The bike that began life as a way to entice Ryan Dungey into the
KTM fold is now a production motocross bike.
Not a replica anymore
KT M 450SX
KTM has gone off script in a big way. The screenplay originally called for the
350SX to be the company’s flagship
motocross bike by now. If the company still
offered a 450, it was to be as a supporting
crew member, a slightly dated alternative.
All that changed with the success of Roger
DeCoster and Ryan Dungey. Now the
Austrian company fully embraces two different philosophies for motocross—three if
you include the 250SX two-stroke. The
new-for-2013 450SX is a vital, weight-bear-ing member of the KTM line, coexisting
with the 350. With this bike, KTM is stepping back from the paternal role of telling
the consumer what he should want and
letting him decide for himself.
Tony Cairoli proved that the 350 was a
valid concept. By winning the MX1 world
championship on a 350SX-based machine,
he showed that the philosophy of using less
displacement worked. But it wasn’t the only
philosophy that worked. Ryan Dungey
wanted a full-size 450 when he signed with
KTM, and that started an amazing project
that has already yielded fruit for the consumer. This bike is a direct result of the
Dungey project, replacing a highly regarded
but suddenly old-fashioned 450SX that previously existed. In 2012, KTM produced a
limited number of the Dungey bikes just to
satisfy AMA racing requirements. Now it’s in
the line to stay and the old 450 is out.
Helping the old bike out the door was the
fact that it was an expensive machine to
manufacture. It had a complex double-overhead-cam engine with sand-cast cases.
When it originally came out, it was assumed
that it would be KTM’s first platform to
receive fuel injection. As it turned out, the
bike was carbureted to the very end, no
doubt a victim of neglect as the R&D department focused on the 350. In the meantime,
KTM had just finished development on a new
motor for its off-road line. It was simpler,
lighter, easier to make and, as it turned out,
easier to ride. It became the platform for the
Dungey bike with spectacular results.