News 17 Feb 2012

Project Moto: 2012 KTM 250 SX-F Update 2

Pirelli Scorpion MX extra X tyres mark the next step in our current project bike.

It’s amazing how much difference a tyre makes to a bike, to the point where it actually surprised me when I had Pirelli’s Scorpion MX eXTra X tyres fitted front and rear recently.

The standard Dunlop Geomax MX51 tyres were past their best (more so the rear) by the time I had the Pirellis fitted, but never was I expecting such a transformation in bike handling.

First things first though, the Pirelli Scorpion MX eXTra X is new to Australia, featuring a unique tread pattern that has connecting bridges between the rear tread knobs. What this is supposed to do is increase resistance to tearing and also improve durability.

The front has adopted the tread of the MX Soft 410, which is an arrow-shaped knob layout with aligned corona side knobs. It’s designed so these provide directionality when accelerating and stability in the straights, while accompanying V-shaped knobs improve braking stability and cornering grip.

Long story short, the eXTra X is Pirelli’s brand new all-round tyre that is designed for training and use in multiple terrains. For our test bike, it’s a well suited tyre.

MotoOnline.com.au's Project Moto KTM 250 SX-F is now equipped with Pirelli tyres.

On track, I was instantly a fan of the rear and noticed what I feel is an improvement over the stock rubber upon acceleration. Simply said, they just hook up even on hard-pack surfaces, and I reckon they’d be even better in the softer terrain.

Not only was the grip and feel of the rear good, but the wear rate has been impressive so far. They seemed to roll the sharp edges off quickly, then remain at a sustainable pattern from that point. Grip is good whether you’re accelerating or at full lean.

The front is what takes longer to get used to, since it’s a lot sharper in its tread shape than what comes standard. There is more feel, which I like, but some prefer less flex in their tyre so that’s a personal choice.

That said, these would probably be more suited to a softer terrain than what we are experiencing locally at the moment (or I should go riding now when it’s a mud-bath out).

The new eXTra X is available in 21-inch front and 18-inch and 19-inch rear. Prices are from $89 for fronts and from $105 for rears and are distributed by Link International within Australia.

The Pirelli tyres drastically changed the KTM 250 SX-F's handling compared to the stock Dunlops.

Getting back to what I said about bike handling, the additional flex and ‘softer feel’ of the Pirelli tyres highlighted a few suspension mods that we’ll need to look at over the coming weeks.

While the feel of the bike was relatively good to start with, I’m certain we could change the settings to match the new rubber (and the slim chance that I’m riding faster due to comfort and seat time) and it’ll be another step forward. Stay tuned.

One thing that I have been stoked with from the outset is the standard graphics on the KTMs. Regardless of the design, which looks pretty sweet anyway, the integrated shroud and airbox graphics cannot be beaten. They stay fresh and won’t ever peel, although I have noticed my left knee brace has started to slightly wear through it.

I’m still decided whether or not I’ll get shroud graphics when we update the look of the bike, because I was considering matching the remainder of the graphics to the shrouds (with MotoOnline branding!). I’ll soon decide on that one.

So far though I’ve been super pumped, as Ryan Dungey would say, with the KTM and it’s only going to keep getting better from here. And the best thing? We’re yet to come across any concerns when it comes to reliability or maintenance. That’s a definite thumbs up from us.

Pirelli's Scorpion MX eXTra X tyres.

Current Modifications:
Pirelli Scorpion MX eXTra X Tyres
Price: $89 (front)/$105 (rear)
Distributor: Link International (www.linkint.com.au)

ProTaper Contour Handlebars
Price: $129.95 RRP
Distributor: Serco (www.serco.com.au)

ODI Grips
Price: $14.95 RRP
Distributor: Lusty Industries (www.lustyindustries.com)

ARC Levers
Price: $89.95 RRP
Distributor: Lusty Industries (www.lustyindustries.com)

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