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The 2018 KTM 450SXF is more refined than redesigned. Most noticeable is the orange frame that KTM owners have asked for since it’s one year appearance back in 2015. The new graphics lean towards more orange and a cleaner look than the last year.

For the full test of the 2018 KTM 450SXF click here

The 2018 KTM 450SXF clutch drive plates are made from nitrated steel to reduce wear on the clutch basket—which is kinda funny because KTM comes with an incredibly durable steel clutch basket (machined out of a solid billet of steel with the primary gear machined on). The 2018 clutch is still a diaphragm clutch that is operated by a single Belleville washer. Note the orange plastic frame guards that match the Factory Orange frame paint.

The updated 2018 WP AER air front fork features a new air seal, air piston and rebound spring on the air leg, along with a new piston on the damping side for improved performance. The AER forks have been re-valved to increase low-speed compression by roughly 5 percent and lessen the high-speed compression by roughly 10 percent. KTM achieved this by eliminating the first two 26mm bleed shims on the compression side of the mid-valve piston and replacing them with a 30mm shim. Plus, the mid-valve piston is now made of sintered steel, instead of last year’s ceramic composite, for more durability.

All of the 2018 KTM four-strokes get a higher capacity, but not heavier, Sky Rich HJTZ58-FP battery to replace the lighter-duty Samsung C22S battery that came on the three SXF models last year. The Sky Rich battery has twice the cranking power than the previous Samsung, but doesn’t weigh any more. There is a new battery tray to hold the larger battery. It is borrowed from the XC offroad model.

Ergonomically the 2018 KTM 450SXF isn’t changed. The seat height, tank width and handlebar bend all remain the same.

KTM’s starter motor is small and compact. It has proven to be foolproof over the last 11 years. KTM first introduced electric starting in 2007.

The 2018 five-speed transmission gets gets a shaft bearing that offers more overlap for increased durability. Additionally, the 450SXF’s shift star is constructed using Metal Inject Mold (MIM) system. It wears better and withstands the high engine temps.

This multi-switch is configured to offer the rider easy access to two maps (bottom buttob), traction control (top TC button) and launch control (Map & TC buttons simultaneously). The button indicator lights up when the maps or traction control are engaged. Launch control engagement is signified by a flashing light behind the front number plate.

There is no front brake cable guide on the front number plate. Instead the brake hose is routed behind the front number plate and then out through an opening at the top. This way the brake cable is less likely to catch on an other bike’s handlebars or get damaged in a crash. Oh yeah, it makes the front number plate look much cleaner.

KTM’s radiator guards have been designed not only to protect the radiators from roost, but also to double as radiator braces. Unlike typical radiator guards, the KTM design is stiffer and bolts to both the frame and outer radiator/shroud interface forming a brace-like bridge. They are stout.

KTM’s Brembo brakes are the best brakes in the business. They are well modulated and super strong. The tires are Dunlop MX3S intermediate sneakers. The black rims are Takasago Excels.

Engine: Single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x stroke: 95 x 63.4mm
Displacement: 450cc
Compression ratio: 12.75:1
Valve train: 4-valve DOHC w/ finger followers
Fueling: Keihin EFI w/ 44mm throttle body
Ignition: Keihin EMS
Cooling: Liquid
Lubrication: Pressure w/ two oil pumps
Transmission: Five-speed
Clutch: Wet multi-disc DDS-Clutch w/ Brembo hydraulics
Final drive: 5/8- x 1/4-inch chain

Frame: Chromoly double-cradle
Subframe: Aluminum
Handlebar: Neken tapered aluminum
Front suspension: Fully adjustable 48mm WP AER air fork; 12.2 inches of travel
Rear suspension: Fully adjustable linkage-assisted WP 5018 BAVP DCC shock; 11.8 inches of travel
Front wheel: 1.6 x 21” Excel
Rear wheel: 2.15 x 19” Excel
Front tire: 80/100-21; Dunlop MX3S
Rear tire: 120/90-19; Dunlop MX3S
Front brake: 310mm disc
Rear brake: 260mm disc

Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
Rake: 26.1 degrees
Triple clamp offset: 22mm
Seat height: 37.8 inches
Fuel tank capacity: 1.85 gallons
Wet weight (approximate, with no fuel): 222 pounds
MSRP: $9599

2018 ktm2018 ktm 450sxf450sxfAER air forksBREMBOdunlop mx3s tiresktmmotocrossmxaWP