Dirt bikes are great fun, but what if you want the same package (light weight/long-travel suspension/torquey single-cylinder engine) in a street bike? The answer is a supermoto, with grippy slicks mounted on 17-inch rims, instead of knobbies on 21-18 rims. And now, KTM is bringing its 450 SMR back for 2023 with minor updates (remember kids, this is sold as a track-only bike in Canada).
This isn’t your crude old-school home-brewed su-mo, with a suspension that might not match the task of tearing up pavement. In fact, the suspension is is one of the specifics that KTM says it’s improved for 2023. Up front, there’s a WP XACT 48 mm fork with tool-less adjustment. In back, there’s also a WP XACT shock, lighter and shorter than last year’s rear suspension setup, but with the same amount of travel.
The frame gets similar updates to KTM’s dirt bike line, with wall thickness revised to change the longitudinal and torsional flex characteristics. The rear shock mount is also revised, which is supposed to keep the rear end jacked-up for better drive out of corners. There’s a new 22mm axle in back as well.
KTM also included new, wider footpegs for improved controls, and an updated triple clamp as well. The engine is also tweaked in the frame, tilted backwards with the front sprocket relocated, which is also supposed to improve stability under steam. The 450 single has a five-speed gearbox from PANKL, and there’s a quickshift function for upshifts only on gears 2-5. This quickshift is managed by the Keihin Engine Management System, which also handles traction control and launch control functions, and two separate engine maps.
The engine is supposed to put out 63 hp. Sounds fun!
Much of the rest of the package will look familiar: A massive (at least for a dirt bike) 310mm brake disc up front, with four-piston Brembo caliper. A set of Metzeler Racetec SM K1 tires front and rear. And, a set of graphics that are supposed to recall the 1990s. That sounds like a bit of a stretch; we seem to remember the ’90s had a lot more purple paint.
Interested? Talk to your local dealer if you want pricing. KTM says the bikes will be in Canada in November, 2022.
I wish they’d quit with the 16.5″ front wheels – it limits tire choice considerably.