2009 KTM 450 505 SX Review
Story by Matthew Elmer, Sep. 15, 2008
Utility and sport ATVs are like night and day in the off-road world. Austrian ATV manufacturer KTM currently has no desire to be in the utility market, but it does have every intention of being a force in the sport world.
Last year KTM started this effort by introducing the 450 and 525 XC models into the off-road market and after only one season KTM has already claimed several racing successes with its powerful machines. With its successful debut in off-road racing now in the record books KTM is poised to take on all the manufacturers competing in ATV motocross.
During the tenth round of the ATVA Motocross Nationals (also known as ATVA MX) held at Red Bud in Buchannan Mich. KTM debuted its newest race ATVs – the 2009 SX 450 and 505. These new SX machines combine KTM racing ingenuity in a package truly designed for motocross.
All media in attendance were able to test out the new quads on a technical track, while KTM engineers were on hand to tune the out-of-the-crate bikes to our personal preferences and racing styles. This was in conjunction with the Industry class race on the Red Bud national track the following day featuring 14 of the new KTMs.
The 450 is a 449cc DOHC 4-valve liquid cooled single with a 97 mm bore, 60.8 mm stroke, and a compression ratio of 12.5:1. The 505 (which uses the same block) boasts a 477cc displacement as a result of its larger 100 mm bore, but identical stroke and compression. What’s new for this year is a re-design that better ventilates the engine and the positioning of the engine has been lowered to bring down the center of-gravity.
This new design also allows for a deeper oil sump increasing engine performance with an increased oil capacity of two liters. This oil lubricates the engine, clutch, and gearbox and the single oil filter is in an easy access location, keeping maintenance simple. Both motors utilize a Keihin FCR-MX 41 mm flat slide carburetor with an acceleration pump and TPS (Throttle Positioning Sensor).
The SX airbox features an exclusively designed snorkel for increased air intake and is mounted high under the seat to avoid water and mud collection. The seat has a quick release lever and the no-tool airbox allows for simple service
The SX uses a standard motocross-style transmission with five gears and no reverse. The KTM transmission is coupled to a Magura hydraulic clutch with a maintenance free design featuring automatic adjustment, stainless steel braided line, and quick-change clutch covers.
My testing on the track gave me a chance to feel not only the responsiveness of both SX bikes but also to closely review the combination of components that make up these race quads. And make no mistake – this unit is not meant for much else besides racing. First there is the lightweight powder-coated Chromoly steel frame that is based on the proven XC design. It has an easily removable lightweight subframe, made of aluminium, and a rear grab bar that can also be quickly removed.
KTM has simplified this removal by not attaching any of the bike’s electrical parts such as CDIs, modules and wires to it.
The SX suspension is also race-ready, KTM claims. It features Chromoly steel A-arms with a 1,265 mm wheelbase that can be adjusted to reflect individual tastes for caster and camber angles. The SX uses fully adjustable WP piggyback shocks on the front with high and low speed compression preload and rebound adjustments. The springs are dual rate and with adjustable crossover the SX has a total of 244 mm of front wheel travel and it’s easy to make fast adjustments.
We had a glimpse of this as the KTM team at Red Bud allowed the media a chance to play with the suspension on their assigned bikes.
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