Motor-vated: 2011 KTM 450 SX-F

16 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Motor-vated: 2011 KTM 450 SX-F
KTM 450 SX-F

Motor-vated: 2011 KTM 450 SX-F Hot

It doesn’t matter whether your last (other?) KTM was a 950 adventure monster, a 690 dual-sport or a competition model. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you have ever ridden one. If you have a pulse, you will like the 2011 450 SX-F. The 2011 is truly a departure from the norm for the Austrian company. KTM has always been open to new technology, but not to following the crowd.

The company was among the first to embrace liquid-cooling, a shock linkage and disc brakes on dirt models. It also adopted the inverted fork design a full five years before the first Japanese brand did. But in 1998 KTM abandoned a rear suspension linkage in search of simplicity and light weight.

Every year KTM and WP have pushed the no-linkage PDS system’s performance forward, but at the highest end of the motocross spectrum, and especially in Supercross. a linkage is vital. SX races ultimately come down to cornering ability and the stadium whoop sections. Setting a machine up for SX whoop sections is vastly easier with a linkage.How many riders while ever truly pound a stadium whoop section?

As a percentage the figure is tiny, but the perception of every day riders is that the bike needs a linkage, and after 13 years preaching the PDS gospel, the company blessed the 2011 250, 350 and 450 SX-F four-stroke motocross models with a linkage as part as a completely new chassis and ergonomic package. And since this is happening in a year when the competition made only bare minimum changes, a new KTM draws a lot of attention at the track.

Riding It

In these days of two-wheeled specialization, the KTM is a finely tuned and serious motocross weapon capable of competing at any level including national outdoor motocross and supercross. Fortunately, it is just as happy with a weekend warrior hanging on for dear life. It is hard to know whether to credit the European roots of the bike (and MXGP tracks) or the fact that KTM employs real riders, but KTMs appeal to dedicated riders.

The character of the power and the qualities of the chassis and suspension would lead you to believe that the bike is designed by riders. First, it has that sweet electric start, and once fired the power and acceleration are shocking. There is little wheelspin if you aren’t sloppy with the throttle and clutch, but the bike gobble straights and minimizes jumps.

Turning is generally quick and steering accurate. In all, the performance has few areas to critique. Many riders love the simplicity of a carbureted bike, but even die-hards had to admit the KTM has some low rpm hitches that EFI bikes don’t.

Overall, though, a great ride.

Maintaining It

Head for the garage, and you are certain that the engineers also worked on the bikes with their own hands. In the garage the little annoyances of routine maintenance are absent. You can get to the shock, the air cleaner can be removed without tools and the wheel spacers will never pop out and run to hide under the toolbox.

All of these observations are as true about a 2010 or earlier KTM as the 2011 KTM 450 SX-F.

In all the KTM equation is all about fun factor. A slim ride that looks great and has the boost to slam you back on the seat every time you twist the throttle oozes fun. So enjoy it.

There aren’t any speed limits on a motocross track!

KTM 450 SX-F

• Chassis with linkage (for the first time since 1997 for KTM)

• Slim and stylish plastic body parts

• Non-PDS shock with plastic spring preload adjuster collar


• Comfortable riding positions with plenty of adjustment

• Smooth but bountiful power aided by a nicely spaced five-speed

• Really gets the power to the ground, so acceleration is impressive

• Serious braking power front and rear

KTM 450 SX-F

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