WHY SHOULD THE 450SXF WIN THE
It should win, and it did win, because it bristles
with superlatives. It is the lightest bike. It makes
the most horsepower. It has the best all-around
powerband. It has electric starting. It shifts like a
dream. It has a hydraulic clutch. It has the best
brakes. It makes the most torque. It comes with
premium MX32 race tires. It has the best handling
of any bike on the track. It has an air filter that
requires no tools to remove or install. It has the
largest-capacity fuel tank. It has quick-release fuel
lines. It has billet hubs.
WHY SHOULD THE 450SXF LOSE THE
Although the WP 4CS forks work better than
they ever have and are better than some Japanese
forks, they are set up for Vet and Novice riders, not
for Pros. It’s cheaper to re-valve the WP forks on
the KTM than it is to buy engine hop-ups, Hinson
clutches, MX32 tires, aftermarket wheels, stronger
chain guides, expensive exhaust systems or enough
titanium to lose 13 pounds on the other brands.
HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DOES THE
450SXF MAKE? TORQUE?
57. 98 horsepower at 9400 rpm—the most of any
450cc production bike. It makes 36. 53 foot-pounds
of torque—the most of any 450cc production bike.
WHAT DOES THE 450SXF WEIGH?
227 pounds. The KTM 450SXF is the lightest
bike in the 2016 MXA 450 Shootout. It is 2 pounds
lighter than the Husky, 4 pounds lighter than the
KX450F, 6 pounds lighter than the CRF450, 11
pounds lighter than the YZ450F and 13 pounds
lighter than the RM-Z450.
WHERE DID IT PLACE IN LAST YEAR’S MXA
First. The KTM 450SXF won the MXA 450
Shootout in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016. Most MXA
test riders believe that this is the best all-around
race bike for the average racer. And of the 10 MXA
test riders we used during this four-month test,
9 out of 10 put the KTM first on their charts (the
10th chose the Husky).
HOW DOES THE 450SXF RATE IN THE
Power output: Superb. Not only does it make
the most power, but it meters it out across the
broadest range. It just goes and goes and goes.
You don’t have to shift very often because it never
Forks: Always the weak link in KTM’s armor,
the 2016 WP 4CS forks are raceable by Vets and
Novices in stock trim. These aren’t Pro forks, but
we don’t know any Pros who race with stock
Shock: We think that the stock 2016 KTM
450SXF shock spring is too stiff for anyone under
190 pounds, but with the correct spring for your
weight, this is a good shock.
Overall handling: The KTM 450SXF is intuitive.
It knows what you want it to do before you do it.
Once you get the front and rear balanced, the
KTM can track straight as an arrow over the
Cornering: Not as sharp as a Suzuki, the KTM
still carves with precision—and doesn’t have the
Suzuki’s twitchy downsides.
Shifting: KTM has the best shifting in the class.
No missed shifts. No ghost shifts. No issues.
Brakes: Awesome. Honda, Yamaha and
Kawasaki went to bigger rotors, but they don’t
have the modulation that the KTM’s Brembos offer.
Clutch: League leading. One of only two
hydraulic clutches in this shootout, KTM’s Belleville
washer clutch lasts forever.
WHAT WOULD WE CHANGE ON THE KTM
We would send the forks out for a re-valve, paint
the frame orange, spec a 45 N/m shock spring (for
anyone under 190 pounds), install a pipe that can
be removed without taking the shock off the bike
and live happily ever after.
WHAT’S NEWSWORTHY ON THE 450SXF?
Everything on the 2016 KTM 450SXF is new,
but the addition of launch control, a handle-
bar-mounted map switch and race-ready Dunlop
MX32 tires added new dimensions to the bike.
Don’t forget that we are talking about the lightest
bike with awesome brakes, a bulletproof hydraulic
clutch, flawless shifting, marine-grade wiring harness, quick-release fuel lines, in-line fuel filters, rub-ber-mounted bars, plastic frame guards, direct-con-nect throttle cables and in-mold graphics.
THE FINAL WORD?
Value. At $9299, this is the most expensive 450cc
motocross bike on the showroom floors—and it’s
worth every penny.