First Look: ALL NEW 2022.5 KTM 450SX-F & 250SX-F Factory Editions

Arguably the most anticipated bike of the year is finally here in the form of KTM’s 2022.5 450 SX-F Factory Edition. But did you know that a 250 SX-F Factory Edition was coming too?! KTM just lifted the curtains on their latest and greatest in development with completely new from the ground up 450cc and 250cc four-stroke motocrossers. Of course, this gives us a glimpse at the 2023 models and what we can expect from them. Let’s dive into the changes from the orange brigade!

The use of a steel frame is still in place, but it has been updated heavily for different rigidity and flex characteristics. A lot of the changes are aimed at increasing stability and rear end performance on the track in what they call “anti-squat” behavior. What may be the biggest improvement with the new frames is skid plate mounts are integrated into the frame! The off-road four-strokes have come equipped with this for a while now, but the motocross bikes and later two-strokes will now come standard with skid plate mounts. No more dealing with frame rails and trying to align a moving target for every oil change!

Keeping with the frame and chassis updates, the subframe is now a mix of aluminum, like the previous version, and a polyamide material. KTM claims it’s more durable than a full aluminum version and may help in handling with different flex characteristics.

The hollow die-cast aluminum swingarm is a one-piece design and the extrusions on the side of the swingarm look closer to that of the Husky’s from the last few years. Pair this with a composite subframe and it appears as if they are moving closer together. With the new swingarm comes a reduction in rear axle size from 27mm to just 22mm, meaning your rear wheels will no longer fit on the new models.

Air forks still grace the front of the Katoom and feature some internal setting changes based on the new chassis. The rear of the bike is held up with a new WP XACT shock. While it is smaller in nearly every way to minimize weight, it still offers 300mm of wheel travel as it did before. Internals are all new as well and can be adjusted toolessly with hand adjuster knobs for low AND high speed compression and rebound. With the fork already featuring this, all aspects of the suspension can be adjusted without the use of a screw driver. The linkage system has also been updated for the new bike.

The footpegs are now much bigger than before and mount differently to the frame. Something KTM believes will help in ruts and rocks as it holds it tighter to the frame and less susceptible to outside forces.

Electronically, the new map switch includes a standard and aggressive map, traction control, AND now a Quick Shift option. Sending signals to the ignition and momentarily cutting it out when an upshift is taking place, it allows for clutchless upshifts from gears 2-5. This is straight out of a MotoGP play book, and with KTM’s new interest in that aspect of racing increasing, we can expect to see more of this in the future. The start and stop buttons are now integrated into one piece, freeing up some valuable handlebar space that has become a premium in today’s age.

The Keihin Engine Management System boasts a launch control mode, as well as a new rollover sensor that will kill the engine in a crash. Also, paired with an updated Pankl transmission, specific mapping is tailored for each gear 1-5. Contrary to before, the new factory editions do not come with an Akrapovic slip-on muffler. Instead, a standard KTM branded exhaust system is in place.

The engine is heavily updated on the new models and is now lighter than ever with the 450cc engine coming in around 300g (~.66lbs) lighter. The engines are tilted back 2 degrees for optimized mass centralization and better anti-squat behavior. The cylinder and head are more compact in a weight savings effort, and the piston has been updated with annular grooves for durability purposes. Compression ratio is up to 13.1:1. The DDS clutch features better cooling for more fade resistance and the basket is updated for the new transmission. 

The 250cc engine is down 60g and much more compact, being a claimed 8mm shorter in height. The cylinder head has been completely redesigned with DLC coated finger followers and new exhaust valves. CP Pistons now manufactures the forged bridge-box-type piston in a 81mm bore (up from 78, stroke decreased from 52.3 to 48.5mm) cylinder and added compression coming in at 14.5:1.

Engine cases will now be the same across the board for 250F, 350, and 450 motors and with that, identical frames will be in use for all of the big bike KTM’s moving forward. 

Of course, bodywork and styling are all new and have been designed for more than just looks, but for function as well. Throughout the bike are various pieces designed to add and aid in gripping the bike like on the airbox and radiator shrouds. New grab handles are reintroduced, but assist in smooth airflow into the airbox. The seat boasts a pocket under the seat for better knee grip when standing. 

Overall, the bike is very new, with only a handful of parts being shared with the older generation. The race teams, whether Supercross/Motocross or Off-Road, has been influential in development of their bikes be it durability or performance. How will all of this pencil out on the track? Only time will tell, but we’re eager to find out!

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