KTM 450 XC ATV Review
KTM continues to improve its products with the latest advancements from international enduro racing. One example is the new 2015 KTM 450 XC-W. After putting it to the test during an entire weekend, it became clear that the Austrian manufacturer's “Ready to Race” slogan applies to this bike.
Aesthetically, the 450 XC-W boasts an orange-painted frame and matte black spoke wheels that follow the recent trend. The lines are still super-stylish and aggressive, embodying a true race bike. The satin white fuel tank gets easily tarnished by rider's gear, but other than that I don't have any reservations about the design.
Like an old friend
I felt like I was reuniting with an old friend just 15 minutes in. The narrow frame of the 2015 KTM 450 XC-W makes weight transfers easy, although the hard seat requires some getting used to. Riding while seated is not so bad, but I definitely preferred standing on the oversized footrests and shifting my weight forward and over the wide, tapered handlebars to attack terrain. Everything was imagined and designed to give the rider total freedom, regardless of their style.
The most impressive thing about the enduro-oriented 2015 KTM 450 XC-W is arguably the WP suspension. You really have to make a huge riding mistake to be caught off-guard. The 48mm upside-down fork and PDS shock, which seem too soft and too compliant at first, turn out to be incredibly competent for the job. The machine flies over obstacles (rocks, tree stumps, dirt bumps, roots and ruts) like a magic carpet.
The WP arsenal worked wonders while climbing a long, sweeping trail covered in 90% rock and other debris. The 2015 KTM 450 XC-W overcame most of the rough stuff with disconcerting ease, showing no jerky moves and very little deviation.
Powerful and easy to exploit
Since 2012, the KTM 450 XC-W has relied on a new SOHC single-cylinder engine. Key upgrades for this year result in superior mid-range torque and a longer useable powerband. The list includes a new cylinder head with redesigned, polished intake and exhaust ports. You get 47 hp at 8, 400 rpm and 31.8 lb-ft of torque at 7, 200 rpm - all delivered in civilized fashion. This is remarkable for a single-cylinder that's designed to operate for several hours in a row in extreme heat and pressure conditions.
Kudos for the exhaust system, which maintains noise levels at 91 decibels. What's more, all vital components are effectively protected from dirt and impacts except the fuel tank line that is too exposed in the event of a fall (see photo gallery).