2014 KTM 450SXF
“This is the greatest four-fifths of a motocross bike ever
built. It is missing the one piece of the puzzle that would
make it untouchable—and that is a puzzlement. If you
are a Pro who knows a suspension tuner with KTM
experience or are part of KTM’s target audience, this
bike is a winner.”
WHAT WE LIKED
(1) The bike. This bike has the best all-around
handling, best brakes, best clutch, best shifting, best
overall powerband, an electric starter, no-tools airbox
and good durability. Other brands might have better
suspension, more focused power or weigh less, but no
brand has as many superlatives as KTM.
( 2) Hydraulic clutch. MXA has harped on KTM’s
engineers since the introduction of the Belleville washer
clutch, complaining that we wanted more tension. Last
year MXA borrowed the stiffer clutch spring out of Ryan
Dungey’s race bike. It was an instant improvement to an
already good clutch. For 2014 all the 450SXFs have the
stiffer clutch spring.
( 3) Powerband. What is the most significant feature
of the 2014 KTM 450SXF? Well, it certainly isn’t the
suspension. Nope, it is the powerband. KTM has dialed
in the exact kind of power that the typical KTM 450SXF
owner needs and wants. The powerband doesn’t have
the brutal rush of the KX450F, but it can easily run with
the KX450F. Plus, because of the way the power is
delivered, it seems to pull twice as long as other 450s.
( 4) Muffler. Last year’s KTM mufflers were odd ducks.
Each model’s muffler was different. The 250SXF muffler
was 40mm shorter and had a wire screen. The 350XF
muffler had an inverted perforated cone in the muffler,
and the 450SXF had two perforated cones in its muffler.
MXA learned early on that using the shorter and less-restrictive 250SXF muffler improved throttle response and
bark (without drastically increasing the sound). For 2014
all three KTM four-strokes come with the 250SXF muffler
(40mm shorter and with a wire screen only).
WHAT WE HATED
(1) Rims. Never go to the starting line without
checking the spokes, especially the spoke next to the
rear rim lock. Odds are good that it will be loose. In
truth, there is nothing wrong with KTM’s spokes; it is
the rims that are suspect. If you don’t want to risk wheel
failure, you can lace the existing spokes and hubs up to
Excel A60 or DID rims.
( 2) Shock. The shock is considerably better than
the forks, but when one end of a bike doesn’t work, it