropriate contenders, the TC 250 (against the 250 XC-F) and the TE 250 (against the 250 XCF-W). Both bikes are equipped with the same 249.5cc four-stroke, four valves, DOHC, liquid cooled single cylinder engine, the difference being that the TC features a five-speed tranny while the TE, a six-speed unit. The TC 250 passes as a motocross bike and this means that although positioned in the “Offroad Competition” class, the XC-F is a true motocross ride.
Honda competes with the CRF250R which, like the new CRF450R features the Honda Progressive Steering Damper, resulting in superior cornering. The 250R CRF also got works-style brake discs while its 249cc liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke was also fitted on the CRF250X which is Honda’s XCF-W. Both Hondas feature five-speed gearboxes.
For 2008 Yamaha also concentrated on delivering a bike that handles sweeter and delivers more power than the previous model. We’re talking about the new YZ250F which is fitted with one of the most competitive engines in this class, the 250cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke featuring five titanium valves. Also present on the WR250F, the engine demonstrates to be appropriate for on and off-track exploration. It seems that the Japanese prefer the five-speed transmissions that have already proved efficient and gained popularity, while KTM and Husky offer the very well known six-speed on the 250 XCF-W, respective TE 250.
The Suzuki RM-Z250 and DR-Z250 can be also found in this battle, but the last hasn’t received its basket of goodies so I’m about to brag the RM-Z250 as it features a compact, lightweight and powerful 249cc four-stroke, single-cylinder, liquid cooled, DOHC four valve engine and an aluminum-alloy frame. Lightness and power was the key to Suzy’s success.
In 2007 Kawasaki made out of the KX250F a model of speed and consistency and plans on doing the same thing with the 2008 model year. Incredible performance is delivered from a 249cc four-stroke liquid cooled single cylinder featuring DOHC and four valves. But when it comes to the off-road, Kawasaki brakes the rules with the KLX300R. Compact, sharp-handling and relying on tractable power coming from a 292cc four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve single cylinder.
For 2008 the KTM 250 XC-F and XCF-W receive completely new plastics which are approximately the same, but a trained eye will easily see the difference even if the bikes aren’t parked one along the other.
No matter model, the 250 XC is characterized by an aggressive look that is representative for KTM, as well as the Orange color.
Fitted with the heavy artillery (high mounted front fender, sharp looking rear fender, nicely finished side panels covering the fuel tank and blending perfectly in with the seat), the dirt spreader does stand out.
As I was saying, painted both Orange and combined with black, the bikes don’t look different from one another at all, but taking a closer look reveals the black mudguards and black muffler on the XC-F while on the XCF-W mudguards remain orange and the silencer has the color of the material it is made of, Aluminium. Also different are the decals which come as font for the model writing. 250 XC-F is simply written on a stripe of orange while 250 XCF-W comes right next to a flame imitation decal. Everything else is identical leaving the buyer wondering which bike should buy.
And if you have decided on a model, next on your list will be the MSRP which you hope will put an end to your dilemma and help you decide what to go for. KTM didn’t saw that coming and it didn’t even need to as these two products are virtually the same and come with an MSRP of $6,998.
Revisions are always benefic for any kinds of machines, especially motorcycles, but KTM has not only made a revision consisting in a retuned engine, the addition of the chassis on the 2007 SX, and new plastics, but proved that no matter how competent, reliable or even powerful a motorcycle is, it can be taken even further. Usually that’s what aftermarket products do when go in the hands of tuners, but you won’t hear anyone complaining about lacks of power or inefficient steering. No way. These bikes rock!
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke
Displacement: 249.5 cc
Bore x stroke: 76 x 55 mm (2.99 x 2.17")
Compression ratio: 12.8:1
Starter: Kickstarter/e-starter 4 Ah
Transmission: 5 gears SX ratio (6 gears on the XCF-W)
Carburetor: Keihin MX FCR 39
Lubrication: Pressure lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps
Engine lubrication: 10W50
Primary drive: 22:68
Final drive: 13:48
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
Ignition: Kokusan digital 4K-3
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4
Subframe: Aluminium 7020, removable
Handlebar: 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")
Front brake: 260 mm (10.24") disc, Brembo double piston
Rear brake: 220 mm (8.66") disc, Brembo single piston
Rims, front / rear: 1.60 x 21"; 2.15 x 18"
Tires, front / rear: 80/100-21"; 100/100-18"
Chain: X-ring 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) 380 mm (15")
Seat height: 925 mm (36.42")
Fuel capacity: approx. 9.2 liters (2.43 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 104.2 kg (229.7 lbs)