THE GEAR Jersey: O’Neal Hardwear Movement-True, Pants: O’Neal Hardwear Stream-True, Helmet: Scorpion VX-R70, Goggles: Viral Model Rookie Collection, Boots: Gaerne SG12.
Q: IS THE 2019 TM MX250FI BETTER THAN THE 2018 TM 250FI?
With solely 1200 TMs produced on the Pesario, Italy, manufacturing unit per yr, TM’s aren’t for everyone. Primarily as a result of everyone can’t get one. Nearly all of TM manufacturing goes into two-strokes, not four-strokes.A: We didn’t check the 2018 TM 250-FI. Why not? We had one logical purpose—we examined the equivalent 2017 mannequin just some months earlier; nevertheless, there had been a six-year hole between the 2017 MX250-FI check and the earlier 2011 mannequin. Why the large hole? TM is an Italian boutique model that has constructed its popularity on high-performance two-strokes. Through the years, if given the selection handy a two-stroke or a four-stroke mannequin over to the MXA wrecking crew, they all the time needed us to check the people who smoke. These have been their bread-and-butter machines. Over the following years, lots has modified with TM’s four-strokes. Do we all know precisely what has modified? No. TM’s Italian engineering division could be very tightlipped concerning the technical particulars of its updates. So, for probably the most half, we needed to do our personal investigating.
Q: WHAT’S DIFFERENT FROM THE 2017–’18 TM 250-FI TO THE 2019 MODEL?
A: Since TM Italy doesn’t launch information on the technical modifications to its newest bikes, MXA needed to do our personal detective work. We all know that TM Racing’sformer 250 Grand Prix racer Samuele Bernardini raced and developed the 2019 TM MX250-FI for 3 years. The engine within the 2019 MX250-FI manufacturing bike is a reproduction of what Bernardini raced. Clearly, TM wasn’t dashing the undertaking into manufacturing, and insiders advised us that the R&D time on the all-new twin-pipe MX250-FI was the longest in TM historical past.
TM bristles with artistic concepts, like their downdraft consumption system, gear-driven cams, entrance mounted airbox, F1-style fuel cap, inhouse engine, TM-designed rear shock and Italian-built aluminum body.Q: WHAT’S DIFFERENT ON THE 2019 ENGINE?
A: Visually, the most important distinction is that the entire engine seems to have sprung from TM Bikes’ foray into MotoGP3 street racing. The highest finish of the MX250-FI is the offspring of its MotoGP3 design, whereas the underside finish seems to be recycled from the 2018 motocross engine. Once we pulled the valve cowl off the 2019 TM MX250-FI engine, we might see that the cams have been utterly totally different. They have been mounted a lot decrease within the cylinder head, making for a decrease middle of gravity in addition to a stronger cam tower and valve-stem setup.
Most shocking, the cams have been gear-driven. In perform, there’s a cam chain, however it is rather brief in comparison with the standard chain. The cam chain runs on a single sprocket that drives the gears that flip the cams. This has two advantages. (1) It permits the valve clearance to be adjusted with out having to take the cam chain off. (2) The cam chain can’t bounce timing prefer it has been recognized to do on previous TM fashions. The one draw back is that it makes the MX250-FI engine just a little louder with the addition of some gear whine, however that is hardly a problem with the cacophony of noise coming from the TM’s very obnoxious front-mounted airbox cowl.
You don’t must be Sherlock Holmes’ youthful brother to note the twin exhaust ports, twice pipes and two mufflers. It’s straightforward to imagine that TM is copying the thought from the 2018 Honda CRF250 twin-pipe engine, however engine improvement doesn’t work with the snap of your fingers. TM has clearly been engaged on this design for a number of years, in all probability at the side of the MotoGP3 effort. What are Honda and TM making an attempt to realize with the added complexity and weight of twice pipes? Prime-end energy. Identical to with the Honda CRF250, TM’s engineers gave up backside and midrange to get a 14,000-rpm higher rev vary.
Q: WHAT’S DIFFERENT ON THE 2019 MX250-FI SUSPENSION?
