Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2015 KTM
450SXF BETTER THAN THE 2014 450SXF?
A: Yes and no; it depends if we are talking about
the production-based 2014 KTM 450SXF or the late-arriving 2014 KTM Factory Edition III (of which there
were only 699 made). The differences between the
production-based 2014 KTM 450SXF and the 2015 KTM
450SXF are fairly significant. However, since the 2014
450SXF Factory Edition III was the stalking horse of the
2015 production model, the differences between these
two models are not extensive.
Q: WHAT DID KTM CHANGE FOR 2015?
A: For the majority of this test we will be referring
to the 2014 production KTM 450SXF and will only be
referencing the Factory Edition III when necessary. Here
is a list of the changes between the 2015 model and
the 2014 model.
(1) 4CS forks. Gone are the WP bladder forks of the
past and in their place is the new 4CS fork. 4CS stands
for “Four Chamber System,” and these new forks are only
offered on American KTMs. The new fork is 6. 5 ounces
lighter than the old fork. The fork guards are now an
open design and do not wrap around like previous KTM
fork guards (and the old-style fork guards will not fit on
the 4CS forks).
( 2) Fork offset. The front axle offset has been
changed at the fork lugs by moving the axle 2mm rearward (from 35mm in front of the fork center line to
33mm in front). This change required a switch from last
year’s 25mm front axle to a smaller 20mm axle (saving
40 grams) to fit in the reduced space of the axle lug.
( 3) Rear suspension. The rising rate has been
changed via an all-new bell crank and 2.5mm-longer
pull rod. The rising-rate curve is stiffer initially and then
flattens out to provide a less progressive curve at the
end of the stroke. To accommodate the longer linkage,
the WP shock is 4mm longer. The suspension travel
remains the same, but the seat height is lowered by
5mm at the rear fender.
( 4) Frame cross tube. The cross tube that the shock
linkage mounts to has been changed from a tube with
welded-on brackets to a one-piece, forged cross tube for
( 5) Frame color. The frame is now powdercoated
orange to mimic the factory race bikes (and the Factory
Edition III). If you want to paint your 2014 KTM frame
orange, the correct powdercoat color code is RAL2009.
( 6) Oil pump O-rings. The oil-pump suction screen
gets new O-rings to help it seal better against impurities.
( 7) Triple clamp. The black-anodized triple clamps
remain unchanged, but it gets a new O-ring support for
the bottom steering-stem bearing. The steering-stem bolt
now has a 17mm hex head instead of the previous 27mm
hex. Between the new steering-stem bolt and O-ring
bearing support, the triple clamps are approximately 1
( 8) Wheels. The suspect rims of the last four years
have been replaced by what KTM promises are true-to-life
black-anodized Excel rims. The spokes are black as
are the Dunlop Geomax MX52 front and rear tires.
We still recommend watching the spoke next to the
rear rim lock closely.
KTM 350SXF 2015 KTM 450SXF