somehow, as i get older, my bikes get smaller. this time i got myself a ktm (of course) 250 exc-f.
well, size does certainly matter, and to tell you the truth: with the amount of training i get these days (and subsequently my lack of fitness) the last thing i need is a monster that tears off my arms as soon as i twist the accelerator.
so this time i went for a small, light bike. it is, if this is possible, even narrower and certainly a few kilos lighter than the 450, with fewer rotational masses, which made cornering a breeze. the 250 also had just the right amount of traction for me: where guys with the bigger bikes struggled to find a balance between speed and traction, the 250 seemed to almost naturally work its way through.
but just feather the clutch and the 250 f engine kicks into life: the engine features a dual cam head (the only one that ktm makes) with titanium valves revving to a screaming 13.000 rpm … and delivering nearly 40 bhp on the way. which is as much as the old xt 550 or even the exc 400 had … imagine.
ktm has previously struggled to develop a competitive 250 and this was the first series where they actually got it right. the 250 does require a different approach to riding, and one i previously really struggled with. i always had bikes with a lot of torque and used the torque curve rather than revs to keep the momentum. that does not work with the 250 – it will rather stall than pull out of a corner if the revs get too low. i did manage to adapt but to be honest i wanted a bit more grunt.
still, that mosquito most certainly had a sting …