2 Stroke KTM 250 XCw as an adventure bike?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Shawnspeed, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Shawnspeed

    Shawnspeed Been here awhile

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    I have a 2015 Tiger 800 XCx and a 2014 KTM 250 XC – W

    I have done three trips totaling 20,000 miles on the Tiger. Phoenix – Arctic Ocean; 30 days 10,000 miles including 1,600 miles of dirt. Two trips up the Rockies and down West coast with some dirt thrown in. Each trip was about 5,000 miles.

    I ride single track and desert on the KTM every chance I get. I want do TAT in two trips. New Mexico – Colorado border to Oregon Pacific coast and same start point going east to the Atlantic.

    The Tiger is way too much bike in conjunction with my skills and physical ability. I’m disappointed with the trend of the new supposedly light adventure bikes.

    So:

    · The KTM smoker is already a great set up with all the proper protections and spark arrestor.

    · Arizona has three levels of motorcycle registration; between trail and street, there is a registration with the ability to connect trails. For all practical purposes the plate and registration is indistinguishable from the full registration and I haven’t had any problems riding it in Utah and Colorado. The bike has electric start, headlight and tiny tail light.

    · Globtrottin combination pannier and rear rack $355.00

    · Globtrottin 22 liter panniers $160.00

    · Acerbis 5.3 Gallon Tank $295.00

    · Baja Desings 4200 Lumens 3.3 Amp LED Hdlt $337.00

    · Baja Designs Mode switch amp reducer $22.00

    · Proper spring suspension set up $300.00

    Everything else for the trip I already have. What is wrong with this idea?


    All comments – suggestion welcome, appreciated.
    #1
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  2. clapped_r6

    clapped_r6 The Spoad Warrior

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    there's some guys in central oregon who do big rides on their smokers, i'm sure the biggest issues will be fuel range. likely unpleasant on big long straight stretches
    #2
  3. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    I'm assuming you meant 5.3 gallon tank? I've got a 3 gallon tank on my 250 and range is definitely an issue. And what about oil? Do you plan on buying it as you go, or packing enough for the trip?
    #3
  4. Shawnspeed

    Shawnspeed Been here awhile

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    Thanks for catching that. Gallons. Amsoil is 80 to 1 mix. It won't be an issue carrying a quart of oil and a few 3.5 OZ back ups, resupplying every few days.
    #4
  5. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    All that is good. If you haven't already, talk to Slavens about a head or head mod and jetting to improve your mileage. That will be a couple hundred well spent and should get you over 30 mpg. I hate those big monster tanks. But if your route demands it I guess you gotta do it. I switch to my seat concepts comfort seat for longer rides where single track is not the focus. I don't think I would re do my suspension just for this trip. Maybe just crank up the preload and adjust from there?? Anyway, have fun!
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  6. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    The TAT is an amazing adventure....A lifetime of memories.....

    Why not invest a couple grand into a lifetime memory like that and buy a 4T thumper?....

    You set up a used 4T for what 7k all in....sell it for 5k at the end of the trip....?

    Your 2T will also be down in value after that many hours...so let's say it loses 1k in value....

    so now you are down $1k to have a more comfortable steed...
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  7. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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  8. Bitingdog

    Bitingdog That's not my dog

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    Regeared and with wheels balanced, these bikes can be extremely enjoyable dual-sports. A cush hub rear wheel is a plus also. I did some great adventure rides on my 300 last summer. It's not the most comfortable bike on the highway, but it's not any worse than a 350 exc-f (after you regear it). I ran a 15 tooth countershaft sprocket with the stock 50 tooth rear sprocket. One of our 'KTM 300' thread members called On and Off runs 15x45 gearing. I'm sure that he'd be happy to share his thoughts with you. When geared properly for a given usage, I find that my 300xc-w is remarkably frugal with fuel.

    I do install a slightly larger main jet when doing long freeway stretches. Not sure if it's necessary, but it makes me feel better.

    Enjoy! IMG_20160811_135427277.jpg
    #8
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  9. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Encouragement award recipient. tEAM iDIOT.

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    I started to set up an old 200 for rides, but the crappy fuel economy killed that idea.

    It used as much fuel as my car, and I used more expensive fuel plus oil, so it was going to cost a lot more than a 4 stroke to run, so I abandoned the idea after one trip.

