KTM 250 Adventure review: Is it adventurous enough?
Bajaj Auto’s fifth spinoff based on the KTM 250 Duke seems to be an ‘affordable’ ticket to the Adventure family. But should you be purchasing it?
After having seen glimpses of the KTM 250 Adventure in 2019, we finally have it with us although the launch was delayed owing to the pandemic wave. The 390 Adventure set the premise for the KTM Adventure family in India. It’s been a mixed bag thus far for the 390 Adventure though. The sales haven’t really picked up owing to the high asking price. Let’s not beat around the bushes for it is essentially a taller 390 Duke with more ground clearance and suspension travel. It cannot really go off-roading like the Xpulse 200 or the Himalayan but it was never meant to be. But then why should you be spending the extra 50,000 bucks over the 390 Duke? The question has left even the hardcore Katoomers in a dilemma. Fast forward to the present and we have a similar prospect again – the 250 Duke on stilts. Should you be spending the excess 40,000 rupees is the question, especially considering the vast sea of options from the Bajaj Auto family itself.
KTM has rummaged the 250 Duke’s bin for the motor and sprockets while picking up the chassis from the 390 Adventure. The halogen headlamp and switchgear is sourced from the 125/200 Duke and there you have it – the recipe of the 250 Adventure. The LCD cluster replaces the rich TFT of the 390 which means you there’s no Bluetooth anymore but the information displayed is aplenty; which is typical of a KTM. You can also switch to off-road ABS (switches off ABS at the rear) using the cluster. Suspension and braking setup is exactly the same as that of the 390 Adventure as well. The wholesome electronic package is given a miss which means there’s no quickshifter, traction control and ride-by-wire as well. The Metzeler Tourance tyres have been replaced by interestingly named MRF Meteor on/off-road rubber and that’s it. Read on to find out how it all comes together.
How does it ride?
The tall 855mm saddle puts away riders who are below 5ft 6in (my height is 5ft 11in), although I’m sure you will get used to it after having spent a considerable amount of time on the saddle. It is a familiar place with everything falling to hands easily. Even the LCD cluster is easy to read and is laid out clearly as well. Full marks to KTM for the riding position as long as you’re seated. It instantly makes you feel at home and the aggressive yet comfortable stance eggs you to go fast the moment you start the familiar (again) 248.8cc motor. The thrum is muted as compared to the 390 Adventure’s although the characteristic KTM soundtrack is heard in the higher revs (thankfully).
Dump the featherlight clutch and the 250 Adventure gets going in a very relaxed manner. The 250 Duke was always the most relaxed of them all (not considering the 125 Duke obviously) and the same is reiterated here. Below 6500rpm, the mini-ADV feels outright lethargic and that makes you constantly work through the gearbox. However, we have spent quality time with almost all other Bajaj 250s and nothing comes close to the Huskies when it comes to the performance owing to their lightweight chassis. Our test bike had done barely 39km on the odo when I picked it up from the Bajaj Auto HQ. So I’d give it the benefit of doubt for not being run-in and thus behaving a bit lazy. But don’t forget, the 250 Adventure weighs the same as the 390 Adventure (177kg) and that adds to its woes. What does not help it’s case either is the vibrations that creep in through the pegs and the tank right after you get past 7000rpm. Ironically, that’s when the 250 Adventure really starts singing. The 250 Dominar has spoilt us when it comes to the refinement and pushed the NVH yardstick to a very high level. Even the Huskies feel a lot more refined than the 250 Adventure. So as long as you’re happy revving the nuts off the motor, you’ll happy with the 250 Adventure but if you want to cruise comfortably, I’d suggest the Dominar 250 to you.
Ride and handling
The 390 Adventure is simply outstanding on-road owing to its supremely balanced chassis that allows you to tip it into corners like a sport bike (that’s where the genes come from, so not surprised, are you?). The 250 Adventure is no different; you’ll want to ride this one fast on the straights and even faster in the corners. There’s so much fun to be had that you’ll have a hard time stopping yourself from grinning, under the helmet. The longer wheelbase than the 390 Duke means it is also more stable in corners; especially over broken patches.
Let’s accept the fact that this is a soft-roader. So if you want to go ‘properly’ off-road, look elsewhere. But if you’re into fast trails, the 250 Adventure will be more than happy. The standing-up riding position is awkward though, with the pegs facing forward slightly. The fuel tank does not support standing up riding as well, as there’s nothing to hold onto and the handlebar is slightly low as well.
Worth the extra money?
Well, Bajaj Auto’s 250cc bouquet has some brilliant machines to choose from and the 250 Adventure does not belong to this group, unfortunately. At Rs 2.48 lakh, ex-showroom, it’s priced exorbitantly considering the Dominar 250 saves you over Rs 80,000 and comes with the same sales pitch – sports touring. As aforementioned, the Dominar is far more refined as well. And if you want something that does little bit of off-roading, is easier to live with on an everyday basis and looks uber cool, you’ll be better off with the Svartpilen 250. It’ll also save you more than 60000 rupees as well. But if you want to get yourself the 390 Adventure, and you cannot really afford it, then the 250 Adventure is a better compromise. But it’s a compromise after all.