MXA’S 2016 KTM
450SXF SETUP SPECS
This is how we set our 2016 KTM 450SXF up for
racing. We offer it as a guide to help you find your
own sweet spot.
4CS FORK SETTINGS
These aren’t Supercross forks. Thankfully, they
don’t feel like they are in a death match with your
hands every time you hit a bump. They are more
compliant than in the past and actually usable by
the riders they were designed for. Do we think they
are the best forks made? No. Do we think they
are raceable in stock trim? Yes—although not for
Supercross. For hard-core racing we recommend
this fork setup on the 2016 KTM 450SXF (stock specs
Spring rate: 0.48 N/m
Oil height: 100mm
Compression: 11 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Rebound: 15 clicks out
Fork leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Even our slowest test riders turned the
clickers in on the 2016 WP 4CS forks. That’s a first.
The faster the test rider, the more they were able to
bottom the forks. We added 10cc of oil to each leg to
stiffen the second half of the stroke for them.
WP SHOCK SETTINGS
KTM actually embossed a sag scale line on the
rear fender to make sure that riders measure their
race sag in the right place. For hard-core racing we
recommend this shock setup for the 2016 KTM
450SXF (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 5. 7 N/m
Race sag: 110mm
Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out)
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out
Rebound: 12 clicks out ( 15 clicks out)
Notes: We turned the high-speed compression
damping in a little to lessen G-outs, and ran a
touch more rebound than the recommended
setting. Additionally, we set the sag at a very
low 110mm. ❏
throttle cables, in-mold graphics and a legal AMA muffler.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Frame color. We didn’t beg, plead and cajole for
an orange frame for a decade just to have it taken away
so that the black plastic frame guards would match it.
( 2) Black plastic frame guards. Some test riders
complained that their boots caught on the edge of them,
while others think that the guards moved their feet out
too far. We removed them and replaced them with either
Nihilo frame tape or nothing (except a can of touch-up
( 3) Gas cap. It sticks. Take a body-building class; you’ll
need it at some point.
( 4) Pipe. You can’t take the pipe off the bike without
removing the shock—and removing the shock is a pain.
( 5) Sprocket bolts. Watch them and the spoke next
to the rear rim lock like a hawk or they will fly away.
( 6) Neutral. We love how well the KTM shifts from
gear to gear, but hate how hard it is to get into neutral
when standing still.
( 7) Bike stand. When the bike is sitting on a bike
stand, the front wheel is on the ground. This is a hassle
when checking the spokes or working on the front end.
Most stand companies made an add-on addition to deal
with the slanted frame cradles on Yamaha two-strokes, as
well as KTM and Honda.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Weight. We were impressed that the 2015 model
was 1.3 pounds lighter than the 2014 KTM 450SXF. The
2016 bike is 7. 9 pounds lighter than the 2015 model.
( 2) Powerband. Easy-to-ride bikes don’t have to be
slow. The 2016 KTM 450SXF proves it.
( 3) Tires. Last year KTM spec’ed the 450SXF with
Dunlop MX52 tires, which replaced the MX51s. For 2016
the 450XF gets Dunlop MX32 intermediate tires.
( 4) Radiator design. Every manufacturer should look
at the thought that KTM’s engineers put into getting air
to actually flow through their radiator cores.
( 5) Little things. This is not a BNG bike or an
updated old design. It is new from the ground up. That
shows—not just in the all-new engine, frame and plastic,
but in the minor details that make a difference. The
footpegs, shift lever, air filter, fuel lines, crossbar pad,
chain guide, brake-pedal spring, resonance chamber,
CNC hubs and double-duty headstay/pipe mount all
show that KTM cares.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: This bike is awesome, but in the past the forks
have been gruesome. For 2016 the forks are actually
usable by their target audience (Vet riders with healthy
bank accounts). If you think you are too fast for the
stock forks, we know some excellent suspension gurus
who can fix KTM 4CS forks for around $250. After all,
you won’t be spending any cash on Hinson clutches,
aftermarket exhaust pipes, oversize brake rotors or