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It's a MX bike retrofited with a 18in wheel and larger fuel tank. Not really a offroad specific bike by any standard. Gear it down, get a Rekluse or get a XCW... 

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I ride a 16 250 xcf in the tight trails of Thailand. First is the only gear i notice taller than the EXCF models. 2nd is a tiny bit taller but i don't notice it. The two bikes in similar conditions in first will require more clutching in first with the Xcf. Only way to lower first gear feel is with sprocket changes. You will have to determine if that affects the gear spacing in other gears negatively or not for you.

I prefer linkage over the PDS bit that's just me. I still ride PDS on my ktm 500 but prefer the feel of linkage.

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I have the 450 XC-F. 

Stock gearing puts you at about 12mph for first. That is high.

I am geared 13/52. That puts first gear at about 9mph before stalling/clutching. It's fine for all but the slowest/steepest of terrain, where you cannot use momentum. I modulate the clutch all day long. At least 300 times a ride.

My Beta is a wide ratio 6 speed, and it's about 6mph in first. I modulate the clutch on this bike too, but about 1/3 as much.

I personally don't care for what the Rekluse does to power delivery in low rpms (too much clutch slipping) and the loss of quick power snap.

If you re-map the stock KTM ECU (Blias Racing, Twisted Development) you can vastly improve the throttle control off idle, reducing stalling by a large amount. You can also add a fly wheel and clutch weight for even more improvement.

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I have the 18.5 450 FE and trail ride mine a lot.  First gear is way too high for trail riding! Stock was 13-48 and I went to a 13-50 and is great for both trail and track. Now I can do almost a whole track in 3rd, even the start.

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