2007 KTM 450SXF
“This is a great bike—a great bike that is hampered by
two corporate decisions: (1) The suspension settings are
off the mark. ( 2) The head pipe is so short that it kills the
low-to-mid transition. Both are easily fixable with the judicious application of moolah. Once you change the springs
and exhaust, the 2007 KTM 450SFX rocks (and, best of
all, it starts without fail).”
WHAT WE LIKED
(1) Steel frame. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know that alu-
minum is a cool frame material, but don’t discount steel.
With the proper engineering, it is possible to make a
steel frame lighter than an aluminum frame. KTM’s
’07 frame is 2 pounds lighter than its ’06 frame.
( 2) Electricity. This is the way it is supposed to be.
Many an AMA National point could have been saved if
every bike had electric starting. Plus, KTM gives every
buyer two batteries.
( 3) Brakes. The best front brake in the motocross
world. 260mm of pucker power!
( 4) Forks. They have potential, but are seriously
under-sprung—and not just for the fast or fat. The soft
fork springs are very harsh in the mid-stroke and drop
into their travel too easily, which makes them feel stiff,
but it is a false reading. The simplest trick is to swap
out the stock 0.46 kg/mm fork springs for stiffer 0.48s
(and lower the oil height by 15mm). If you can’t find 0.48
fork springs, have your local dealer increase the nitrogen
pressure in the SXS forks’ bladder from 1.2 bar to 1.8 bar
(from 13 psi to 27 psi). This stiffens up the forks enough
to make them raceable by faster riders.
WHAT WE HATED
(1) Basic black. KTM’s black rims and fork stanchions
look flashy on the showroom floor, but after a couple of
races on a rocky track, they look like they were modeled
after a Dalmatian.
( 2) Side panels. KTM took it to heart when we said
that KTM’s old trapezoid number plates were just like
not having a number plate at all. So, the new side panels
aren’t number plates. The numbers go on the airbox lid.
( 3) Four-speed. We liked KTM’s four-speed, but we
only race our test bikes. If we used them for desert, play,
Glamis or offroad riding, we’d want a five-speed. The
MXA wrecking crew doesn’t need to take a poll to
know that American riders prefer five speeds over four.