2005 KTM 450 SX 450 vs. 450 EXC — Off Road Bike Comparison — Dirt Rider Magazine

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2005 KTM 450 SX 450 Vs. 450 EXC – Off Road Bike – Dirt Rider Magazine

February 24, 2009

KTM has had great in recent years, due in part to its enough models to appeal to about any dirt rider. The is a rider with a pocket of Andrew Jacksons who is looking for a new four-… could walk a well-stocked KTM dealer and (theoretically) be with four different We say theoretically because it is so rare to find 450 EXC models sitting on a floor. At many dealers is a waiting list for the bikes.

he or she found a fully stocked a savvy dirt rider notice pretty quickly the SMC (SuperMotard) model has slicks on it, and dismiss that one. still leaves the motocross-specific SX, the EXC and the fuel-tanker MXC. All three use the basic frame, engine suspension components, hubs and and much of the same plastic.

As as the three are, they at very different aspects of the the 450 SX and the 450 EXC tested here are aimed at the opposite ends of the sport. The SX is for brief blasts through the world of motocross, and the EXC is for daylong through trees and trails. The MXC is somewhere in the middle.

As with the SX, it uses a close-ratio transmission, but it has two gears the weight-conscious SX doesn’t The suspension is the same off-road the EXC uses, but the MXC has neither lights the ignition and wiring are capable of lights) nor a speedo/odometer. The MXC and EXC also run an engine specification, electric carburetor settings and spark-arrestor which means that are California-green-sticker-legal.

The SX engine is externally but it runs titanium valves stainless steel), a lighter a more-radical cam, a straight-through system, a shorter … and bore and is kickstart only. key difference is the weight. The SX tips the at roughly 235 pounds, the EXC is a little than 250 and the MXC is a couple of pounds which bike do you need?

For the purist, the answer is simple—the SX for and the EXC for off-road—but how many dirt are truly single-faceted? Sure, KTM now has a bigger presence in motocross, and are many orange weapons see only motocross use. But KTM buyers are more well-rounded and their bikes for multiple and thus will need a that will, if asked, do it

Or at least do a couple of things Having the MXC in the mix of choices adds but many dealers convert the 450 SX to a for less than $1000, and means the choice is tougher So let’s look at which does what to help the decision easier to make.

Engine performance really these bikes. The EXC has the smooth, power that will the bike moving in slick, conditions and while crossing wet and slimy rocks. It doesn’t a hit in the powerband.

Flexibility is also the key for the transmission. An enduro bike a low first gear for survival and tightly spaced lower for making time in special but a tall, high gear helps ease the strain on the and the rider when there are transport sections between tests. On faster dirt in Colorado, the EXC cruised easily at 60 to 70

Some other bikes on the such as the Honda CRF250X, not at all comfortable in the fast transport used the stock California-legal jetting in Colorado no matter the elevation, and the engine ran cleanly and more than 70 miles of roads, two-track and single-track going on reserve. The electric worked perfectly. For a truly section and single-track, lower might have been

We could have stayed in gear more and shifted and the clutch less. On a track, the EXC makes usable grunt and well but is very docile and the punch for clearing some easily.Conversely, the SX was a handful on the rocky, trails. It squirts rocks out under the rear tire a fire hose if you aren’t with the throttle.

Sometimes the SX as if it does 35 mph in first and 45 mph in fourth. It out of gear very quickly, the fifth and sixth (MXC) missing from the SX since ’03 make the bike a lot more off-road. On the track, the gears are perfect.

Unlike some machines, you don’t ever as though some of the ratios are Depending on their style of some testers wanted a rear sprocket so they use third gear more in the while others wanted a rear sprocket so they hold second gear The new ignition black box is more for a tighter turning radius (no with the outer fork and it has a different curve that has up the power delivery.

The KTM still has no hit to the powerband compared with the 450s, so it is less intimidating for riders, despite the fact it usually has the best peak numbers in the class. The bike is not Handling and Suspension

Both handle much the same, and is no mistaking the ergonomics as virtually Most riders jumping one to the other notice mainly the in suspension setup. For ’05, the WP suspension is much more to fine-tune for different riders. is nothing tricky about the race sag on the linkage-free rear Actually, adjusting the shock is easier than on nearly any bike.

It is on the side and easy to get to. Now the sag should be set at a 110mm for most riders. If the rate is correct for you, the should still sag 25-35mm its own weight without the rider setup recommendations hold for both bikes.

