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New Bike Deliberation: SX-F or XC-F

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Good afternoon folks! I'm new to the forum but am a long time lurker. I am planning to pick up a new bike this summer after a 3 year break in riding and haven been hemming and hawing over which model I would like to buy. The sure thing is I want a KTM this time around. A little history of what I have ridden in the past, if it helps: 

 

First bike ever: 1960's Honda CT-90 when I was 11 years old. Learned how to ride a motorcycle, did things it wasn't designed to do, destroyed it and moved on.

 

Second Bike: 1972 Yamaha DT-250 when I was 12. Learned how to work a clutch and ride more technical stuff that wasn't possible on the former bike. Once again, did things it wasn't designed to do, destroyed it and moved on.

 

Third Bike: 1986 YZ125. Rebuilt from the dead with my old man. Rode it for a bit, didn't last long as the ignition box went bad and couldn't find a replacement.

 

4th bike: 2001 YZ125. Rode the ever-loving piss out of this bike and loved it. It was fast, light and handled well. Joined the Air Force in 2007 at 18, left home and sold it. Didn't ride again for 3 years due to training, deployments, ect.

 

5th Bike: Came back from Afghanistan in 2010 and bought an 07 CRF450R. Loved it, had the suspension set up for desert, which turned out to still be a bit soft for me. Sold that one in 2013 and have been bike-less ever since. 

 

I grew up riding in the deserts of New Mexico (lots of sand, big whoops, rocks, big sandy hills, washes, and speeds that range from 2nd gear riding to tapped out in 5th). This is my favorite type of riding. I also like to do some freeriding with the bros, so suspension that can't handle some jumps is out of the question. I hate riding on the track and have never been good at it, but always excelled off-road. This drives me to wanting a 2016 KTM 450 XC-F. The big deciding factor is the gear ratios as compared to the SX-F gear box. I have ridden bikes with wide ratio gearboxes, such as a CRF450X, and absolutely hated it. They felt slow-revving and neutered to me. I always liked the way MX/SX geared bikes pulled, so the EXC and XC-FW models are out of the question. I like that the XC-F comes with a larger tank as compared to the SX-F, however, if the SX-F is better suited to me overall, I would have no problem purchasing a bigger tank if necessary. EDIT: Another thing I really like about the XCs is the 18" rear wheel; I've smashed a few rims on rocks in my day.

 

What is the difference in gearbox ratios between the 450 SX-F and XC-F, if any? The KTM website doesn't have any expanded info on this that I have seen.

 

Which would you recommend for my riding style?

 

Are there any other bikes I should consider in KTM's product lineup? I have considered the 300XC due to decreased maintenance costs and ease of maintenance of a 2 stroke, but prefer a 4 stroke for every other reason.

 

Who do you guys recommend for suspension work? I am 6' tall and weigh 215lbs without gear on, so I am almost certain I will need to have the bike resprung for me.

 

Sorry for the long and drawn out first post, but if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading and for helping me decide which bike is for me. 

Edited by CSAR FE

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Get the xcf for sure. The gearbox for the xcf and sxf is the same for 450 models.

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Cost has to be considered. A XCF around here costs about $1000-$1500 more. You can add a 18in wheel and big tank for much less then that. The XCF does come with a bigger battery then the SXF...

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"Free riding with the bros" would lend itself to the SXF due to the stiffer suspension needs of big jumps IMO but I ride a 350 XCF so what do I know. LoL.

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Cost has to be considered. A XCF around here costs about $1000-$1500 more. You can add a 18in wheel and big tank for much less then that. The XCF does come with a bigger battery then the SXF...

 

Agreed. Prices in New Mexico are MSRP plus 3% tax, origination and assembly fees:

 

2016 450 SX-F: ~$10k OTD (MSRP is $9299)

 

2016 450 XC-F: ~$10,800 (MSRP is $9999)

 

For comparison's sake, my local dealer quoted me the following for the two strokes I was also looking into:

 

2016 250 SX: $8,646 OTD

 

2016 300 XC: $10,191 OTD

 

An Acerbis gal tank is $210 on motosport.com, so that's not bad. As far as an 18" rear wheel goes, last time I checked a complete wheel is like $800. 

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"Free riding with the bros" would lend itself to the SXF due to the stiffer suspension needs of big jumps IMO but I ride a 350 XCF so what do I know. LoL.

Good point. When I had my CRF450R suspension set up for desert by Racetech, I would bottom out the suspension pretty easy if we did some freeriding with medium sized jumps or bigger, or if I dropped off of a ledge bigger than about 4'. In reality, I needed stiffer springs so that was certainly a causal factor. Other than that, it rode like a cadillac.

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CSAR, I also love the NM desert riding especially out Southern. 👍

I always buy the SXF version but some of the guys I ride with love the 18" wheel.  You can't go wrong with either version (XCF or SXF) but the 2016 model year bikes are night and day from the 2015 and older.  As far as suspension, I highly recommend our local resource which is Greg at High Velocity Cycles.  I have tried Dick's Racing and also WP Factory direct and Greg is the only one that has finally got my 4CS forks working well.  Not only that, but it supports our local businesses and he rides/races the same terrain.  You also don't have to ship them out.

Edited by Zip-tyDuctTape
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CSAR - Combat Search and Rescue? PJ, CCT or other branch of service. I spent some time with a few special operators (CSAR) back in 2001.