A: The most important distinction is that the entrance and rear of the 2019 TM MX250-FI are vastly improved. The bike feels balanced, the stinkbug geometry is gone and the mix-and-match suspension elements lastly really feel like they weren’t designed by a committee. You may be impressed to know that TMs include Kayaba SSS forks; sure, the identical forks which have made Yamaha the top-of-the-pops hit for the final 12 years. Nevertheless, it ought to be famous that Yamaha and TM have by no means shared the identical valving contained in the forks; Yamaha had the great valving and TM had the dangerous valving. That appears to have been resolved for 2019. The Kayaba SSS forks have all-new settings, a friction-reducing coating and silver higher stanchions (as an alternative of final yr’s black tubes).
The shock shouldn’t be from Kayaba. It’s made in-house at TM’s Pesaro manufacturing unit. Visually, it’s a factor of magnificence, however prior to now it has been hampered by a super-stiff spring and wonky valving. In earlier checks, we sometimes modified out the shock spring instantly for one thing extra in tune with the load of the standard 250 rider. MX250-FI riders gained’t have to try this for 2019. TM’s suspension division re-valved and re-sprung the shock to match the texture of the forks.
Borrowing know-how from the MotoGP3 street race program, the 2019 MX250-FI has gear-driven cams and twin pipes.
Q: WHAT HAPPENED AT TM TO BRING ABOUT SUCH A SEA CHANGE IN DESIGN?
A: Through the years, we’ve by no means understood why an Italian-designed bike can be so very tall, stiff within the rear and have such harsh forks. Italians, by their genetics, are brief in stature. We will perceive why the taller Swedes, Germans or Austrians would favor tall machines, however not Italians. It’s no secret that we expect all motocross bikes have develop into too tall and that they might all profit from decreasing the seat peak a minimum of an inch—and extra so with TMs.
TM’s modus operandi confuses us. Why are they so secretive? Why thus far off on their suspension setup? Why so sluggish to vary? Regardless of the solutions could also be, TM has lastly began to repair the problems that vexed the MXA wrecking crew for years. Do they are saying that they haven’t made any modifications when it’s apparent that they’ve, as a result of they’re too proud to confess that they have been incorrect up to now. Consider us, we will really feel the distinction between the TM setup at times. The straightforward undeniable fact that our ft can contact the bottom now’s a lifeless giveaway. Wouldn’t it kill them to inform us that they reduce the subframe, shortened the shock, modified the fork spring price or tightened up the body geometry? We might by no means know what they’re considering, however we do know that the 2019 bike is a lot better.
The 2019 TM MX250-FI comes with two maps, electrical beginning and, simply in case, a kickstarter additionally.Q: WHAT DOES THE 2019 TM MX250-FI WEIGH?
A: TM found the identical factor that Honda did final yr; you’ll be able to’t add double the exhaust spigots, head pipe flanges, mid-pipes, mufflers and supporting hardware and get a gold star from Jenny Craig. The 2 heaviest 250cc four-strokes on the monitor as we speak are the Honda CRF250 and 2019 TM MX250-FI. What have they got in widespread? Twice pipes and electrical beginning. In fact, we will’t blame the electrical beginning for the load achieve, as a result of the lightest 250, the KTM 250SXF, comes with it and weighs 218 kilos. Conversely, the CRF250 hits the scales at 228 kilos, whereas the TM is a hefty 230 kilos. All just isn’t misplaced, although. It may be rectified. How do we all know? As a result of 5 years in the past the KTM 250SXF weighed 231 kilos—and look the place it’s in the present day.
TM does have an excuse. We examined the electric-start model; and it additionally had a kickstarter. They don’t make the electric-start mannequin with out including the kickstarter. Why? They are saying that folks need a kickstarter, simply in case the battery dies. That considering will go away in time. How do we all know? We have been nervous when KTM took the kickstarters off of its e-start bikes, however we aren’t anymore. TM does make a kickstart-only mannequin of the MX250-FI. It’s cheaper and about 5 kilos lighter.
Very similar to the twin-pipe 2018 Honda CRF250, the TM provides up low-to-mid for top-end. Peak energy is at 12,500 rpm. Don’t assume that TM copied Honda’s twin-pipes, with out assuming that Honda copied Husqvarna’s twin pipes and Husky copied CZ’s twin pipes.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES THE TM 250FI COST?
A: TMs are the costliest motocross bikes bought within the USA. At $10,795, they value over $2196 greater than the subsequent costliest bike within the class, the $8599 Husqvarna FC250. The KTM 250SXF is available in $200 much less at $8399; the CRF250 is $7999; whereas the KX250F and RM-Z250 are tied at $7749. The Yamaha YZ250F is the most cost effective at $7699.
Superior entrance brake. Think about a KTM/Brembo entrance brake, however with a bigger 270mm entrance rotor. It stops now.
Q: HOW DOES IT RUN ON THE DYNO?
A: We ran the 2019 TM MX250-FI on the identical dyno that we use on all of our check bikes—and did it on a day once we have been operating different bikes to ensure there have been no glitches. The 2019 TM MX250-FI produced 39.67 peak horsepower at 12,500 rpm with 19.23 pound-feet of torque. From 7000 rpm to 9000 rpm, the MX250-FI produced three horses greater than the 2018 Honda CRF250 (though each are down two or three horses to the remainder of the 250 pack in that rpm vary). From 10,000 to 11,000 rpm, the facility flattened out. This rpm vary is the place the KX-F, SXF and FC kick into excessive gear and the TM 250FI takes a breather; nevertheless, after 11 grand, the TM will get a second wind and positive aspects steam because it revs out.
The dyno reveals that the TM has a high-revving top-end engine, very similar to the Honda CRF250, however with considerably extra backside and mid than the purple bike (though the inexperienced, blue, yellow, orange and white bikes wax each of them at that rpm). Whereas 39.67 is a strong peak quantity, each different 250, save for the lowly Suzuki RM-Z250, can beat it in each horsepower and torque. The numbers convey up some questions that may solely be answered on the monitor.
To get probably the most out of the 2019 TM MX250-FI you must rev it to the moon. Whereas its powerband is similar to the 2018 Honda CRF250 in that it provides up low-to-mid in favor of top-end energy, the TM has higher low-to-mid than the Honda, with a broader prime, however much less peak.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE TM MX250-FI ON THE TRACK?
A: The 2019 TM MX250 is a sleeper engine. It has simply sufficient low and mid to work the fringes of the powerband. It’s clean, with simply sufficient energy to get you the place you need to go. The best way this engine delivers energy down low makes the bike extraordinarily straightforward to journey. Though it isn’t as fast as its competitors off the underside, save for the sluggish CRF250, the actual working a part of the TM’s powerband is discovered excessive up within the rpm vary (once more, very very similar to the CRF250). Once you get there, you’ll comprehend it. The MX250-FI pulls exhausting, robust and much.
It’s true that some check riders referred to the 2019 TM MX250-FI as an “Italian Honda,” however they have been stunned by the way it ran. Each MXA check rider who raced the TM MX250-FI liked the facility unfold. Although they knew the precise horsepower and torque numbers, they stated that it felt a lot stronger than the numbers led them to anticipate. Be forewarned, this can be a high-rpm engine that requires an all-out assault plan. However, for some purpose, its middle-of-the-road low-to-mid transition, whereas not spectacular on the dyno, helped take advantage of the top-end energy as soon as in movement. There are some apparent flaws within the energy supply that mapping might iron out—if the Italians would give us the bottom Micro-Tec map—however even with out it, the entire is a lot better than the elements.
This can be a clear and easy-to-access airbox, however it’s also alarmingly loud. It’s a lot louder than the Yamaha design.
Q: HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
A: The SSS Kayaba forks and TM shock work in unison with one another. These forks work just like the Kayaba models on a YZ250F. Why shouldn’t they? They’re the identical forks, however they by no means have labored alike, till now. That is a number of the plushest and most well-balanced suspension available on the market. Paradoxically, the springs are on the sunshine aspect for heavier riders. We ran out-of-the-box settings entrance and rear with our lighter riders and went stiffer on the compression for our heavier testers. Spectacular.
Q: HOW DOES THE TM 250-FI HANDLE?
A: Distinctive. Nice. A revelation. Each MXA check rider was stunned with how nicely the TM dealt with. The mixture of excellent elements, wonderful front-to-rear stability and a laser-guided entrance finish makes this bike a winner. Quicker riders might really feel the load within the corners. We will solely think about how nimble this bike can be if it misplaced 10 kilos.
