[Long-term Bikes]

2020 KTM 250EXC Mods: Bang-For-Buck Mods

1 month ago | Words: Jarrad Duffy | Photos: Jarrad Duffy

When the crew from KTM Australia say they’re happy to flow you a long-term project bike, how do you go about choosing from the seven models in the brand’s new-generation enduro range? Easy: take your favourite 2019 model, the 250EXC TPI, and go again.
In actual fact, there was a lot more to the thought process than that. Basically, we figured that getting a 250EXC TPI project bike in back-to-back years would be the perfect way to properly understand where the new-generation 2020 bike had changed and/or improved, and by how much. On paper, the new 250EXC TPI comes with sweeping changes to chassis, suspension and bodywork, and a bunch of very significant refinements to its exhaust system and mapping. But how do those changes translate into seat-of-the-pants feel when riding the thing? And are there any other notable changes? This 2020 250EXC TPI would surely shed light on those questions.

With the model chosen, how does a bloke then go about choosing accessory parts for it? Well, KTM made that decision easy: by insisting that we only fit parts from the KTM PowerParts catalogue. It was a condition of us getting the bike. And that was fine by us because, when you think about it, the manufacturer gets a decent head-start on aftermarket parts guys when it comes to developing accessories – meaning KTM’s parts stand every chance of being the best part for the job. KTM gave us a $1500 budget to spend on parts and accessories, and a Motorex 2T Start-Up Kit to make sure they honoured their worldwide association with the Swiss oil brand.
So, all that as left to do was sit down with a couple of tinnies, sift through the countless accessory options in the KTM PowerParts catalogue, and figure out how to best spend that 1.5 large. Here’s what we decided on, and why…

Parts Fitted

LED Headlight

You may be wondering why you’d change the stock headlight, which is stylish and pretty bright. Well, we thought the same until we laid eyes on the new LED Headlight from the KTM PowerParts catalogue. It’s stealthy, smoked-out black finish looks awesome. But not only that; it’s much brighter than the stocker – which is great for late arvo/night rides. It’s also much stronger/durable and fits even better than the stocker. Are there any downsides? It doesn’t give you the option to flick between standard and high beam – it’s simply on or off, which we actually really liked. If you’re are a stickler for weight, it’s slightly heavier, weighing it at 489g versus the standard 245g. Overall, we really rate this accessory and think it’s worth the investment, especially when you think of how many standard headlights you’ve busted in the bush. We reckon you’ll be hard-pressed to bust one of these beauties.

Bashplate

For the past couple of years, KTM hasn’t been supplying the 250EXC with a bashplate. After testing alloy bashplates and heavy-duty plastic bashplates, we settled on the standard KTM PowerParts bashplate because it’s lightweight, quiet when a rock hits it, and is plenty protective enough for the singletrail riding we do.

PDS Protection Sock

This accessory is more than a bit of sartorial bling; this little neoprene sock slips over the bottom of the PDS shock mount and prevents the ‘mud flap’ from wearing through the PDS housing on the swingarm. It’s a cheap and effective addition, and prevents wear that you may not even notice it until it’s too late, especially if you’re someone who puts 100-plus hours on your bikes.

Exhaust Flange Guard

Fingers crossed you’ve never done it, but it’s not uncommon for riders to bolt a protective, yet heavy, pipe guard onto their bike (which is great for protecting your all-important expansion chamber), only to find that, in a crash, all the force is shifted onto the flange that holds the exhaust to the cylinder head. For extra rigidity and to prevent you from cracking a flange and/or having to purchase a new cylinder head (which ain’t cheap!), an Exhaust Flange Guard is available from KTM PowerParts. It’s good-looking, made from billet alloy, only weighs 70g, and is definitely worth looking into if you run a heavy pipe guard, or simply like the extra peace-of-mind.

Wheel Bearing Cap Protector Set

We think these are genius! They are simply a plastic cap that slips over your wheel spacers and covers the wheel bearings. They would have to extend the life of your wheel bearings, right? We think so, but we’ll let you know once our local riding spots get enough rain to be muddy ‘wheel-bearing-eating’ conditions.

Radiator Fan

We’d never really thought of fitting a radiator fan to a two-stroke, not until the TPI models came along anyway. For some reason, they seem to run a little hotter in extreme conditions – especially slow snotty hillclimbs where you’re working the clutch overtime. Because of this, we fitted the KTM PowerParts Radiator Fan. It’s the same fan (made by Trailtech) you’ll find on an EXC-F, but it’s got a handy temperature readout so you can read your bike’s temp at a glance. It’s a neat fit to your right-hand-side radiator and it is plug and play. The only downside is that you have to remove the radiator from the bike to fit it, which means draining the radiator fluid. But that gave us a good excuse to fill it up with a higher boiling-point radiator fluid.

Rear Brake Calliper Support & Disk Guard

If you tend to ride a fair bit of technical terrain or deep ruts, then you’ve probably bent a rear brake disc or two. Fitting a disc guard (or ‘shark fin’) is a cost-effective way to minimise the risk of a rock bending or busting your rear disc. This alloy Brake Disc Guard from KTM PowerParts is beautifully made, super-strong, and comes with its own billet calliper carrier. And one look at the abuse this guard cops is enough to prove it has prevented at least one destroyed disc (which, in itself, costs the best part of $200).

Motorex Oil & Lube

Call us superstitious, but we’ve always been disinclined to change the brand of engine oil our bikes have been run-in with. Thankfully, the boys at A-One Accessory Imports (who distribute Motorex in Oz) flowed us a 2T Start-Up Kit, which are a super-convenient, cost-effective way to grab all your bike’s oil and lube requirement in one cost-effective hit. The kit includes: 2x Cross Power 2T 1L, Chain Lube Off-Road, Joker 440 Spray, Air Filter Oil, Air Filter Cleaner, bucket and sponge.

Swingarm Guards

There is always some new fad getting around in the moto industry. At the moment, it seems to be powder-coating swingarms, frames, engine cases – you name it. KTM offers these sweet PowerParts Swingarm Guards that not only look good, but also protect your swingarm in deep gnarly ruts and when you accidentally dump the bike on a rock shelf. They can be a little tricky to fit, as they’re fixed to the swingarm with two discreetly hidden cable ties. Also, it’s worth noting you should remove the guards after every couple of rides to clean out any mud build-up and to let the swingarm drain. But for just $90 a pair, we reckon they give you extra street cred and added protection.

Tyres

The standard Maxxis tyres aren’t bad, but Dunlop’s MX33 hoops offer another level of performance altogether. They are designed to excel in soft conditions, but we found the tyres to be very versatile and provided good traction and predictability over a wide variety of terrain.

Graphics

When you’re customising a bike, it’s hard to go past tricking it up with a custom graphics kit. It not only looks the goods, but it keeps your plastics in better condition for when it’s time to upgrade. We worked with our buddies at the family-owned Aussie business, DMK Designs, to design the graphics. DMK Designs’ kits are well designed and high quality, and are pretty easy to install at home in the shed with the help of a couple beers.

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