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CSAR, I also love the NM desert riding especially out Southern. 👍

I always buy the SXF version but some of the guys I ride with love the 18" wheel.  You can't go wrong with either version (XCF or SXF) but the 2016 model year bikes are night and day from the 2015 and older.  As far as suspension, I highly recommend our local resource which is Greg at High Velocity Cycles.  I have tried Dick's Racing and also WP Factory direct and Greg is the only one that has finally got my 4CS forks working well.  Not only that, but it supports our local businesses and he rides/races the same terrain.  You also don't have to ship them out.

 

YES! Dude, southern is my absolute favorite place to ride! I'll have to go check out High Velocity. The name sounds familiar, but I can't recall. I just moved back to New Mexico abut 6 months ago. Thanks for the info!

Edited by CSAR FE

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CSAR - Combat Search and Rescue? PJ, CCT or other branch of service. I spent some time with a few special operators (CSAR) back in 2001.

Yes, Combat Search and Rescue. I'm a flight engineer on HH-60Gs. You might recognize our Pedro callsign from Afghanistan, or Jolly from Iraq.

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i was in the same boat as op. i got the xc-f, dealer was out of sx-f and had no idea when they would get another. i would have bought the sx-f and installed a bigger tank. i already had a set of wheels (18” rear) from my previous bike. i am happy with the choice

 

the ‘16s have the exact same gear box and gearing. motor as well.

i did add the map switch.

bigger tank is nice for longer rides, but it is only about $200 in the accessories catalog.

18” wheel is not that big of a deal, but will allow more tire sidewall height.

i took the kickstand off.

frame geometry is slightly different between the 2.

 

i weigh about the same as the op, i did add the bigger rear shock spring. have not touched the forks yet. i will send them out at some point.

can’t go wrong with either. sx-f is cheaper and can be made identical to the xc-f for less than the xc-f retail

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i was in the same boat as op. i got the xc-f, dealer was out of sx-f and had no idea when they would get another. i would have bought the sx-f and installed a bigger tank. i already had a set of wheels (18” rear) from my previous bike. i am happy with the choice

the ‘16s have the exact same gear box and gearing. motor as well.

i did add the map switch.

bigger tank is nice for longer rides, but it is only about $200 in the accessories catalog.

18” wheel is not that big of a deal, but will allow more tire sidewall height.

i took the kickstand off.

frame geometry is slightly different between the 2.

i weigh about the same as the op, i did add the bigger rear shock spring. have not touched the forks yet. i will send them out at some point.

can’t go wrong with either. sx-f is cheaper and can be made identical to the xc-f for less than the xc-f retail

Frames are the same...

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Frames are the same...

 

no they are not. I thought they were as well, but after it was pointed out by another member, more research, and looking at the parts fiches, they are indeed different with different part numbers 👍

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The difference in frames is due to the kickstand mounting bracket, which is welded onto the frame on the XCF versions... maybe there are other differences but none that I know of.

 

Another thing to consider is the wheels/tires.  I recently changed tires on my buddy's XCF model and it had thicker, heavier tubes than my SXF and the Dunlop AT81 that came off was heavier than the MX32 that we put back on (front) and seemed to have a much stiffer sidewall.  Also the wheels on the XCF are made by Giant (I think, not sure) where the SXF are Excel - the XCF wheels are sort of matte finish as the SXF are shiny - but they all get scratches anyways.

 

If you buy the SXF, you can get the battery box from the XCF pretty cheap online

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no they are not. I thought they were as well, but after it was pointed out by another member, more research, and looking at the parts fiches, they are indeed different with different part numbers 👍

It could be as little as a extra tab on the frame. They are 99.99% the same...

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The difference in frames is due to the kickstand mounting bracket, which is welded onto the frame on the XCF versions... maybe there are other differences but none that I know of.

Another thing to consider is the wheels/tires. I recently changed tires on my buddy's XCF model and it had thicker, heavier tubes than my SXF and the Dunlop AT81 that came off was heavier than the MX32 that we put back on (front) and seemed to have a much stiffer sidewall. Also the wheels on the XCF are made by Giant (I think, not sure) where the SXF are Excel - the XCF wheels are sort of matte finish as the SXF are shiny - but they all get scratches anyways.

If you buy the SXF, you can get the battery box from the XCF pretty cheap online

Exactly, it's not a geometry change and misconception when people say the frames are different...

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The difference in frames is due to the kickstand mounting bracket, which is welded onto the frame on the XCF versions... maybe there are other differences but none that I know of.

 

Another thing to consider is the wheels/tires.  I recently changed tires on my buddy's XCF model and it had thicker, heavier tubes than my SXF and the Dunlop AT81 that came off was heavier than the MX32 that we put back on (front) and seemed to have a much stiffer sidewall.  Also the wheels on the XCF are made by Giant (I think, not sure) where the SXF are Excel - the XCF wheels are sort of matte finish as the SXF are shiny - but they all get scratches anyways.

 

If you buy the SXF, you can get the battery box from the XCF pretty cheap online

 

it is not a bracket, it is just a bolt hole. both the sx-f and xc-f have the same hole. i compared both side by side

It could be as little as a extra tab on the frame. They are 99.99% the same...

 

true

Exactly, it's not a geometry change and misconception when people say the frames are different...

 

however, the geometry is indeed different. it is very minimal though

if i recall, it is something like the head tube is 1 or 2 mm higher, and the rake is 0.5* more or something like that. 

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it is not a bracket, it is just a bolt hole. both the sx-f and xc-f have the same hole. i compared both side by side

true

however, the geometry is indeed different. it is very minimal though

if i recall, it is something like the head tube is 1 or 2 mm higher, and the rake is 0.5* more or something like that.

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