THE 250 STATE OF AFFAIRS
This year, the W is completely different from the 2011
version, but it isn’t fair to say it’s an all-new bike. The
motor draws much from the 2011 250SXF motocross
bike, which was, in turn, the product of the massive development project surrounding the 350SXF. Last year’s W, on
the other hand, was from an earlier era. It had a carburetor and an older chassis, but it was a legitimate off-road
machine. For 2012, the W has the same EFI motor as the
SX, but the fuel injection has been cleaned up enough to
please governmental pipe sniffers. It also keeps a kickstarter as a backup for the electric starter, has a little more
flywheel weight and has a wider gear ratio. As far as the
power-producing hard parts, the only difference is the
pipe, which is quieter and now has a screen-style spark
arrestor. The cam, valves, head and piston are all the
same as those on the motocross bike.
The chassis really is new. It looks like the new motocross
chassis, but it still uses a PDS shock with no shock linkage.
All the motocross bikes in the KTM line now have shock
linkage, but the off-road community never had much of an
issue with the old PDS. The angle of the shock has been
changed, but it’s essentially the same layout. In front, the W
has a new WP open-bath fork. The cartridge WP fork is still
on the motocross version and the XC (closed-course, racing) version.
All of the off-road goodies are in place. The W has a
headlight, a multifunction odometer, a kickstand, an 18-inch
rear wheel and a 2.5-gallon tank.
ON THE GAS
So, does the 250W run like the motocross bike? No, but
it’s not that different. You need to remember that the KTM
250F motocrosser starts off with a very mellow personality,
so much so that it was actually handicapped in our 250F
MX comparison. It really didn’t have to change that much to
be a good off-road bike. The W shares so many parts with
the motocross KTM that it couldn’t help but have some similarities. The differences in fuel mapping and spark advance
make the bike slower to gain revs. There’s more power on
the very bottom and less in the middle and on top. All that
is perfectly appropriate for the redirection of a motocross
motor, which shows the power of tuning by software. For
the record, the KTM is still way, way faster than the Honda
CRF250X and the Yamaha WR250F. It makes more bottom;
it’s just as smooth, and it makes much more on top.
The W’s motor is almost identical to the motor in the
motocross version—with the exception of mapping,
the kickstarter and the gear ratios.