Bikes 25 May 2022

Tested: 2023 KTM 250 SX-F reviews the new 2023 KTM 250 SX-F.

Words: Caleb Tennant

A lightweight contender not to be underestimated, the 2023 KTM 250 SX-F continues its assault on the highly-competitive category with more power, greater stability and a fresh new look that we Tested at RedBud. For a more extensive technical rundown, check Detailed.

Continuing its high-performing pedigree, the upgrades to the engine and an all-new plastics design add to the air-flow of the latest 250 SX-F. An increase in power is definitely noticeable, as straight out of the box I could tell it has better bottom- to mid-range power and is more snappy than the previous model.

Curious to test out the different engine maps, I started with the softer engine mode, which was extremely smooth, yet produced solid power. With the ease of touching the handlebar map switch, I switched to the more aggressive map that gave it that extra bottom end grunt, something I preferred especially since I rode the 450 SX-F directly beforehand.

Image: Pinned Out Productions.

Touching on the electronics further, the launch control is easily engaged on the handlebar switch. Essentially, you just have to push the quickshift and traction control buttons at the same time to activate and you will be able to take advantage of that addition.

My riding style was developed without electronics, so the quick-shifter and traction control functions are something that felt a bit foreign to me, but nonetheless, it’s an awesome sound and feeling to go through second gear to fifth without having to back off the throttle. TC-wise, it’s not something that is essential for a 250, but a nice security for those that might not be smooth enough on the throttle.

Regarding the chassis, the stability and mass centralization is a noticeable improvement, as you can really ride the 2023 KTM 250 SX-F aggressively without feeling out of control or the bike is getting away from you. It promotes confidence and that’s important in this segment.

I’ve never been overly fond of air forks, but the upgrades made to the WP suspension settings for this year’s models allowed me to float over the bumps and really drive it hard the bike hard into the turns without upsetting it.

Image: Pinned Out Productions.

That said, the faster I went at the press intro this past week, the bike did start to feel a bit too soft in the front, but with the added hyrdo stopper for 2023, the bottom of the stroke and forces of bottoming out were more forgiving. Adjust the settings or have your suspension done to your weight/speed and this will be an easy fix.

The WP Xact rear shock feels plush and comfortable, plus the ability to adjust pre-load, compression and rebound with just your hands I can see being extremely useful and allow a rider to spend more time on track and less in the pits. That’s a feature introduced in these new generation models and I’m genuinely a fan of it.

The Brembo braking system equipped to the 250 really allows you to pitch the bike into turns with complete control. The lever, master cylinder, pads and disc all provide a great feel and make modulating brake pressure easy. It’s that type of consistency that makes you reach new heights in your riding.

Overall, the 2023 KTM 250 SX-F actually exceeded my expectations. Finishing touches like the striking new graphics design with hints of purple, Dunlop Geomax MX33 tires and Excel rims complete the impressive platform for the new year and KTM has really made the step in the right direction in so many ways. From the engine and chassis to ergonomics, it is definitely ‘Ready To Race’.


Engine type: 249.9cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke
Bore/stroke: 81×48.5mm
Transmission: Five-speed
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Brembo hydraulic
Traction control: Yes
Launch control: Yes
Front suspension: WP Xact 48mm
Rear suspension: WP Xact shock
Front brake: Brembo 260mm disc
Rear brake: Brembo 220mm disc
Tyres: Dunlop Geomax MX33
Weight: 102.6kg (without fuel)
Availability: August 2022
Further information: