The 2023 KTM 450 XC-F rolls into the pits already armed with the learnings of past championships - but now it's blistering with an all-new arsenal of weaponry. Being the leading 4-Stroke in the Cross Country division for the year, the KTM 450 XC-F once again brings its undeniable READY TO RACE spirit to the starting line with a relentless assault on the podium. A new frame, new rear shock, better electronics, and more performance all mean one thing - it's time to extend the trophy room.
Bodywork & Graphics
FUNCTIONAL BODYWORK: The 2023 KTM XC and XC-F range feature an entirely new and improved rider triangle, providing improved knee contact - especially when standing on the pegs - with improved gripping surfaces all around. New plastics work to expel mud buildup in wet, muddy conditions, with a new, flatter seat profile and high-grip orange seat cover providing exceptional rider movement and control. A handy grip pocket under the seat, just above the airbox, makes gripping the bike and lifting it much easier. In terms of graphics, the 2023 KTM XC and XC-F design takes its cue from the early 1990s when purple was one of KTM's predominant colors.
FUEL TANK: A new 2.24 gallon polythene fuel tank incorporates a threaded filler cap and an integrated fuel pump. The fuel pump features an external fuel line which is specifically positioned to make it less exposed and susceptible to damage, while ensuring a steady, uninterrupted flow of fuel.
FRAME: No matter how gnarly the trail is, you'll stay in complete control thanks to an all-new frame design that has not only been engineered for longitudinal rigidity, but also repositions rotating mass closer to the center of gravity. Thicker frame walls also improve reliability, flex characteristics and offer unmatched rider feel. A new shock mounting also provides improved anti-squat behavior for better traction out of corners, while the footpeg mounting position has moved inwards for less risk of hooking up on roots or rocks. Additionally, the inclusion of forged brackets on the lower frame rails allows for easy installation of the skid plate.
POLYAMIDE-REINFORCED ALUMINIUM SUBFRAME: Weighing in at only 4 lb, the new 2-piece polyamide (60%) reinforced aluminum (40%) subframe provides impressive weight savings. With the help of computational dynamics, carefully calculated rigidity was engineered into the subframe, delivering outstanding handling and feedback, while remaining robust and reliable.
WHEELS AND TYRES: These don't only look the part - they play it too! High-strength, lightweight black alloy rims by GIANT are coupled to CNC machined hubs using lightweight spokes and silver anodized aluminum nipples. The spoke nipples incorporate a revised design reducing the frequency of spoke checks and maintenance. A Dunlop GEOMAX MX-33F takes care of business at the front, with a GEOMAX AT81 completing the package.
SWINGARM: A new hollow, die-cast aluminum swingarm is designed to offer optimal stiffness and reliability at the lowest possible weight. The topology has been optimized for rigidity, while an improved casting process reduces weight by approximately 190 g. A new 22 mm rear axle has also been fitted to match the new flex characteristics of the chassis. This, along with a new chain guard and chain gliders result in improved durability and less chance of hooking on boots or external objects out on the trail, as well as reduce dirt build up around the swingarm and chain guard.
FOOTRESTS: All-new, CFD designed footrests offer a bigger contact area for better control of the bike while standing on the pegs, but also makes them less susceptible to hooking up on deep trail ruts, logs and rocks . This was achieved by a new, narrower frame mounting design, which also helps reduce overall weight.
AIRBOX: The airbox is designed with precisely positioned inlet ducts aimed at preventing air deformation ensuring maximum airflow and maximum filter protection. The air filter is easily accessed, without tools, by removing the left side panel. Easy maintenance is guaranteed by the Twin Air filter and filter cage design that features a simple fail proof mounting system for safe and accurate filter installation.
Engine & Exhaust
ENGINE: The 2023 KTM 450 XC-F boasts one of the most manic 4-Stroke powerplants in the pits, with its SOHC engine proving to be the perfect example of advanced engineering. For 2023, the engine is tilted 2° backward with a lower sprocket position, which together with the benefits of mass centralization and reduced weight, makes the anti-squat behavior of the chassis second to none. With a massive peak power output and an overall engine weight of only 59 lb, you'll leave the competition with more than a little mud on the face.
CYLINDER: The lightweight aluminum cylinder features a 95 mm bore and 63.40 mm stroke, housing a CP bridged-box-type piston weighing a meager 327 g. The piston features anodized annular grooves, adding durability and longer service intervals, with the compression ratio increased to 13.1:1 for added peak performance.
CYLINDER HEAD: A completely redesigned SOHC cylinder head makes for a more compact and lightweight package, using a shorter profile with the camshaft located closer to the center of gravity. Lightweight valves are actuated via a DLC coated rocker arm with optimized timing, specifically designed to deliver precise levels of torque and throttle response. The diameter of the intake valves is 40 mm, while on the exhaust it is 33 mm. Redesigned intake ports allow higher flow coefficients, resulting in a more efficient and powerful engine, with a new valve cover reducing the number of mounting screws, and a single oil spray jet guarantees efficient cooling while keeping the weight low.
