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2016 fx-f VS 2016 Ktm XC-F Review

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Hey All 

I am currently riding a 2016 250 xc-f and one of my riding buddy's just pick up a Yamaha 250 fx-f . This past weekend I got to spent some time on the new Yamaha and thought some might like a bit of a comparison to the 2016 Ktm xc-f. 

Riding terrain. I rode the bike on a relatively fast quad track thought the forest. This track has decent up and down with lots of roots that are imbedded at angles and you need to be on your toes not to over ride the section. 

Weight, fit and over all feel. 

First off the the new FX is a nice bike that appears to be well built. I believe this bike should be on anyones radar that is looking for a new 250f. 
Size wise the bike does feel slightly bigger then the ktm and maybe not quite as roomy in the cockpit, but over all this is just a slight difference. 
Weight wise the FX had a battery upgrade to a lithium ion but other then that is was stock. Overall the bike is really balanced and you don't really feel much, if any real weight difference between the bikes. I didn't have to pick the bike up or push it and I suspect that is when the weight will show up. That said the owner is going to do a kick starter delete mod and that will bring the two bike to very similar over all weights. 

Suspension and handling. 

The KTM XC-F sets the bar really high in the handling department. The XC-F feels raked out by comparison, closer to the ground and over all more connected to the ground and racing line. The new FX-F feels more up right with a steeper steering angle and over all if has a more trail bike like feel. That said the Yamaha gives up very little, if anything to the KTM, it just has a different way of approaching the handling compared to the KTM. 

Suspension.

The track that I rode the Yamaha on was a perfect suspension show case. Imbedded off angle roots at medium speed. The front SSS fork on the Yamaha is very good, but the Ktm 4cs front fork was its equal for this trail and area. Both forks are excellent at absorbing the off angle root hits and both held up well in the the faster down hill hits. 

Rear suspension was also excellent on both bikes, sucking up roots steps and acceleration whoops with ease. 

My conclusion is that I would need more seat time to pick a winner, they are both excellent. 


Motors.

This is the one area that on face value there appears to be a clear cut advantage to the KTM XC-F. The Ktm has substantially more power then the Yamaha. It is stronger on low end, has way more mid range and I suspect more top end, although I never really got into the area. The difference in power completely changes the feel of the two bikes. The FX-F feels KDX like and the XC-F feels like a moto bike by comparison. 

How that translates in the real world is important to understand. The Yamaha will be much easier to ride in tight slippery single track when traction is hard to find. Once the trail opens up a little the KTM comes into its own and all that extra torque and HP is great to have. 

I would say that depending on the terrain you ride dictates which motor is better. 

Conclusions. 

These are two excellent bikes and it really doesn't matter which one you buy, you would end up with a great bike. The final consideration is cost. The Yamaha is over $1000.00 cheaper then the KTM . 

I have some video that I will add a little later. 

Cheers

Looki

Edited by Looki
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Good review!

I haven't ridden either bike, but I have rode on both forks.  I think they are both comparable on the trail until you start getting some air between the tires and the ground.  I found it much harder to bottom out the SSS forks that were just as plush on the trail.

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I always wondered how 2 different people, can have 2 completely opposite opinions on the exact same bikes?

 

Who are you referring to and what is that person's opinion ?

 

I always find it interesting that "everyone" tests the YZ250FX and nobody mentions what map they have in the ECM, or that it is even tunable.

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Who are you referring to and what is that person's opinion ?

 

I always find it interesting that "everyone" tests the YZ250FX and nobody mentions what map they have in the ECM, or that it is even tunable.

I think its safe to say that most tests are done with the stock map as thats how it came STOCK.

Can't say I agree with the OP's review and thoughts on the suspension and power.

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I still like to read different opinions.  There are always a lot of factors that usually aren't mentioned, most often skill level.  I wouldn't cry if I owned either bike.

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I think its safe to say that most tests are done with the stock map as thats how it came STOCK.

 

I respect what you are saying, but if we adjust clickers with a screwdriver or wrench and adjust tire pressure with a gauge, and adjust preload with a hammer and punch,  in this day and age shouldn't the testers be adjusting maps ?

