Before you buy a second hand KTM check out what our Tech Editor Mat Boyd says to look for in the 2014 – 2017 KTM 250 EXC-F.
The 2014 – 2017 KTM 250 EXC-F is a favourite amongst enduro riders due to its light and nimble handling while still being powerful enough to give you a rush when you hit the throttle. The entire bike has lighter and easier to manage characteristics than a big 450 which makes riding single trail or gnarly sections much easier. It’s also a much easier bike to go pulling out of a rough situation than a big bore bike. Commonly us Aussies love big bores and fast bikes but when it comes to the terrain that we ride we rarely actually need the power of a big bore unless you are living in the desert.
The 2014 – 2017 KTM 250 EXC-F engine is a reliable engine. The plain bearing in the crankshaft means with regular oil changes the crankshaft will generally last a lifetime. The valves and engine components are all good equipment as well as the clutch. The only issues I have seen with the 250 engines is that they tend to disagree with dust.
The dust doesn’t damage the DelWest valves but it does burn all around the piston crown and stick the compression ring into the piston causing a loss of compression. This results in the bike becoming hard to start and a loss of performance until the bike eventually fails to start at all. The prevention of this is to always clean your air filter after each ride and make sure it is sealed well.
The chassis and suspension components are all good quality components however the front WP forks on the KTM have been copping a lashing over the years. The 4CS forks were supposed to be the next big thing in suspension equipment but quickly fell over when the industry realized they just don’t stand up to the task. They are exceptionally soft and lack dampening.
They can be fixed if you are willing to splash some cash on the forks. There are kits available from WP or Dal Soggio who manufacture replacement inner cartridges or replacement valving systems that drastically improve the performance of these forks. KTM has started to steer away from the 4CS forks in the later models however the performance isn’t drastically better and the new forks are still exceptionally soft and spongey.
The only other issue I have seen with the KTM’s is the fuel pumps failing due to cracks however these were fixed under warranty. If you are looking at a 2014 – 2017 KTM 250 EXC-F second hand then make sure it starts and runs easily with no rattles. Check for a service history and even remove the air filter and make sure it is clean behind the filter with no traces of dirt or dust. Then finally check all the bearings and brakes but pay special attention to the swingarm and shock bearings as these tend to wear out and can be expensive to replace. Also check that the engine doesn’t burn oil or blow smoke as the oil rings on these bikes tend to wear out faster than anything else.