We didn’t the need for many changes. the SX’s fork broke in, the felt a little soft, so we in a couple of clicks on the compression. At in Gorman, California, where we some G-outs were the shock hard, so we went in turn on the high-speed compression.

You find that you desire the modification to the EXC, but that has no external high-speed adjustment. You can buy the and install it in the EXC/MXC shocks if the adjustments, the SX was a blast on the track. It lines precisely, pulls out of strongly and vacuums up bumps enough. Most impressive, was the increased bottoming resistance.

One forgot the finish-line jump at Los County Raceway in Palmdale, was not a tabletop but a double jump. The flattened the bike hard the face of the second jump. On an ’04 the clanking of the suspension would stopped traffic. But he suffered no ill with the SX.You can stiffen the enough to play on natural-terrain without too many steep faces or flat landings.

the bike bottoms hard. the trail was another matter. We put 300 miles on the bike traversing challenging terrain. For Colorado’s sharp-edged rocks, the suspension as plush as we would have We had our low-mileage 2004 KTM 450 EXC along, and the and the suspension were a definite back in outright plushness with the new model.

National Enduro Champ Lafferty was on the ride with a KTM 450 SX, and we bikes for a short while. It was his time on a 2005 production and he was amazed at the improvement in the fork. He it was the least-”sticky” WP fork he’d with, though he felt it a little low in the ….

You can fix that on an SX, the bike has fork caps externally adjustable spring but not on the EXC. The EXC suspension works at an aggressive trail pace, but on off-road terrain it is plush and enough for daylong riding.

KTM has done a great job of using the parts and basic platform to two very different machines. riders will find one or the other suits them fine. For those who want to tracks and trails, there is the MXC option, or the choice of having a install fifth and sixth in the SX.

For us, in California, the fact that the MXC is off-road-legal would make us it for riding tracks, trails and GPs or scrambles, though it would some suspension work if we to get serious. But some of us prefer the thin tank and the lights for a night action. However you your selection, your are much improved for 2005, and you can’t lose.


Very and yet totally different, these have you covered as long as you can which way you slide. Opinions: KTM 450 SX

I first took out the KTM 450 SX, it felt stiff as the track conditions a bit rough. I simply could not get the to settle in the corners, and it was hard to get it to go I needed it to go. After making a few adjustments to the shock and the fork, the felt as if it were a new machine.

I went from being of it to having a ton of confidence in it. I was impressed how different the bike felt the changes we made to it. The KTM is very

It just takes time to what to do and why to do it, but once you figure it all the Katoom is a real contender any of the other bikes in its class.

Neuer/5’11″/165 lb/MX Intermediate I was the rider who spent a great of time on both KTM 450s. The SX is improved. On the motocross track, it is to feel the added strength of the but the additional suppleness and compliance of the new are also evident on the track the SX and on the trail with the EXC. On the I love the smooth, long of the 450 SX. It is so much easier to ride the Japanese 450s yet still has boost.

On the trail, the 450 EXC is amazing. The is compliant; the engine is pure, magic; and that awesome rules. The six-speed has a get-you-out-of-trouble gear, and the digital speedo still read 90 mph in fifth and gear! Really, this is a bike.

For my style of riding—some and a lot of trail with a few GPs and hare thrown in—the MXC will be the one that ends up in my garage.

Kramer/6’1″/200 lb/B rider 450 motocross bike tests:

KTM its bikes ready to race. I dispute this one bit, but I felt totally comfortable to hang it out (in other words, go at pace) on one for a few years now. hasn’t stopped me from nearly 20,000 miles on my 400 EXC. But the new 450 is insane. I still want to race it, for some reason, but the improvements to the chassis and make it way closer to where it to be.

Especially the suspension’s bottoming It feels as if the bike has 18 inches of now—a good and bad thing. the 450′s engine is getting and smoother while still a punch when requested.

I’d ride this thing the crank fell out … and maybe it once in a while, too.

Lewis/5’10″/175 lb/AAA trail For a long day of trail riding diverse conditions ranging nasty AA enduro technical to fire roads, I have the KTM 450 EXC to be the best all-around motorcycle For my size and skill, the 450 EXC is the perfect of power, weight and handling better than the more-powerful Amazingly, KTM has improved an already-great with the 2005 model.

The improvement is the suspension; both the and shock now soak up square-edged a lot better, and the bike is less to deflecting off the gnarly stuff. The old foam felt pretty but the ’05′s was just right for my lightweight …. These are not differences, but you will really these refinements at the end of a long day on the

Sean Finley/5’10″/160 lb/Intermediate



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