2009 KTM 450SXF
“All of its success on the world’s professional racing
stages is important to KTM, but what KTM would
really like is to be accepted by rank-and-file American
motocrossers. They just want a little respect.”
WHAT WE LIKED
(1) Handling. The KTM 450SXF corners like a caged
tiger. There is none of the old-school understeer that used
to define Austrian race bikes.
( 2) Power. We like this engine. KTM has produced a
usable powerband that has three major charms: (a) It is
not scary to use. Although the 450SXF is fast and power-
ful, it doesn’t feel like it because it starts off mellow and
build its intensity as it goes. (b) The 2009 KTM 450SXF
feels like it revs forever. In truth, it doesn’t rev forever; it
just revs at a metered pace that maximizes pulling power
up to where the rev limiter kicks in at 11,200 rpm. (c)
With 53. 9 horsepower and 34. 3 foot-pounds of torque, the
KTM can claim the most top-end power, the most over-
rev, the highest rev limiter and the longest pull.
( 3) Plastic frame guards. KTM’s frame guards
protect the frame from scratches and include a burn
guard for the mid-pipe. The burn guard melted on our
bike, but we never got a hot foot.
( 4) Compression adjusters. The new dials on top of
the forks are easy to turn.
( 5) Triple clamps. The adjustable offset triple clamps
are now anodized black, while the fork stanchions are no
longer black. It is a lighter and more professional look.
WHAT WE HATED
(1) Seat height. The KTM 450SXF is too tall. The seat
is not plush, and the edges of the seat wear out in short
order, causing fraying on the lower edge.
( 2) PDS system. It’s no secret that the MXA wrecking
crew doesn’t have much faith in the dual-piston WP PDS
shock. We don’t think the rising rate of the KTM’s shock
layout needs the extra damping assistance of a second-