When KTM recruited the speed and talent of Ryan Dungey, they needed to provide him with a machine he could win on, and they did. The fuel injected 350 SX-F was an option and so was the carbureted 450 SX-F. A man like Dungey can handle all 450cc’s of a factory race bike and he wanted them to be fuel injected. With an already released 2012 model 450, KTM set out to build and develop a second model 450 which is labeled as the “KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition.” Only 400 units will arrive here in the states, 200 by March 1st and 200 by June 1st. These dates are strict and must be met so that Dungey can continue racing his highly sought after 2012 and a half KTM 450.Behind The Bars
Our first impression of Dungey’s bike that has been tamed down for the public is based off of a day at the newly improved Elsinore MX Park. Due to the limited number of units coming into the US, we were only allowed a single day on the Factory Edition.Within the first couple laps of riding the “Dungey bike” we could tell it was an entirely new beast compared to KTM’s carbureted 450. The main points we noticed were obvious: the extremely responsive fuel injection, rigid chassis and stiffer suspension.
Elsinore’s tacky dirt gave us a small taste of what Dungey is dealing with on the Supercross track; the response is amazing and the bottom end power is snappy but not to the point where the rear wheel breaks loose so long as you have mediocre throttle control. There is great mid range power here in that the bottom end is strong, not violent and with great FI response. When you get into the mid range rpm, the engine pull builds up quickly and is controllable similar to the Honda meaning that the power picks up and screams into the top end. Unfortunately at Elsinore, there aren’t many wide-open straights that allowed us to the wind the bike out in fifth gear so it’s hard to comment on how this thing revs out but it can definitely get you up into the revs without a problem.
Chassis & Handling:
The Factory Edition feels like it was built with Supercross in mind but tamed down and mixed with motocross for the average rider. This is thanks to the stiff yet aggressive chassis. The Factory Edition is a ton more precise than the bigger feeling carbureted 450 and this translated to being able to attack the track and really push for faster lap times. It feels planted coming into corners and when you want to apex the corner the rear end will settle with little effort. The carbureted 450 SX-F doesn’t want to settle very well, and I found myself fighting the rear end trying to get it to squat down and set in flat turns. Often times the older KTM felt as if you could only push it to a certain limit until you felt uncomfortable and then at that point, you would back off and hold the pace you trusted. Now, we felt comfortable lap after lap trying new lines as the stiff chassis allowed us to ride the bike more aggressively which made for a precise handling feel. This opened up new lines around the track that you normally would have to fight to make happen on the previous version 450. Another good trait of the Factory Edition is that it has light steering that stays consistent when you get up to speed and it never really wanted to shake the bar out of your hands. A light feel wasn’t limited to the ground and how she corners. Our faster pro rider felt it had nimble characteristics in the air and was easily flickable while our intermediate speed riders said the 450 wanted to stay straight and was hard to move around in-flight.
This is possibly the stiffest suspension we have seen on a production bike, and from what I could tell in a day at Elsinore, the bottoming resistance was some of the best I’ve ridden. And definitely better than some revalve jobs I’ve had done which says a lot. The track at Elsinore was pretty hard packed and didn’t have many acceleration bumps or square edges, but small to medium breaking bumps were scattered in select corners. The Dungey 450 handled itself pretty well on the small chop and with the stiff suspension, the only way to go was push hard to get through the rough. This thing wanted to be ridden aggressively and the harder you rode it, the better the suspension worked. The key to a smoother ride was getting it to ride down in the stroke, which meant really pushing it hard. This goes to show you how much of a race bike the “Factory Edition” really is.
If you are going out to buy one of these or if you already put your deposit down on one, you may want to have the suspension toned down just a bit for a more comfortable ride. But if you plan on going to the track to pound out some serious laps than this could possibly be as race ready in the 450 class as the KX250F is in the Lites class. Either way, you’ll be stoked with a great looking KTM 450 with Red Bull team graphics, an Orange frame and a limited special edition ride.Although we only got to spend one day ripping up Elsinore, be sure to follow up with a future issue of Dirt Rider Magazine for a more in depth test. Also, check out our weekly Mobile Magic gallery for some cool iPhone shot and edited photos of our day testing the 2012 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition.