KTM 450SX-F – 100.2kg 53.4bhp
The motorcycle that Cooper Webb took the AMA Supercross crown and Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings campaigned in MXGP needs no introduction. KTM continues to go their own way with its bikes, using a chromoly steel frame, single-cam head and WP suspension with air forks. It’s a winning package at international, national and local level. And in 2020 it’s largely unchanged apart from updated graphics.
The KTM 450 SX-F comes with Sport-spec WP suspension like the Husqvarna, and with a few small tweaks our testers loved them. In fact, the WP XACT air fork was not touched at all.
Even the rear WP XACT shock had minimal tweaks, increasing the sag by 3mm for a more precise feel and sharper handling.
Motor oil: 1.2 litres.
Oil and filter replacement: after break-in (3 hours) and then every 10 hours
Air filter cleaning: after each use. Replace after using in sand
Piston Replacement: every 50 hours
Valves: Check after the first 3 hours and then every 30 hours.
Starter motor: No maintenance required
Front: Dunlop Geomax MX3SF 80 / 100-21
Rear: Dunlop Geomax MX3S 120 / 80-19
What the testers said:
Davide de Bortoli:
It has an engine that perhaps has a it more bottom end than the Husky. When turning, you can really push on and the harder you ride it the better it behaves. Compared to Husqvarna, it has more traction in the corners, well balanced and soaks up the bumps. But compared to the Japanese bikes, the power is slightly harder to use.
The brakes are excellent, as is the clutch. And the start mapping works well. Give the motor full gas and the excellent launch control takes care of everything.
Obviously the bike is very similar to Husqvarna, but this year everything seems a little better on the SX-F. It was so good that I didn’t even know how to improve it. The only problem is that it tends to sit down a little when you push. It’s a bit strange, even if it is actually very assured. The engine revs never end and the maps are very different. The launch control works well too, cutting just the right amount of power but not too much.
In recent years his MX1 star has been under attack from the Yamaha, but KTM always comes out near the top. Although practically unchanged, this year the changeable track conditions at Cadrezzate made it a stand-out machine. It has a great engine that pushes from the bottom end and stretches out in an impressive way, and a chassis able to handle everything with a perfect overall balance. Even the traction is legendary: only Honda can compete with the SX-F for grip. Among the few defects the KTM has is that it is not as immediately impressive as some of the Japanese bikes when you first ride it. But give it time and its charms come to the fore.