There is only one thing to talk about
on the 2015 KTM 450SXF, and that is the
switch from the horrendous WP bladder
fork to the new 4CS fork. What a breath of
fresh air! No more cringing when we see a
Package. From the electric starter
to the hydraulic clutch to the powerful
Brembo brakes to the crescendo-style powerband to the black-anodized rims to the
quick-release fuel lines to the no-tools airbox to the superb handling, we like more
about the KTM 450SXF than we are comfortable thinking
4CS forks. KTM’s biggest flaw has always been its
WP forks—no more.
Fork guards. We preferred the old full-coverage fork
guards because they extended fork-seal life by stopping
rock dings on the back of the fork legs.
Shift lever. Too low on the stock notch and too high
on the next one up.
Air-filter cage. Always double-check to make sure
that the filter’s back edge is sealed against the intake
Black frame guards. Black frame guards are like
buying fancy orange Italian shoes and then wearing
rubber galoshes over them.
BEST SUSPENSION SETTINGS?
Forks. These are MXA’s recommended 2015 KTM
450SXF fork settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 0.48 Nm
Oil height: 100mm
Compression: 17 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 14 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Fork leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Finding the proper balance between the front
and rear suspension is the key to success. Fiddle with
the race sag and fork height to find the sweet spot. The
4CS is a little too stiff for Novice and Vet riders, but they
can fine-tune it by turning the compression out.
Shock. These are MXA’s recommended 2015 KTM
450SXF shock settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 5. 7 Nm
Race sag: 100mm
Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: You will notice that we ran more high-speed
compression damping than stock. We did this to help
lessen G-outs. We kept the low-speed compression clicker
on the stock setting but slowed the rebound damping
way down. What you won’t see is that we ran a stiffer
shock spring. You might ask why the chart doesn’t state
this. The answer is that we ran a 2014 orange shock
spring on our 2015 KTM 450SXF instead of the white
2015 spring. Both springs were labeled at 5. 7 Nm, but
the orange spring tested out at a 5. 76, while the white
spring was only a 5. 62. We needed a stiffer spring.
WHAT DID WE CHANGE?
Here is the short list of things the MXA wrecking crew
changed on the 2015 KTM 250SXF.
(1) Last year we had to re-valve the WP bladder forks
and lace up better rims (D.I.D. ST-X or A60 rims). This
year, we didn’t have to do either.
( 2) We bent our shift lever in a bench press to raise
the tip 5mm. This makes more room to get your foot
under it. Why don’t we just move it to the next notch on
the shaft? Because then it is too high.
( 3) We changed the map settings (found under the
seat). We preferred Map 2, which advanced the ignition
timing and provided more hit in soft terrain.
( 4) We ran last year’s orange 5. 7 Nm shock spring
because it was stiffer than this year’s white 5. 7 Nm
spring. If you are under 170 pounds, you can keep the
( 5) We install a 7602 Racing brake-pedal tip. It makes
the brake pedal longer so we can get a more tactile feel
on it with our feet.
( 6) We cut the rubber housing off the two throttle
cables to lighten up throttle feel.
( 7) We run a Works Connection stem nut because it
allows us to run the gas cap vent hose down into the
steerer tube (and stops the hose from twisting).
( 8) We run the radiator cap from the KTM two-strokes
(you can recognize it from its brass center). It is bulletproof. The four-stroke cap, not so much.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
Last year we said, “The 2014 KTM 450SXF is the
greatest 4/5ths of a bike ever made. It has a great
powerband, awesome brakes, amazing clutch, super
shifting, clean looks, billet hubs, superb handling and
an electric starter. It does everything better than its
competition—except suspension.” Guess what? The
2015 KTM 450SXF is at 5/5th. ❏
MXA RODE TEST