Is the fuel-injected KTM 2-stroke as good as the conventional one? Is it better? That’s the question that occupied us this week at Dirt Bike. It’s been a few months since we first rode the KTM 250XC-W TPI in Austria, but we didn’t have the opportunity to ride it back to back with the regular model. Now we have. The two bikes are identical aside from the fuel injection and the oil injection, so it makes a perfect comparison.


We already know that the bike is awesome in its conventional form. It has the new motor with the counterbalancer and it’s incredibly smooth and powerful. It has the WP Xplor 48 fork and PDS no-linkage suspension in the rear. The brakes are Brembo, the tires are Dunlop, everything is good, high-quality stuff. For the full test of last year’s KTM 250XC-W, click here.

KTM offers that bike concurrently with the fuel-injected model here in the U.S. The injectors were placed directly in the transfer ports and the carb was replaced with a Delorto throttle body. In order to get lubrication to the crank, oil injection was necessary, so there’s no need to mix the gas with oil.  The charging system was beefed up for the additional demand, but otherwise, the two bikes are the same. The first question everyone asks is weight. Is the TPI bike heavier? Yes. On our scale, the conventional XC-W is 224 pounds without fuel. The TPI bike is 231 without fuel, but it did have a full oil tank. Does premix weigh more than straight gas? We don’t know, but it’s not relevant, because the two bikes have different appetites for fuel. After a day of riding, when the conventional bike was almost dry, the TPI bike still had a third of a tank.

The two bikes have a very different power delivery. The TPI bike doesn’t have as strong a hit and makes less power through the mid-range. The gap isn’t huge, but there’s no question that the conventional bike has meatier power in the middle. We also experienced an occasional glitch with the injected bike. If you dump the clutch and put a sudden load on the motor, it can hesitate. On the other hand, the injected bike runs perfectly clean just above idle and never loads up, even when you’re off the gas for long period. You can start it and let it idle on the sidestand for 10 minutes without consequence. All our testing so far has been at sea level, but there’s still more to learn. Look for the test in the April print issue of Dirt Bike.


Just to keep things in perspective, we always had the Husky TX300 along for comparison. Yes, it’s still our all time favorite off-road bike.


Today, the Dakar riders are in La Paz, having a day off. We’ve been cheering for the five Americans, and they’re all still in the running. Ricky Brabec has been in and out of the top 10 all week, while Andrew Short has been amazingly consistent, around 23rd each day. Shane Esposito and Mark Samuels have both been penalized for missing way points, but typically finish in the mid-30s. Bill Conger is cruising along, concentrating on finishing each day. Here’s what Mark Samuels posted yesterday:

Made it to the rest day, goal #1 ✔️. the last two days have been long days on the bike doing over 700km each day. Yesterday I felt I had a really good day navigating in the dunes and my pace picked up. Until the last 50k the dunes were crazy soft and I made some rookie mistakes causing me a lot of time. Today we had a long transfer section early morning that was freezing!!!!! But the stage today was so so, I navigated well but just not at the speed these guys have at navigating yet. all in all I’m really enjoying this process of learning and excited for a day off tomorrow!

The team that’s surprising is the Gas Gas riders. Johnny Aubert is a French World Enduro Rider who has been up front on several stages an now sits in 13th. Jonathan Barragan is in 21st and Cristian Espana Munoz is 56th. They’re all riding KTMs this year, but clearly, Gas Gas has ambitions that include a Rally bike of their own. We’ll probably see a 450 enduro four-stroke before long.



Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing is pleased to announce their 2018 offroad team featuring Colton Haaker, Josh Strang, Thad Duvall, and newest member Dalton Shirey.
Looking to defend his 2017 FIM SuperEnduro Championship and contend the 2018 AMA Endurocross series is Colton Haaker. His commitment and perseverance makes him a true pioneer and an integral part of the offroad team.

Josh Strang will be making his return to the Grand National Cross Country series riding the FX 450 alongside teammate Thad Duvall on an FX 350. Strang will also be racing the Full Gas Sprint Enduro which is a challenge he is looking forward to. Thad Duvall is looking to not only claiming a GNCC title, but an AMA National Enduro title as well. His bout with the team has been successful one and Duvall is a driven racer looking for the top spot.
Newest member of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory racing team is Dalton Shirey. Dalton will be competing aboard the FX 450. He will be put to the test racing the 2018 AMA National Hare and Hound and AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix Series.


That’s all for now,






Ron Lawson

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