ZA Bikers recently attended the launch of the 2016 KTM SX range. The SX and SXF variants represent MX (Motocross) bikes within the extensive KTM range.
These motorcycles are competition based and equipped with latest ground breaking technology, to ensure that riders are given the best possibility of standing on race winner podiums, in fierce contested championships around the world!
The designers of these motorcycles have two major goals when given the task of evolving new models. Save weight and find more power! It is amazing how year after year they manage to somehow achieve their said objectives. The new models are a huge improvement and when compared to models from a couple of years back, the changes are pretty much mind blowing!
During the media briefing we were given an overview of all other improvements, the list is long and would take many pages to illustrate. ZA Bikers suggests that you take a look at the KTM website for a detailed overview on all the models, links provided at the end of the article.
It takes very special people to ride these motorcycles to full potential. MX is probably the most demanding sport in the world. The riders are exceptionally fit, have bucket loads of talent and are probably not sane.
We took Andre David along for the actual test. Andre is a retired MX rider with valuable international experience.
Andre had the opportunity to ride the 125 SX, 250 SXF, 350 SXF & 450 SXF
He gave an overall impression on the – brakes, suspension, ergonomics and motors:
It is important to note that the bikes were out of the box “Brand New” and with any competition bike, it does take time to set up a bike to suite different rider’s styles and weight, saying that, the new KTM’s were not far off from the get go.
These were his thoughts..
Brakes – The Brembo brakes are awesome and when combined with the Dunlop Geomax rubber which is fitted as standard, stopping is effortless!
Suspension – 450 forks were a bit on the harsh side on the bottom stroke. After dropping the air pressure they became slightly plusher. On other models the forks were set softer from the start. Even after over shooting jumps or pushing the bikes into sharp whoops, I could not get the suspensions to bottom out. As for the rear shock, I never experienced that fading feeling. There was no kicking up on braking into corners and I never experienced any wallowing on the back end through fast sweepers either. Pretty impressive, with a bit more time and some fine tuning, finding the perfect set up should be easily obtainable..
Ergonomics – There is loads of room on the bikes and this allowed me to move around easily. No boot catching moment’s anywhere. Only thing which caught me out was how far forward you can go on the seat. A few times in the beginning I moved too far forward then could not find the outside peg. I soon realised to move back on the seat and it was fine and felt good.
Motors – I found the standard 450 SXF mapping to be a bit aggressive. The KTM technicians on hand adjusted it to a more docile map setting for me and it made a difference exiting corners. I kind of expected the back wheel to spin up a bit more but due to the gearbox traction control it just propels forward, I never had to use the clutch. Coming from the 450 I expected a bit more from the 350 SXF. I did have to start feeding the clutch through a few corners. Power was still enough to clear table tops from the inside line on corners. I experienced a slight bit of vibration through the bars due to having to rev it harder. The 250 SXF comes to life when it is ridden hard and you will find that you need to carry more momentum through the corners, but still a very impressive motor and significant improvement on older models that I have ridden. The 125 can rev to the moon and back. Once you get the sweet spot on clutch control, it flies. It is impossible to think how these bikes have evolved from the 125’s that I rode in the early 90’s.
Overall impression: I have never considered myself to be a KTM fan, but after being given the opportunity to ride these bikes, my mind-set has definitely changed! They are top class and the attention to detail through the design process shows. Out of the box, they are “Ready to Race”. Riders from pro level to the weekend warrior will find that going fast is made much easier, on something as capable as these motorcycles.
For more information on the 2016 SX range visit: www.ktm.com/za