The biggest change on the 2017-1/2 Factory Editions is the updated
and refined WP AER forks. Last year the 2016-1/2 Factory Editions
were the first bikes to get the AER air forks. What KTM’s engineers
learned from the 2016-1/2 Factory Edition fork settings, they applied
to the 2017 AER forks. Now, what they learned with the 2017 production bike, they have built into the 2017-1/2 forks. That includes a
new sintered-steel mid-valve, new base valve (although the dimensions
remain the same), a rhomboid-shaped air seal to replace last year’s
quad-ring seal, increased low-speed damping with less high-speed and
more rebound, and, finally, the new forks are set up to make the recommended air pressures feel more like the lower pressures that most
2017 KTM racers ran. Don’t be surprised to find that what KTM learns
from 2017-1/2 Factory Edition owners is applied to the final suspension
settings on the 2018 forks and shock.
2017-1/2 KTM 450SXF HIGHLIGHTS
(1) Forks. There’s an updated WP AER air front fork with a new
air seal, air piston and rebound spring on the air leg, along with a
new piston on the damping side for improved performance.
( 2) Shock. There are updated settings on the WP rear shock.
( 3) Triple clamps. The orange-anodized, CNC-machined triple
clamps have the same rigid design of the 2017 production clamps.
( 4) Chassis. The frame is powdercoated in factory-team orange
and gets orange frame guards to keep it looking good.
( 5) Brakes. Super-lightweight Galfer Wave rotors.
( 6) Wheels. The wheels are built on CNC-machined hubs, high-end D.I.D. DirtStar rims and Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires.
( 7) Exhaust pipe. The Akrapovic titanium slip-on muffler is lighter than the standard 450SXF muffler.
( 8) Graphics. The Red Bull replica graphics, orange powder-coat-ed frame, orange-anodized sprocket and black front disc guard are
( 9) Map switch. The handlebar map switch activates traction
control, launch control and two maps.
( 10) Retail price. $10,399.
In truth, KTM’s Factory Edition line of bikes was devel- oped to take advantage of a poorly written AMA rule. This rule allows any production bike to be raced in
that year’s AMA Supercross series as long as the man-
ufacturer can prove that it made 400 units by May 31st
of that calendar year. It doesn’t take a genius to do the
math and realize that by May 31st the Supercross series
is over. This rule is seriously flawed, but the AMA is run
by non-thinkers; they would never change the rule to one
that made more sense, like requiring that the 400 bikes
be available before the start of the Supercross season, not
after it is over. So, like all AMA rules, the current produc-
tion rule has a loophole that you could drive a Mack truck
through—and that is what KTM has done for the last five
Oh, don’t get us wrong; we love that KTM cares enough
to build a production run of pre-pro 2018 bikes several
months before the 2018 bikes are due on the showroom
floors. And just because Roger DeCoster outsmarted the
AMA doesn’t lessen the value of the product that loyal
KTM racers get to enjoy.