Just before the beginning of each Supercross season, the Red Bull KTM team invites the media to their Murrieta, California, headquarters to announce the coming year’s team and unveil the Factory Edition 450 SX-F. The bike, originally built from the ground up to suit Ryan Dungey in 2012 in a limited number to meet AMA homologation rules, has become a staple to the brand’s line up as a limited edition item that can be raced right off of the dealership floor. The 2014 450 SX-F Factory Edition is the product from years of development and experience. KTM focused on reducing weight throughout the machine and improving the handling characteristics, thanks to new suspension settings and minor changes to the chassis.
A new frame design is the base of the bike. The “standard edition” KTM 450 SX-F frame features a cross tube with welded linkage tabs, while the Factory Edition cross tube is made of forged chromoly with the tabs machined in. The machined design reduces flex, provides exact tolerances for improved performance, and is 58 grams lighter.
WP’s all-new 4CS fork makes it debut on the Factory Edition bike. The patented four chamber design allows for easier compression rebound adjustment on the top of the fork tube. The suspension settings have been created specifically for the North American market, and uses lighter .48Nm springs. Changes to the front-end continue at the axle, which has been reduced from 25mm to 20mm, and features a new 22mm axle offset that increases the trail and provides more stability. To work with the new fork lugs, the fork guards have also been revised. The triple clamp retains the 22mm offset, but features orange anodizing and Neken engraving. Small revisions have been made to the o-ring support (now aluminum) on the lower bearing and steering stem bolt, as well. These changes combined drop a staggering 297 grams from the front-end of the bike.
KTM bikes have become known for their incredible Brembo brakes, and the redesigned rotors mounted to the black Excel rims feature addition slits to improve performance and reduce weight, 65 grams on the front rotor and 80 grams on the rear. Also on the rear wheel of the bike is a new sprocket, which features an increased number of holes that reduces weight by 50 grams.
WP’s 5018 rear shock and linkage also received a plethora of changes. The shock shaft sees an 4mm increase in travel, but there is no increase in rear-wheel travel, due to its pairing with a linkage pullrod that is 2.5mm longer and 26 grams lighter. This revised linkage features a revised rising rate and higher starting rate, which creates a flatter, less progressive cure in the suspension action. To match the new chassis settings, the shock has been revalved.
Another part making its debut on the machine is Dunlop’s latest addition to the GEOMAX generation, the MX52. Created by Dunlop and tested by professional racers on the AMA circuit, it features new tread knobs that increase grip on a wider variety or terrains, enhanced handling through the recessed carcass design, improved dampening thanks to a “deadening” rubber in the sidewalls, and a directional front tire. But the most striking feature of the MX52 is in the Progressive Cornering Block technology used in the side knobs of the rear tire. According to Dunlop, a side knob that is completely level sees almost no force in the center of the square. By using a second raised knob in the center of the main knob, the tire has improved cornering.
A series of special equipment is what makes the bike truly “race-ready.” The list includes a titanium Akrapovic silencer, orange powder coated frame, factory Red Bull KTM graphics that cannot be purchased on their own, a Selle Dalla Valle team seat, holeshot device, and orange accent guards on the frame and radiator.
The changes to the bike are numerous and accomplish the intentions of reducing weight, improving performance, and creating a bike that can take on the starting gate with no additional accessories. In the three years that KTM has built the Factory Edition bike, they have shed a staggering five pounds total off of the original model. KTM has sold every FE bike imported into the United States each year, and this year they have upped the number of bike produced to 699 in order to meet consumer demand. Would you like a 2014 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition of your own? Then sit aside 9,998-dollars and be the first to your dealership when the bike goes on sale later this month.