Anyone Ride a KTM 450SX?

Yeah.. I'm thinking of defecting..lmao.. I Just have always had a love for KTM. Has anyone had the chance to ride a 426 back to back with a new 450SX? Now don't get involved if you just want to bad mouth the Pumpkin, I'm not looking for that.. Just some honest riding impressions. Motor, Handeling, Suspension, Starting, Etc.. I already know if I do switch I'm going to be investing in some suspension set up, but I'd still like some 426 vs 450SX impressions.


I have not ridden one, but a pal of mine that is a Pro hare scrambler and a decent MX'er said the KTM450 that he rode is "tame" compared to his 2000 YZ426 (my old one). He said it was smooth for woods riding but was just outclasssed on the MX track...

I've never ridden a KTM, but your question demands a response.

If you like the KTM, buy it.

Is it better than the Honda CRF450R or the YZ426/450F? Who knows? Does it matter? All it matters is if YOU like it.

These bikes are so well made nowadays that's there's no clear "winner".

Heck, the only reason I bought the CRF450R was because the seat height was lower than the Yamahas! To me, it was the most important factor and the best decision I made. I don't care what the magazines think nor what TT members.

Bottom line....just buy what you really want.... :)

That's cool... but I never asked for a "better than" answer. I just want some honest riding impressions, and comparisons to the 426. Comparison, as in facts... not " I rode teh KTM, and it sucks kind of stuff.

Thanks though.

Therapture, was that an EXC? MXC or an SX your friend rode? ( funny thing about KTM is they make so darn many options.. haha)

I know a guy (Prez of the Oregon Old-timers)that bought a 03 YZ450F and couldn't come to terms with the big power. He's a really good rider also (Exp. turned Master) He got rid of the 450F and went to the KTM 450SX and is a lot happier with the bike. He told me handling is great, Suspension works and the best part is it's fast but not over powering for him. My friend just got a 03-450 SX and likes it but he's a woods guy and this is his first real MX bike so I really can't take his word for comparison. I hope to get a ride on his 450SX this weekend (keeping fingers crossed)I'll get back to you after I ride his bike.


I don't really feel qualified to comment because I'm a beginner and primarily a two-stroke

rider, but I've been test riding every four-stroke I can get my hands lately. I did a very

brief stint on a 426 a couple of weeks ago; and this last weekend I got a chance to ride the

450SX. But again, another brief ride. I'm talking about a few wheelies, a few runs across

some whoops and that's it.

You know how you "just like" KTMs? Well I've always kind of disliked them because I

think they are ugly, and before now, I thought that they felt strange compared to Japanese

bikes. But I was at the dealer looking to buy another Yamaha and the 450SX caught my

attention. It just impressed me somehow. I like the seat, I like the frame, I like the tank

better than last year's tank. I love the clutch. I'm thinking about buying it.

To me, the KTM feels smoother than the 426. I believe it has slightly lower compression,

at least that's the feel that I got because, to me, it felt like it had less compression braking

and less of a "rumbly" feeling coming through the bars. I say, "to me" because I have read

reviews that pretty much contradict my impression, so I guess I'm full of it.

About power, how would I know? I don't think it's an issue. My opinion is that feeling

comfortable on a bike is more important, even to lap times; but I don't race. If I was

capable of maxing out one or the other bike to the point that I had to complain about the

power, I'd run to a factory and demand a contract. That said, the SX felt weaker to me,

but like I said, I barely rode it. I was just clowning around on the thing. I mean, with both

bikes, I accelerated through the gears to feel the rush, did some wheelies because that's

fun, and that's it. I'm just trying to decide what to buy. It's difficult for me to decide

because every four-stroke I ride feels heavy to me (comparatively) and even though many

say that the four-strokes are more powerful than the two-strokes, I don't feel it. I feel like

my YZ accelerates harder. It must be all the wheel spin coupled with the whine of the

two-stroke engine that gives me the impression of great speed and power.

I'm a little leery of the KTM because supposedly it has some jetting quirks and doesn't

always start easily. The one I rode was already started. It felt the lightest of any four stroke

I have ridden though. I know it's not, but it felt like it, and it feels slimmer than a CRF and

a bit lower than a YZF. I really like the ergos, even though in past that has been a

complaint of mine about KTMs. My brother's boss has a EXC that I only got to ride down

the street for like a hundred yards, but I didn't like it. The SX feels totally different to me.

It's still ugly though, but that's not all that important.

I don't know if my opinion is worth much on this matter, but not many have replied to

your query, so I thought I through my pennies in.


Has your friend been on a 426? Is the 450 really so much more than the 426? If he felt that way, then I'm thinking the YZ 450 is too much bike for me. If I remember right, you race the YZ250f don't you? (I have the signatures turned off) I finally got to ride the 250f and I felt like--since I don't race--I would like a bigger bike. Maybe it's because I weigh almost 230. I was thinking of a YZ450 or the CRF. So far all my attempts to test ride one of those have failed. I spend a lot of time sitting on a CRF though. Feels nice. I really thought I was going to like the 250f; now that it's off my list, I feel lost. I'm starting from scratch again. Got any input?

Has your friend been on a 426? Is the 450 really so much more than the 426? If he felt that way, then I'm thinking the YZ 450 is too much bike for me. If I remember right, you race the YZ250f don't you? (

I thinks he's had everything twice :) I can't say anything, I'm just passing along what he "told" me. In the next few weeks I'll be riding the 03-450SX, 03-450 crf, & 03-YZ450 Then I'll have my .02 worth but for now I can only pass along info given to me. I have the 00-426 & 02-250F and I'm done with the 426 I loved it now I can't stand it anymore.

