MXA KTM 450SXF
III SETUP SPECS
This is how we set our KTM 450SXF
Factory Edition III up for racing. We offer it as
a guide to help you find your own sweet spot.
4CS FORK SETTINGS
One of the nice things about the WP 4CS
fork over the previous bladder fork is that
the clickers actually make a difference. This
enabled the MXA test riders to make small
clicker adjustments that made noticeable
differences on the racetrack. When you can
feel damping changes, you can zero in on
the right direction and amount of change you
want to make much quicker. As an added
bonus, oil height and fork springs can be
changed with half the drama of old forks.
For hardcore racing, we recommend this
fork setup on the 2014 KTM 450SXF (stock
specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 0.48 Nm
Oil height: 100mm (down into the fork)
Compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 14 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Fork-leg height: 5mm up
Notes: As always, our AMA National test
riders wanted the suspension stiffer than the
Vet and Novice test riders, and for the first
time, a KTM fork was able to deliver enough
damping control to cover a variety of test-rider
skills. Slower riders typically ran 18 clicks out
on compression, while the Pros went in. It’s
best to start at the stock setting ( 15 clicks)
and let the track conditions dictate the
direction you go.
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
The new shock is 4mm longer than before,
but the ride height doesn’t change because
the new shock linkage allows the shock to
hang lower. The rear suspension feels stiffer,
which it is. Thanks to the more progressive
rising rate in the first part of the stroke and
firmer internal valving, the KTM 450SXF
doesn’t wallow under acceleration. Don’t fiddle
too much with the shock until you get the
forks dialed in, then move on to the rear of
For hardcore racing, we recommend this
shock setup for the 2014 KTM 450SXF Factory
Edition III (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 5. 7 kg/mm
Race sag: 100mm
Hi-compression: 2 turns out
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 15 clicks out
Notes: As a rule of thumb, faster test riders
stayed near the standard settings, give or take
a click or two, while slower test riders clicked
the compression and rebound out around
four clicks. The spring rate from last year is
unchanged, and we don’t think that the
average 450SXF rider will need a stiffer
shock spring (unless he is over 200 pounds).
2014 KTM 450SXF
WHAT PARTS OFF OF THIS BIKE WILL RYAN
DUNGEY RACE WITH?
A: With the first Factory Edition in 2012, Ryan Dungey used
90 percent of the bike (with the rest made up of works parts).
In 2013, Ryan’s race bike benefited from some case changes and
durability upgrades. For 2014, the main focus of the factory team
will be on the forged cross brace under the frame.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Fork guards. The new orange fork guards are lighter, but
they aren’t full coverage, as with the regular 450SXF guards. Not
only that, but the old full-coverage guards will no longer fit on the
fork lugs. Wrap-around guards extend fork-seal life by stopping
rock dings caused by roost from the rear of the front wheel.
( 2) Shift lever. When the shift lever is in the stock position,
it is too low, and when you move it up one notch, it is too high.
MXA places their shift lever between two blocks on a hydraulic
press and bows the middle of the shift lever to raise the tip.
( 3) Air-filter cage. Never stick the air filter into the airbox
without double-checking to make sure that the filter’s back edge
is sealed against the intake tract. KTM’s engineers could solve
this with a more distinct air-filter-cage shape.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Weight. KTM shaved 1.3 pounds off of the Factory Edition
III. It may not sound like much, but you gotta start somewhere.
( 2) Orange frame. We are human, so if the stock KTMs came
with orange frames and the factory bikes were gunmetal gray,
we’d be swinging the other way.
( 3) Extras. The Factory Edition III comes with a canvas
briefcase filled with a KTM pen, removable spark arrestor, toolkit
and owner’s manual.
( 4) Tires. The Factory Edition III is the first bike to be spec’ed
with Dunlop’s new MX52 tire combo. This tire will replace the
MX51 on the dealer shelves.
( 5) Nylon preload ring. We think that KTM has blinked. No,
they didn’t get rid of their nylon preload ring, but they did change
the compound in an attempt to make the nylon stronger and
stiffer. Not a victory, but a step in the right direction.
( 6) 4CS forks. Another step in the right direction.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: The Factory Edition III is a testament to why KTM is
dominating U.S. bike sales. Here are five reasons why. (1) KTM is
willing to make a special run of motorcycles in a time when the
Japanese manufacturers are trimming production. ( 2) The 4CS
forks, and even the stiffer nylon preload ring, mean that KTM is
willing to address its problems—without waiting for a four-year
production cycle to end. ( 3) The Factory Edition III is a stalking
horse for the 2015 KTM 450SXF. Its existence as a test mule will
provide valuable information before next year’s bikes roll off
the assembly line. ( 4) This is an excellent motorcycle. It oozes
common-sense touches—from the powerful brakes to the Belleville
washer clutch to the electric starter to the awesome powerband.
( 5) Maybe it’s not worth $1000 more to the average consumer,
but it is to a man who wants filet mignon. ❏