transfers the bulk of the load to the other end. Until you
get the forks to absorb everything thrown at them, the
shock will continue to suffer.
( 3) Forks. We originally blamed WP’s bad forks on the
Dutch, but a few years ago KTM moved the WP facility
to Austria (and got the Dutch off the hook). It is true
that KTM upped the compression damping for 2014, but
that was just a baby step in the right direction. If it were
us, we would bite the bullet and send these forks to
MX-Tech, Factory Connection, MX1 or Pro Circuit.
( 4) Overall suspension. KTM has focused strategically
on the biggest group of 450SXF buyers—older, richer,
heavier slow guys. There is a speed and rider weight
where the WP forks and shock are good—not great,
but good. Any rider under KTM’s target weight or over
the target speed is in trouble. When we switched from
Novice and Vet test riders to Pros, they bottomed the
suspension everywhere. And since the 0.50 kg/mm fork
springs are Freightliner stiff, this points to insufficient
damping (front and rear). If we were KTM and were so
close to winning every 450 shootout ever printed, except
that our suspension kept nixing the deal, we’d put more
effort into fixing the Katoom’s biggest flaw.
( 5) Shift lever. When the shift lever is in the stock
position, it is too low, and when you move it up one
notch, it is too high. MXA places its shift levers between
two blocks on a hydraulic press and bows the middle of
the shift lever to raise the tip.
HISTORY OF THE