2017 KTM 250 SX-F
With both a Factory Edition and standard production model every year, we end up spending quite a bit of time aboard the KTM 250 SX-F. Even with this, KTM still finds a few things to change with each model, constantly improving the reliability and overall ride-ability of the bike. For the 2017 production model, KTM had a few upgrades for their freshly introduced AER 48 fork. Changing the valving, along with the outer fork tubes, and damping cartridge; creating better feel, different flex characteristics, and even loosing a bit of weight in the process. To match up with the new tubing, the 250 SX-F also has a different set of triple clamps. Not for an offset change, but to also change the flex to work in conjunction with the forks. Beyond this, there's also a new and easier way to control the electronics on the bike, with a simple set of switches on the handlebars. One button controls the ECU mapping, going between map one and two, while the other turns the traction control on-and-off. The traction control on this bike isn't quite as some might expect, as it differs from the system used in a car or on a street bike. Proper traction control requires wheel speed sensors at both the front and rear of the car/motorcycle, to sense when the rear tire has exceeded the speed of the front. Considering the front and rear tires on a dirt bike are rarely traveling the same speed, this type of system would be too intrusive for most riding situations. KTM's system goes off of RPM spikes from the crank, and restricts the power minorly to improve traction. This can be quite useful in extremely hard packed situations or mud, for those who need assistance with their throttle control. Lastly, you can press both buttons at once to activate the launch control, which has an RPM limiter and ECU change for better starts. For more on how these changes worked on the track, make sure you listen to our comments in the video.