2019 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
There was a lot going on with the 2018 KTM Factory Edition so no one would question KTM if they just phoned-in the 2019 version, but they didn’t. While the updates aren’t as monumental as an all-frame and mostly-new motor like last year’s, there are some very noticeable changes that address a few of the issues we’ve had with the 2018 FE and 2019 standard model 450 SX-F.
KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition HIGHLIGHTS:
- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing graphics
- New CP box-in-box piston & new PANKL conrod
- New Factory machined, anodized triple clamps
- Factory start for front fork
- Orange frame
- Composite skid plate
- New Akrapovič Slip-On silencer
- New Factory D.I.D DirtStar wheels
- Factory seat with Selle Dalla Valle logo
- Semi-floating front disc
- Front brake disc guard
- Orange rear sprocket
The motor department, a new Pankle conrod with a brass bushing is said to reduce friction, a new CP forged box piston is hard anodized to also reduce friction and weight, and lighter intake and exhaust rocker arms all combine with the focus of making a feer, quicker revving engine. After just a day on the bike we can say that it did just that. The easiest way to explain the new engine character is to say that it is quicker revving and more exciting, but retains the typical KTM power curve. In practicality, it allowed us to leave it in third gear and not have to use the clutch to get the RPM into the mid-range meat of the power coming out of a tight corner.
The suspension has updated settings and a new name, which is a change across the board for KTM. The SX and XC models will have the WP XACT fork and shock, while the Ws and EXCs will continue to be called XPLOR suspension. Specifically, the Factory Edition’s fork has calibrated pistons for better tolerances and increased air pressure settings to match the new triple clamp. The fork also has new, easier to use fork caps. The shock has a new compression adjuster for better tolerances.
A change that was easy to notice on the track was the new triple clamp. It is CNC machined aluminum and both the top and bottom clamping areas are split, similar to an Xtrig clamp. But, the aluminum profile is much more rounded than Xtrig’s and there is a lot of milling out of the center sections. On the track, this translated to a more planted front-end and more confident turning. Also, the new clamp is has to offset options; 20 or 22 mm.
Rounding out the changes are new D.I.D. DirtStar rips, anodized, full-milled hubs, anodized aluminum spoke nipples. Not a performance upgrade per se, but they look sweet. Also the Akrapovic slip-on muffler is new with welded attachment points, improved torque curve and it is FIM and AMA noise compliant.
Overall, this 450 SX-F Factory Edition makes real, track-felt improvements over the standard 2019 KTM 450 SX-F. The clamps improve the handling and offer more options, and the small engine changes wake up the motor and make it more exciting and aggressive. Is it worth the extra dough? For one, this is sort of a moot point because, as we understand it, the preorders for the Factory Edition have reached capacity. For two, we are all still in luck because if history tells us anything the FE model is like a crystal ball telling us the future of next year’s standard 450 SX-F, and 2020 is looking pretty good.