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2014 KTM Demo day review (SX models)

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Thanks to KTM and local dealership (Wheelsports, OH) for putting this on and the track owner for organizing (Briarcliff). Well done!!!

Background:

6 ft / 165 lb / Vet intermediate

current ride: 2012 RMZ250 (MX), 2013 KTM 200 XC-W (woods)

Previous: 2011 KTM 350 SX-F

I am not brand loyal as you can see by my previous bikes below nor affiliated w/ KTM.

Bikes:

2014, all 0 hrs, stock

1) 450 SX-F

2) 350 SX-F

3) 250 SX-F

4) 250 SX

5) 150 SX

6) 125 SX

7) 2012 RMZ250 (stock)

Order: 7, 2, 1, 7, 4, 5, 3, 6, 7, 2, 7, 3, 7

Track: 80 degF, loamy, lots of breaking bumps, ruts, 50-90 ft jumps

General impressions:

-new graphics look tough

-added big rubber booties over exposed connectors

-ergos: very good except I like sitting in the bike (RMZ) v. on top of the bike especially in corners

-very plush

-overjumping is too soft. I got bounce where as RMZ was perfect - 1 soft stroke, power on hard, and bike running straight. KTMs not as precise and confidence inspiring on big jumps. Possibly tuned w/ clickers (not allowed at the demo)

-e-start is boss

-hydraulic clutch pull is great although feeling on the big bikes is a little vague and engagement point was end of travel (easily adjustable)

450F: strong motor (I still like my 09 KX450 the best to date), low-end is useable, top end is a beast, would like a better transition through the powerband (this is why KX was so good), could ride the track in 3rd, bike felt a little too plush to keep on the power in the rough (could be fixed w/ settings). Engine braking was too much. This required additional throttle control wearing me out. Turned well for a 450, jumped straight, did not feel bulky. My upper body is not conditioned for a 450. I could not ride as aggressive as I wanted. With some time on the bike and suspension tuning this could be a great open bike for big tracks and lazy to moderate riding (for me).

350F: Much better than my 2011 in every way. The top end is crazy. The problem is I was almost to the end of the straight when it got there. This bike needs a 51 or 52 rear sprocket and possibly the aggressive map setting. This combo worked great on my 2011. I could not ride the track in 3rd gear without the clutch. I felt more comfortable on this over the 450 as I could be more aggressive. I am looking for a bike that can hit big jumps without being on top of the motor but not too much that is tiring and cannot be aggressive. I think this could be the bike w/ a 51/52 rear and map switch.

250F: I was wide open throttle on the straights. Powerband is similar to 350 just more mellow. Needs some work to make it more cohesive. I could use all of it allowing me to ride very aggressive. The bike turned great - all as good as my RMZ. I believe this is because I am bouncing around a little more trying to get into the rut on the RMZ. The KTM is very settled.

250 2T: Apparently my 2T MX days are well behind me. This bike was difficult for me to control in all cases - very dangerous for me. I am probably not worthy to even comment further.

150: Very fun bike. It reminds me of my 200 - light, simple, rips w/ some lugability (new word?). If I wasn't addicted to 4T for MX tracks I would get this.

125: Also very fun. However, if not racing 125cc class - choose the 150.

Conclusions:

1) RMZ250 is a great bike that does everything well. Strengths: ergos (the best of all bikes I have ever ridden), low/mid power, turning, overjumping, starting (1-kick), so far durability, easy to clean, looks. Weakpoints: fast rough straights (very busy front end), top end could be better.

2) KTM is making great bikes. The things that will move me off my RMZ are: e-start, plush (I am getting old), overrev.

3) I am leaning to the 350 - probably the perfect VET bike. I could ride all day on my 2011. I got rid of it for reasons that are mostly fixed for 2014. The last item remaining is overjump confidence. The forks are much more stiff than 2011. I think this is a setting issue for me.

Hopefully useful to someone.

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Yeah, that's pretty cool. I get to go to a yamaha/KTM demo day at Pleasure Valley Raceway this Saturday in Seward, PA.

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Yeah, that's pretty cool. I get to go to a yamaha/KTM demo day at Pleasure Valley Raceway this Saturday in Seward, PA.

Hey bmois I've never been to one of those and I would love to come since I am in the market for a new bike. I know they say you need a pass from the dealership having the event beforehand, but do you know if they would accept a phone call to reserve a spot? I'm like 90 minutes away in Pittsburgh. No way I could make it out during the week with work.

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I was told by one of my friends, who knows the people that are putting it on, and he said that you just pay $10 for practice and if you want to try one of the bikes you just ask. That was told to him by Five Star Cycle up in Saegertown, PA and that is what I'm going to do. On the website it said that the Demo day is Saturday and Sunday but not really sure if the second day is just practice.

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