rollers use lightweight, CNC-machined hubs, Excel rims,
and spokes coated in black with light aluminum nipples for
max durability and light weight. Dunlop Geomax MX51 tires
get the nod courtesy of their versatile bite factor.
The new fuel tank uses a screw-on cap (yeah!) and holds
more petrol (1.98 gallons), allowing riders to conquer a
decent-sized off-road loop.
THE HIT-AND-MISS SCENARIO
Power is the highlight of this machine; it’s big-time
potent everywhere! Also on the list of strengths: it’s easy
to start, has incredibly smooth clutch action with superior
engagement, and emits a decent racket out of the exhaust.
The power is not subtle; it hits hard and fast, running very
clean down low; and there is virtually no issue with stalling
or flaming out. It blows out of the hole with serious attitude.
If there’s an issue, it’s the immediacy of the bark. When the
track starts to deteriorate, the abrupt acceleration affects
tude goes thin, this sucker hauls the mail like few machines
can even dream about. Kudos to KTM for providing a
competent transmission with good gear ratios and a broad
powerband that’s light on deceleration and has a decent
The 450 is no featherweight, tipping the scales at 241
pounds dry. It weighs about the same as every other 450
except the Honda, which is 10 pounds lighter. It doesn’t
feel bulky or thick, though, since the weight is well-balanced. This is partly because of the light feel to the power,
but, more significant, the ergos are tight and roomy and,
believe it or not, KTM’s gyroscopic effect theory actually
seems to pay dividends.
Cornering is not a huge strength, though the KTM will
take a line, bite it, and hold its form to conclusion; it just
takes more effort than with the Honda or the Suzuki. The
immediacy of the power is partly to blame; stab it too hard
and things ignite quickly. This abruptness tends to yank
A Renthal Fat Bar, new Renthal grips and a Brembo hydraulic
clutch highlight the KTM’s controls. Too, the use of a screw
on gas cap is a welcomed addition.
We tested two mufflers looking to calm down the hit without sacrificing power. The FMF 4.1 has a spark arrestor, is a
shade softer noise wise and helped to smooth out the hit. We
also tried an XCW muffler which is much more quiet, completely removed the initial hit but didn’t hurt anything else.
Most felt that the XCW unit was too stifling.