Dream Ride: KTM Factory Edition 450 SX-F
We ride one of only 400 available
Special Club: Riding the 2012 KTM Factory Edition 450 SX-F
Video: Donnie Bales/First Turn Films
Photos/Typos: Scott Hoffman
FULL VIDEO BELOW
Only 400 of these puppies will hit the shores of American soil and the few who will own one of these units will be happy campers. No, the bike does not ride itself, yet it is one fun motorcycle to ride. Almost new from the ground up, the FE does share a few components from the standard 2012 450 including suspension, brakes, wheels (except for the large axle rear), and frame geometry. The geometry is the same but the frame has been altered and beefed up in the steering head area and the down tubes have been altered for the new engine.
The engine is all new, yet it does share the engine cases with other Fuel Injected 450s and 500s. The transmission, head, crank, ignition, and FI computer are new FE specific components. This bike also comes standard with the software to alter and tune the FI and ignition (sweet)!It was kind of a tease test because each media outlet only got a chance to ride the bike for one day. This was very much like going on a first date with a really hot girl—you have a great time, the entire date is awesome but she never calls and a few weeks later you see 400 people dating the same girl. There were only a few FE available for the media and those bikes were already slated for other duties after our brief date.
Our one-day date was a fun outing and we got along very well. The FE is about 4-pounds lighter than the standard SX-F but on the track it feels 15-pounds lighter. The chassis is very nimble and turns like a dream, especially while entering corners. The engine is robust with a hard-hitting mid range that likes to rev. It is full race bike but still very manageable. Not as lazy as the standard 450 and this also causes you to ride the bike more aggressively as it should be.
This is not a 2013. They will be available later this year but for now a very lucky 400 riders will have a chance to own one of these cycles. The FE is an awesome bike but with only one day on the bike, it is not fair to make a real world comparison with the competition—yet we will. The KTM has its own feeling of good, they did not try to build a bike that feels like a Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, or Suzuki. It’s quick handling, has solid suspension, and the amazing power puts it right there and above the competition depending on the comparison. The 400 owners of the FE should be very happy when they get a chance to ride one of these bikes for more than just a few hours. Check out our video below.
Riding Level: Pro Motocrosser/Supermoto
Right away I felt comfortable on the 2012 Factory Edition. Riding the 2012 standard and Factory Edition back to back I can honestly say that KTM is making steps in the right direction and that the FE is a very competitive bike for any level rider. The first thing I noticed on the track is how well the bike tracked into the corners. In the flat dry corners the bike never wanted to push the front or stepping out in the rear on entrance, mid or exiting the corners. In the ruts the bike was also very exceptional. I never had to fight the KTM FE, it stuck in the ruts and never tried to stand up on acceleration. The second thing I noticed, and what I was most surprised and happy with, was the motor. It has good bottom, but from mid to top the bike lights up. The standard has a very good motor also but the Factory Edition is more of a racers’ bike, you can’t be so lazy because this bike likes to get up and go when you twist the throttle. The engine revs out for days and pulled forever. I was absolutely in love with this bike between the motor and cornering. As far as other aspects of handling, I had no complaints. The bike feels a little different than the Japanese bikes, but not in a bad way. It was the most fun bike I have ridden in a long time. Another change from the 2012 standard 450 to the factory edition is the look. I like the way the standard looks but the factory edition is also easy on the eyes for sure. The way the new plastics and tank feel is good, it helps the bike feel more agile than the standard edition. I really enjoyed the Factory Edition, it is an all-around good bike. The bike impressed me in many ways, everything about it is pretty spot on!
Top 5 favorite things;
1. Steel frame/suspension – The bike tracked very, very well everywhere I went and I never had to muscle or fight the bike.
2. Motor – It revved out for days and never died off, while also having a good bottom end.
3. Electric start – Who doesn’t like an electric start?
4. Brembo brakes/hydraulic clutch – The brakes are phenomenal. I could brake nearly as late as I wanted and could stop and make the corner with ease. And the hydraulic clutch is definitely nice, it has an awesome feel and is also super smooth.
5. Ergonomics – Looks very attractive, feels narrower than the standard giving the rider a better feel.
-I can’t have one nor can afford one!
-I don’t really have any complaints.
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