We shouldn’t have been surprised, but when KTM showed us the new 450SX-F Factory Edition prior
to the start of the Supercross season, our jaws fell open
and our tongues rolled across the orange floor. Instead
of asking sophisticated journalistic questions about
the heat treatment on the valve finger-followers, all we
could do was gasp and mumble, “Wow.”
It wasn’t a secret that KTM had something big in
the works. Factory test riders had been riding the new
bike in public for months. We expected the company
to release its Factory Edition just in time to make
Ryan Dungey’s bike legal for AMA Supercross rules.
The rules say 200 units have to be imported in order
to qualify as a “production” bike. KTM has developed
the habit of offering around 500 bikes for this purpose,
whether or not there are any new features. For the 2015
racing season, we knew something substantial was
coming. But this? Wow.
Seasoned KTM riders will notice a big difference in ergonomics. The
bike has a lower seat and handlebar with lower and more rearward-positioned footpegs.
SO WHAT’S NEW?
Everything. The motor is new, the frame is new, the
shock is new, the triple clamp is new and so on. If you
want to be technical, the Brembo brakes, the wheels
and some external parts of the WP 4CS fork are the only
major parts that are the same. To state the obvious, this
will be the basis for the 2016 mainstream production
model. There will be no more of the older 450SX-Fs coming off the assembly line. Traditionally, Factory Edition
buyers receive a few premium items that won’t be seen
on the later production bike. This includes a holeshot
device, a handlebar-mounted map switch, a disc-brake
guard, Red Bull graphics and a big number five. It also
has a premium price: $10,199. The 2016 model that
comes later won’t be that high, but if you want one now,
you gotta pay.