A Year With
2010 KTM 450 XC-W ISDE
The DirtRider.com message boards are filled with posts about how delicate and expensive four-strokes are to own. That must be true, because after a hard year at Dirt Rider, and mostly with me in the saddle, the grips on the KTM 450 XC-W ISDE are really worn down and the stock Bridgestone tires are long gone. The bike was maintained well, so in addition to a stack of tires it went through a bunch of oil and oil filters. Every other part of the bike is fine. I’d say the actual hours are between 70 and 80 and the miles about 1,400 even though the meter shows about 50 hours and around 800 miles. Many of the miles and hours came during tire testing (October ’10 issue), and the spare front wheel that was on the bike for much of that testing didn’t have the proper little magnet on. Without the magnet the meter never turns on, so the bike has many more miles and hours than the meter recorded.
The ISDE edition of the 450 XC-W came with full graphics, a cooling fan, skid plate, a bi-metal sprocket with an aluminum center and steel teeth and some other goodies. When I say the bike is in good shape, I mean the externals like the chain, sprockets, graphics, levers, clutch plates, pipe and plastic still look great. Mechanically the valves have never been touched, and this bike is on the original clutch. During the flurry of intermediate tire testing the bike saw many more hours on a motocross track than most of our off-road bikes do. With the clickers adjusted eight or 10 clicks stiffer on compression, it did fine on outdoor-oriented tracks. Naturally, the bike shined off-road. This 450 has seen mud, sand, rocks and snow, and it never missed a beat nor even needed a battery charge.
Even though KTM truly equipped this bike so it was ready to race, I added a few items over the year. The new Cycra center-mount hand guard system gets credit for the condition of the controls and a host of healthy fingers. The stock seat worked well, but an Enduro Engineering standard complete seat has a better shape and offers more support. A Dicks Racing billet lift handle was a big help in ugly situations. The Trail Tech TTO temp gauge let me monitor engine heat. During the pipe test (August ’10 issue) we found more power with HMF and Dr.D slip-ons and less sound with a Devil full system.
There are two simple mods we recommend, and one is specific to this ISDE model or to riders who buy the quick-release plastic KTM skid plate. The skid plate (part number 780.03.190.0000 for the 450/530) hooks over a frame tube in the rear and attaches with a single quick-fastener in the front. Even though the skid plate is plastic, it isn’t cheap, but it can easily fall off on the trail. We drilled a small hole in the edge of the plastic and used a cable tie to lock the single quick-release fastener. KTM routes the crankcase oil breather hose into the rear of the carburetor, and it runs better and smokes less on steep downhills with the breather rerouted with the carb vent lines. You can get a rubber vacuum plug for the fitting in the carburetor bell, or you can remove the stock brass fitting and replace it with a two-stroke KTM coolant drain plug (part number 0910.100.003). I have rarely been so happy in so many riding situations with a stock motorcycle. The KTM 450 XC-W has always been a great bike, especially since the model change in 2008, but the added goodies found on the ISDE edition make it a true winner. And for me it has remained less trouble than a typical teddy bear and is every bit as lovable. High-maintenance four-strokes? Not this one.
Hours on Bike: 80
Enduro Engineering standard comfort seat: $129.95; www.enduroeng.com
KTM coolant drain plug (to plug oil breather hole in carb): $3.20; see your local dealer
Repair Costs: None
Maintenance Costs: Oil and filters: $125 (approx.)