I'm getting an 04 and I don't know what I'm coming home with next until it's in the back of my truck :D


I rode the KTM 450 and the 525 SX versions just a few weeks ago.

I have an 01' 426 so I can give an objective opinion here.

Compared to my 426 I thought the 450 had more power from low to the rev limiter. It pulled hard but very controllable/smoother unlike the YZ450F. The suspension wasn't set up very good but I could tell the front forks were plush enough for my liking....but the rear suspension was terrible. My buddy even let me tweek it but I could never get it to adjust. :D I feel like rebound was way to slow and that would have to be fixed.

The hydraulic clutch is just too nice. I could pull it in with my pinky. And the brakes were nice too....The one thing that stood out to me was how easy it was to start and how much fun it was to ride just not sitting down....the seat was as hard as Chinese Arithmatic.

I try to be careful giving advice but Jeff you should seriously consider the 525. I rode it the same day as the 450 and they couldn't get me off the darn thing. They had to flag me off the track..and I still went another lap :D

To say the least...that could be my next bike...I loved it for all the reasons I like my 426 but the bike's power is just is so managable. got me thinking about calling a KTM dealer. I better shut up now :)

They test the 450 in the Feburary issue of Dirt Rider. They didn't have a YZF or CRF to compare it to, but they did have a 525 to compare it to. They seem to think it feels lighter than either of the jap bikes on the track and the motor "pulls happily and smoothly from way down in the powerband, has a mild midrange hit and shrieks up top. Definitely not docile now". They comment that it is drastically different than the 450E/XC they tested earlier. They are guessing (again didn't have the bike there to compare) that it would compete with the YZF in a shootout but thought the YZF would have better suspension and the KTM was easier to control and is less tiring. Many more details in the article. In short they seemed to like it.

I did a 10 second search on their web site and didn't see the article there, maybe it will be up there after Feburary. If the local book store has this edition then I think it's worth the few bucks for the review. :)

Yeah, KTM's are NOT weak in the engine. Magazines claim them to be "Slow" or weak, but they are not. They just do not have a sudden HIT.

I ride my dad's 426, and compared to my 520, I hate his bike. The engine reacts to slowly. I am not someone who likes to rev an engine to the hilt, I am a lower RPM rider. His 426, I have a tough time with things, because I hold the throttle open, and it accelerates slowly (relatively), then suddenly pulls you back and takes off like a bat out of heck.

I do not like this. I manage with it, and do anything I normally do, but it requires much more attention and thought to jumping, to be sure you have enough power to the ground at the time.

My 520, any gear, any speed, hold the throttle open, and she MOVES. Dad's first comment when he got off the 520 was "Holy crap that thing has some power" Every time he tells someone about it, he raves about the raw power it had.

My uncle has a CR500. He rode the 520, and just couldn't stop talking about how much torqueand power it had. He has also ridden dad's 426, and feels the KTM has a much better power setting.

When dad and I are going at it, when I come out of a turn, I can be in second, he can be in second, and I will close in on him FAST until he gets into the upper 2/3 of his RPM's, then we are farily close (obviously the displacement of the 520 still gives it an advantage).

The last hare scramble we had here last year, I started beside two YZF450's. They got going faster than I did (I bobbled on the kick, and they started moving before me), but I reeled them in within 150 feet or so, and just buried them into the first turn.

DON'T anyone DARE say a KTM engine is slow. If you ride it like a Japanese machine, YEAH, it will be slow, but the mark of any true rider is the ability to adapt and get the most out of ANY engine...and when you ride a KTM like a KTM, not a Yamaha or Honda, it FLYS. So when the magazines claim KTM has a weak motor, I question their ability to make a sound, and printed, judgement.

Obviously, this is all from a 520 perspective, but I doubt KTM has a major engine change in style on the 450. Don't ride it like your Yamaha, and you will be just as fast at the worst.

Not quite.

But I’ve ridden a 525 SX back to back w/ my ’01 YZ 426. Probably spent about 20 minutes on the SX on a really rough outdoor practice track/loop.

So, I will have no comments on the 450 motor-wise, but I’m thinking the handling will be more or less identical between the two. But this is important, and I thought I’d chime in because I’ve ridden a few RFS bikes in the last few years and didn’t like the handling. The ’03 KTMs are completely different. From a handling perspective I think this bike has more in common with a ’98 KX than an ’02 SX. It feels like the forks are directly under you, zero rake. This contrasts with the ’02 KTMs which, to me, felt a bit like a chopper. Front end way out in front, lots of rake, lots of push, lots of shake, deflect, and wander. Those days are over. The forks are very, very good and not super-mushy like years past. The rear suspension is a bit harsh, but I’ve heard that if you run too much sag that’s what happens, and the bike I was on had not been touched yet (& I’m about 190 so it was probably starting out too far down in the stroke).

Having said all that the 525 is overkill. Two stroke open bike power. Wear you out power. Totally different than a 520. Different cam, 1 lb lighter (wow!) crank, bigger (41 mm) carb. Runs like a YZF on steroids.

If the 450 is anything like the 525 (it does have a light flywheel, short stroke, and big carb) it should make CR/YZ-like power, or near to that.

And you can make it a six speed for three hundred bucks. Heck I may get one myself!

My 2¢

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