There are lots of neglected dirt bikes out there—bikes that have gone way over their regular maintenance schedules. Bikes with blown fork seals, bent bars, teeth missing from their sprockets and, amazingly, riders who are riding them anyway. Everyone has a friend with a dilapidated bike parked in the weeds in his backyard or covered in dust and spiderwebs in an old shed. Sometimes, those friends are you.
MXA can’t fix every forgotten bike in the garages of America, but we can take one mistreated bike and give it some tender loving care. Our goal was to teach one old dog some new tricks with some new parts and elbow grease. Our laundry list of changes is just a sampler. You can choose to use cheaper parts, different brands or just replace worn stuff with new stock parts. As always, MXA went above and beyond its budget on this overhaul, but we don’t expect you to copy this bike to a tee. We just want to show you that the ragged, dirty, worn-out bike in your garage could be back on the track with some basic mods. Our job is to help you bring it back to life.
ENGINE: For the majority of the worn parts for our 2016 KTM 250SXF engine, we enlisted ProX. ProX is best known for its pistons, although over the last couple years it has added a plethora of other parts to its repertoire. We rebuilt the engine using a ProX piston, gasket kit, valves, valve springs, cam chain and oil filter. ProX was a one-stop shopping center for making our worn-out KTM 250SXF new again.
CYLINDER: We sent the beat-up cylinder to Iron Racing Engine to get reconditioned. We used a Dirt Tricks Manual cam chain tensioner to resolve the slack timing issue that is common with KTMs.
EXHAUST PIPE: The exhaust on our 250SXF was dented, and the muffler packing had blown out long ago. We installed a stainless steel Pro Circuit T-6 full system.
FORKS: The 2016 WP 4CS forks were in bad shape (and keep in mind that they worked poorly when they were in good shape). We were never fans of the 4CS coil spring design, so we sent our forks to FTI Suspension to install a Kayaba conversion. This is not a cheap mod, because it requires two sets of forks to make one, but we are massive fans of Kayaba SSS forks, especially when FTI pulls the WP guts out and replaces them with SSS internals. The mod costs around $1200, including labor. Of course, while our forks were at FTI we had them install new ProX fork seals to replace our leakers.
RUNNING GEAR: Believe it or not, we were able to order a new chain, sprockets and brake rotors from ProX. They even had brake pads to replace our old oil-soaked ones.
CONTACT PARTS: We were doubly concerned about the stock bars, grips and footpegs. It looked like someone had thrown the KTM 250SX off the roof of a tall building and then dropped a bank safe on top of it. A quick call to Renthal got us new McGrath FatBars and half-waffle Renthal grips. We could have lived with the footpegs, but we had a set of Scar titanium footpegs in the MXA workshop. It seemed a little decadent to put titanium footpegs on a used bike that we were just fixing up to use as a spare race bike, but we had them, so we used them.
CLUTCH: As good as KTM clutches are, the one on our 2016 KTM 250SXF was fried. The plates were burned out and the smell was worse than any Detroit burger joint. KTMs come with bulletproof, CNC-machined, steel clutch baskets (with the primary gear milled into the basket). This means that even the worst KTM clutch on the planet can be fixed with new clutch plates, springs and tranny oil. In typical MXA fashion, we didn’t go the simple route. Instead, we used a Rekluse Core Manual clutch kit ($519), which included the inner hub, plates, springs, pressure plate and hardware. We added a Rekluse clutch cover for looks.
WHEELS: We had some issues with spoke breakage on the KTM wheels. At first, we were just going to send the stock wheels to Dubya USA and have them replace the KTM’s Excel rims with D.I.D DirtStar rims and Bulldog spokes; but, once we got into it, it seemed foolish not to have all the new stuff laced up to black Talon anodized hubs.
BODYWORK: It’s not that we are tired of orange KTMs, but a couple of months ago we built a yellow and orange KTM 250SXF project bike that everyone raved about. Of course, we couldn’t make another yellow/orange KTM—that would be boring. So, we decided to go black and orange on the plastic and highlight it with a black Seat Concepts seat with yellow pleats. Luckily, Cycra Racing offers its Powerflow plastic bodywork in white, flo orange, black and OEM orange. We also used a black Cycra Pro Armor skid plate, black Rebound hand guards and had Armored Graphix pull it all together with the graphics kit.
MISCELLANEOUS: Almost done with our complete overhaul, we finished it off with Kenda Millville II tires (front and rear), Works Connection black bling around the bike, and a Wiseco hour meter to ensure our 2016 KTM 250SXF doesn’t get too far down the road before its next overhaul.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO RIDE?
Guess what? It ran like a brand-new 2016 KTM 250SXF. No, we take that back. It was appreciably better to ride than a brand-new 2016 KTM 250SXF. Why wouldn’t it be? We had given the engine loving care with new parts, a re-plated cylinder and Pro Circuit exhaust. The bike was no longer stuck with questionable WP 4CS forks but instead blessed with totally rebuilt Kayaba SSS internals shoehorned into WP legs. If there was one mod that made the bike stand out, it was the FTI Kayaba conversion kit. Bumps we lived in fear of with 4CS forks disappeared with SSS. Working on a bike that has been neglected is rewarding. From the Rekluse clutch to the new Renthal bars to the perfectly straight Dubya wheels to the eye-pleasing Cycra plastic, our overhaul made us proud to be riding it.
Consider this a step-by step guide to rebuilding a trusty but rusty old bike. You don’t have to go whole hog to make an old bike usable. We went all out just to make sure you saw all of the options available on toy ou.