Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2014 KTM 250 SX-F Comparison

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Videos Our Sponsor
2014 KTM 250 SX-F Motocross Shootout Video
Click to view video
Check out the 2014 KTM 250 SX-F Comparison Video to see how the orange bike performs against its 250 class rivals.
KTM came into our 2013 250 Motocross Shootout with an all-new 250 SX-F and jumped onto the podium after a dismal result in 2012. For 2014 we didn’t expect many changes from the Austrian manufacturer, and we were correct that the number of revisions was not high. However, the changes that were made prove significant enough to move the electric-start MXer up a step or two on the shootout podium.

The most notable change to the 2014 KTM 250 SX-F was the change from a six-speed transmission to a five-speed box for increased performance and reduced weight. As our scoresheet shows the loss of one gear has made a difference and the KTM ranks second in the transmission, clutch and gearing category. Shifting is precise and the gear spacing is spread out better than before. The light pull of the Brembo hydraulic clutch is always a favorite, no matter the rider, and this year was no different.

“The KTM has a great hydraulic clutch as we all know, and the bike is a smooth shifter on par with all the others,” relates pro tester Chris See. “This could have just been the track we were on, but I felt like the bike could have used at least one more tooth on the rear.”

On the Dynojet 250i at MotoUSA HQ the KTM spanked the competition in horsepower with a stout 38.08-hp run at a staggering 13,700 rpm. Its torque output was one of the lowest at 18.15 lb-ft at 8600 rpm. From the first press of the electric start button it’s clear the SX-F likes to have its neck wrung to make time on the track, even with a new resonance chamber on the headpipe for more low-end. Lazy riders will slide to the back of the pack quickly, but those who put in the effort to keep the fire stoked will be rewarded with one of the most potent mills on the track.

Pro tester Nick Thiel comments, “The KaTooM rips, but on the tighter track we were testing at it didn't really have the chance to truly sing except on one straightaway.”

Chris See adds, “This bike has a very different motor compared to all of the other Japanese bikes. It has a fine-line on the top-end that needs to be ridden hard. It’s not slow on the bottom or mid, but for my liking this bike would rank way higher with a little more bottom end hit.”

KTM also turned its attention to the WP suspension on the 2014 250 SX-F to smooth out harshness in the chop but also resist bottoming on big hits. It’s still stiffer than the rest of the field, but when pushed it works much better than the 2013 model and is competitive with the top Japanese suspension bits. It is a much improved set-up from previous years for both faster and slower riders.

“Overall it was really good. It didn’t deflect or do anything crazy and it wasn’t too harsh,” explains former WMX ripper Sara Price.

KTMs have always been the odd man out when it comes to handling, with a feel that is a departure from the norm. With the suspension changes the Electric Orange SX-F provides a more familiar experience behind the bars, but is still unique. There is no better bike in the test on flat, loose corners and when the speeds are high, but in the tighter sections it still likes to stand up a tad mid-corner. It’s a minor condition in comparison to KTM SX-Fs of the past.

"The KTM is impressive this year,” says See. “It felt considerably more plush and was stable. The KTM also jumped well and was head-and-shoulders better for me from last year. With more time on this bike I think it could move to a class leader easily.”

As always the KTM was the clear-cut champion on the brakes. The SX-F’s Brembo brake package is hands down the best out there by a considerable margin. The feel is telepathic and braking power rides the fine line of being too much. The rear brake is just as impressive as the front with exceptional stopping power and feel.

Nick Thiel lays it out simply, “The Brembo’s feel and stopping power are second to none.”

The rider compartment on the 250 SX-F was rated mid-pack by the MotoUSA crew for several reasons, but the most common (and reoccurring) criticism is the handlebar bend. The sweep of the bars is just slightly too much and makes it more difficult to get forward on the bike. Of course the grip, levers and seat are all top-notch equipment that feels much more high-end than its Japanese counterparts.
Thiel backs up the teams assessment, “I love the cockpit of the KTM; the only complaint would be the bar bend. I think with a CR Hi or something comparable it would be a winner for me.”

Of course, with the super-cool electric start button comes a battery and starter motor. Even as these parts shrink with better technology there remains a weight penalty for the convenience of not having to kick to fire up before motos. On the MotoUSA scales the SX-F weighs in at 241 pounds with its 1.98-gallon tank full of fuel.

With just a handful of changes from the revamped 2013 model, the 2014 KTM 250 SX-F is now in the running for the best motocross bike of 2014. After the votes were tallied and numbers were crunched the Austrian achieved a solid second-place finish in our 2014 250 Motocross Shootout. For those looking to standout and enjoy some unique features such as electric start, a hydraulic clutch and the best brakes ever put on a motocrosser, the KTM may be the winner.

2014 KTM 250 SX-F Comparison
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Technical Specifications
With just a handful of changes from the revamped 2013 model  the 2014 KTM 250 SX-F is now in the running for the best motocross bike of 2014.
2014 KTM 250 SX-F
Engine: Liquid-cooled 250cc Single, DOHC, 4-valve
Bore/Stroke: 78.0 x 52.3mm
Compression Ratio: 13.5:1
Starting: Electric
Fueling: Keihin electronic fuel-injection
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, hydraulic actuation
Transmission: Five-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Frame: Chromoly steel
Front Suspension: WP 48mm fork; 2-way adjustable for compression and rebound damping; 11.8-in. travel
Rear Suspension: Linkage-equipped WP 5018 gas charged shock absorber; 4-way adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression, and rebound damping; 12.48-in. travel
Front Brake: 260mm disc with Brembo dual-piston caliper, stainless-steel brake line
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with Brembo single-piston caliper, stainless-steel brake line
Handlebar: Tapered Renthal
Tires: Dunlop Geomax MX51 80/100-21, 110/90-19
Steering Head Angle: 26.5 deg.
Wheelbase: 58.86 in.
Ground Clearance: 14.76 in.
Seat Height: 39.06 in.
Fuel Capacity: 7.5 liters/1.98 U.S. gallons
MSRP: $7,999
Other Dirt Bike Feature Articles
KLIM Cow Tag Event   Cody Webb KTM Raffle
KLIM is hosting the 1st Annual Cow Tag Off-Road Ride on June 27, 2015 in Idaho. Along with the event, Cody Webb will raffle off his 2015 FIM Maxxis SuperEnduro World Championship race bike, a fully-decked KTM 300 XC.
2016 KTM XC-W Models First Looks
KTM gives its 2016 XC-W line upgrades aimed at reducing weight and enhancing off-road protection and performance. Also back and better than ever is KTM's genre-bending two-stroke, the Freeride 250 R.
2016 KTM 500 EXC   350 EXC First Looks
KTM updates its popular 500 EXC and 350 EXC dual-sport motorcycles for 2016, reducing weight and offering improved off-road protection.
2016 KTM Motocross SX-F First Looks
KTM reveals complete overhauls of its 2016 MX lineup, with the 450, 350 and 250 SX-F models featuring changes that debuted on the 2015 Factory Editions.
2016 KTM Two-Stroke SX First Looks
KTM has released details on its 2016 line of two-stroke SX off road models, with major overhauls for the 125 SX and 150 SX models and minor revisions to the 250 SX.
2016 Honda CRF Off Road Line First Look
Honda has unveiled details of its 2016 CRF line of off road motorcycles.
How to Change a Dirt Bike Chain
MotoUSA's Off Road Editor takes us step-by-step through the process of changing a dirt bike chain and rear sprocket.

Login or sign up to comment.