“Triumph is a street bike company. No way will they be able to make a competitive motocross bike on their own!” That statement was in just about every comment section of whatever social-media platform we posted the news about Triumph developing a new motocross model. We aren’t going to lie, the entire staff at Dirt Bike Magazine was skeptical as well. This would be a huge undertaking, requiring an enormous monetary investment in a discipline the company seemingly knew nothing about. When the TF250-X was officially announced less than five years later, we only had more questions. Now, it’s time for some answers!

With a claimed wet weight of 229 pounds, dyno numbers around 47 horsepower and a suggested retail cost of $9995, the Triumph looks impressive on paper.

Triumph Motorcycles’ chief product manager, Steve Sargent, said this about the TF250-X: “This bike is 100 percent Triumph—conceived, designed, developed and manufactured by our world-leading chassis and engine teams, with expert support from our racing champions. We started with a blank sheet of paper and began an all-new ground-up design, including a new engine, new chassis and new electronics.”

So, with that in mind, let’s start with the chassis. The main frame features a center-spine design utilizing twin cradles housing the engine that’s made out of aluminum, along with an aluminum subframe and swingarm that are hand-welded in a brand-new Triumph factory. Suspension components are Kayaba (KYB) at both ends, with a 48mm AOS spring fork up front and a forged-aluminum triple clamp attaching the front end to the frame. ProTaper’s ACF carbon-fiber core bars and black ODI half-waffle lock-on grips complete the rider-control setup.

Stopping power is provided by Brembo components, with a 260mm Galfer rotor up front and the standard 220mm disc out back. The wheels are made up of black D.I.D DirtStar 7000-series aluminum rims, heavy-duty spokes and machined-aluminum hubs with a polished finish. Triumph chose Pirelli MX32 mid-soft tires, and like Honda does on its CRF250R, they opted to use a 100/90/19 rear tire along with the thinner rim size. They claim this is a performance-based decision, but we know it saves precious amounts of weight as well. Triumph wanted to make the TF250-X have its own unique look, and just like everything else on the machine, the styling is completely their own. The black and white plastics are made exclusively at Triumph facilities, with all the signature graphics being molded in. The seat features a rubberized black gripper cover that matches the overall color scheme of the motorcycle.

With a claimed wet weight of 229 pounds on the track, the TF250-X’s handling is very rider-friendly, it corners well, has great stability at higher speeds, and feels light and easy to move around in the air. The rider cockpit is thin yet spacious enough for taller riders without making smaller riders feel like it’s too big. The KYB suspension is set up more for comfort and has a great overall feel, never having any major harsh feedback. Although the DB testing staff may be on the heavier side of Triumph’s TF250-X target demographic with some minor clicker adjustments everyone came away happy. No surprise at all, for the stopping power, the Brembo components work great.

The TF250-X features proven components throughout with Kayaba suspension, Brembo brakes, ProTaper handlebars and ODI lock-on grips.

The engine has a striking resemblance to a few Austrian manufacturers, and Triumph was not shy about telling us that they looked at what was on the market and doing well, but assured us that all the TF250-X engine cases are machined by Triumph at Triumph facilities by Triumph employees.

Designed to be compact and lightweight, the single-cylinder 4-stroke DOHC engine features a 78mm bore, 52.3mm stroke with 14.4:1 compression, has a 5-speed transmission and is fed by a Dell’Orto electronic fuel-injection system. Internally, Triumph uses a forged-aluminum piston and titanium valves; the engine also has diamond-like, carbon, low-friction coatings; lightweight magnesium covers; and an Exedy Belleville clutch. Engine management and tuneability can be performed through Triumph’s MX Tune Pro app, allowing riders to use real-time user-selectable mapping, a real-time engine-sensor dashboard and live diagnostic functionality with just about any smartphone on the market today.

Triumph also has a smartphone-based app with tuning capabilities that connects to the bike via Wi-Fi, which is similar to other manufacturers.

The 250cc world is all about horsepower, and in stock trim, the Triumph TF250-X is definitely in the race. Although we haven’t been able to test it back to back with some of the horsepower kings in the class, it has good response off the bottom with an easy-to-ride midrange and plenty of revs on top, making its peak horsepower around 13,000 rpm. We are thinking it will land in the middle to top of the horsepower wars in the 250cc four-stroke class.

Stock gearing is 13/48, and going up 1 or 2 teeth on the rear sprocket would probably make it a little easier to keep it in the meat of the power curve for most riders and make the transition from third to fourth gear a little more seamless. The exhaust has a throaty sound to it without being murder on the ears.

Like most other manufacturers, Triumph equipped the TF250-X with Launch Control (LC), Quick Shift (QS), Traction Control (TC) and optional maps (M), all able to be activated on the fly by a handlebar-mounted switch located next to the Brembo hydraulic clutch. All these systems work about as well as what other manufacturers currently have available, but Triumph made it really easy to locate the said systems with letter abbreviations rather than colored buttons.

There are two different preprogrammed maps stock that we found weren’t drastically different, but we did notice subtle changes. Although creating custom maps is not currently a feature, Triumph does offer 10 preloaded maps that a consumer can choose from within the MX Tune Pro app.

In one word, “impressive.” Now, the Triumph TF250-X that we rode in Florida at Gatorback Cycle Park might be a mix of pre-production and production motorcycle with minor changes coming before the machines hit dealer floors later this year, but overall, we are told what you see is what the general consumer will be receiving.

In a total of five years, Triumph has managed to not only design, test and develop a completely new 250cc motocross bike, but also open up multiple factories around the world, staff them with skilled workers, set up supply lines, and come to market with a polished, finished product in an extremely competitive segment that is a player from the get-go. We tip our hats to everyone at Triumph, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.

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