Each MXA check rider liked the side-mounted F1-style fuel cap—till they tried to get the cap unfastened. We used pliers.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate record:
(1) Rear sprocket bolts. We like that we don’t have to fret concerning the rear sprocket coming off mid-moto like we do the KTM’s, however 9 sprocket bolts are overkill.
(2) Airbox. From a simplicity standpoint, the design of the front-mounted airbox is cool—though earplugs are really helpful, because the TM’s airbox makes a Yamaha appear quiet.
(three) Fuel cap. We expect the F1-style side-panel-mounted fuel cap is exclusive, however we couldn’t get the cap off with out utilizing pliers.
(four) Weight. It’s the heaviest bike within the class.
(5) Grips. In a world of superior aftermarket grips, testers felt the grips have been too fats.
(6) Push-button maps. Why does the traction management map really feel just like the aggressive map, and the aggressive map really feel just like the traction management map? It’s complicated.
(7) Entrance fender. Whenever you land onerous, the entrance fender hits the entrance tire. It makes it sound just like the forks are bottoming. We shimmed it so it wouldn’t hit, however they need to have executed this on the manufacturing unit.
(eight) Gearing. Commonplace gearing is 13/51 (three.923 ratio), which is just too tall. Mild riders most popular a 12/49 combo (four.083 ratio), whereas most selected a 12/50 setup (four.167 ratio).
(9) Shifter. The inventory shifter is a non-starter. It’s ineffective. Until you put on a size-6 boot, you gained’t have the ability to get your foot underneath it. We minimize two shift levers aside and welded them right into a 1-inch-longer shifter. TM USA will supply an extended aftermarket shifter whereas making an attempt to persuade the manufacturing unit to make an extended shifter OEM.
We modified the inventory 13/50 gear ratio for a a lot decrease 12/50. Notice the 9 bolts holding the sprocket on.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like record:
(1) Brakes. The Brembo brakes with 270mm Galfer rotors are superb. They could squeak at times, however they do the job higher than the competitors.
(2) Wheels. The blue Takasago Excel rims and polished spool hubs look good on the TM.
(three) Suspension. The Kayaba SSS forks and TM shock work in unison; we by no means thought we’d say that.
(four) Hydraulic clutch. The self-adjusting hydraulic clutch is nice.
(5) Dealing with. This can be a great-handling bike. It may possibly activate a dime and has good straight-line stability.
(6) Contact patch. All our testers favored that the TM provided loads of grip for his or her legs. The contact patch is ample.
(7) Engine. Sure, we did have complaints about the way it ran on the dyno, however these disappeared on the monitor.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: TM Italy has lastly understood that its previous bikes haven’t suited American tastes. And, in the event that they need to develop, their greatest hope is to broaden the American market by addressing American considerations. It wasn’t way back that once we assigned a check rider to race a TM, he checked out us like we have been giving him a blindfold and a cigarette. Now, check riders struggle to get the task. The 2019 TM 250-FI is an excellent bike. It handles with the perfect of them and has an engine package deal that works for quite a lot of totally different causes. Sure, they’re costly, however solely 1200 models a yr are handcrafted within the old-school Italian manufacturing unit. They’re a uncommon commodity.
MXA’S 2019 TM MX250-FI SETUP SPECS
That is how we arrange our 2019 TM 250-FI for racing. We provide it as a information that will help you discover your personal candy spot.
KAYABA SSS FORK SETTINGS
For hardcore racing, we ran this setup on the 2019 TM MX250-FI (inventory clickers are in parentheses):
Spring fee: zero.42 kg/mm
Compression: eight clicks out
Rebound: 13 clicks out
Fork peak: Normal place
Notes: The Kayaba SSS forks are plush. For quick or fats riders, the spring fee must be bumped up.
TM SHOCK SETTINGS
For hard-core racing, we ran this setup on the 2019 TM MX250-FI (inventory clickers are in parentheses):
Spring price: zero.46 kg/mm
Race sag: 110mm (105mm)
Hello-compression: 1 end up
Lo-compression: 16 clicks out
Rebound: 12 clicks out
Notes: Now that the rear of the bike is decrease to the bottom, we might get the bike balanced entrance and rear, which eradicated the earlier stinkbug stance. At 105mm of sag, it nonetheless felt a bit excessive within the rear. We dropped it to 110mm the place it felt snug.