Inner beauty: The die-cast cases glisten, but most MXA test riders are enamored by the bulletproof hydraulic DDS clutch.
The bell crank is CNC-machined—perhaps it is handmade because there will only be 699 Factory Edition
IIIs produced, or because they didn’t have time to
forge it in before the III’s early release. Either way, we
expect this rising-rate linkage to appear on the 2015
model, along with the 4CS forks.
You can transfer the new linkage and pull rods over
to your older KTM 450SXF, but you will also need a
4mm-longer shock to duplicate the Factory Edition III’s
suspension setup. You cannot use the pull rods by
themselves on the old bell crank.
A quick fix for KTM 450SXF owners is to install a
1.25mm-longer Pro Circuit link. It will stiffen the initial
part of the stroke on previous KTMs while lowering the
Q: IS THE GEOMETRY CHANGED ON THE
FACTORY EDITION III?
A: Yes, but you will be hard-pressed to find
where the modification was made. The frame geometry
is identical to the standard-issue 450SXF, and the
triple-clamp offset remains at 22mm.
So how did KTM change the geometry? The front-ax-le offset has been changed at the fork lugs. The front
axle has been moved 2mm rearward (from 35mm in
front of the fork center line to 33mm in front). This
has the same effect as changing the offset at the triple
clamps from 22mm to 20mm. By moving the front axle
rearward, KTM’s engineers effectively increased trail,
decreased wheelbase and moved the engine weight
This change required a switch from last year’s 25mm front
axle to a smaller 20mm axle (saving 40 grams) to fit in the
reduced space of the fork’s axle dropout.
Q: WHAT DID KTM DO TO THE FACTORY
EDITION III ENGINE?
A: They claim that it is unchanged, but every MXA test
rider felt that it hit harder, pulled stronger off the
bottom and vibrated less. We suspect there were some counterbalancer mods. As far as power and horsepower goes, it’s
enhanced by the Akrapovic (pronounced
Q: HOW COOL IS THE AKRAPOVIC EXHAUST
A: It is half cool. A close look will reveal that it is a slip-on mounted on the stock 450SXF head pipe. Slip-on or not, it
definitely perked up the power delivery.
Q: ARE THE OTHER MODS FOOF OR
A: The Factory Edition III has a mixed bag of smart
additions and cosmetic bling.
Smart mods. The rims are true-to-life Takasago Excel
rims. The brake rotors are lightweight Galfer specials. The
triple clamps are anodized orange but are the same clamps
as the black stockers. The steerer tube nut and front axle nut
now have 17mm hex heads instead of 27mm heads (and are
interchangeable). KTM includes a two-position map switch