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Long timer

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    I suggest keeping the 250 as a light trail bike, and exchanging the 2015 Tiger 800 XCx for a KTM 350-690 based on your needs. I just can't imagine riding 300 miles a day on a 250 being fun. It's fun on a 690 though, and a 250 is fun on single track.
    #10
  11. EastBoundAndDown

    EastBoundAndDown Ron - 300XC-W DR650 T1050SE

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    The fact that you had to make this thread says it all. It's doable - but not without issues that a run of the mill thumper would laugh at.
    #11
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  12. Shawnspeed

    Shawnspeed Been here awhile

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    Clapped-r6 said:

    there's some guys in central oregon who do big rides on their smokers, i'm sure the biggest issues will be fuel range. likely unpleasant on big long straight stretches

    If you have contact info, I would love to find out about other people’s experience.


    Renogeorge said:

    If you haven't already, talk to Slavens about a head or head mod and jetting to improve your mileage.

    It’s got a Lectron carburetor that is hassle free to 10,000 feet, and very easy to adjust for higher elevations. I’m consistently getting better than 40mpg. I’m happy with the engine power delivery and band.

    Nowwhat said:

    Why not invest a couple grand into a lifetime memory like that and buy a 4T thumper?....

    Money is not an issue. The whole point of the post is to find out from other’s experience if there is something wrong with my idea. I owned a 2009 450 SX-F that had less than 20 hours when I bought it in 2014. Granted it was a MX bike but engine wise, I’m not sure it had anything on my two stroke. Current 4T are basically the same bike as mine. What is about 4T engines that make it that much better than my smoker to justify a third bike?


    Bitingdog said:

    Regeared and with wheels balanced, these bikes can be extremely enjoyable dual-sports. A cush hub rear wheel is a plus also. I did some great adventure rides on my 300 last summer. It's not the most comfortable bike on the highway, but it's not any worse than a 350 exc-f (after you regear it). I ran a 15 tooth countershaft sprocket with the stock 50 tooth rear sprocket. One of our 'KTM 300' thread members called On and Off runs 15x45 gearing. I'm sure that he'd be happy to share his thoughts with you. When geared properly for a given usage, I find that my 300xc-w is remarkably frugal with fuel.

    I haven’t done any research on the TAT terrain and exact route yet. I’m at the dreaming stage. But I’m hoping there isn’t any real highway riding involved. I would definitely set the bike up, load it up and do a couple hundred miles of local testing to work out bugs and gearing before setting off; Jetting not an issue with Lectron.


    tHetREV said:


    I started to set up an old 200 for rides, but the crappy fuel economy killed that idea.

    It used as much fuel as my car, and I used more expensive fuel plus oil, so it was going to cost a lot more than a 4 stroke to run, so I abandoned the idea after one trip.


    I don’t know what year is yours but I’m getting better than 40mpg and don’t think mileage or mixing oil would be an issue even on a loaded bike. I would love to find out.


    Sproket3 said:

    I suggest keeping the 250 as a light trail bike, and exchanging the 2015 Tiger 800 XCx for a KTM 350-690 based on your needs. I just can't imagine riding 300 miles a day on a 250 being fun. It's fun on a 690 though, and a 250 is fun on single track.

    The Tiger is a keeper. I’m looking to replicate that learning experience. In 2014, I tried going to Alaska on a R1200R and less than 5,000 miles of riding experience. A Stone sheep jump off a cliff in the Canadian Rockies portion of the Alaska Highway, ending that experiment. So I dreamed up a new one. Got everything I needed including dirt training from Jimmy Lewis and pulled off an Alaska trip on the Tiger for the ages. Now loading up the Tiger and heading out for a 5,000 mile two week trip is a no brainer. The idea is to replicate that experience for dirt only adventures. I’m open to a third bike if I can be reasoned with as to why a smoker is such a bad idea and why 300-690 would make such a difference on terrain like TAT. Also, I don’t think I’ve got what it takes to average 300 miles a day on the TAT. I easily average 500 miles a day on the Tiger pounding pavement.

    EastBoundAndDown said:

    The fact that you had to make this thread says it all. It's doable - but not without issues that a run of the mill thumper would laugh at.

    I’m sorry; I’m having a hard time following you.
    #12
  13. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Encouragement award recipient. tEAM iDIOT.

