Believe it or not, local racers don’t benefit much from what Pro racers learn by racing on the AMA National and Supercross circuits. There are two reasons for this: (1) These are very special men with strange needs and uncommon desires. What they like doesn’t suit the rank-and-file rider. Take it from us, we’ve ridden lots of factory bikes, and you wouldn’t want to ride one. (2) Under the AMA production rule, no AMA Pro is allowed to race next year’s bike, thus they have very little to do with next year’s bike—until next year’s bike is in the showrooms.

But, there is always an exception to every rule. That exception is the KTM series of Factory Edition models. Under AMA rules, no one can race a bike that isn’t sold to the public. At least 400 bikes must be offered for sale to the public (this number is selected to keep the factory teams from building 10 bikes and giving all of them to the race team). Every year KTM fires up a special production line to build a 400-bike run of next year’s bikes. Yes, they sell them to the public, but KTM is really making the Factory Editions to get their team riders next year’s bike this year. Thus, the all-new 2018-1/2 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition is really the 2019 KTM 450SXF production bike.

MXA analyzed what makes the 2018-1/2 Factory Edition different from the current 2018 production bike. Here are the things you need to know.

FRAME The KTM 450SXF Factory Edition’s frame features more torsional rigidity, a 40mm-longer aluminum subframe and a carbon fiber-reinforced skid plate.

The Factory Edition comes with black anodized D.I.D. DirtStar rims instead of the production bikes unlabeled Excels.

WP SHOCK ABSORBER The WP DCC shock absorber has been updated with a new main piston and damping settings.

WHEELS The KTM 450SXF Factory Edition is fitted with black D.I.D. rims attached to CNC-machined hubs. Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires put the power to the ground.

The stock and aggressive maps are distinctly different from each other compared to the 2018 production model.

MAPS, TRACTION CONTROL & LAUNCH CONTROL The handlebar-mounted map selector switch allows for the ability to choose from among two engine maps, traction control and launch control. Bright LED lights indicate the functions clearly.

RETAIL PRICE The 2018-1/2 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition has a retail price of $10,599.

The muffler is smaller, but most significantly for KTM owners the mid-pipe comes with a slip-fit to allow the pipe to removed without having to take the shock off the bike first.

EXHAUST SYSTEM The new head pipe features a reshaped resonance chamber that is seamlessly integrated into the head pipe. A slip-fit at the mid-pipe makes it possible to remove the exhaust system without having to remove the shock absorber. The new muffler is more compact to bring the weight closer to the center of gravity while delivering the same performance and competition-legal noise levels.

The WP AER air forks have been revalved, the recommended air pressure lowered and the balance chamber volume reduced by 50%.

WP AER 48 FORK The WP AER 48 is a split-function fork featuring a capsulated air spring and pressurized oil chamber for consistent damping. Air-spring adjustment is simple with the factory-supplied WP digital air pump. The KTM 450SXF Factory Edition is also fitted with a holeshot device on the right fork to help racers get to the first turn ahead of the competition.

The top triple clamp was been increased in fore-to-aft width by 5mm for more stiffness. You can see the extra material in front of the hour meter.

CNC-MACHINED TRIPLE CLAMPS The 22mm-offset, orange-anodized, CNC-machined triple clamps are now stiffer to complement the increased longitudinal stiffness of the frame. A rubber damping system reduces vibrations and increases rider comfort.

COOLING SYSTEM KTM’s new CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics)-designed cooling system features redesigned radiators that complement the thinner bodywork and a larger cross-over tube for reduced pressure and turbulence.

The Hinson clutch cover mimics the race team’s bikes, but there are no Hinson parts in the engine. Note the new frame guards.

CLUTCH The KTM 450SXF Factory Edition’s hydraulically activated clutch is controlled by a single-diaphragm steel pressure plate and a CNC-machined steel basket that allows for a compact design. A special replica Hinson billet clutch cover is fitted to the Factory Edition.

THROTTLE BODY A 44mm Keihin throttle body features new cable routing for easier maintenance. The direct mounting of the cables without linkage offers instant throttle response with exceptional feel.

The rotating mass of the moving parts in the cylinder head has been moved down 15mm.,

CYLINDER HEAD The already compact SOHC powerplant is now 1 pound lighter and the head is 15mm lower to put the camshafts closer to the center of gravity. The cams feature a new surface treatment and ride on low-friction DLC rocker arms to actuate lightweight titanium valves. A low-friction cam chain completes the highly efficient and compact valve train.

The Factory Edition bodywork is narrower at the gas tank and the radiators are mounted 12mm lower.

BODYWORK The 2018-1/2 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition bodywork has reshaped ergonomics and contact points. It is slimmer and has a new seat that is more comfortable.

All of the electronics are housed in this under-the-seat tray.

BATTERY A new-generation 2-Ah lithium ion starter battery is fitted to the KTM 450SXF Factory Edition. The lithium-iron-phosphate battery is lighter than last year’s battery.

TRANSMISSION The transmission of the KTM 450SXF Factory Edition is now produced by Formula 1 supplier Pankl and features optimized material, design and heat treatment.

The Factory Edition comes with a disc guard that doubles as the front wheel spacer. Most MXA test riders remove it.

BRAKES A 260mm floating front brake rotor is matched to a Brembo master cylinder and caliper for class-leading stopping power and feel. A front rotor guard is standard equipment on the KTM 450SXF Factory Edition.

The swingarm is longer, but most significantly the axle slot is also longer—allowing for more rear wheel adjustment.

SWINGARM A totally new swingarm has a 5mm-longer rear-wheel axle slot to give the racer an option of a longer wheelbase for better straight-line stability.

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