WE RIDE PASHA AFSHAR’S TWISTED DEVELOPMENT KTM 270SXF

 THE GEAR: Jersey: FXR Racing Podium, Pants: FXR Racing Podium, Helmet: 6D ATR-2, Goggles: Scott Prospect, Boots: Sidi Crossfire 3SR.

As is the case with many Hollywood actors, stuntmen and producers, it’s not easy to track down Pasha’s real name. The motocross world knows him as Pasha Afshar, because that’s the name he races under. As for his Hollywood career, you might have seen him under the screen name Tony Pantera in “Terminator 2” (where he played the liquid mercury cop) or “Live Wire,” “Three Kings,” “Young and the Restless,” “True Lies,” BMX-based “The Ride,” “American Wrestler: The Wizard” and, in fact, Pasha talked his movie producer brother, Ali Afshar (who has used the Hollywood pseudonym Alex Dodd), into making the 2019 motocross movie “Bennett’s War.”

PASHA RACES IN THE SUPER-COMPETITIVE, SOCAL, OVER-50 EXPERT CLASS, AND HIS KTM 250SXF WAS LIKE A CAP GUN IN A FIELD OF 450cc HOWITZERS RIDDEN BY FORMER AMA PROS, NOT HOLLYWOOD ACTORS.

Pasha started racing in 1995 and still does it every weekend. He also still works in the movies, mostly as the archetypal bad guy, but we didn’t decide to test ride Pasha’s KTM 270SXF because of his movie credits (because we blinked during “American Wrestler” and missed him). We are testing it because Pasha is a motocross benefactor and unsung hero. He sponsors lots of up-and-coming young riders with bikes and even monthly stipends to help them afford to race. Better yet, you might have heard of him for his promotion of 125cc two-stroke racing, where he offers up $15,000 purses for the 125 Pro, Over-30 125 Pro and Over-50 125 Pro classes at World Two-Stroke and World Vet Championship, all to boost the profile of 125 two-strokes. It should be noted that Pasha doesn’t take any money from the races he puts the money up for. He loves the sport, and, even though he is not all that lovable, we love him in spite of himself.

It’s no secret that not everyone who has bought a 250cc four-stroke has been happy with it. They thought it sounded like the perfect bike—light, high-revving and a barrel of fun. But, after a few races, they realized that they aren’t 250 four-stroke material. Maybe they are too heavy, too timid, too slow or too old, but either way, they are disappointed with the all-out commitment that a 250 four-stroke requires and the need to keep it on the pipe all the time. 

They wish that they had bitten the bullet and bought a KTM 350SXF like their buddies suggested. But, it’s too late and too expensive to make the switch now, so they are stuck with the 250SXF until their wives says they can break into the piggy bank again.

Pasha’s KTM 270SXF is a mix of stock parts, creative aftermarket items and proven power mods.

But, you don’t have to live with your mistake. Pasha Afshar races in the super-competitive, SoCal, Over-50 Expert class, and his KTM 250SXF was like a cap gun in a field of 450cc howitzers ridden by former AMA Pros, not Hollywood actors. To close the gap on the big bikes, Pasha embraced an age-old, well-proven plan. He made his KTM 250SXF four-stroke torquier, broader and more powerful in one simple step. The secret sauce? Cubic centimeters. Oh, we don’t mean a stupid amount of upsizing. No need to turn your 250 into a 325, at least not if you want grunt combined with top-end rev and all the power in the right places. This is where Cylinder Works’ 270cc kit comes in. For $701.90, you get a brand-new cylinder, 3mm-larger Vertex piston and a Cometic gasket kit. It is a bolt-on kit that ups the bore from 78mm to 81mm, which, paradoxically, is the exact same bore as the 2023 KTM 250SXF but with a longer stroke. It boosts the displacement from 250cc to 269.5cc. All you have to do is remove the stock parts, slip the new cylinder and piston on and drop the head back into place.

DID WE MENTION THAT ONCE YOU MAKE THE TRADE UP TO THE 270 KIT, YOU WILL HAVE A PERFECTLY GOOD 250SXF CYLINDER AND PISTON SITTING ON THE SHELF TO ENHANCE RESALE VALUE OF YOUR KTM 250SXF/270?

By four-stroke standards, this is the simplest big-bore mod known to man. Best of all, this isn’t a kit that requires you to bore your stock cylinder out until the skirt is thin enough to read the Bible through. Nope! The Cylinder Works kit starts with a brand-new cast cylinder with a nickel silicon carbide cylinder sleeve that comes precisely sized and honed, giving your engine good ring sealing and cylinder-wall longevity. The dimensions of the Cylinder Works big-bore cylinder are sized to fit your stock engine without any machine work or modifications. The compression ratio is 14.4:1, and the forged high-compression Vertex piston is available in A, B and C sizes (for later rebuilds). Replacement piston kits are available with piston, rings, pin and circlips for $219.32. Complete Cometic gasket kits are $90.73.

By the way, did we mention that once you make the trade up to the 270 kit, you will have a perfectly good 250SXF cylinder and piston sitting on the shelf should you change your mind, want to move the 270 kit to your next bike or up the resale value of your KTM 250SXF/270?

 To the naked eye, the KTM 270SXF engine doesn’t look one iota different from the stock 250SXF—until you hear it growl in the midrange.