 

In the case of the WRs, should they test with the throttle screw in place and the stock ECU or remove the throttle stop screw and install the comp ECU ?

 

I find it interesting that the OP commented on how much more powerful the KTM was and yet one can probably turn the FX up to nearly the same power level with a simple map edit.  After all, the YZ250F has similar power to the 250SXF and the FX has the same engine as the F, so...    And like the OP says, the engine response totally changes the character of the bike. 

 

All this goes double for magazines that test without trying different maps.  I mean, seriously, everyone likes a different engine curve and if the engine curve is what turns you off a bike, at least take an hour and play with a few maps and see if you can get it to your liking.  After all, the owners are going to do the same and it at least gives the prospective buyers a hint of what the bike is capable of. 

 

If testers don't do this, then bike reviews become more of did the manufacturer's map fit the tester's expectation more than anything.

Edited by MidlifeCrisisGuy

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I have seen quite a few tests where they state any mods including mapping changes. I guess it depends on what the test is. Most seem To start with a pretty much stock test it seems.

Often they add a side bar discussing any mods or changes.

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I have no problem with the OP riding both bikes and putting forth his opinion.

 

The FX runs much better with the butt plug out and a different map in it.

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The review was conducted on my bike, at the time of the test it was brand new out of the box sort of speak. it had 1 mile of trail riding only. The bike is 100% stock except for a minor gearing change. the OP is a fast A rider as am I. Even though i feel the KTM makes more power i'm not sure it would be any faster over the course of a race. My previous bike was a YZ250 2 stroke and even though it made more power it was very tiring to ride fast over a 3 hour race and i feel will be slower at the end of the day. The motor has an almost electric feel with how smooth it makes power and hooks up great on technical terrain. 

I will try different gearing  and remove the butt plug and see what that does, also kick starter delete is on the way to bring the weight down. 

i feel that the YZ is as good as the KTM for a lot less money. 

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The review was conducted on my bike, at the time of the test it was brand new out of the box sort of speak. it had 1 mile of trail riding only. The bike is 100% stock except for a minor gearing change. the OP is a fast A rider as am I. Even though i feel the KTM makes more power i'm not sure it would be any faster over the course of a race. My previous bike was a YZ250 2 stroke and even though it made more power it was very tiring to ride fast over a 3 hour race and i feel will be slower at the end of the day. The motor has an almost electric feel with how smooth it makes power and hooks up great on technical terrain. 

I will try different gearing  and remove the butt plug and see what that does, also kick starter delete is on the way to bring the weight down. 

i feel that the YZ is as good as the KTM for a lot less money.

The suspension needs a good 5 to 10 hours to break in, it gets better...

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I always wondered how 2 different people, can have 2 completely opposite opinions on the exact same bikes?

Same way we have different taste in women. You like em large and in charge and I like em small enough to toss around. Just difference of opinions is all :)

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Same way we have different taste in women. You like em large and in charge and I like em small enough to toss around. Just difference of opinions is all :)

Not really, one review says the Yamaha has considerably more bottom, another says the KTM does, another says the Yamaha does, another says the Yamaha does, another says the KTM does. Only a few things can be happening, someone is wrong, someone is lying, or someone doesn't know what the heck their talking about... I disagree with the OP in the motor department. The KTM might "feel" better because it is quicker to rev, but the Yamaha has always been known to have stronger pull off the bottom then any other bike...

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Not really, one review says the Yamaha has considerably more bottom, another says the KTM does, another says the Yamaha does, another says the Yamaha does, another says the KTM does. Only a few things can be happening, someone is wrong, someone is lying, or someone doesn't know what the heck their talking about... I disagree with the OP in the motor department. The KTM might "feel" better because it is quicker to rev, but the Yamaha has always been known to have stronger pull off the bottom then any other bike...

 

Not to get bogged down in the power debate as it is irrelevant to the conversation but motousa has this dyno chart http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2015/03/article/2015-ktm-250-xc-f-vs-yamaha-yz250fx/ from the 2015 that shows the ktm had a pretty clear cut advantage in 2015 and the 2016 ktm has a few more ponies again and more low end torque then 2015. 

That said, the Yamaha has a great trail motor. 

