radiator. Additionally, the black plastic radiator guards
have been redesigned to allow roost and dirt to
( 4) Chain guide. The rear chain guide has been
lengthened to help guide the chain onto the sprocket
teeth more effectively.
( 5) Frame color. The frame is now powdercoated
black in a move that makes very few KTM owners
or buyers happy. KTM says that the frame is actually
gray, but it looks black to us. Most KTM owners lust-ed after the orange frames that the works bikes used
for a decade. Now, after one year, the orange RAL2009
powdercoating is gone. Boo. Obviously, the graphics
have been changed since the Factory Edition IV, but
mostly the aesthetics just come down to the removal
of the Red Bull logos and some slight color shifts. You
might never notice it, but the gas tank is actually different on the 2016 model than on the Factory Edition,
but just to support the radiator shrouds better.
( 6) Rear brake-pedal spring. A stiffer and
stronger ovalized brake-pedal spring replaces last
year’s weaker round spring.
( 7) Brake rotors. The Galfer Wave brake rotors are
lighter by approximately 1-1/2 ounces (front and rear).
They have a new vent pattern, and, if you look closely,
you can see the magnet fitting for the odometer on
the offroad models.
( 8) Wheels. The Factory Edition had silver spokes,
but the 2016 model has black spokes. In previous
years KTM used a special coating process to make
the spokes black. They have now determined that
the original coating process was not good for the
durability of the spoke’s metal and have switched to
powdercoating the spokes black for 2016.
( 9) Throttle housing. Although this was a
mid-model change on some Factory Editions, all the
2016 KTM 450SXF’s will come with raw silver throttle
housings instead of black.
( 10) Mapping. The 2016 KTM 450SXF gets a
different map than the 2015-1/2 Factory Edition. Not
only does it improve starting, but delivers more fuel
down low and a better transition from low to mid.
Q: HOW GOOD ARE THE 2016 4CS FORKS?
A: Let’s cut to the chase. The most important
aspect of any KTM is its forks. Over the years the WP
suspension has been the weak link in KTM’s almost
flawless overall design. It doesn’t matter how well a
KTM handles, how fast it is, how easy it starts or how
great the brakes are if the forks beat you to death.
Thus, the question of how good the 2016 WP forks are
is of paramount importance.
So, how good are they? They are better than the
2015 forks and better than the Factory Edition forks.
They aren’t the best forks on the track, but nobody
gets to say that except Yamaha owners. The MXA
wrecking crew was in full agreement that the 2016
WP forks are plusher and more resilient in the bumps,
especially the small choppy stuff that used to be the
Achilles heel of WP’s suspension setup. But, that is
where the agreement ends. The faster MXA test riders
thought that KTM went too far in making its forks
work better for the vast majority of KTM owners, who
tend to be older and more sedate. They felt that the
forks dove too much in the first part of the travel and
were prone to bottoming. As for the riders that KTM
aimed their damping for, they felt that the new forks
were light years better than last year’s forks, with the
caveat that they were too quick in the first half of the
travel. The consensus was that the overall feel was
acceptable for a production bike. This was the first
time in a long time that MXA’s Vet test riders actually
turned the compression clicker inward to stiffen the
forks. In the past they have broken the clicker trying
to turn it all the way out.
Choosing fork valving in modern times is a delicate
balance between jump tracks versus natural-terrain
tracks, fast Pros versus steady Vets, and bottoming
resistance versus suppleness. In our opinion, we think
that KTM made the right choice in selecting comfort
over stiffness. And while the WP valving may not
make high-flying Pros happy, we don’t know any Pros