2013 KTM 450SXF
“The Big Four are in danger of letting ‘Number Five’
get away from them. At a time when the Japanese manufacturers are being careful where they spend their R&D
dollars (yen actually), KTM has produced totally new
250SXF and 450SXF engines and redesigned its frames,
air boxes and engine components, adding fuel injection.
Even more impressive, each and every four-stroke in its
2013 lineup saw a massive horsepower jump. The 2013
KTM 450SXF should be at the top of your potential new
bike list—way at the top.”
WHAT WE LIKED
(1) Plain bearings. KTM doesn’t use roller or needle
bearings on the big-end or top-end of the 2013 450SXF;
instead, KTM uses plain bearings, which means no
bearings. Much like the old-school bronze bushing used
on road racers, the KTM doesn’t have any bearings to
blow out. KTM claims that maintenance life on the
crankshaft is double.
( 2) Five-speed tranny. The Euro-spec 450SXFs have
four-speed transmissions—just one more reason to be
thankful for the American way of life.
( 3) Bars. The 12mm-taller Renthal 827 bars are a
big improvement over last year’s low riders.
( 4) Brakes. If you are the designer of the Kawasaki,
Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki brakes, you should hang your
head in shame.
( 5) Power. If there is one thing that every bike company wishes it could advertise, it is “most powerful.” The
2013 KTM 450SXF blows the 2012 model out of the
water from the middle on up. Oh yeah, it makes more
power than any other 450cc motocross bike. The 2013
KTM 450SXF erases all the records with a startling
56. 95 horsepower.
( 6) Hydraulic clutch. Most MXA test riders love
KTM’s hydraulic clutch, but we do have a quibble that
KTM ignored us when we complained that the 450SXF’s
Belleville washer-style clutch spring was not stiff enough.
After Dungey got his stiffer clutch spring, it was put in
the KTM Power Parts catalog. We heartily recommend
it for the 2013 clutch.
( 7) Shock. The rear suspension setup isn’t all that
different from 2012, but it does have a different feel
because of increased rigidity in the rear end. The rear
axle is 5mm larger in diameter, and the one-piece swingarm is beefier. The result is a better-tracking rear end,
with less tendency to kick or yaw in the rough.