Let’s get to the most noticeable change/feel out on the track. The 2017 KTM 450 SX-F is a great, solid package that packs a punch. However, in our 2017 450 MX Shootout some test riders complained about the fork being soft and sometimes harsh, through the mid-stroke, when trying to combat the soft feeling fork from blowing through. KTM and WP changed the 48mm AER’s fork piston material, changed the valving and went to a different fork seal slider to help free up the overall action of the fork on the track. Not a big change on paper right? Well out on the track those two changes are felt immediately when the track gets bumpy. The WP AER fork has more of a free feeling to it (similar to the KYB SSS fork) and the action is smooth. I didn’t feel a harsh spot through the entire stroke and was able to get comfortable once I went from 106mm of shock sag to 104mm. This helped the front-end stick through corners and gave me a good amount of front wheel traction. I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of air forks and their constant change in feel throughout the day, but I am extremely impressed with the WP’s AER fork. The change over the course of the day was minimal and I only had to slow the rebound down a couple clicks and stiffen the compression up two clicks as well. This was a very happy setting for me throughout the whole day. When the track got some decent sized braking bumps, the fork didn’t dive too much and the balance of the suspension was superb. To me this was the big difference when going from a standard 2017 KTM 450 SX-F to the Factory Edition model. I could change up my lines (to the sometimes shorter, rougher line) on the track easier with the Factory Edition model and the overall comfort that I had was improved as well. This goes to prove that you don’t have to make big changes in bike set up in order to get big changes out on the track. I can honestly say that when I was riding the Factory Edition, I was second-guessing myself as to what I was feeling was that much better than the standard 17 model. But as the day wore on it became very clear. When the track changed for the worse, the KTM 450 Factory Edition didn’t and the constant comfortable feel that a rider needs to go fast, was there for me throughout the day. The rear of the bike felt similar to the 2017 version and felt a little soft on high-speed compression, but going a quarter of a turn stiffer helped it from riding too low up jump faces. I also like the fact that over acceleration bumps the rear of the bike feels planted and doesn’t have much side-to-side movement.