THROTTLE BODY: An important update across the 2023 KTM XC range is an all-new 44 mm throttle body. Taking its learnings from the KTM Factory Racing machines, the injectors are positioned in a double-injector pattern to ensure the most efficient flow into the combustion chamber, while the throttle cable is mounted directly without a throttle linkage providing smoother, uninhibited throttle action. This all adds up to cleaner, smoother fuel ignition, and more power without the fuss.
CRANKSHAFT: Designed with weight reduction and performance in mind, the crankshaft in the KTM 450 XC-F engine improves throttle response and contributes to the lightweight feel of the motorcycle. The perfect balance of rotating masses is achieved by balancing the weights of the crankshaft flywheel, the new rotor, and thanks to the innovative counter balancer shaft, engine vibration is kept to an absolute minimum.
CRANKCASES: The KTM 450 XC-F engine is designed with mass centralization and weight reduction as the main criteria. As a result, the crankcases have been designed to house the internal components of the engine in the perfect position to achieve an ideal center of gravity, while adding the least possible weight. The casings are manufactured using a high-pressure die-cast production process, resulting in thinner but more reliable wall thickness. And just to add a little extra - the KTM brand logo gives the black powder-coated engine cover the ultimate READY TO RACE look.
EXHAUST: The KTM XC-F exhaust systems are expertly designed to deliver class-leading performance at the lowest possible weight. Featuring a flow-designed resonance chamber integrated into the 2-piece header pipe, the header pipe remains as compact as possible with the joining position allowing it to be removed without having to take out the rear shock. Further innovation allows for a short, lightweight aluminum silencer without increasing noise levels.
DDS CLUTCH: The KTM XC-F exhaust systems are expertly designed to deliver class-leading performance at the lowest possible weight. Featuring a flow-designed resonance chamber integrated into the 2-piece header pipe, the header pipe remains as compact as possible with the joining position allowing it to be removed without having to take out the rear shock. Further innovation allows for a short, lightweight aluminum silencer without increasing noise levels.
Ergonomics & Comfort
WP XACT FRONT SUSPENSION: 48 mm air type WP XACT front fork with a split damping function provides all the confidence you need to attack the trails. New hydrostops in the fork legs improve bottoming-out resistance and account for less rebound when attacking big bumps while hauling across country. Redesigned fork protection rings also increase protection against dirt, making them as reliable as they are awesome.
WP XACT REAR SUSPENSION: An all-new rear shock design results in a reduction of overall length and less weight compared to the previous generation while keeping the suspension travel at 300 mm. Adjustability is now taken care of by a hand-adjustable dual compression control knob, that allows quick adjustment of high- and low-speed settings without tools. This, together with the newly designed rebound and preload asjusters, allows riders to adjust their shock settings without tools and without the help of a technician in the pits.
HYDRAULIC CLUTCH: The high-performance Brembo hydraulic clutch system guarantees even wear, near maintenance-free operation and perfect modulation in every condition. Meaning that play is constantly compensated so that the pressure point, and function of the clutch remain identical in cold or hot conditions, as well as over time. Countless hours of race focused testing have proven the high-quality, Italian-made Brembo hydraulic systems exceptional reliability.
NEKEN HANDLEBAR: All KTM XC and XC-F models are equipped with a tapered handlebar made of high-strength aluminum by NEKEN. The proprietary KTM bend delivers optimal control and unintended rider impacts are absorbed by the newly designed KTM branded bar pad, which features the same design patterns as seen on the frame protectors and tank spoilers - now that's a touch of class.
MAP SELECT SWITCH: The 2023 KTM 450 XC-F features a map select switch as standard, allowing the racer to switch between 2 perceptible engine maps. Map 1 provides a linear, predictable power delivery, while Map 2 gives it the full beans with crisp, explosive power output. Using the same switchgear, the rider can toggle between Traction control, Launch Control and the new Quickshifter functions.
TRACTION CONTROL: Grip, rip and go! Traction control is selected to an on or off position from the switch and functions by analyzing throttle input from the rider and the rate at which RPM increases in the engine. If the RPM increases too quickly, the EMS registers a loss of grip and reduces the amount of power to the rear wheel ensuring maximum traction. This provides a distinct advantage in wet or muddy conditions.
LAUNCH CONTROL: Rocketing off the line and into the holeshot is made even easier with Launch Control. With the engine at idle, launch control is engaged by pressing the Traction Control and Quickshift buttons simultaneously. This function limits the amount of power to the rear wheel of take off, improving traction and preventing wheelspin under hard acceleration.
START/STOP SWITCH: A new, combined start/stop switch on the right side of the handlebar allows for an easy and intuitive function - not that you'll want to turn your 2023 XC-F off.
ENGINE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS): Developed by Keihin, the EMS is specifically designed to be small, light, and lightning-fast at processing data. It integrates the Launch Control for perfect starts, selectable engine maps via the map select switch on the handlebar, Traction control as well as the Quickshift function. It is also combined with the gear sensor, which optimizes power delivery for each gear, while a rollover sensor (ROS) kills the engine in case of extreme crashes, adding an important safety feature to the new generation of XC and XC-F models. A new hour meter now also comes with an integrated FI status LED and a fuel level indicator.