Even though the KTM Freeride trail bike models are not available in the USA, KTM’s decision to add a completely new two-stroke model to their lineup takes us back to the days of purpose-built trail bikes?which petered out as motocross machinery got more sophisticated.
Powered by a detuned 250 EXC two-stroke engine that is four pounds lighter than the EXC version (even though it has an electric starter), the 250R engine is tuned for torque instead of peak horsepower. The Freeride 250R’s engine has brand-new cylinder porting without the EXC’s power valve. The exhaust pipe looks more like a trials bike pipe instead of the motocross pipe. There is also a resonance chamber that makes the KTM 250R street legal in some municipalities. The engine’s heat is dissipated by a single-piece radiator integrated deeply behind the frame spars for protection. A fan with a newly developed thermostat ensures stable operating temperatures even at the slowest pace in the most difficult terrain.
The clutch is a new, undamped, coil spring design with a steel clutch basket and primary gear. The clutch springs are softer than on the EXC engine. The hydraulic clutch is powered by a Formula reservoir.
The brakes are also from Formula with a four-piston radial caliper on the front and a two-piston rear. The front rotor is 260 mm. The rims are from Giant and the tires are a 2.75-21 front and a 4.00-18 rear. They are special Maxxis tires that would have been called “trials universal” in the good old days of trail bikes.
The suspension uses WP forks and shock, but the forks are 43mm instead of 48mm units on the EXC. The no-link shock is a re-tuned WP with a progressive spring. The shock has separate low- and high-speed compression damping. The seat height is 915mm, but KTM offers a lowering kit the reduces the height by 25mm.
The 250R frame is a composite design of stainless steel sections, bolt-on forged aluminum components and a polymer plastic subframe. Thanks to the two-stroke engine the ground clearance is 60mm more that the 350 Freeride model. The air filter is under the seat (up front).
The six-speed gearbox has shorter gear ratios than the 250EXC in the five lower gears, while sixth gear is extra-tall.
KTM should import these bikes to America under the same system they uses with the Ryan Dungey Replica?as a limited-edition model in both 250R two-stroke and 350 four-stroke versions. There are enough KTM trail riding fans to support a small production run for the USA.