Roczen’s KTM 450SXF powerband was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. From the bottom through the midrange the engine was
powerful yet manageably smooth. However, as the rpm climbed, the engine became scary fast. It took a rider with gumption to
effe;ti;ely use the entire ;ower s;read.
Swagger, speed, aggression—words that aptly describe Ken Roczen’s riding style. The German became an overnight hit in the United States.
Much like “Beatlemania” some 50 years ago, Roczen
makes women swoon (check out his Instagram feed if
you don’t believe us). Tween boys want to emulate the
19-year-old, not only due to the attention he receives but
for his ridiculous skills on a dirt bike. Older generations—
that is, those without Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,
Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.—appreciate his candor. It’s
remarkable that a kid from the other side of the
planet had to learn English, adapt to a dissimilar
culture, and yet he provides better sound bites than
his American competition.
Emergent, energetic, committed—words that effectively
describe KTM’s racing program. With roots in Austria, a
team manager from Belgium (Roger DeCoster), one rider
from France, another from Germany, an Aussie and a
fourth from Minnesota, KTM is a melting pot. They have
assembled one of the premier and perhaps most
complete race teams on the circuit. It’s laughable to
think that only a few years ago the orange brand was
considered a last-ditch destination for aging riders looking for one last shot on the gravy train. Those days are
gone. Ryan Dungey, Marvin Musquin, Dean Ferris and
Ken Roczen have proven that KTM is a winning brand.
Roczen’s power preference is the opposite of Justin Barcia’s.
;en ;ee;s the r;; low instead of ;oun;ing off the re;
limiter. Ken shifts back and forth between second and third
gear for the triples and rhythm sections, opting to use fourth
only in longer whoop sections. You’ll note that Roczen’s
engine doesn’t look very trick from its outward appearance.
It’s what’s inside that counts.