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There was a time when the 250cc space in India had only a couple of choices. But times have changed. There was a time when there was no demarcation in terms of motorcycles in India and our daily-drivers did everything for us. But times have changed. The point is, the quarter-litre segment was the proverbial “super” category and adventure motorcycles were non-existent. But, as mentioned earlier, times have changed. These changes have followed their own tracks but they recently came together and resulted in the birth of KTM Adventure 250.
Too dramatic an intro? Let us simplify. Before the arrival of KTM Adventure 390, we did not have a lot to choose from if we were out looking for an entry-level adventure motorcycle. The arrival of KTM 390 Adventure did change that but the brand realized that nearly 400cc of displacement does not lure first-timers. It is a bit of an ask to expect them to jump straight aboard a 390 Adventure. So, a stepping stone was the call of the day and the KTM Adventure 250 serves to be just that.
See, it is not that the KTM 390 Adventure does not make sense as a motorcycle. It does make a lot of sense because, well, it is a fantastic adventure-tourer. But a tad intimidating for the riders who are new to the adventure world. The 390 is a wonderful platform that the 250 utilizes to bring more people to experience this exciting world and answer the “call of the wild”.
Talking about the looks of the KTM 250 Adventure, it is nearly identical to the 390 Adventure and only the keenese of eyes will be able to point out the differences. So let’s focus on those. First, the headlight. The 390 Adventure had an all-LED headlamp but the 250 Adventure gets halogen lamps with LED DRLs. Second, colours and decals, of course. Third, the vibrant TFT of the 390 Adventure has been replaced with a much simpler but similarly sized LCD screen sans Bluetooth-connectivity. Fourth, while the 390 Adventure was shod with Metzeler Tourance tyres, the 250 Adventure gets MRF Meteors.
There are some more changes as well, mostly minute, such as the aluminium handlebar of the 390 Adventure replaced with a steel one on the 250 Adventure. The windscreen is not adjustable on the quarter-litre adventure either. Finally, the engine, of course, and the technical changes that entail. So without further ado, let us talk about what we’re all here for- performance.
The KTM 250 Adventure is powered by the engine that powers a whole range of motorcycles that have come to be known as 250ccProLeague and include the Dominar 250, KTM 250 Duke, Husqvarna Vitpilen 250, and Husqvarna Svartpilen 250. That means, a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with 248.76cc of displacement, 30 Ps of power and 24 Nm of torque. This also invariably means that the behaviour of the engine is also more or less similar.
That is just enough grunt for beginners and the engine’s nature is more than enough to keep seasoned riders entertained as well. The power delivery is linear which makes this motorcycle easy to deal with. But invariably, the engine likes to be revved. In the lower rev-range, the KTM 250 Adventure can putter around town with ease but if you want to have fun, it is to be found higher in the rev range.
While the KTM 250 Adventure is tractable enough, it is not a big fan of higher-gears + lower speeds. But keep it churning and the meat of the powerband is never too far away because of how quickly the engine revs. One thing that needs to be appreciated is the smoothness with which the engine handles transitions despite lacking the ride-by-wire system that its bigger sibling gets.
The KTM 390 Adventure comes with its own bells and whistles with cornering ABS, traction control and so on. The KTM 250 Adventure does not get those and for that reason, hardcore riders will appreciate the added organic touch. Moving on, the engine is pretty good on the refinement front as well.
Vibrations are there but they reside higher up in the rev range. Triple-digit-speed cruising is very much possible but push too hard and the strain on the engine begins to show. Even then, vibrations are limited to the footpegs. Handlebars and the seat are still relatively isolated. Another thing that is missing on the KTM 250 Adventure when compared with the 390 is the quickshifter. Even then, the 6-speed gearbox of the 250 Adventure is slick and the slipper clutch works well in addition to making the clutch action easy.
All of that makes the KTM Adventure 250 a good city motorcycle, a good mile-muncher, and surprisingly decent off the tarmac. It is easy to have the rear step out on power alone given that you are high up in the rev-range. That said, things could have been a little better on this front but then again, the Adventure 250 is not an all-out off-roader. More on that later.