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    Mine was an 00, it was burning 10l per 100K, at 50:1, a one litre bottle of oil would last 500K. Premium here is about $1.5 a litre, and a mid price bottle of oil is about $30 for 1 litre, so every 1000Klms, it would cost me about $210 in fuel alone. Not to mention carrying the oil (most places with fuel only had two stroke oil for mowers and brush cutters).

    That set up I had held, from memory, 19L of fuel (13 front tank, 6 in the rear), so I had to find fuel between every 150, to 190 Klms, and that made route planning a pain.

    So that was my experience anyway, hope yours is better...
    #13
  14. Whodatschrome

    Whodatschrome Long timer

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    That BD Squadron XL light might be way too bright even with that special mode switch (the XL light is also much heavier than their standard sized Squadrons). You might have to use a Skene Dimmer Box instead to get the LED dim enough to "sneak" it on the streets without getting pulled over. These Motominded have a superior product to mount those fancy BD Squadrons and S2 lights. https://www.motominded.com/collections/ktm-250-530-2014-2016-led
    Maybe running two BD S2 lights might be better?... with one "wide cornering" pattern light as a low beam, and both a "spot" and "wide cornering" pattern as a high beam, you might not need any dimmer at all (less wiring).
    Don't let your dreams of a long road trip on a 2 stroke go up in smoke...wait a sec...i got that backwards. Let your dreams of a long road trip on a 2 stroke go up in smoke!
    #14
  15. Whodatschrome

    Whodatschrome Long timer

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    I haven't done the TAT, but i would think that on a spry, fun, lightweight 250 2T, that the ride would be too dang boring. Every obstacle would be way too easy...or would that 250 even see them as obstacles? I've done rides on my 950 that i would dread taking my 450, let alone my 250xc-w on, simply because i would be bored to death.
    #15
  16. Shawnspeed

    Shawnspeed Been here awhile

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    That is really lousy mileage and dear fossil fuel products! My 2014 has a standard 10L tank and I have done several 100 mile rides on it without running out of gas. The cat's meow in smoker oil here in US is
    SABER® Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil by Amsoil. A quart is $13.05 delivered shipping free anywhere in US with my membership. It is an 80 to 1 mix so I'll get more than 800 miles out of a quart (a little less than a liter).
    So my cost of running the bike for 1,000 km would be $53.17 @2.65 /gallon of premium fuel. This is totally different math than what you experienced down under.

    In US, there is a post office in every tiny town and you can ship anything to them and they'll hold it for pick up. I'm thinking of having my son (or Amsoil if I just need oil) ship me pre-oiled filters, mixing oil and anything else I might need down the trail, then ship back whatever I'm not using. Swap warm gear from riding in CO to light stuff for western Utah and such, replace the air filter every few hundred miles, etc.

    I'm looking to modify the pannier rack to hold a quart of oil on one side and half a gallon of water on the other.
    The bike fully loaded with all the protection accessories, GPS, phone & chart mount, 20.06 liters of fuel, 70 pounds of camping gear, tools, personal items, etc, quart of oil and half a gallon of water would weigh around 350 pounds which is less than a AJP PR7 naked sitting on the showroom floor!

    Shawn
    PHX
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  17. 515

    515 Been here awhile

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    Go for it. Be sure to do a ride report .
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  18. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    That trip would be cool to be able to say you did it on a 250 but I think the bike will disappoint you, you'd be handicapping its advantages and you'll still be stuck with it's drawbacks. With a Lectron the 2T will be pretty smooth at a constant throttle position and get better mileage so it should do pretty good on the hardpack with the taller gearing you'll need. Like RG mentioned a head mod will give you some more low rpm torque which will help it pull.

    But... by the time you stack on the fuel you need plus the complement of gear you'll be carrying the 250 is going to be a tank especially if it isn't resprung. All that weight will play hell out west in the sandy sections where the bike is going need a good bit of torque also climb long grades. A 250 and probably a 300 with all that weight is going to be a tank. The 250s power compliments it's light weight, the engine makes enough power for its weight, add a 100lbs and taller gearing and the 2Ts light responsive character will be lost. It will struggle at altitude in Colorado and you'll be plowing in the sandy sections of Utah and Nevada. The mileage will suffer the harder it has to work.

    You should load the bike down (realistically) with all the weight you'd be carrying inc fuel and take it for a ride down a wash and see if it feels like something you'd want to ride for a few weeks like that.

