Thanks to reader Tom for bringing the new Freeride 250 R to my attention this morning. This is the version I felt KTM should have built all along. It is a trials like bike with significantly lighter weight than the 350 version and hopefully a lower price. But at 6,000GBP, it would still be about $9,000 here. While I like the concept and see lots of possibilities, if that is the price dicated to sell them, they probably won’t make it here.
It has a number of interesting features: no powervalve, old style spring clutch, adjustable footpegs, hybrid trials style tires and composite subframe. KTM puts the weight about 20 pounds under the 2014 250xcw model and about 15 less than the 350 version. The one thing that I expected and don’t see, is any mention of cleaner emissions.
The FREERIDE 250 R employs a brand new, low-noise exhaust system with an aluminium silencer and a sleek resonance chamber that contributes to the engine’s great torque response. Compared to the FREERIDE 350’s downpipe routed below the engine, the KTM engineers managed to route the FREERIDE 250 R’s resonance chamber to the side of the engine and integrate it perfectly into the vehicle. Similar to the competition enduros, the two-stroke FREERIDE is homologated with a special power restriction kit and is even streetlegal on public roads in this version.
As a powerplant for the FREERIDE 250 R, the KTM engineers started out from the two-stroke engine of the competition enduro 250 EXC, developing it comprehensively further, lowering its weight by another two kilograms despite using an electric starter, and tuning it for optimum rideability. The FREERIDE 250 R’s engine has a brand new cylinder with ports and timings adjusted to the intended torque response, as well as a matching new piston. Similar to trials bikes, the 250 EXC’s complex exhaust control valve is dropped, which benefits not only the response characteristics but also piston durability. This makes the engine even less complex and even more rugged.
Both the FREERIDE 250 R and the FREERIDE 350 use a new, undampened CSS clutch (coil spring steel) with a wear-free steel basket and a clutch package specially tuned to the FREERIDE models with seven plates on steel carriers in model year 2014. Not the least thanks to the newly developed plates and softer clutch springs, the new clutch is distinguished by enhanced separation, while a revised master cylinder by Formula ensures a consistently light and precise action.
With the FREERIDE 250 R frame, the KTM developers pulled all the stops to utilise the advantages of the more compact two-stroke engine to the fullest. As with the FREERIDE 350, the frame is a composite design made of top quality stainless steel sections and bolt-on forged aluminium components. Compared to the FREERIDE 350’s frame though, the engineers managed to raise the lower cradle by 60mm thanks to the two-stroke engine with the side exhaust. This ensures a lot more ground clearance – an advantage all the more beneficial the more difficult the terrain becomes, especially combined with the large amount of steering lock. In trial sections, the FREERIDE 250 R will beach itself even later.
Made of highly resilient polymer, the bolt-on rear subframe is distinguished by high dimensional stability, contributing significantly to the lightweight FREERIDE 250 R concept. Well protected from dirt, recessed grips integrated into the plastic subframe provide an effective hold should the rear wheel ever become stuck in the mud.
The air filter is located well protected and easily accessible at the rear of the fuel tank. A lot larger than that of the four-stroke version, the air filter cartridge is less susceptible to clogging due to its larger filtration area while providing a higher flow rate.
The Formula braking system is fully up to the demanding KTM spec and has been developed significantly further yet again for the latest generation. A revised piston system in the front master cylinder ensures a consistent action and even greater durability. The radial callipers with four pistons front and two pistons rear work perfectly with the lightweight wave brake discs (260/210mm), ensuring optimum braking performance combined with an outstanding brake feel. Matching the hand controls, the new callipers now also have sand blasted surfaces.
Weighing in at only 3.2kg, the cast aluminium swing arm has been designed to support the suspension system of frame and suspension components with a well-defined flexibility in the direction of swing. At the same time, it contributes significantly to the FREERIDE 250 R’s stability with its high torsional rigidity. The progressive rear PDS monoshock is linked directly to the swing arm.
Combined with top quality, CNC machined triple clamps, the beefy upside-down front forks by WP Suspension with 43mm down tubes ensure a great response and damping, as well as providing the FREERIDE 250 R with outstanding stability. Their stiffer basic set-up perfectly matches the re-tuned rear WP monoshock which receives a new, progressive spring. While preserving the excellent ride comfort, front and rear suspension of the FREERIDE 250 R are markedly well balanced and very well protected from bottoming out – an advantage especially in quicker sections in demanding terrain. Damping is separately adjustable for compression and rebound, while the monoshock even has separate low and high speed controls for the compression stage. For those who would like a still lower seat height than the FREERIDE 250 R’s comparatively low 915mm, the KTM PowerParts range offers a lowering kit, reducing suspension travel by 25mm.
The FREERIDE 250 R rides on extremely lightweight newly developed laced wheels with anodized aluminium rims by GIANT, CNC machined hubs and aluminium spoke nipples. Derived from motorcycle trials, the Trial-Maxx tires in the dimensions 2.75-21 and 4.00-18 are also new and have been specially developed by Maxxis for the KTM FREERIDE. They are distinguished by a soft, high-traction rubber compound and a greatly increased void ratio, compared to pure trials tires. This increases the tread’s self-cleaning in muddy terrain without the tires breaking up the ground too much. In addition, the new Maxxis tires noticeably increase the FREERIDE 250 R’s agility and last much longer than pure trials tires.
Made of light weight polythene, the engineers managed to increase the fuel tank volume to 7 litres thanks to the more compact twostroke engine. The tank is well protected between the upper frame sections beneath the seat, which is opened for refuelling. Thanks to the translucent polymer, the rider can see at a glance how much fuel is left.
|Design||1-cylinder 2-stroke engine, water-cooled, with reed intake and exhaust control|
|Starting aid||Electric starter|
|Transmission||6 gear, claw shifted|
|Engine lubrication||Mixture oil lubrication|
|Secondary gear ratio||14:46 (12:46)|
|Cooling||Liquid cooling system|
|Clutch||Wet multi-disc clutch CSS / Formula Hydraulik|
|Ignition system||Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment, type Kokusan|
|Frame||Perimeter steel-aluminium composite frame|
|Fork||WP Suspension4357 MXMA|
|Shock absorber||WP Suspension 4618 PDS DCC|
|Suspension travel Front||250 mm|
|Suspension travel Rear||280 mm|
|Brake system front||Disc brake with radially mounted four-piston brake caliper|
|Brake system rear||Disc brake with radially mounted dual-piston brake caliper|
|Brake discs – diameter front||260 mm|
|Brake discs – diameter rear||210 mm|
|Chain||5/8 x 1/4” X‑Ring|
|Steering head angle||67°|
|Ground clearance (unloaded)||380 mm|
|Seat height (unloaded)||915 mm|
|Total fuel tank capacity approx.||7 l
Unleaded premium fuel (95 octane), mixed with 2-stroke engine oil (1:80)
|Weight without fuel approx.||92.5 kg|