About the ergonomics, the KTM 250 Adventure retains the size of the 390 and so, it is quite roomy. The rider’s triangle is also very comfortable and long hauls will be a breeze. The seat height may be a limiting factor for shorter riders but the motorcycle feels lighter than what the specifications sheet says so that should not be a deal-breaker.
The windshield, while capable enough to keep windblast at bay for most riders, may be inadequate for those who are a bit too gifted vertically. While riding off the road too, the ergonomics are pretty decent but if you plan some serious off-roading, handlebar risers may be needed. Again, that applies to the taller riders and the handlebar is high enough for most riders.
Let us now move on to handling. Right off the bat, the KTM 250 Adventure shows off its DNA in the sense that KTM makes motorcycles that are fantastic handlers. This one too exhibits enormous amounts of confidence in corners and does not feel lethargic despite its geometry. Talking about that, the long wheelbase also lends it the ability to hold its own in a straight line.
Quite a bit of it is because of the chassis and suspension setup. The chassis ensures adequate feedback and the taut suspension helps the KTM 250 Adventure keep its composure in bends. With the high-revving nature of the engine and its brilliant handling dynamics, the KTM Adventure 250 is a motorcycle that begs spirited riding. The braking department is just as well endowed despite lacking the bigger sibling’s sintered pads.
There’s dual-channel ABS working on duty which ensures that emergency situations are dealt with in a better manner. The intrusion is also minimal. Add to that the ability to disengage the ABS on the rear and you’re looking at some really pretty photos or a whole lot of fun when you venture off the tarmac. Another aspect that helps its case is the 19”-front and 17”- rear wheel combo. Then we have the MRF Meteor tyres which are pretty good on the roads and decent enough for mild-off-roading.
Now, in terms of pure off-roading, the KTM 250 Adventure is a very handy tool for learners. It can tackle quite a bit of the rough stuff and it can take quite a bit of beating. But when handed to the dirt-junkies, the limitations come to the fore. First, the suspension. It is good for cornering and your usual deal with it is a tad stiff for broken roads or rocky terrains. The tyres, as mentioned earlier, aren’t meant to deal with stuff that hardcore either.
So all in all, if it is to be described in percentages, the KTM 250 Adventure is a 20% off-road and 80% road bike. But there are things more important than that. The KTM 250 Adventure exists to be a base for up and coming riders. And in that sense, it accomplishes more than one could ask for. In addition to being that, it is also a fantastic platform which, with a few tweaks, can be a pretty good off-roader too.
250cc is one of the most popular segments in India nowadays because of reasons stated quite a few times here. Adventure-touring and off-roading are also picking up the pace in our country. So something that combines both of those is bound to be a good motorcycle. The KTM 250 Adventure takes it up a few notches and turns out to be a great motorcycle. Does it justify the price tag then? Well, the photos that you see here point towards a thumping yes, aren’t they?
Reviewer: Shahnawaz Karim is a certified adventure riding trainer and a national champion in circuit racing. His years of experience in riding a variety of motorcycles and his off-road riding acumen make him one of the best people to tell you if a motorcycle is worth it’s salt. In addition to being a fantastic rider, he is also the brains behind Ulka gear.
Ulka Gear Hakkit Forever
Hakkit Forever from Ulka Gear is one of the latest motorcycle riding jackets in India. The USP of this recently launched jacket is the multipurpose usage that it offers. It can be worn as a protective jacket when you are on your motorcycle and can be used as a backpack when you are off it.
People who buy proper motorcycle riding gear understand the importance of keeping it safe. And they are at their most vulnerable when you take a break from the ride. That very need of safeguarding your gear is taken care of by the Hakkit Forever jacket which can be easily converted into a backpack for carrying your helmet, gloves, goggles etc which protects them from prying eyes and unwanted falls.
The Jacket is priced at INR 10,999/- and is available for purchase from www.ulkagear.com along with other designs of the Hakkit.