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KTM 450 XCR-W 2008 Reviews

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  • Retail Price ~$8048.00 Shop Now
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Vehicle Details

Bryan II

   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

I've been converting MX bikes into off-road bikes for a little while now, as I didn't want the weight penalty of the factory off-road versions. While my last conversion 04 CRF450R was really pretty good, it did have a tendency to work me over a bit after a long day in the saddle. I was due for a new bike anyway and the 08 KTMs caught my eye. Not having owned one before and because of how their owners raved about them, I decided to see what the hub-bub was all about.

For a point of reference, I'm an experience trail rider (over 30 years), 175lbs. bare neked and 5' 10".


This bike is all about tractable off-road power. It does not have the hit of my CRF, just smooth linear power that offers plenty of boost for the trails, but delivered in such as way that avoids wheel spin and reduces the impact on the rider. I felt like I could ride the bike all day long at a good clip and at the end of my first ride, I wasn't as tired as I normally am.

This isn't to say the motor is boring by any means. A handful of clutch will produce a good rush of power and it revs out quicky and cleanly. However, this bike definately rewards the smooth rider.

In terms of stalling, this motor has excellent lugability. I've been riding with a Rekluse Z-start autoclutch for a few years now and I was worried about stalling out a lot. The only time I stalled was my error in trying to brakeslide into sharp corners like I can do with the Rekluse without pulling in the clutch. Time to either dust off my clutch skills or install a Rekluse. Not sure yet. I had fun clutching for a change and this bike doesn't stall easily.


I've been riding close ratios for a while now, so the tranny feels a litle gappy to me. I suspect that with more time in the saddle, I'll get used to what gear I need to be in where. I will say that 1st is very low, perfect for paddling through slow, nastly sections and I never had a need to drop into 6th, as the trails I rode didn't have have that kind of room before the next turn. From what I can tell, this thing will go scary fast at the top of 6th


The front is powerful, but not grabby. The standard 260mm provides plenty of braking power with not a lot of lever effort. The back brake is a little touchy, locking up a bit easily, but something I'll likely get use to. Again, I've learned to brakeslide tight corners with a Rekluse, so I'm likely part of the problem, as I've not had to be as careful with how much rear brake to apply how quickly.


This bike comes with a USFS approved spark arrestor and is very quiet. I know there is a little more power to be had by removing the screw in, removable diffuser (plate with a bunch of uniform holes in it), but the bike has good boost for the trails and less sound = more ground. I'll likely keep this bike's exhaust stock.


This bike's suspension is plush and controlled with good bottoming resistance. It never beat me up and and within 20 minutes, I was quite comfortable riding at a pretty good clip. I was a little worried that it might be too soft for sand whoops, but to my surprise, it worked just fine for these conditions, not packing up or kicking from side-to-side. Just nice and straight.

I know some bag on the linkless set up, but at least for off-road use, I have no complaints and unless John Curea at MX Tech East Coast Suspension convinced me that he can work his magic on it, I don't see a re-valve being necessary to make the stock fork and shock work and I've had a number of custom re-valves to compare with.

Controls & Ergos

Stock pegs are nice and wide, so they are keepers. The hydraulic Brembo clutch has a firm pull, but not stiff or hard to modulate. Overall it feels positive, but I really didn't get a chance to abuse it. Some complain that the stock seat is a brick, but I try to stand a lot, so I really don't have any complaints just yet. But, it's firm and narrow at the top, so I can see how dual sport guys won't like it much.

Coming from a CRF, where I loved the bike's ergos, I'm much at home on this bike. The ergos are really pretty similar. The bike is very slim and the radiators don't push your legs out when you get forward on the bike for cornering. The stock handlebar bend and 4 position adjustable bar mounts (stock is position 2) is very comfortable for a guy my size, making it easy to keep my elbows up when riding. So, I don't plan on changing out the handlebars anytime soon.


Most of all, I'm releaved that the bike doesn't feel heavy on the trail! This was my biggest worry. It feels no heavier than my CRF and is light and flickable. It drops into turns with ease and holds the line you pick. The place I rode (Lark Canyon) is full of trails with lots turns and I had a blast. The clamps are also adjustable for offset (18 and 20mm), but the stock 20mm is fine for the conditions I ride (a little faster than eastern treed conditions). I know that some still say all 4-strokes are heavy pigs, but for me, this bike is anything but.

I wanted a purpose built, high performance off-road machine that I could log lots of trail hours on that didn't work me hard and this bike seems to fit that bill to a T. I'm quite happy with my decision and I'll be sure to update this review as I log more (hopefully) happy miles of trail. :ride:

Update: 11/05/2007

Did some desert riding over the weekend. This bike can really use a stabilizer for anything above 45 ish. Pretty twitchy in the faster stand washes and sand whoops. I'll be installing a Scott's unit soon, so I'll be able to take advantage of that 6th gear. Still really liking the bike as a do it all off-road machine.

Updated: 03/19/2008

No problems to date and I love this bike. I find myself riding stuff that I would have thought twice about on my CRF. This bike is just easier to ride technical terrain. It carries its weight low, the supension is compliant without being gooey and the smooth motor has no hit unless you grab a handful of clutch and rev. For a purpose built off-road bike, KTM hit the nail on the head with this bike.

Updated: 02/08/2013

Still have it, still love it. Still no problems to report. Despite what I thought, I did re-valve the suspension a while back with Stillwell Performance and it was nice improvement over stock, especially in studder bumps.

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Really fun.

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I have been using this bike since 2008, wihtout any regreat and think its a very nice bike.


Recluse Cluth (best investment ever)

Recluse rear brake left handle adaptor

Tubliss sistems front and rear

trailtech stator

trailtech lights (I changed the small bulb that burned frecuently for a 3 watt led, and changed de 30W H2 bulb for a 50W... it works perfectly, and with the led ligth alone, I get hours of light wihtout draining the batery for campsites or repares.)

changed the side stand for the aftermarket PRO MOTO BILLET.

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Great power and stability! Still need to get it out on the trails to see everything she'll do.

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No complaints.

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