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realMotocross Bike Review: KTM 150SX
Here at realMotocross we like to keep it real. And everyone knows there’s nothing like a 2-stroker up on the pipe....and we love it too. Many of our members and staff ride 2-strokers and after a recent session or two on the smokers our boss decided to step up and buy one. We asked him what his impressions were.
RMX: Iain, the new bike is looking good! Why did you decide to buy a two-stroke? We know you already have a 4-stroker…
IG: realMotocross held a 2-stroke only event at cycle ranch a few months ago and I got to borrow a YZ144 from McHenry's Custom Auto Body. A bunch of guys showed up on 450's and I ended up winning every moto on the 144. The bike was so much fun to ride. I felt like it made me a better rider and really reminded me of how much fun racing I had growing up. It was even more fun knowing that this little bike could compete with the 450's of today - I even pulled a holeshot the final moto after a long uphill sandy start. Ever since I went 4-4 on the day I've been thinking about how much fun I had on that bike.
Don't get me wrong, I still turn faster lap times on my 2012 KX450F, it's easier to ride and has many advantages, but it's almost too fast. I feel like on the 450's I spend more time backing off the throttle so I don't over jump than I do on it really pushing myself and the bike. On the 450 you can coast around a corner and clear most jumps, on the 150's you gotta be on it!
RMX: How do you like the new linkage-based suspension?
IG: I’ve had KTM’s without the linkage and it was hard to get them right, but once I did it seemed to work fine for me. I liked the no-link design, it weighed less and the airboot was bigger giving the bike a little more horsepower. The fork and shock seemed to work well for something out of the crate and so far the spring rates seem just right for me.
RMX: How is the down-low power seeing it's only a 150cc?
IG: I'm still figuring that out. I only got six motos on the bike so far, including the first two which were just break-in rides. I think we need to go up a tooth on the rear and it'll be smooth. The bike is super fast in mid-top and on any 2-stroke you really have to carry momentum and stay in the meat of the powerband, which forces me to ride better because I have a tendency to get a little lazy and not corner nearly as well when I have a motor that’ll get me over anything.
RMX: Are you planning any modifications?
IG: I'm going to send the suspension out to Race Tech. They do all my work and do a great job. I'm hoping to get a Moto Tassanari reed cage/air boot and maybe a pipe too…and I'll probably get a bigger shifter, I missed that thing a dozen times.
Back in the day I used to do all my 125 motor work and amazingly enough all my bikes were faster when I was done. I used a Dremel tool and had no clue as to what I was doing but I'm not going to risk it on this bike, it's fast enough. However I don't doubt when it comes time to do the top end I'll be sending the motor out. If we can get more power out of this bike and keep it at 200lbs I might never ride the 450 again.
RMX: Why the KTM 150 and not the YZ125 or other bikes like the Husqvarna CR125/144?
IG: Honestly it was a number of factors but most importantly I wanted to ride it right away. The YZ - I would have had to get a 144 kit for it, would’ve taken too long and would’ve cost more.
KTM builds really good bikes, the craftsmanship is far superior to that of the other manufacturers…the hydraulic clutch, the way the plastic lines up seamlessly, the easy airbox service, all the bolts are lighter, Brembo brakes, the list goes on and on...
The Husqvarna I did not even consider because I wouldn’t even know where to get one or the parts for it. I'd love to test one out if possible, especially after riding this bike.
RMX: Where did you purchase the bike and why?
Motofit in Danbury, CT as they were the only place around with a bike left. I quickly learned why though…awful service!
The owner never returned my repeated calls, the sales manager misquoted me the price and was off by $300 and he didn't call me back after I sent him my deposit because he realized he had to raise the price $300!
I still haven’t gotten my owners manual or tools that come with the bike. So that will be the last time I get something through them and would warn our 40,000 members of the same thing…service and customer support is everything these days.
RMX: Are you happy the way the bike came stock?
IG: I think the bars are a little too wide and the gearing is a little off but overall yes. I'm almost 6' and I feel like the bars are made for someone at least a foot taller than me! I would have put Dunlop Geomax tires on it because the stockers were OK, but the back broke loose constantly when it was just a little wet and the front was sliding when it was dry so they seemed a little mismatched.
This is the first bike I've ever bought where the shock seems to have the right spring in it for me - I'm 160 pounds, however it's not completely broken in so that might change.
RMX: Best thing about it so far?
IG: It’s the look on everyone’s face that rides a 450 when I'm passing them, and listening to the 150SX is like the Queen listening to a symphony, it’s that good.
But seriously there is so much to like about riding the katoom. I think the 450 is going to be getting pretty dusty and lonely!