There was a time when the quarter-litre space in the Indian two-wheeler market was made up of two-three motorcycles. Cut to 2020 and you'll be spoilt for choice with the variety of 250s on sale. From nakeds to faired motorcycles, a cafe racer, a scrambler and a power cruiser, the list is long. What the segment was missing is an adventure tourer, and the new KTM 250 Adventure plugs that void.
New wine, same bottle
The KTM 250 Adventure is essentially a KTM 390 Adventure, with a smaller displacement engine and a shorter features list. Which explains why it looks exactly the same. KTM, however, has managed to play with colour schemes to try and differentiate the 250 and 390 ADVs and I think they've done a good job. Between the black and orange colour options, it is the latter that I find more attractive.
As is the case with the body panels, the riding position is the same as the 390 Adventure. Which means you're seated in a spacious perch with a commanding view of the road ahead, aided by the 855mm tall seat. The seat height, however, remains a concern for short riders and anyone below 5feet 7inches will find it difficult to get their feet firmly on the ground.
Since the 250 had to be positioned below the 390, it loses out on a sizeable chunk of features, to arrive at the desired price point. Which is why you'll see a halogen headlamp (flanked by LED DRLs) instead of an LED unit and a simple LCD display in place of the 390's fancy Bluetooth enabled colour TFT display. Sure, it can't match the vividness of the Bluetooth-enabled TFT but this is the nicest LCD display we've seen on an Indian bike - it has a thoughtful layout, with big, bold numbers that are easy to read. A button on the left of the screen allows you to scroll through the menu and also switch off ABS, when riding off-road. Besides this, the 250 Adventure also doesn't get the 390's up and down quickshifter, traction control and cornering ABS.
The KTM 250 Adventure's 248.8cc engine is identical to the one in the KTM 250 Duke and the Husqvarna 250s, down to the state of tune (30hp/24Nm). Paired to a six-speed gearbox, it has the same gear ratios as well, and the end result is a familiar riding experience.
While accelerating, the engine only begins to come alive post 4,000rpm, with a notable surge after 7,500rpm, and all the way to the 10,500rpm limiter. Our Vbox tests confirm that despite weighing more than the Husqvarna 250s, the difference in acceleration is minimal.
Also, while it offers decent tractability in the city, you really need to rev the engine to extract more performance on the highways. Personally, I like the engine's happy to rev nature, however, the accompanying buzz one feels, especially in the pegs isn't welcome. That said, vibrations are reasonably controlled between 80-100kph, which is a decent cruising pace. The engine can hold 120kph too, if you're willing to ignore the buzz, but anything beyond that and it begins to feel stressed.
Nevertheless, the performance is adequate for most users or first time ADV owners and the tall sixth gear makes it easy to cruise at 100kph. The other benefit of such gearing is good fuel efficiency. The 250 Adventure returned 40.2kpl on the highway, with the figure dropping to 33.5kpl while negotiating city traffic. With such figures, one should be able to extract a good distance from the 14.5-litre fuel tank.
Frame of reference
The 250 Adventure uses the exact frame, WP suspension and wheels as on its bigger sibling, the KTM 390 Adventure. The only difference is that the 250 is shod with MRF Meteor tyres, instead of Metzeler Tourances.
KTM had to do this as the Metzelers would've driven up costs. In fact, the current tyre import issues have affected the 390 Adventure and it is currently also being shipped with the 250's MRF's. While KTM says they are working to bring the Metzelers back on the 390, I wish these were available on the 250 Adventure too. The reason being, these MRFs are just par for the course, both on the road and down a gravelly trail. It's when you pick up the pace that you notice that the MRFs don't offer the same level of grip, feedback and confidence.
In terms of ride quality, the 250's firm yet absorbent ride is exactly the same as 390's and is comfortable enough for the most part, with the occasional bad bump making its presence felt. Nevertheless, the ride quality is not much of a concern.
As with the other 250s, the ADV doesn't get the sintered pads from the 390. The result is a dull feel at the lever and a bit of brake fade under repeated hard braking.
Give a quarter?
The KTM 250 Adventure is a very likeable 250cc motorcycle and as is the case with most adventure motorcycles, quite apt in the Indian scheme of things.
What stops us from going all out and recommending it, is the Rs 2.48 lakh asking price. Ideally, the 250 Adventure should have been roughly Rs 15-20,000 cheaper to make for an attractive option.
At the current price, it has no competition but sits tantalisingly close to the BMW G 310 GS and even the KTM 390 Adventure, both offering so much more power and features.
In the end, if you can make the stretch to the KTM 390 Adventure, we’ll recommend that you go and buy that motorcycle. But, if budget is a constraint and you are looking for a road-biased adventure motorcycle at this price, the 250 Adventure is an interesting proposition.