The whole engine has been revised, with KTM moving back away from the problematic double oil circuit. The engine cases have been completely revised and are now diecast, meaning a lighter, stronger and much smaller 2.5kg lighter engine.
The bikes also feature a new lighter crank design courtesy of F1 specialists Pankl and the various other elements that grace the 350.
In hand these bikes don’t feel any lighter than in previous year, but they really don’t feel big when the riding starts.
The 450 is fantastic.There is no other way to say it. It still feels like a 450 compared to the smaller bikes, but it’s easy to ride, handles very well for a big bike.
The motor is really good fun, it’s smooth but still packs a hefty punch as fast as any 450 enduro bike.
It’s the kind of engine that puts a smile on your face, and it wants to keep pulling hard. It is however still a big
bike and sometimes it can make it a handful.
I sometimes found I was between gears on the more technical riding, ﬁrst was a little too slow and the pure torque of the engine meant second wanted to dig holes instead of going forward.
The bike handles superbly for a 450 too, it really doesn’t feel like a big bike. In comparison to the 350, it pushes the front wheel a little more, but it really isn’t dramatic and holds its line easily.
It’s a comfortable bike, very stable and the power puts a pretty large grin across your chops.
The 500 is like the 450 plus a third.
Everything is bigger, stronger, faster and a little bit scarier.It’s very rideable for such a big bike, but it likes to remind you it’s a 500.
Turn the throttle just a fraction, and the thing rips holes in the space/time continuum. The power is truly ridiculous, gearing doesn’t matter, you can’t be in a too high gear, you just turn the throttle further.
The extra speed and weight mean the front does push in the turn, and on the technical downhills unless you are David Knight it’s hard to keep up with the smaller bikes.
It also takes a fair bit to haul this beast back, the brakes are good but the added weight means you need a little more ﬁnesse.