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Intro of my 03 250 SX and rebuild.

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Hey guys,


I'm new to the 2-stroke side as I have been riding a YZ400F for the last nine years (explains the screen name ;) ). I absolutely love my 400F but it weighs so much, and is getting pretty old. Although it runs like a champ, I'm always "taking it easy" on the track, in the fear of having it blow up on me.  I had been looking for something lighter/better maintenance for a while now.  I scoured craigslist for a YZ250 but people were pretty unrealistic about their prices. Maybe that is due to the market of the midwest.


Anyways, I ran across a craigslist titled   "2003 Kawasaki KTM 250.   For sale is my 2003 Kawasaki KTM that is in excellent shape, it runs great and fast! New tires ready to ride!"   Kawasaki KTM? That's a good one.  So I started thinking about it and thought that it could be a toss up as the guy, who obviously knows nothing about the bike, could have trashed it/not taken care of it, or selling for a friend or something.  Turns out to be a combo of both.  The guy was selling it for a friend.  In the pics the bike looked really nice and clean.  When we got there last night, it was more beat up then I thought, and I was disappointed, but it wasn't trashed either.  Overall is was clean, but you could see that the owner wasn't a bike guy cause there were a lot of little things here and there that showed he didn't care about it that much. The pipe was dirty, the pipe lower mount was poorly welded on the frame (repair), the silencer was pretty dented in, missing bolts here and there, broken levers, dirty filter, etc...


Bringing her home....




I ended up getting it for $1350, which, is an alright deal I guess.  I started taking it apart this evening and found quite a few things that will make this 1350 climb to 1600 quickly.  The frame is in good shape though, and most of the issues are small stuff (for now).  So far I have found:

- 8 missing screws (1 reed cage, 2 for clamp, 1 front axle clamp, 1 stator cover, 2 body panels, and misc)

- cracked top engine mount/support

- Super dirty filter

- rusted chain

- cracked front number plate

- broken levers

- very small crack in the pro circuit pipe (small leak)

- And a few other things.  


None of these are big issues, but they do add up in price in my conquest to make it a stellar bike.  I do have to wonder about the internals too... I think I will do at least a top end this winter.  The gasket sticking out the head looks pretty darn new..


I do have a question for you guys.  I found some rub marks on the forks, and found that when you turn the bars to the stops, left and right, the fork tubes hit the radiator cap on the left, and the radiator on the right.  That can't be right at all.... are the radiators supposed to the angled forward like that? 




I hope all these things are not too bad. I took the carb out tonight and will be going over it in the next days.  I hope to turn this into a fun mx and woods bike.  I have a lot of parts coming in, and hope to get the suspension done this winter.


Have a good one




Cracked engine supports



Dirty, dirty filter!



Borken and "filed to a point" levers, what an idiot



Engine, notice the welded tab on the bottom for the pipe.




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Looks like mostly minor repairs to me. Not sure how much research you've done on the 03, but I would recommend a fly wheel weight. The engine has a really hard hit, and the carbs can be a little finicky.

There are steering stops on either side of the frame to keep the forks from hitting the rads, not sure about the angle, doesn't look right, but they are both pretty consistent looking. If they are bent forward I'd give them a little tug back, if all the fasteners line up they are probably where they are suppose to be though.

Make sure you check your triple clamps over, pretty sure the 250's had a recall that year for the upper triple. I had that bike briefly, wasn't for me and ended up getting an 03 125sx a few years ago. The 125 triple wasn't included in the recall, but this is what I found when I pulled the forks.


I found an Emig Racing billet upper triple on ebay for around 75 bucks, the offset is a little harder to find for the 03, but they are out there.

Nice bike! Looking forward to the build, maybe a build thread with lots of pics? The riding season is winding down, more time for TT!

Edited by poldies4

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I have an 03 ktm 250sx. The bike itself runs awesome. I've had it for about 3years. Unfortunately, I've had to buy a new subframe, lace the back wheel, and most recently I had to buy a new (used) bottom end because the swingarm axle broke through the housing on the engine case. I have the same problem when my forks hit the radiator, I think its normal. I just rebuilt the top end with a wiseco prolite, I have a gnarly pipe and a stealth q silencer. FCR suspension. I race/ride woods, but I might be buying a 13' sx for the mx track.

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I Had an 03' 250sx for a couple years. It was a good bike but it really needs to be jetted correctly. It is very sensitive to small jetting changes. I found that the mid range surge is from being to fat on the pilot and needle. I always jetted a little leaner than the chart recommends for each jetting spec. Once I figured that out it was a pussycat. Not as fast as my 01' 250sx but faster than my 06' 250sx. You have to adjust the stopper bolt out so the fork clears the radiator cap. The radiators may be bent forward. Take the lower bolts out of the shrouds and see if the holes line up. If they don't you need to push the radiator mounts a little so that they do. BE CARFULL! The head stay crack is not uncommon. It happens because the head stay got loose. Buy a new one and check it every few rides. It's just aluminum. It will compress with time and need to be re-torqued. Get a longer throttle cable before it gets snagged on something and pulls the throttle WFO on you, then re-route it and the kill button wire behind the plate and out of harms way. Check those sprocket bolts often. They tend to loosen and then they will break the rear hub.



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Thank you guys very much for the feedback, all good info (except for that first response....hah).

I will be posting my progress on the rebuild, including a bunch of pics, as I go along. This afternoon I spent about an hour on it going through all the parts, making a list of what I need to buy. The list is pretty long but it is all small stuff for the most part. I haven't gone through the front end yet but I will when I return (I'm a pilot and am on the road a lot. Actually writing this at 34,000 feet over the rockies).

The rear wheel, swing arm, subframe, and engine area all look good. Bearings seem fresh. I cleaned up and lubed the chain, and started the overall cleaning. Amazing how simple and roomy these 2-strokes are! Love it.

Took the carb out. Slightly dirty but in good condition. Main jet is set a 168, I though that was lean but I will into it after reading your comment Larry. I got a bunch of needles that came with the bike, and a couple mains, but I race shifter karts and I use the exact same kind of mains in my shifter, so i'm set.

I did find the steering stop bolts, well, found one, the other is missing of course, haha.

Looking forward to getting this bike in tiptop shape, and riding it!

Thanks again for the feedback. Oh, and what kind of weight are we talking about for the flywheel?...

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Looks like a fun project.

Did anyone else notice the AMA sticker on the frame?

Good eyes. The bike was raced for a season 03-04 before the previous owner bought it in July 04. There was still a number set on the front along with an AMA hare scramble race sticker. Why you would race an SX model in hare scramble beats me when you have EXC model..

Parts are coming in Wed and Fri :)

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areyou sure its an 03 model? 02-03 only came with boyesen RAD VALVE. yours has a VF2 in it. i believe what you have is an 04. similar looking to 03 but not thesame power.


why the stehly weights? the snap and monster of this bike is what makes the 03 so special. id go 2 ringed pistons year model 05 SX to rev a bit slower still has same character.


the radiatior is normal. they bend forward a little. mine is like that aswell. i put a UNIBIKER rad guards and they fit great. just had a problem with one bolt that i didnt have the proper tools at that time.

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