KTM 250 Adventure road test review
KTM India's flagship adventure offering, the 390 Adventure ticks the right boxes for someone looking for a tourer with focus on performance along with a plethora of premium features to keep you engaged all through its ownership. But all of that comes at a premium price tag, which has also made the 390 Adventure the most expensive entry-level adventure motorcycle in India. KTM believes that the hefty price tag of the 390 Adventure has made many newer and younger riders, looking for a tourer, shy away from the Austrian motorcycles brand.
The KTM is KTM's youngest and smallest adventure motorcycle in its portfolio
And to address that, there's the KTM 250 Adventure, KTM's youngest adventure motorcycle that borrows heavily from the 390 Adventure in terms of hardware sans the comprehensive electronics suite, comes equipped with 250 Duke's engine and is shod with MRF Meteor tyres. Does that make it for a worthy upgrade from your motorcycle? We find out
Design and features
When seen at length, one cannot tell the difference between the 250 and the 390 Adventure as KTM has just put a tiny model sticker in Italics which is barely readable from distance. Wonder why don't the adventure models get the impactful model branding as the new-age Dukes. As a part of undercutting, KTM has gone in for a simpler halogen with DRL instead of the all-LED on the flagship offering.
In terms of dimensions, the KTM 250 Adventure is identical of the KTM
Surprisingly, the 250 Duke comes with all-LED headlight. However, we did check with some of our friends in the aftermarket business who said the headlight unit on the 250 Adventure can be replaced with that of the 390 Adventure. This should help not just in aesthetics but also in better illumination over the existing. In terms of dimensions, both the motorcycles are identical.
That's the all-new LCD instrumentation on the KTM 250 Adventure, which is of the same size as the TFT unit on the 390 Adventure
Due to the lack of connectivity options, the switchgear on the left has conventional buttons unlike the multi-button unit on the 390 Adventure
KTM India has designed an all-new LCD instrumentation for the 250 Adventure, sized identical to that TFT unit but doesn't show as much info except for the bare essentials of a gear indicator, trip, distance to empty, instantaneous fuel efficiency. However, one can switch off the ABS to shift into the off-road mode with the help of a button on the console. We did expect turn-by-turn navigation and BT connectivity though as even the most affordable adv, the Hero Xpulse 200 comes with it.
KTM India has gone in for more affordable MRF Meteor tyres on the 250 Adventure.
Powering the KTM 250 Adventure is the motor from the 250 Duke in the identical state of tune, which means that 248cc single-cylinder unit churns out 30PS and 24Nm. However, the 250 Adventure does not get ride-by-wire like the 390 Adventure. And this is felt evidently when you start from a standstill. Unlike the 390 Adventure, the 250 Adventure has a linear power delivery which is just about sufficient to commute in the city. The lower end performance is nice and smooth, wherein the engine offers enough push to ride comfortably in the city traffic.
The on road and off-road mannerism of the 250 Adventure is similar to the 390 Adventure, which is due to the same underpinning and setup
KTM has chucked quick shifter on the 250 Adventure, mainly to save costs.
This one is not for any spirited riding that you'd otherwise do on the 390 but saying that the tractable nature of the engine will be liked by many who are upgrading from smaller displacement motorcycles as well as commuters. Something that the Dukes were infamous were is the heating issue in traffic, which is not the case with the 250 Adventure as KTM has plonked in the same unit that does duty on the 390 Adventure.
The low-end and mid-range performance of the KTM 250 Adventure are its strongest highlights
In our tests, the KTM 250 Adventure took 3.89s to reach 60kmph while the speed of 100kmph was achieved in 8.79s. The engine feels quite smooth and refined at lower and mid-revs which is the 250 Adventure's comfort sport where it can spend all day long. It is only when you push the motor close to 7,000rpm and beyond, buzz tends to creep into the tank and also the footpegs. The 250 Adventure comes with a slipper clutch which offers smooth and precise shifts, something that you'd truly enjoy at occasions which require constant shifts in traffic or even while doing spirited riding on twisty roads.
The motorcycle can be reasonably comfortable at speeds of up to 115kmph
KTM has tweaked the rear sprocket of the 250 Adventure for a better low and mid-range performance as compared to the 390. However, the difference in feel in the real world conditions is not as much due to the calmer response of the engine. On the highways, the 250 Adventure can easily slot in the 110-115kmph range. Though the motor can be pushed further, it does feel strained higher speeds. In terms of efficiency, the 250 Adventure returned 32.63kmpl in the city and 41.85 on the highway. With a tank capacity of 14.5-litre, this should amount to a real-world tank range of 550-565km.
Ride and handling
The underpinning of the Trellis frame and the WP Apex suspension setup of the KTM 250 Adventure has been carried over from the 390 Adventure, in the same state of tune. The setup does a neat job while riding over undulations and also to some extent on broken roads. However, much like the 390 Adventure, it leaves you wanting for more when you find yourself on rocky terrains. As a part of cost-cutting, KTM has ditched cornering ABS and traction control on the 250 Adventure bringing down the safety quotient as compared to the 390 Adventure.
Cornering ABS and traction control have been ditched, bringing the safety quotient down
On paper, the 250 Adventure has a lower dry weight as compared to the 390 Adventure but in the real world, there's not much of a difference in the on and off-road mannerism of both these motorcycles. The tyres are MRF Meteors in the identical specs as the Metzeler Tournace seen on the 390. While the grip levels are decent on the tarmac and trails, also they are way more affordable than the Tourance priced at Rs 25,000 for a set, the Tourance tyres still have an edge over Meteors.
The braking setup is similar except that the 250 Adventure gets organic pads for a more progressive feel
The braking hardware is almost unchanged from the 390 Adventure, only that the unit on the 250 Adventure comes with organic pads as compared to the sintered unit of the 390 Adventure. This setup offers a more progressive feel in comparison. KTM will soon start offering the same in the 390 Adventure as well. The motorcycle took 4.12s and 36.22m to come to a halt from 80kmph and 57.1m and 5.22s from 100kmph.
The MRF Meteor tyres do the job but aren't the exact match to the Metezer Tourance tyres on the 390 Adventure
At Rs. 2.89 lakh, on-road Mumbai, the 250 Adventure is Rs 77,500 more affordable than the 390 Adventure which is a big price gap. While the 250 is a no match to the feature-packed and high on performance 390 Adventure, it still comes across as a promising offering for someone looking for a practical commuter that will also do occasional getaways. Till some years, it was the Honda CBR 250R that was known for these very traits. However, with its absence, the KTM 250 Adventure is the only tourer that combines the practicality with performance.
Images: Sumit Gaikwad