air pressure for Vets and Novices,
keeping the balance pressure, which
is accessed from under the left fork
leg set at 10 psi more than the main
In our opinion the coil-spring Cone
However, the weight savings needs
to be factored in for riders looking
to stay near the AMA’s 220-pound
THE REAL QUESTION
BOILS DOWN TO
450SXF WAS ALL IT
COULD HAVE BEEN.
The WP Trax shock was hit-or-miss.
Only the Pro test riders, who rode the
bike harder, liked the feel of the Trax
shock. Its dropout feature helped the
rear wheel follow the ground. Novices
and Vets didn’t like the shock, prefer-
ring the stock WP shock.
The Kite wheels were a big hit.
They looked cool and offered 36
spokes worth of security at speed.
Additionally, every test rider liked the
NK SFS air triple clamps, especially
after they rode the bike back to back
with and without the suspended bar
The Akrapovic pipe got mixed
reviews. It seems like exhaust systems
are a matter of personal taste almost
as much as grips—although every test
rider liked the ODI clamp-on grips.
Whether you choose an Akrapovic,
Pro Circuit or FMF exhaust system,
the difference in powerband usability
makes some riders happy and others
sad. Surprisingly, some Vet test riders
prefer the stock pipe’s power delivery
over all aftermarket units.
We carried two seats with us,
because not every rider liked the gripper bands on the PowerParts Factory
seat cover. “It pulls my pants down,”
was the biggest complaint.
The jumbo-sized 270mm rotor did
provide more stopping power, and
while it was assumed that some test
riders would find it too powerful,
that wasn’t the case. If we had used
test riders who never raced a KTM
before, they might have felt that way,
but every MXA test rider likes KTM’s
260mm stock rotor and the 270mm one
even more. However, the orange-anodized Flex levers left half of the test
riders cold because the lever profile
was blockier than stock, so it wasn’t
unusual to see a stock clutch lever
on one side and the Flex lever on the
brake side, depending on the test rider.
As for the look, it gathered crowds
who wanted to ogle every nook and
cranny. Of course, the graphics and
the glittering orange color drew them
in, but the trick front end kept them
At the end of our project bike build
we gave the keys to the building back
to KTM, and they handed us a bill for