FIRST LOOK! KTM’s 2016 SX MODELS
The first shots of 2016 have been fired! KTM dropped it’s entire line of dirt bikes on us and there are no less than five motocross bikes that are completely new from bottom to top, including new 125 and 150 two-strokes. On the off-road side, there are three new bikes. It’s an overwhelming change, but not an unexpected one. When KTM announced the 450SX-F and 250SX-F Factory Editions at the beginning of the racing season, that was first call for 2016. The Factory Editions are a limited run of bikes imported in order to meet AMA regulations for racing homologation. A few make their way into public hands, but for the most part, those bikes are a preview of things to come.
KTM 450SX-F & 450XC-F
Weight loss was the main order of business for the new bikes. The Factory Edition we tested in the April issue was a full 10 pounds lighter than the 2015 production version. That weight loss should translate directly to the 2016 production bike. The new motor has a relocated crank that is higher and more rearward. It’s 23mm shorter from front to rear, 9mm shorter in height and 9mm narrower. It gets a new throttle body and EFI system that will include a launch control mode. The top end is all new and is said to be capable of 11,500 rpm. And, the crank has a 10-percent increase in inertia without an increase in weight, presumably through an increase in the mass that is farthest from the center of rotation. The radiators, pipe, footpegs and shifter are all redesigned to some extent.
As for the chassis, the frame and bodywork are new, just like what we saw on the Factory Edition. The steel frame is said to be stiffer torsionally but less rigid longitudinally, meaning it should have a cushier ride. That goal is also reflected in the machined top triple clamp with its rubber handlebar mount. The rear shock is shorter and the linkage and swingarm are different (lighter). KTM is sticking with the WP 4CS fork, but it’s re-valved, even compared to the Factory Edition. The production bikes will also get the lithium battery, which accounts for a large part of the weight savings. We didn’t expect that. The only significant features that we saw on the Factory Editions that won’t be production are the cosmetic treatments, the on-the-fly mapping switch and the holeshot device on the fork leg.
KTM 350SXF, 350XC-F, 250SX-F & 250XC-F
KTM didn’t release a 350 Factory Edition last winter because it was not needed for Supercross; only the 250 and 450 were required by the factory teams. Now, the 250 Factory Edition has morphed into four different models for the 2016 production lineup. The new 350 motor is based on the 250 motor, but with a 10mm-larger bore and a 5.2mm-longer stroke. And, both sizes are available in cross-country configuration with larger tanks, softer suspension, different gear ratios, kickstands and 18-inch rear wheels. The 250XC-F will have a six-speed gearbox, whereas all the others are five-speeds. New five-speeds, that is, with wider gears and special coatings on several cogs.
All four bikes have motor changes similar to those of the 450. The whole engine is smaller with a relocated crank (up and back). The new 44mm throttle body has a relocated injector and has no linkage between the cable and the butterfly, making for a smaller, simpler design. The valve train has been reworked too, with new cams and finger followers that have a harder coating. The piston is new, the cylinder is new, everything is new. Likewise, the frame and bodywork are new and the suspension was reworked. You would be hard-pressed to find engine parts that are interchangeable with existing parts.
Just like always, the XC models are imported as closed-course racers, not eligible for California green stickers. They don’t pass any emission regulations and don’t have spark arrestors.
We were completely surprised by the arrival of the new 150SX and 125SX. KTM already had the fastest 125 motor on earth, so there didn’t seem to be any market demand for more power. The fact that the 2015 versions have all-new motors reaffirms our faith that KTM believes in two-strokes and will keep them around for a long time to come.
Like the four-strokes, the 125 and 150 motors were redesigned with weight loss in mind. The motors are said to be 4.4 pounds lighter than last year’s. That should make an end product that is under 200 pounds—way under. The cases and cylinders are new, and power output is said to be increased. The 125/150 frame got attention in the same areas as the four-stroke frame—stiffer in side-to-side flex and more compliant up and down. The power valve is still mechanical, and the intake is still through case reeds. The changes for the 85, 65 and 50 SX models are fairly substantial, too, particularly in the styling department.
The larger two-strokes have fewer changes. The 250SX, 250XC and 300XC have unchanged motors, but they did get the new top triple clamp with rubber-mounted bars, lighter wheels and Galfer brake rotors. The XC-W line and the EXC dual-sport bikes will be announced soon, so keep an eye on www.dirtbikemagazine.com. To check out the XC-W and dual-sport models, click here.
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