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Nov 5, 2011

2010 KTM 250 XC Overview, Impressions, Initial Tuning

I've never bought a new bike. I tend to like to tinker anyways and it hasn't been in the budget. We finally got to the point where we could justify it, and I finally was able to make myself buy an orange bike.
I've ridden Hondas all my life so this was a big thing. For some reason, I just like 2-strokes and there is no bigger player in the 2-stroke off road market than KTM. My old CR250 has been an awesome bike and still is, but riding a MX bike off road can be a callenge. Add age into the equation and having a bike that lets me ride less aggressive at times just makes it more enjoyable, especially with the amount of riding I do now with my wife and kids. The KTM 250 XC fits right in there. It is not a slouch, but it can be ridden slow and can be easily tuned from mx zip to bog-o-matic depending on how you like to ride. It's a fast bike, but my first impression of the bike was that it was hard to get going, it had kind of a delay in power and it was hard to keep in the power. As soon as I let off the throttle, it took more time than I liked to get back on the power and harder to maintain speed up steep windy trails etc. I remember from some research I had done, that it had 2 ignition maps and one was more aggressive. I was sure I was not in the aggressive mode, so I had to find this and test it out. This video shows exactly where to find the wire. I have ordered a switch so I can easily switch it on and off, but simply disconnecting the wire will put it in aggressive mode. The less aggressive mode makes it easier to get traction in really slippery conditions, while the more aggressive mode gives it more snap and pull down low making it easier to break the tire loose, wheelie over logs etc. Switching between the two on the fly could be a big advantage depending on conditions.


Besides disconnecting this wire, I also looked up the jetting specs for my altitude and temperature and found that I needed to drop the needle one clip to lean it out a bit. I also backed off the pre-load off the power valve spring by one turn. This is done via the square bronze hole below the water pump with a tool like the one offered from Enduro Engineering as shown to the right(you can make one in a pinch like I did). Turn in for more pre-load and out for less. This will make the power valve open sooner. There are also 3 choices of springs that can be changed out to make it open quicker. This is done by loosening the 2 bolts on either side of the square hole, taking the cap off, and changing the center spring. I still have the medium, yellow spring. Red will make it even more aggressive. Check out this video footage I shot. It's very easy to see the difference. For me, on this trail, it was so much easier to ride with the more aggressive setting.




What a bike!! Below is the remaining footage of the trail I ran with the adjustments. As you can see, it chugs and pulls way down low and has a nice rip all the way through the rpm range. It's just a blast to ride. This has to by my favorite type of riding, fast, aggressive trail riding...this bike is perfect for it. This trail is nastier than it looks on camera, steep and rough.

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