2009 KTM 450 XC-W Bike Test

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KTM 400 XC-W

2009 KTM 450 XC-W Bike

Chilly White

Wednesday, 11, 2009

“The Charmer”

To Race” is the motto plastered every piece of KTM advertising. It of sounds like a little bit of a so we decided to take KTM up on it with the KTM 450 XC-W. The first great was to get MotoUSA or KTM or anybody to fly me to the ends of the to some exotic locale for super cool race. I’m not VIP enough for that kind of Instead it was off to the first local of the year; the District 37 UMC Enduro.

it may not sound very glamorous, it had me a bit more concerned. You see this is the series where I hope not to win my class – I want the top overall for the season. Needless to say I want to be on a bike.

To keep with the to Race premise, the bike had to be stock. The full extent of the modifications included jetting and a set of Balls to prevent flats. I on my timekeeping equipment and headed for the line. After two of the three had been completed I was feeling good. I still had a zero and felt comfy on the bike.

We had through a couple of challenging already and I was able to ride out while still being my comfort zone. The final was where the real racing take place. At the completion of the 17-mile section I had dropped a of eight points, overall Nick Blais would a five.

This was good enough to me fifth overall behind KTM riders David Kamo and Cody. I was pretty darn not only with my riding, but the that got me there. Ready to you bet!

At first glance if seem that the ‘09 XC-W is just a set of bold new graphics from the models that in 2008. Yet underneath there are a of significant changes for the new year. The features a new cam with an all-new decompression system.

This eliminates some of the electric troubles from last Other internal changes new center cases, crank valve springs, ignition, plug and clutch plates.

The KTM 450 XC-W suspension is improved, revised internals and stiffer rates.

On the outside, the chassis focus around the suspension. It is cliché to say that the KTM suspension is this year, as it gets every year. But the effects of the this year are huge! The tubes are now sourced from and feature a thinner wall and chrome plating resulting in friction and improved flex. increased the rigidity of its frames, it is now flex back into the components.

This is also in the new two-bolt machined bottom and smaller diameter steering The fork clamps are now at a fixed offset versus the previous of 20 degrees. The shock also revised internals and valving as as a stiffer 7.2n/m straight spring.

The fork comes with springs.

At just over 200 I’m heavier than these spring rates, but they work extremely well at race speed. For the shock, I am the static sag at the recommended 35mm and not about the race sag, I did try an extra turn of preload but it improve anything. Overall the is super stable and predictable.

At I would swear it has linkage. The always feels a little and it still has some of that feel associated with the new PDS system. It does inspire the back end never kicks when hitting things at odd and bottoming is infrequent.

Up front I am four turns of preload to the chamber fork. The stock oil is probably just a little but it provides excellent bottoming Next on the work list is to try stiffer spring rates and rear that are more to my weight.

The motor is a joy to ride, is smooth and progressive. Our jetting were limited to raising the and a larger main jet. The sticker-legal stock settings are lean.

I have been to embrace the move to shorter engines. When they to the market a few years ago most of had more abrupt power and were prone to stalling, always seemed to come at the possible moment. All of the XC-W feature the same 95mm using different strokes to the 400, 450 and 530 displacements.

The 450 with its 63mm … has a balance of sweet bottom end and characteristics.

White’s season-opening in the Hare Hound series are aboard the KTM 450 XC-W.

After the I also raced the Desert MC Hare Hound. In the faster I did suffer a little against the horsepower bikes, but in the super second loop of the race I made up for that in the rocks and hillclimbs. Where the more moto bikes were for traction and control, I could chug up the worst sections, in second gear.

I previously about the low 13/52 gearing I rode the 2009 Husaberg FE but after two desert races, the is just fine. I only got 6th gear once at the National, and a dyno measured top speed of 100 it should be suitable for most It was all good enough to get me to 19th and first in class at the first big of the year.

Speaking of the Berg, bikes share so many parts that comparisons are Regarding carb vs. fuel I am still all in favor of the FI system as the future. There is one exception; I the XC-W has a broader range of compared to the standard map setting of the The ‘Berg really requires all three of its map settings to get the most out of the FI

So if you are a master of the black arts carb tuning) you probably have a few years to practice craft.

The other major of comparison are suspension and handling. For the ‘Berg dominates in ease of in, quick transitions and neutral in the air. Once settled a corner both bikes pretty similar.

In open the KTM takes the upper hand. The keeps the front end higher in the letting it easily skim many obstacles and take big without bottoming hard. The do feature significantly different front and rear and the difference in distribution gives each a feel.

Oh yes, call me old but I still prefer the comfort of the XC-W’s kickstarter, even both of these bikes very easy.

KTM 400 XC-W
KTM 400 XC-W

Alright, easy. Just hop on top of the giant and hold a wheelie while I a photo. Oh, and make look too!

I got together with Editor, JC Hilderbrand, and some of the guys including our guest model and factory KTM racer Kamo, to do a long desert ride. We had put on over 50 miles by and I had yet to switch the 2.4-gallon tank reserve, this was fairly riding but I am sure it was good for miles in those conditions.

Later when we were for the last great light of the day to up the photo shoot I was keenly at the lack of a headlight and made to high tail it back getting caught out in the dark. I those things cost but lighting is one area where the gets to chalk one up against the bikes.

For most riders, service on a modern dirt is going to be limited to oil changes and valve adjustments. The oil change is not difficult, just a little It consists of three drain one filter and refilling two compartments. The has an inspection bolt that you to determine fill capacity, it is on the opposite side of the filler

The engine compartment has a sight but my experience is that if you fill it the specified quantity, the sight will register overfull the bike sets for a period of like overnight. So, for example, you just shut the bike off and the oil level through the sight it will always read than the true level. our test bike has consumed no oil during our time with it.

After 30 hours of use, our have stayed within and no adjustments have been

Test rider Chilly calls it “The Charmer” and the KTM 450 XC-W will be a championship

I think of the 450 XC-W as “The because of its girl-next-door characteristics. It is not as as some of its siblings like the 530 or the moto-derived 450/505 XC, but it just to get better with every With the wide ratio and plug-in lighting capability, it is an do-everything bike. I know I raced it, but it really only an oil change and air filter to be ready to go out

I wonder if I could find to go to Baja this weekend?




Compression 18/14

HS Compression –

Preload/Sag 4mm/35mm Static

KTM 400 XC-W
KTM 400 XC-W
KTM 400 XC-W
KTM 400 XC-W
KTM 400 XC-W


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