It’s been far too long since that last 450-gunned Supermoto power-drift, so KTM decided a renewal of their pedigree in the segment was long overdue. The company wanted to address a race bike ‘absence’ in their hefty arsenal and have taken great care to fabricate a brand-new version of their KTM 450 SMR for riders hungry for the track.
The heart of the 2021 KTM 450 SMR is provided by the decorated 450cc engine that made the KTM 450 SX-F such a formidable motocross and supercross weapon. The latest generation of 4-stroke engineering from the firm offers a 63hp boost at a weight a little over 27kg. The motor has been orientated in the frame to emphasize mass centralization: Supermoto riders and racers demand peak tactile feeling and contact with the asphalt and the ability to manipulate the condensed form of the KTM 450 SMR to their will. Underneath the SOHC cylinder head lives the 95mm bore lightweight aluminium cylinder, housing a 320g piston that pumps out mounds of torque while the strategically positioned crankshaft is another asset towards the bike’s centralized handling. A high-end conrod contributes to the long 100-hour service intervals.
Harnessing the potency of the engine is possible thanks to the PANKL Racing Systems 5-speed gearbox with an advanced sensor, permitting specific engine maps for each gear. A SUTER slipper clutch is added to enhance rear wheel stability: an essential ingredient for the Supermoto racer – and fan.
The output of the bike is molded through a special chromium molybdenum steel frame; the robotic welded fabrication of which ensures precision and quality. The torsion and flex characteristics are optimum for the use and purpose of the KTM 450 SMR and riders will not be disappointed – in fact they’ll be exhilarated – from the very first lap. Stability in a straight line to maximize grip and acceleration is complemented by the sensation of rapid ‘flickability’ that delivers reassuring feedback in droves. The chassis is robust but light; the 900g aluminum subframe is a key part. The frame is cast with 16mm offset through the CNC-machined triple clamps with three-way amendable handlebar adjustment. A die-cast swingarm is another featherweight chassis ingredient and means the wheelbase can be tweaked to optimize feel for any given track.
The triple clamps house the WP Suspension XACT front forks: a 48mm air type featuring AER technology with split damping function, and the mid-valve damping system is a hike in terms of performance. Supermoto competitors need deft connection with the Tarmac, but also trustworthy reactions from bumps and various conditions on the offroad sections, so the compact and light WP Suspension XACT rear shock is a valuable and fully adjustable component. The rear wheel travel of 266mm (285mm on the front) is part of a Supermoto-specific package where the linkage system and rear set geometry push usability and handling to the fore.
Stopping power is essential for the KTM 450 SMR and KTM rely on peerless partners BREMBO with premium 4-piston radial caliper and master cylinder on the front brake to convey the necessary mastery administered through the 310mm floating disc and dependability on the 220mm rear. Balance, belief and balls-out braking fun are definitely on the agenda with these specifications.
KTM knows that details can really make the difference to the entire motorcycle. R&D engineers wanted the KTM 450 SMR to strike an immediate impression. The radiator is built from strong aluminum and designed with computational fluid dynamics for maximum efficiency. The part is also placed to augment centralization. A 44mm Keihin throttle body means that delicate throttle response can be taken for granted and the complex Keihin Engine Management System regulates the rider’s personal needs for maps, launch control and traction control. A specifically designed airbox helps the engine generate the sensitive but fiery response a rider or racer needs. Extended thrills are possible due to the 7-litre fuel tank (with the fuel line tucked further into the bike and away from potential damage). Supermoto 16.5/17 ALPINA light, spoked tubeless wheels will carry the expected strength and are graced by Bridgestone slick tires. Expect the bike to really look the part with slim, race-friendly plastics and a graphic scheme apt for the first year of the new decade.
The KTM 450 SMR is back: Are you ready to get forward?