2010 KTM 450SXF
“For decades KTM suffered from being too ‘European.’
The orange bikes were tall, long and heavy. The suspension was hampered by offbeat WP suspension components and handling that was more push than turn. No
more! Over the last three years, KTM has made quantum
leaps with the 450SXF. Today, it is a bike with superb
handling, a tremendous powerband and downsized ergos.
WHAT WE LIKED
(1) Consumer complaints. Last year the MXA
wrecking crew hated the cartoon graphics, tall seat
height and four-speed gearbox. For 2010 those issues
have all been addressed.
( 2) Handling. This bike corners like it’s on rails, is
easily adjusted by changing fork height and remains
stable in the rough. KTM deserves kudos for lowering
the frame. Not only does this make the bike easier to
climb aboard, but it has an appreciable impact on
making it feel more centered. The KTM 450SXF corners
better than many Japanese bikes (only the RM-Z450
can turn sharper).
( 3) Sound. Last year the 450SXF made a very quiet
95. 4 dB. This year, thanks to the stock resonance
chamber, it came in at 93. 3 dB. That makes it the
quietest 450 motocross bike made.
( 4) Power. The 450SXF has a very nice powerband. It
produces power that is not scary to use but pulls across
a long range. This is a deceptive powerband. It feels slow
but goes fast. The mellow low-end makes it easier to use
in tight corners and bumps, while the massive gain in the
middle gobbles up ground.
( 5) Five-speed tranny. Choosing the right gearing on
the 2009 four-speed gearbox was always a compromise.
For tight tracks the gearing was too tall in second gear,
but on fast tracks the gearing could be too short in fourth
gear. Plus, the four-speed tranny had large gaps between
each gear in order to have the same speed profile as a
five-speed. Not so with the 2010 five-speed gearbox. It is
a revelation on the 450SXF.
( 6) Jetting. This is the first 450SXF to get a leak jet.
Leak-jet and fuel-screw adjustments were the only jetting
changes we had to make.