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2021 MX

Inside the 2021 KTM 450 SX-F



Presented by OGIO Powersports

For 2021, KTM went with some calculated refinements to what was already an excellent package in 2020, and the result is a bike that feels distinctly different on the track even though the changes seem minimal on paper. We met with KTM’s Nate Abelia out at Cahuilla Creek MX Park to take our first spin on the new 450 SX-F earlier this week, and before we took to the track we got the scoop on exactly what is new and improved. 

New engine mapping increases low-end power and includes split injection for better fuel atomization and atomization. The Map 2 setting has been revised for an even harder-hitting powerband and of course, the bike still has the traction control feature that can be used in either map. A new connecting rod with an upper copper-beryllium bushing replaces the previous DLC-coated wrist pin and is designed to offer a freer-revving character in the engine. To improve shifting action, the shift locker has been reworked for smoother action and greater durability.

The updated WP Xact fork has new internals that features extended oil and air bypass to reduce pressure peaks, while a new mid-valve damping system is intended to provide improved control for greater feedback and feel. A smaller rebound spacer in the air leg increases the tube;’s air volume in the negative chamber for a more linear air spring curve, which emulates the feel of a mechanical spring while maintaining the performance advantages of air.

Out in back the reworked Xact shock has a new o-ring in the link piston to reduce fading and ensure consistent suspension performance. Both ends of the suspension have been revised with slightly stiffer settings for 2021.


Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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