Simple fact: if this bike doesn’t win every 2017 shootout, it got robbed. No bike ever built has enjoyed such superiority over its competitors. Think about it. It has a hydraulic clutch. It has the
best brakes. It makes the most torque. It makes the most horsepower.
It has the broadest powerband. It has multiple maps, launch control
and traction control switches on the handlebars. It has quick-release
fuel lines. It has rubber-mounted bars. It has plastic frame guards to
protect the frame’s paint. It has direct-connect throttle cables to reduce
lag time. It is the lightest bike on the showroom floors—in some cases,
18 pounds lighter. It has the best handling of any bike on the track. It
has an air filter that requires no tools to remove. It has…well, you get
HOW DOES THE KTM 450SXF RATE IN THE MAJOR
Power output: Excellent. The KTM 450SXF’s powerband pulls
longer than any other engine on the track. It comes out of the gate in
second gear and just keeps churning. When the other bikes have to
shift, the KTM still has power to spare. At over 57. 98 horsepower, it
is no slouch, but it’s not the amount of power that the 450SXF engine
makes; instead, it is the luscious, long, optimally usable power that
draws the rave reviews. This is a different kind of power from what the
other brands offer. It doesn’t blast power as much as it oozes it. The
five-speed gearbox is bulletproof.
Suspension: Excellent. WP forks have been the weak link in KTM’s
chain for decades, but they hit a home run with the new AER air forks.
The new forks are 3. 6 pounds lighter than the 4CS forks they replaced.
The AER forks are the best iteration of air technology on the track. In
the rear, KTM refined their valving and lowered the shock spring rate
from 48N/m to 45N/m, which suits a wider range of riders.
Handling: Excellent. The KTM 450SXF is the best all-around-han-dling bike on the track. It handles instinctively. You just have to think
about choosing a line and it takes it.
Brakes: Excellent. KTM has never stopped developing its Brembo
brake system. Every year they change the brake-pad material or the
piston size or reconfigure the hydraulics. Why do they go to all of that
trouble when they already have the best brakes on the track. That’s
how you stay ahead of the competition. If you never raced with KTM
brakes, be forewarned that they will stop you in your tracks if you pull
on them the way you grab your KX-F, YZ-F, CRF or RM-Z brakes.
Clutch: Excellent. There are people who don’t like the feel of hydraulic clutches, but KTM’s diaphragm clutch goes way beyond personal
taste. Its steel clutch basket can never get notchy. The Belleville washer
provides even pressure across the complete clutch pack. Riders who
burn up KX450F, CRF450 or RM-Z450 clutches in one or two motos will
go months on KTM’s plates. This is a clutch designed for the ham-fisted
Weight: Excellent. They said it couldn’t be done. Heck, we said it
couldn’t be done, but KTM knocked 12. 5 pounds off their motocross
bikes a three-year span. When they were done with the diet, the KTM
450SXF was lighter than half of the 250cc four-strokes made.
Horsepower: Excellent. No need for hyperbole. At 57. 98 horsepower the KTM doesn’t just make the most peak horsepower, but it makes
the most horsepower at 6000 rpm, 8000 rpm and peak rpm. The icing
on the cake is that its 36. 53 foot-pounds of torque is the most of any
450cc production bike. The benefit of having the most horsepower is
that every rider can choose to use it the way he wants. A Vet can lug
it through the corners, a Beginner can stay in one gear around the
whole track and a Pro can use all the power that’s available. The 2017
KTM 450SXF proves that powerful engines don’t need to be detuned to
make them easy to ride. The KTM 450SXF has the perfect powerband
for riders from Beginners to National Champions.
2017 KTM 450SXF CONCLUSION
It is not our intent to write a love letter about the 2017 KTM 450SXF—
and its no secret that we wrote hit pieces on the KTMs that came
before the new generation. We aren’t in love as much as fascinated by
how one little Austrian company could take on the Japanese jugger-
nauts and do to them what Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda did
to Bultaco, Maico, Ossa, Montesa and BSA back in the 1970s. What goes
around comes around. This is the best 450cc bike of 2017. ;