Most knew something was in the works from KTM with regard to a mid-season or early release 2018 Factory Edition. The question is, does KTM need a better motorcycle since they are still right there and sometimes on top of the chart with regard to the competition? The answer must be yes because the Red Bull KTM Factory and support teams will be riding this new machine come January 6. They will also be available to the public in limited numbers across the globe, but you might have to get in line or get on a list now!
KTM unveiled the new FE motorcycle and supercross race teams for 2018 at a brand-new test facility that is located a few hundred yards from KTM’s Factory Headquarters. Now they can test and go right back to the race shop if needed to make changes in a matter of minutes if needed-NICE!
So what’s new with the FE, the head and cylinder are new and 15mm lower by design, hence lowering the camshaft closer to the center of gravity. Surface treatments to the cam, DLC rockers and a low-friction cam chain round out the head. The head also allowed KTM to further straighten out the exhaust port, which they claimed when you do it its like getting free horsepower.
The transmission is now made by Pankl, along with new materials and heat treatments. Updated battery, new exhaust system, new throttle cable routing, standard skid plate and fuel map switching. The FE offers two different maps as well as traction control option, making for four possible different setting, streamlining the options. Launch control is also standard.
The 18 FE also features new bodywork for a sleeker look and slimmed down radiators. The basic frame geometry and pick up points are the same but tubes have been re-worked to alter longitudinal stiffness, which makes for improved bump absorption, according to KTM. The swingarm also has a 5mm longer wheel slot for more rear wheel tuning options. 22mm offset orange anodized clamps are also stiffer to complement the frame changes and new settings to the WP AER fork. Other FE accessories include black DID rims, CNC machined hubs and Dunlop MX3S rubber. The clutch cover says Hinson but it’s a KTM DDS clutch with Brembo hydraulic actuation.
Through a slew of testing, KTM says this new 2018 FE is a better motorcycle that is slimmer feeling and has a freed up feeling engine that still puts the power to the ground and should still be a class leader. The FE technically weights a claimed 1/2 pound heavier, which comes from not having a full titanium exhaust standard. If this new FE is better than their current 2018 model, the competition might have to work that much harder getting ready for the 2018 race season and beyond with regard to production motocrossers.