Sharpening the package: FREERIDE goes 250
Rarely has a slice of the motorcycle market been so well described by a single word. ‘FREERIDE’ was a segment created by KTM for a motorcycle that blended Enduro and Trial traits and enticed riders of all levels to enjoy offroad without pressure and with the fun factor pushed to the fore. Now the company has overseen the arrival of a new 250 …
Fired up for 2018 and due in dealerships very soon, KTM have merged the KTM FREERIDE 350 and 2-stroke KTM FREERIDE 250 R into a potent single KTM FREERIDE 250 F with a newly developed, state-of-the-art 250cc DOHC 4-stroke engine based on the power plant of the competition Enduro KTM 250 EXC-F. And, apparently, it feels livelier than ever.
FREERIDE was an idea that immediately caught on. It existed nicely in the space between ‘lite’ and easy fun for hardcore riders and offered different boundaries for offroad beginners or those fresh or curious about the world of dirt. It was a concept that segued into the KTM FREERIDE E electric models and has now spawned perhaps the definitive rider experience with the brand new KTM FREERIDE 250 F.
Key aspects of the bike include:
- Extremely agile and lightweight at less than 99 kg
- Excellent climbing capabilities
- Low seat height by offroad standards (just over 900 mm)
- Minimal exhaust noise and emissions
- New state-of-the-art 250cc DOHC 4-stroke engine
- Reworked high-tech composite frame
- Slender bodywork with new front fender and headlight mask
- New, high-end WP Xplor suspension
- New appearance with the latest colors, trim and graphics
We’ll get a spin on the KTM FREERIDE 250 F as soon as a test model becomes available but there are several factors well worth considering.
A lighter, narrower engine is also homologated with 20.5 hp and 18 Nm of peak torque, which is already more than enough power to climb the steepest of slopes. The unrestricted version has 26 hp and 22.1 Nm of torque. In this configuration, it also offers an alternative set of engine characteristics, as well as a traction control mode, both of which can be selected with an optional map select switch on the handlebar: available through the KTM PowerParts catalog. The engine management system itself boasts a faster ECU equipped with different mappings for each gear, selected according to the data received from the gear position sensor.
The chassis is a reimagined composite of ‘high-quality chrome-molybdenum steel sections bolted to forged aluminum components’. It is both the skeleton and the soul of the KTM FREERIDE 250 F. In fact KTM engineers claim that “for model year 2018 a longer steering head provides increased rigidity for even better tracking stability. New engine brackets combined with newly designed lateral engine head stays connect the engine firmly to the frame, contributing to enhanced cornering precision, while reducing vibration levels.” The whole effect is to create a truer and easier offroad riding experience.
Add the new WP Xplor 43 fork, 5 l fuel tank, 3.2 kg cast-aluminum swingarm, a raft of KTM PowerParts and a dashing look and the KTM FREERIDE 250 F looks set to capture another raft of fans. Keep checking back on the KTM BLOG for judgment soon.