KTM ensures that their faithful riders master those trails by offering a very difersified off-road lineup from which the XC-W model range distinguishes as being the most offering. The variety of both four-stroke and two-stroke models will leave nobody hiking and if we’re talking about riders who are just starting out, the 250 XCF-W is just the right thing to consider.
Benefiting of user-friendly, four-stroke power as well as of an agile chassis, the 250 XCF-W is supposed to help a rider develop those skills and still prove enjoyable afterwards.
The smallest four-stroke of its lineup, the 250 XC-W is powered by a 249.5 cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, DOHC, 4V engine. Fed through a Keihin MX FCR 39 carburetor and mated to a six-speed gearbox, this might not make a big impression in comparison to the 250 XC-W, but smoke contenders of the same breed.
Weighing 223.98 pounds without fuel, the bike doesn’t leave that engine with a big task so the rest is up for the rider.
This thing uses the same top notch chassis as the 250 XC-F and we can understand why it even receives racing credentials. You see, working with a 63.5-degree angle and a 58.07 wheel base can never be a disadvantage and I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the Brembo brakes and WP suspensions no matter how much it weigh.
Featuring even the 18/21-inch Excel wheels, the 250 XCF-W is little different to the 250 XC-F . In fact, apart from the ordinary scheme and the 6 gears SX ratio transmission, it isn’t much to set this one apart.
The enduro market is quite offering in what concerns the 250 cc four-stroke segment and the KTM 250 XCF-W gets a fair share of contenders. To begin with, the Husqvarna TE 250 is the Swedish way of providing the very same user-friendly character coupled to a light and nimble chassis. In what Japan is concerned, models such as the Honda CRF250X and the Yamaha WR250F are sure to cut in the Austrian piece of the pie.
Originality is always a good way to stand out from the crowd and it’s the unique look that is first noticed in the case of the 250 XCF-W too. Although not as racy as the 250 XC-F, the bike shows aggressive lines on the little number of bodywork pieces that characterize enduro models, the side panels and rear number plates, which unify with the rear fender.
Up front, it is all about keeping the thing looking as similar to its motocross corresponsive model as possible. You get mud guards and hand guars as well as a tall fender that blends perfectly in with the overall sharp look. Though, the presence of a small and perfectly integrated headlight makes a sure difference.
The Excel rims are black painted and we can’t help noticing that black is a color that KTM likes to use on the majority of their dirt bikes. The frame is also black while the 2.43 gallons tank and the 38.78 inches high seat make no exception. Still, orange remains the defining color for most KTMs out there and it is obvious that the XCF-W is included.
KTMs are known to offer their own ideas of trail riding, but we simply couldn’t get enough of this fairly small four-stroke model as it all reduces to an engine that is always happy to deliver linear power and a chassis that has more than the required potential to value that properly.
The seat might look like being too tall at a first glance and it will keep on doing so until actually getting on the bike and noticing how the soft suspensions bring the bike closer to the ground, which is not necessarily an advantage considering the lack of a standard skidplate. Still, the easy kind of slow speed maneuvering that the bike offers is perfect to get a starting rider well under control of its new and yet undiscovered blast.
Being new, the engine on our test bike will have to work for at least eight hours until providing an accurate impression of its maximum performance and yet we were quite happy with the get up and go. It lays great potential in the 250 cc four-stroke single and, if just starting to ride, it is the recommended thing to take it slowly and the bike helps too. For instance, you can short shift or run a gear tall and the engine will be forgiving as long as keeping it above idle.
Personally, I wasn’t planning to take it easy on the throttle no more. Straight off, the 250 XCF-W reacted to the demands of lifting that front end from the ground and over natural obstacles with great ease. Although it could use a bigger rear sprocket, the standard one managed just fine with a little skill and more confidence from the rider side. The exhaust sounds healthy and inviting, but still refined and constant. This entire bike is built to deliver the best for the class and yet not scare anyone away.
The clutch works smoothly and resists well to abuse while the gearbox is precise and, in collaboration to the engine, is always sure to indicate the perfect gear for the specific riding scenario. Climbing hills isn’t that much of a challenge, but you’ll have to run in third or fourth gear for steeper and longer ones.
Overall, the bike feels light and confidence-inspiring. It can corner sharply and provides good feedback while doing it. The riding position isn’t that great, but acceptable for the category while the suspensions soak up small bumps, rocks and logs with the greatest ease. Landings are smooth and I couldn’t appreciate the rear shock more. This offers 13.19 inches of wheel travel and also has much to do with the bike remaining stable no matter what. With 11.81 inches of wheel travel, the front end feels just as good. We couldn’t appreciate more how good the mass centralization is simply because it allows the rider to feel at home on this model from the very first minutes of spinning it around.
The brakes are just as good and the tires grip on to the surface very well. We didn’t get to test these on the streets as our bike wasn’t quite ready for this environment, but I’m sure that most owners will get their hands on street-legal kit and solve that problem from the very first weeks of ownership.
Coming with a price tag of $7,998 + taxes, the 2009 KTM 250 XCF-W might not qualify for the best bang for the buck, but it will sure meet all that its manufacturer claims.
In the end, this is an Austrian bike that adapts to all riding environments and preferences, managing to be both user-friendly and a real blast. It is all about the versatile motor and chassis, which combine to make it feel lighter and more powerful than it actually is. We could have lived with a lower seat and the decals could be more aggressive, but those are just details.
You really have to know what you demand from a bike in order to come up to the conclusion that the 250 XCF-W is the ride to have and KTM riding experience does help.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke
Displacement: 249.5 cc
Bore x stroke: 76/55 mm (2.99/2.17")
Compression ratio: 12.8:1
Starter/Battery: Kickstarter/E-Starter / 4 Ah
Transmission: 6 gears SX ratio
Carburetor: Keihin MX FCR 39
Control: 4 V / DOHC with roller rocker levers
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: Aluminium7020, removable
Handlebar: Magura 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 caliper
Rear brake: 220 mm (8.66") disc, Brembo single piston caliper
Rims, front/rear: 1.60 x 21"; 2.15 x 18" Excel
Tires, front/rear: 80/100-21"; 100/100-18"
Chain: 5/8 x 1/4"
Main silencer: Aluminium 250 EXC-F
Steering head angle: 63.5°
Wheel base: 1475±10 mm (58.07±0.39")
Ground clearance (unloaded): 380 mm (15")
Seat height: 985 mm (38.78")
Tank capacity: approx. 9.2 liters (2.43 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 101.6 kg (223.98 lbs)