By now you have already read all kinds of reviews on the 2014 KTM 450, so I’m not going to bore you with a complete review. I will cover why I chose the KTM 450, a quick review and what to expect from my time with this bike.
Why the KTM 450 SX-F?
A lot of deliberation went into this purchase. The Kawasaki KX 450F was a heavy contender because it just about swept all of the shootouts and is a little less expensive than the KTM 450 SX-F. I chose against the Kawi due reliability concerns, air forks and lack of electric start (you just won’t understand how great the magic button is until you have owned a KTM).
Next I really considered a KTM 350. I owned a 2011 KTM 350 SX-F and really liked it besides for a few issues that my particular bike had. I also had the chance last year to ride a 2013 KTM 350 SX-F for a few laps. In the few laps I rode it, it was easy to tell how much it had improved over the 2011. I didn’t go with the 350 because typically a bike that has to be revved high in the RPM range won’t hold up as well as one that is ridden lower in the rpm range.
Why not the Factory Edition?
I did consider going with the factory edition mainly because of the small changes they made to the chassis. I didn’t go with it because I didn’t want any of the other stuff you pay an extra $1,000 for (black rims, orange frame, Akrapovik slip-on). The final thing I personally had against the factory edition was the worry that some parts may not fit it that were designed for the regular 2014 KTM 450 SX-F, limiting the products available for review.
2014 KTM 450 SX-F Quick Review
To start off the 2014 KTM 450 SX-F weighs in at 239 lbs on my highly accurate bathroom scale. Electric start is a thing of beauty, I have a hard time recommending people to buy a bike that doesn’t have it. I’m a taller guy and like the fact that the handlebar mounts offer four positions to create more room, I currently have them all of the way forward.
On hard pack and tacky tracks the motor feels like it hits hard off bottom and you have to be careful with the throttle. Once you get beyond the initial hit the power is very smooth throughout the rpm range. I did not notice it feeling like it hit hard off the bottom on sandy or loamy tracks.
In stock form the suspension is very harsh, I’m not sure if this has something to do with stiff stock springs or if it’s an issue with the stock valving. Any decent suspension guy should be able to iron this out. The bike has a generally stable feel to it from the riding I have done so far and I have had no issues with the way it corners. I really like the chassis so far.
Goals for 2014 KTM 450 SX-F Testing
My goals for this project are as follows:
- Update at 40 hrs including durability and experiences with bike
- Cut weight to under 235 lbs
- Try to make the handling feel more like a 250f or even the 350 SX-F
- Maintain smooth power curve, similar to stock
This may seem simple, but goals number 1&2 are going to take a lot of work. Stay posted as I’ll be reviewing all the products that go into this build and unveiling the final product toward the end of 2014.