    I wouldn't gamble on the 80:1 oil mix ratio on a loaded down bike in the middle of the desert. We run Amzoil in the desert none of us would run it at 80:1, especially on a 250 which tend to make their power higher up in the RPM range than the 300s we ride, that ratio is cutting a fine line between just enough and not enough despite what you read on the bottle. Amzoil got a bad rep for premature rod bearing failures and I suspect some of that is due to the owners following Amzoil ratio recommendations and not KTMs.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of it, doing it on a 2T earns some serious bragging rights but I think you'll be disappointed in how well the 250 handles that challenge.
    #18
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  19. Shawnspeed

    Shawnspeed Been here awhile

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    RiderFreak Said:

    You should load the bike down (realistically) with all the weight you'd be carrying inc fuel and take it for a ride down a wash and see if it feels like something you'd want to ride for a few weeks like that.\



    Absolutely! I plan on setting it up and riding it in similar conditions, hi altitude, desert sand etc for a few hundred miles, making adjustments, then if it all went well hit the TAT. My calculations are the bike -ready to ride- at it’s heaviest- would be 350 pounds max. My experience with it unloaded says it would do fine. But the whole point of this exercise and the cool part of it as you say is to find out one way or the other. As I mentioned in my original post, proper suspension set up is key.


    RiderFreak Said:

    I wouldn't gamble on the 80:1 oil mix ratio on a loaded down bike in the middle of the desert. We run Amzoil in the desert none of us would run it at 80:1, especially on a 250 which tend to make their power higher up in the RPM range than the 300s we ride, that ratio is cutting a fine line between just enough and not enough despite what you read on the bottle.


    Watch the first 45 seconds of Jeff Slavens in this video and you’ll know where I’m coming from:

    #19
  20. Yroc

    Yroc Been here awhile

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    I agree with RideFreak. I have a Beta 300 and a KTM 350XC that I use for 'dual sport'. I'm coming off a KTM 525 that I was using for my 'dual sport' camping rides. I try to route all the singletrack and hard stuff that I can on these rides and always want a bike that can do it all, and still maintain having the most fun in the hard stuff.

    What I've learned is that my 525 was really great for this stuff as the smaller bikes just start to suck on any other connecting roads and heaven forbid, pavement. But I went with my current 350XC to get some better suspension, which I got, it's worlds better than the 525XCW or any W suspension. My 350 is a '12 so the tranny is the same as the W that year. In any of the typical 'day ride' off-road stuff, this bike is way more fun. But the big sandy washes or grated roads, I really miss the 525 torque. Now if you are solo, or with like minded buddies, it's fine to just slow down and chill on the smaller bikes, as they are much more fun where it counts. I'm always trying to squeeze too much trail into a day and route so much hard stuff that I find I really need to blast the fast stuff to make up time....everything's a trade-off!!

    70lbs of camping gear is pretty crazy...I found that lighter gear equaled WAY more fun, so again, depending on what your comfort level is vs. lugging all that crap, you can have more fun riding...I'm down to 30lbs of gear, and yes, I have to leave so much crap I don't really need, that it is riskier riding that way as I don't have every little tool for all the 'what if's'. I even plan routes that allow me to have some type of water to boil at camp for cooking so that I don't have to carry a ton of water, which is the most important thing in the Utah desert routes I'm usually doing.

    I would totally be into putting my gear on my Beta and doing a couple days and 300-400 miles of singletrack, but for most everything else, the 350 is better, and a 450XC with the right tranny (ktm has had some weird ratios) would probably be even better....Well, the 500 was built for this stuff, but I like to stand up and pound whoops, rocks or whatever and just haven't really loved any of my open forks for that....

    I've done 100 plus mile days (10 hours of hard singletrack, miles doesn't mean much, hours on the bike is usually what I calculate) on my Beta, with a lectron. The tranny is not quite as wide as the W and not quite as tight as an XC, I can cruise at 55 or 60 fine, but even 5 miles of pavement in 100 miles days is no fun, it just doesn't cruise like a 4T. But I will say, on those 100 miles days, we did very hard trails, I could probably get my 350 through it, but it would be too much work and not as much fun, so buzzing some short roads was an acceptable trade-off.

    So it all comes down to the route...and what you want.

    Good luck.

    Oh yeah, I have an InReach and good buddies that are just waiting for me to get stranded so they can come rescue me....so that helps me go light as well.

    https://goo.gl/photos/s8kqvjYqApS3eSNk6
    #20
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