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KTM unveils the 2022 450 SMR

This is a motocross machine with road manners

Changes to the 450 chassis make the SMR an aggressive track machine. PHOTO FROM KTM

KTM’s motocross roots show even in its road-going models: light, flickable and with a predilection for hooning. Its 450 SX-F motocross bikes have a thick bunch of trophies to prove the brand’s racing chops, and it recently crossed over to tarmac with the 450 SMR.

Rather than just sticking on a set of slicks and calling it a day, the Austrian powerhouse made several important changes to the platform to make the SMR worthy of its “Ready to Race” mantra. The championship-winning four-stroke 450cc engine weighs a mere 27kg but punches out 63hp. The dirt-focused SX-F uses a four-speed transmission, but the SMR benefits from a Pankl Racing Systems five-speed gearbox. A sensor in the transmission permits specific engine maps for each gear. A 44mm Keihin throttle system further maximizes the motor’s output in any gear.

The engine mapping is optimized for each gear ratio. PHOTO FROM KTM

The 450 SMR uses a laser-welded chromoly-steel frame, and pairs this with 16mm offset geometry for a very aggressive handling demeanor through the CNC-machined triple clamps and three-way adjustable handlebar. By comparison, the SX-F has a 22mm offset. The suspension is fully adjustable, using a WP Xact AER 48mm inverted fork and an Xact rear monoshock.

Naturally, Brembo provides the stoppers with a four-piston radial caliper and master cylinder setup, and 310mm/220mm front/rear discs. Completing the package are 16.5-inch front and 17-inch rear Supermoto Alpina light spoked tubeless wheels and Bridgestone slick tires.

The frame is finished in KTM’s signature orange, with a blue seat color and bits of white everywhere else to visually tie in the bike to the company’s factory racing teams.

Fully adjustable suspension and lightweight wheels are just some of the tricks up its sleeve. PHOTO FROM KTM

Will this model make it in our market? KTM Philippines is still mulling it over, and considering that the 450 SX-F retails for P750,000, the distributor will probably need to see that there are enough committed buyers to justify bringing in this little beast. Lacking mirrors and lights, it also wouldn’t be a street-legal bike, so any ludicrous fun would have to be enjoyed on a track (as it should be, anyway).

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.