 

Look

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where did you get a 2016 FX to ride, local dealer said 2016 fx not available in North america yet??

 

I have tested the new 2016 XCF 350 WP suspension back to back with the Kayaba SSS.  The Kayaba SSS is so much better it is not even worth discussing.  WP is making improvements, but even the mags and all suspension tuners I know say the the Kayaba is the gold standard, WP is at the lower end of what is currently available.  I follow your posts on ktmtalk I know you are a big fan of that brand, but let's get real here.  WP has a long ways to go to catch KYB.

 

The KTM's I have ridden all had strong power at very high RPM, weaker at low and mid rpm, mediocre to poor suspension.  

 

For me, I ride tight trails, low to mid power has much more practicality than the redline levels of RPM where the ktm motors typically shine.  My testing with the 2015 Yamaha Vs the 2016 ktm XCF had a very different result than your own.

 

The Yamaha is a much better package for me, better real world power (I do not ride on a dyno, people get caught up on a dyno result, study how they work and what they measure, you will become much less impressed by what a dyno can predict about the real value of a given odffroad race motor), much better suspension and power, smoother power, less vibration.  MUCH better price.  No brainer for me!  The yamaha is a much better deal.  I also expect it to last longer, have fewer issues/repairs and lower maintenance costs.

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Based on my experience on 15' models of both, the FX is just as capable as a full blown race weapon as the XC-F KTM line.  It is a great trail motor as well as a great race motor.  Sure, it has a little less peak power on paper than the KTM in stock trim, but one remap and it will be breathing down on the KTM's back tire (and i would imagine this would be the same result with the 16').  I just read the dirt bike mag article where they did the 15' 250F off-road shootout with 8 bikes from the major manufactures.  The FX beat both the XCF and XCF-W based on the reviewers experience.  In fact, it beat out all 7 bikes competing against it.  That said, i know you are talking about a 16' model which i have not been on and I'm well aware that they got a motor overhaul.  Again, my experience mainly comes from the 15 model XCF.  I feel like the Yamaha lugs better down low, where as the KTM really screams up top.  Everyone here knows about the suspension between the two so i won't go into that.

Edited by NW_drZ

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Hey All 

 

My review was honest and I thought very complimentary to the Yamaha. It is a great bike. I did not state which bike was better only the differences between them. I have many years of riding under my belt and I know that HP is rarely something that helps you off road. Overall the FX is a great package, but so is the new XC-F 

 

I suspect the KTM will win most of the California shootout in the mags as they ride more open terrain . However I the tighter woods the ktm needs some significant mods to work as well as the FX.  

 

Also as a side note. My KtM was running the low power map to calm the power delivery down. My suspicion is that the new XC-F makes somewhere in the mid 40's for HP. 

 

Looki

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Hey All

My review was honest and I thought very complimentary to the Yamaha. It is a great bike. I did not state which bike was better only the differences between them. I have many years of riding under my belt and I know that HP is rarely something that helps you off road. Overall the FX is a great package, but so is the new XC-F

I suspect the KTM will win most of the California shootout in the mags as they ride more open terrain . However I the tighter woods the ktm needs some significant mods to work as well as the FX.

Also as a side note. My KtM was running the low power map to calm the power delivery down. My suspicion is that the new XC-F makes somewhere in the mid 40's for HP.

Looki

You know how it goes, we always lean towards what we have :). I respect your review and have no doubt those 16' xcf's are sweethearts. 250f's sure have come a long way, mid 40hp is a lot for those little rippers. Not sure if you have been on a 15' xcf, but if so would you say the 16' motor revision is a noticeable upgrade?

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I have tested the new 2016 XCF 350 WP suspension back to back with the Kayaba SSS.  The Kayaba SSS is so much better it is not even worth discussing.  WP is making improvements, but even the mags and all suspension tuners I know say the the Kayaba is the gold standard, WP is at the lower end of what is currently available.  I follow your posts on ktmtalk I know you are a big fan of that brand, but let's get real here.  WP has a long ways to go to catch KYB.

 

 

Agreed.  I've ridden both and believe the KTM is a solid machine.  The 4cs fork however is garbage and it's an expensive fix.  You can't just shuffle some shims to get the 4cs to work.  

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