If this bike came out sometime between 2003 & 2005 TM would be making waves. Four Strokes hadn’t completely taken over at this point and the TM would easily be the best 250 2 stroke in the class. The components would by far be the best, the motor would be top of the class and so would the handling. Unfortunately, this isn’t the early 2000’s, the economy is shot & four strokes rule the race track. This doesn’t help TM, their bikes are quite a bit more expensive than others. Even with 250 two strokes allowed in the 250f class, most people are still choosing the four stroke. Most of the two strokes you see at the track are used, bought at a great price.
There are still two more problems this bike faces. The first one is the KTM 250 sx. The KTM 250 sx is faster, lighter, and handles better than the TM. On top of that, the KTM is about $1,000.00 cheaper. As much as I hate to admit it, unless you are looking to be different, or want a TM for its top of line parts or great looks, the KTM is probably a better option. The second problem is the Yamaha YZ 250. If buying a new YZ 250 or buying a new TM MX 250 were the question, I would recommend the TM. For an extra grand you get a bike, that in my opinion handles better and has a better motor plus comes with amazing components. Obviously I haven’t seen dyno numbers, but I like the TM power better than the YZ. The TM is frequently updated and the YZ hasn’t been in 7 years. Again, I really didn’t care for the YZ 250 I had. These aren’t TM’s main problem though. The problem TM faces is the fact that Yamaha has been making the same exact YZ 250 since 2006. There are many used YZ’s available in great condition at a low, low price.
Check out this chart to compare the bikes’ strengths and weaknesses:
|TM MX 250||KTM 250 sx||Yamaha YZ 250|
|Clutch||tie – 1||tie – 1||3|
Notes about chart:
- 1=1st place, 3=3rd place.
- YZ’s brakes are way off TM & KTM.
- YZ’s clutch is way off TM & KTM.
- KTM can be difficult to shift and has tranny issues, especially if you ride it hard. I have also heard of YZ transmission issues, but have never personally experienced them.
- I am not a WP suspension fan. The TM beat the KTM in the suspension category based on the theory that the Kayaba forks coming on the 2013 TM’s are going to be really good. The Marzocchi’s and the WP’s are very close.
- Obviously, Engine & Handling outweigh other categories.
- The KTM really has an amazing engine.
- The TM MX 250 needs one or two extra teeth on the rear sprocket, depending on rider preference.
- I didn’t rank reliability on these bikes because they all have a similar amount of issues.
Everything in this story is based on my experiences with these bikes and are my personal opinions based on what I prefer. I have a lot of experience with the 2012 TM MX 250 and the modern rendition of the Yamaha YZ 250. I don’t have a lot of experience with the 2013 KTM 250 sx. What I have written about the KTM is based on the experience I have had with the 2013 and my experiences with 250 sx’s leading up to 2013.
After spending some more time on the TM and making some clicker and sag adjustments the handling has really came together. It is very stable and predictable and sticks in turns very well. The handling of the TM MX 250 is very close to (maybe even tied at) the top of the class once you take a little time to get it dialed in. The motor, although good, isn’t at the same level as the KTM 250 sx.
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