as you do this, plus it takes some muscle. Luckily, aftermarket pipes don’t
need to have the shock removed
because they come with a slip-fit in
Inside the airbox is a black electric fitting. It is the fuel-pump relay.
The relay slip-fits onto a tang inside
the airbox with a rubber strap, but
because it slides on from the bottom
up, it can fall off. If it falls off, it will
rattle around and, in the worst-case
To remove the WP shock, we pull it out
through the mud flap.
Check the fuel pump relay to make sure
it is solidly mounted to its bracket.
If your kill button isn’t next to the grip,
move it there immediately.
Every KTM comes with two throttle
cams. We run the black quick-turn one.
scenario, crack. Always check to make
sure the fuel-pump relay is securely
LAUNCH CONTROL TRICKS
When launch control is engaged,
the EFI light, behind the front number
plate, will flash rapidly. Be forewarned;
launch control will only stay engaged
for three minutes or until you rev the
engine and then let the rpm fall off
30 percent or more. What does that
mean? If you engage launch control
on the starting line and then blip the
throttle or do a burn-out, you will no
longer be in launch control. And, you
have to turn the bike off to re-engage
launch control. The best strategy is to
do all your blipping and burning out
well before the start and then press
the Map button and Traction Control
button at the same time to activate
launch control. Once you begin to rev
up the engine, be careful not to let the
rpm fall off. If you do, you will revert
back to whatever map you originally
chose. KTM’s launch control is at its
best on concrete or rock-hard dirt
Launch control works best with a
steady throttle, not by twisting the
throttle when the gate drops. There
are MXA test riders who engage
KTM’s launch control and hold the
throttle wide open before releasing
the clutch. It takes practice to find the
perfect throttle position for maximum
acceleration. KTM’s launch control
disengages as soon as you chop the
throttle for the first turn.
For some reason KTM puts the
Map/Traction Control multi-switch
next to the left grip with the kill button mounted inboard (on the inboard
side of the clutch perch). MXA swaps
the position of the kill button and
multi-switch. This enables our thumb
to hit the kill button without searching
for it in an emergency. There is no
emergency that would require us to
have easy access to the multi-switch.
Your KTM 450SXF comes with a
spare throttle cam. KTM offers a black
throttle-cam reel and a gray reel. On
the 450SXF, the gray reel is installed
at the factory while the black reel is in
the parts briefcase. The outer diameter of each reel determines how much
throttle cable is pulled per rotation.
The larger the diameter of the reel,
the less the rider has to twist the grip
to open the throttle body’s butterfly
all the way. The 39.5mm black reel is
the quick-turn throttle. Conversely, the
smaller 36.5mm gray reel opens slower for more controlled power delivery.
Most MXA test riders prefer to run the
black quick-turn reel in place of the
stock gray reel in the 450SXF.
TEN THINGS TO WATCH
(1) Gas cap. It sticks. Take a
body-building class; you’ll need it at
( 2) The exhaust. You can’t take
the pipe off the bike without removing
the shock. Not fun.
( 3) Sprocket bolts. Watch them
for as long as you own the bike.
KTM claims that the sprocket bolts
are prone to loosening if the chain is
too tight. There is a chain-slack chart
printed on the inside of the airbox
cover. As a rule of thumb, when the
chain looks too loose, that’s when it
( 4) Spokes. Always check the
spoke next to the rear rim lock. If it is
loose, and five times out of 10 it will
be, tighten all the spokes.
( 5) Neutral. We love how well the
KTM shifts from gear to gear but hate
how hard it is to get it into neutral
when standing still.
( 6) 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.
( 7) Front brake hose. Be very
careful when hooking tie-downs onto
your handlebars that they don’t crimp
the L-bend tube coming out of the
front brake’s master cylinder. We
would prefer more room between the
brake line and the bars to lessen the
chance of damage. Always use soft
( 8) Handlebar clamps. In 2016
the bars were mounted to a one-piece lower bar mount with two
separate top bar-mount clamps. For
2017–’ 18 the bottom bar mounts are
now two separate pieces while the
top bar mount is one piece. From an
engineering point of view, neither
version works very well.