2018 KTM 250XCW-tpi and Husqvarna TE250i become the first production two strokes to feature fuel injection.

 

2018 KTM 250XCW TPI

It is a beautiful summer day in the mountains of Idaho. We have been climbing all morning. We are near the summit. Ahead looms the last big climb that snakes its way to the summit and what looks like a sizeable bit of remaining snowpack. We are at nearly 9,000 feet and the last big push is going to be tough on a couple of the riders in the group.

I get to the top without issue, but have to hike back to the bottom to help one of the other bikes up. Once over the summit we encounter another group of riders coming from the opposite direction. Everyone starts to look vaguely familiar, all decked out in the latest Klim gear.

2018 Husqvarna TE250i

One rider in particular catches my eye. Funny how you can recognize an individual rider, even when he has helmet and full gear on. Sure enough, it is a magazine editor I know. As I walk over to shake hands, I can see he has the same look of surprise as myself. “What are you doing here” we both shout.

I quickly loose track of anything he is saying, because at the same time he is pointing towards his bike, the – 2018 Husqvarna TE250i. Here it is in the flesh! The thing we have been talking about for years is finally a glorious reality. I am offered a ride on the new fuel injected two stroke. Before the words vanish into the air, I hit the starter button and bolt off like a horse thief.

KTM 250XCW TPI Engine

This is it, the real deal. Two stroke fans have been waiting for this technology for years. Now it is a reality, almost. That is to say, the bike I rode was a preproduction bike just for the press intro. Husky’s sister company KTM tells me they will wait for actual production bikes before unleashing them to the media a few months from now.

KTM 250EXC TPI In Action (Euro model)

If you remember, there was a time a few years ago when we expected a BMW built Husky to be the first fuel injected 2t. I even talked with a factory rider who rode one about 4 years ago. At the time he said it had potential but was still a long way from being ready for the public. KTM didn’t invent oil or fuel injection, but they will get the credit for being first to put the two together in a production dirt bike.

So just how much of a game changer will it be anyway? We expect to see;

  • Cleaner emissions
  • Better  performance
  • No need to play with jetting
  • Oil injection – no more premix hassles
  • Sophisticated engine management software
  • PDS version for KTM, linkage version for Husqvarna, Xplor forks for enduro models
  • Green sticker?  Frankly while I think it could technically be possible, I don’t think California will ever go for it just on principle.

More KTM Action – Fuel Injection Is The Future of Two Strokes

As a rider I like the practical aspects. Better fuel range and oil injection opens up lots of riding possibilities that I would normally consider four stroke only, like exploring Baja backcountry. We could really be looking at a change in how buyers view two strokes.

All of this is on top of the fact that the KTM/Husqvarna two stroke enduro line up was all new for 2017. Performance, handing and weight all received upgrades. It is a very good package. This week I tested a 2017 KTM 250SX and was pleasantly surprised at how well everything worked. The bike was comfortable, powerful and easy to ride.

Dell Orto Throttle Body Handles The Fuel Injection

It makes me want one now! That is part of the problem. While the tpi models will technically be available as 2018 models, the quantity will be small, perhaps 2-3 per top tier dealer. Some dealers won’t get any at first. For practical purposes, this should almost be considered a 2019 model. It will be next year before they are widely available.

It makes the 2018 250/300 carbureted models sitting in the showrooms seem like wallflowers. But then again, they are a great bike on their own and already well sorted out. Maybe I will just avoid the inevitable first year teething problems and see if I can make a deal on what is available.

Stronger Charging Output For TPI Demands

Oh, you want to know how my first ride went? The bike ran really really good, even at high altitude. It seemed almost like a fuel injected four stroke in that sense, very clean running. Beyond that, I didn’t get enough time to give much else for credible feedback. Hopefully I can beg a ride on the KTM when it gets here.

Cheers Chilly