KTM’s Brembo caliper and 260mm front rotor are an incredibly powerful combination. All it takes is one finger to stop.
At least we don’t have WP to kick around anymore. Sounds
good, but WP makes the all-new 4CS forks also.
the previous WP bladder fork and the overly firm 4CS
fork on the 2014 Factory Edition III. Choosing fork
valving in modern times is a delicate balance between
jump tracks and natural-terrain tracks, fast Pros and
steady Vets, fluidity versus stiffness, and bottoming
resistance or suppleness. KTM did their best job ever in
2015 of juggling these conflicting needs.
The 2015 WP 4CS fork is much more absorbent than
either of last year’s forks and has more effective damping. We were able to satisfy the fastest and slowest
MXA test rider within three clicks either way. Good stuff.
Q: HOW DOES THE 2015 KTM 450SXF
A: A few years ago the MXA wrecking crew
recognized a major change in KTM handling. KTMs
used to have flexy frames that felt like they had hinges
in their middles. Then, suddenly, that changed. KTM’s
chassis got stiffer, more accurate and well-mannered.
Today, they have the best all-around-handling bikes on
the track. Once you get the fore/aft balance dialed in,
the KTM 450SXF does what you want to do with the
least input of any modern motocross bike.
Although the RM-Z450 turns sharper, the KTM is the
king of overall handling. It has a neutral chassis with
very little oversteer and no understeer. We like it.
Q: WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE 2015
A: Historically, changes to KTM fork offset don’t
seem to help or hinder the chassis in any big way. The
2015 KTM 450SXF
MXA wrecking crew has tested offsets from 18mm to
22mm, and while each silly millimeter changed the
character of the orange frame, none of them ruined its
personality. As a rule, offset changes don’t seem to hurt
the KTM’s basic handling package. Over the years
KTM has gone from 14mm to 18mm to 20mm to 22mm
offset without the word “wicked” ever coming into play.
For 2015, KTM effectively returned to the 20mm clamps
of three years ago (even though the triple-clamp offset
remains at 22mm).
So how did KTM change the geometry? The front
axle’s offset has been moved 2mm rearward (from 35mm
in front of the fork center line to 33mm in front). This
has the same effect as changing the offset at the triple
clamps from 22mm to 20mm. By moving the front axle
rearward, KTM’s engineers effectively increased trail,
decreased wheelbase and moved the engine forward.
Q: WHAT DID KTM DO TO THE 2015 KTM
A: If you don’t count the new oil ring on the oil-pump suction screen, then you are through counting.
The 2015 450SXF engine is the 2014 engine.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2015 KTM 450SXF?
A: The KTM 450SXF runs like a runaway
metronome. It starts out with a fairly pleasant rush of
power. It goes tick, tock, tick, tock and, in musical terms,
is largo. As the rpm climbs the tempo begins to pick
up. It goes tickity, tickity, tickity, tock and the tempo
becomes adagio. Then, in the meat of the midrange, the