What else did Pasha do to turn his KTM 250SXF into a KTM 270SXF? In truth, he could have stopped with just the bolt-on kit. It is a one-stop shopping spree. Pasha didn’t have to do anything else, short of removing the backfire screen (by running a KTM 250SX two-stroke air filter cage). Even the stock 14/49 gearing worked better, because the 270SXF engine had the grunt to pull the tall gearing. Pasha wanted more, so he turned to where lots of AMA Pro privateers turn to get their engines modded—Twisted Development.

For Pasha, the Cylinder Works KTM 270SXF mod was too easy. He wanted the job to be harder—not for him but for Twisted’s Jamie Ellis. To that end, Jamie ported Pasha’s cylinder head, cut the valve seats and worked on a variety of maps to put into a Vortex X10 ECU. Before the mapping was finished, Pasha had to choose the exhaust pipe he was going to run. He chose a Yosh pipe for Jamie to finalize the maps on. At the track, Pasha tested different rear sprockets, settling on a 51-tooth Supersprox rear sprocket so that he could get it to third gear sooner. Those were all the mods to the powerplant.

As for the rest of his KTM 270SXF, Pasha displayed a lot of restraint and no small amount of appreciation of modern technology. Here are the highlights.

Pasha has a lot of KTM experience going back a few years, meaning that he has run the gamut of suspension tuners. But, he discovered, as many owners of the current crop of WP XACT air forks have, that he didn’t need to re-valve the stock 2022 WP forks; but, that didn’t mean he left them alone. He took his forks to his friend Brian Bolding at N2Dirt, but not to change the internals; instead, he had Brian coat the forks’ legs with Kyokote (a polymer-impregnated hard-anodizing process) for a durable, low-friction surface with a coefficient of static friction of less than 0.05. That is extremely slick, as a value close to zero indicates that only a small force is required to cause movement of one object over the other. A value closer to one means a large force is required. Brian also installed stiffer bottoming bumpers in the forks, because Pasha runs more air pressure and less compression damping than normal. Pasha also didn’t feel the need to re-valve the shock but had Brian add a stiffer 48 N/mm shock spring.

We expected expensive WP Cone Valve forks or coil-spring conversions, but Pasha loves the stock WP XACT air forks. His only mod was Kyokote coating from N2Dirt.

Other mods to the suspension were Neken SFS triple clamps with air-suspended bar mounts to take the bite out of the small bumps, British-made wraparound ProTech fork guards, FCP head stays and Acerbis bottom triple-clamp protector to ward off rock dings.

Pasha is a fan of the Rekluse Core EXP 3.0 auto-clutch and Rekluse adjustable slave unit that allows for quick and easy adjustment of clutch-plate free-play. His Rekluse clutch is controlled by ASV clutch and brake levers. As for the front brake lever, it is attached to an expensive Brembo Factory works caliper and 270mm Galfer Tsunami front rotor (protected by an Acerbis front rotor guard). Out back is a TM Designworks chain guide, D.I.D 520 X-ring chain, KTM Power Parts shark fin rear disc guard and Dunlop MX33 rear tire.

The chain guide duties were handled by TM Designworks.

Pasha likes the stock Neken KTM bars and ODI Lock-On grips but protects his hands with Circuit C84 Vector hand guards. The footpegs are from Raptor, while Factory Effex handled the graphics and Acerbis the front number plate. After MXA was done testing Pasha’s bike, he swapped out the stock KTM seat for a Guts Racing R.J. Wing seat cover.

THE ADDED TORQUE HELPED THE LINEAR 250SXF POWERBAND BECOME MORE KINETIC. INSTEAD OF LYING DOWN AND WAITING FOR THE RPM TO BUILD, ON THE KTM 270SXF, WE COULD SHORT-SHIFT, REV IT TO THE MOON OR SLAM THROUGH THE GEARBOX.

The KTM 250SXF is a great 250, but it is also one of the highest-revving four-strokes made, with its rev limiter set at 14,000 rpm. This singular feature makes it a prime candidate for a big-bore kit. Why? Because it already has over-rev to spare and thus will become much more effective when it is mated to a solid midrange hit. Although Pasha overshot the $701 base price of the Cylinder Works 270 kit by $2500, it was still the best money he ever spent. Pasha’s little 250SXF gained horsepower and torque at every step along the dyno curve—from as little as one horse down low to five more horses through the middle. The added torque helped the rather linear 250SXF powerband become more kinetic. Instead of lying down and waiting for the rpm to build, on the KTM 270SXF, we could short-shift, rev it to the moon or slam through the gearbox. It had enough power to pull taller gears when it counted. It hit harder and didn’t lose any rev on top. It was sweet. Best of all, if you aren’t bound by the rulebook or ethics, the Cylinder Works 270SXF big-bore kit is the best way to get competitive power at a wallet-friendly price.

The Cylinder Works KTM 270SXF kit is like Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back machine. It is a chance to erase the mistakes you made when you bought a KTM 250SXF instead of a KTM 350SXF. If you bought a 250cc four-stroke thinking it was going to be the cat’s meow, only to discover that it was closer to cat scratch fever, the big-bore Cylinder Works 270 kit will fix your mistake for a lot less dough than buying a new bike.

 

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