When Pierer Industrie AG purchased Husqvarna from BMW in January, it was obvious some major changes were on their way. Pierer Industries AG is owned by Stefan Pierer, who happens to be chief executive officer of KTM, which also happens to be the parent company of Husaberg. That’s three European motorcycle manufacturers with strong off-road […]
2014 KTM Freeride 250R – Two-Stroke Power in a 204-Pound Package
Back in 2011, KTM introduced a new entry-level off-road model called the Freeride 350 with an astounding light claimed weight of just 218 pounds. Three years later, the Austrian has followed it up with a new 249cc two-stroke version claiming an even lighter 204 pounds.
The new Freeride 250R becomes the third member of KTM’s Freeride family alongside the 350 and the electric Freeride E. Like the Freeride 350, the 250R uses a stainless steel and forged aluminum frame promising light weight and improved stability for off-road riding. Because the exhaust exits the two-stroke engine from to the side rather than below as on the four-stroke 350, the lower cradle of the 250R’s frame is 60mm higher, offering more ground clearance than the 350.
The 249cc water-cooled two-stroke with reed intake is based on the KTM 250 EXC engine. The cylinder and piston are new however, with ports and timing adjusted for improved torque response. The revised engine now weights about 4.4 pounds lighter than the original EXC powerplant despite the addition of an electric starter.
Both the Freeride 250R and 350 use a six-speed transmission with short gear ratios for the lower five gears and an extra-tall sixth gear. The 250R’s final gear ratio of 46:12 is however shorter than the 350′s 48:12. Both models get a new coil spring steel clutch.
The compact two-stroke engine also opened room for a new 1.8-gallon fuel tank that’s 0.4 gallons larger than the Freeride 350′s fuel tank. The tank is hidden under the seat and as is the air filter.
The seat is long and slender, but perhaps more important for new riders, sits 36.0 inches from the ground, which is low for off-road motorcycles such as the 250 EXC and its 37.8-inch seat height.
Braking is provided by a radial-mount four-piston caliper gripping a 260mm disc up front and a dual-piston caliper with a 210mm disc at the rear. WP supplies the suspension, with a compression and rebound damping adjustable 43mm MXMA fork offering 250mm of travel, and a PDS DCC rear shock with separate low- and high-speed compression adjustment with 280mm of travel.
For 2014, the Freeride 250R and the 350 both get wire spoke wheels with anodized aluminum rims and CNC-machined hubs. The tires are new Trial-Maxx rubbers specially-developed by Maxxis.