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I raced the Keefer Inc. 2020 KTM 450 SX-F test bike on day two of the World Vet’s and I wanted to put together a parts list of everything that was on my bike. All of the parts on this list were either agreed upon or hand picked by myself because I knew they worked well. Through the testing process, as well as the countless laps I have done, I knew what worked at Glen Helen, but more importantly I knew what didn’t. I don’t race that often, but when I do, I train hard to make sure I am prepared. Doing that takes time and that time is precious to me. I am not about to line up for a race with parts on my bike that I don’t know make the bike (as a whole) work for the better. These parts on this machine were put in place because they made the KTM better at Glen Helen. There were only a few bling type pieces on this build because I wanted a bike with functionality and comfort, but also I had to make it look cool right? Below are the parts and the companies that were put in use on this build.
Twisted Development Racing: www.td-racing.com
Custom Ported/Decked Head
Custom Base Gasket
New Valve Seats
Vortex Ignition With Custom Mapping ($950.00)
Why: At first when Jamie from Twisted Development asked me if I wanted a built race engine for the race, I immediately said “no, thanks”. He looked at me weird and asked “why not”? I told him I liked the stock engine character of the KTM and I did not want to have a bike that I couldn’t hold onto for 20 minutes. He assured me that his head mod along with the Vortex ECU wouldn’t change the character of the KTM’s engine, but only enhance it. I agreed and now that I have ridden/raced it, I am thankful that I did. The Twisted head mod utilizes the stock piston and cams, but Jamie custom CNC ports the head, decks it, and runs one of his custom base gaskets. This along with his ECU mapping (see below) gave me the most easy to ride KTM 450 SX-F engine that I have ridden to date. This engine gave me the holeshot in front of Mike Alessi in Moto one and was a pleasure to race. More legibility, increased recovery, with pulling power that killed the other machines up Mt. Saint Helens. It was just too bad the rider sucked it up on Sunday. I honestly can’t wait to ride this sucker even more in the coming weeks!
FMF Racing: www.fmfracing.com
FMF 4.1 RCT Muffler System
Why: Simply put, the FMF system gives me more excitement down low with a broader mid-top end pull. You can check out the review right here on keeferinctesting.com
WP Suspension: www.wp-suspension.com
XACT Pro 7548 Fork
XACT Pro 8950 Shock
Factory Triple Clamp
Why: WP’s XACT Pro Components are usually found on all of my KTM’s and Husqvarna’s I race with. Why? I get more consistency and performance out of the XACT Pro Components than that of the stock AER fork/stock WP shock. I tested some stock settings back to back with the WP Pro Components the week leading up to the World Vet’s and came away with this opinion: The first thing I noticed when I went out on the track with the XACT fork was that the KTM turns slightly slower than the AER fork on initial lean (into corners) which is exactly what I wanted at GH. You can actually feel the extra weight right away in the front end compared to the stock AER fork, but it wasn’t a bad feeling, I was just surprised I could feel it this much when entering corners. Usually I run the fork flush at GH, but with the slower turn in feel I went with a 5mm height. Along with the extra weight feeling however I gained more front end traction through every corner (especially flat corners). The XACT fork leaves you with a more front end tire contact patch sensation and you can lean over more in ruts without getting the high front end, vague feeling like you can with the AER fork. With the AER fork I get some pushing in the front end through the middle to end of the corner at GH, which made me roll off the throttle to try and compensate. With the XACT fork I can lean in the corner and the fork stays planted, which let my front end settle and bite. The WP XACT fork also felt less active on braking bumps. I am able to jump in and out of bigger bumps that Glen Helen offered without having the fork rebound too quick and be too active. If I wanted to pound through the bumps, the fork had a better damping control feeling through the middle to end part of the stroke. The most notable change was to my wrists when over jumping or flat landing with the XACT fork. I started to over jump a single out into some braking bumps in one area of the track and the XACT fork left me with a feeling that I could do this every lap.
The XACT shock holds up better than the stock shock for me on high speed compression and you are able to get more aggressive around the track. I can hit the faces of jumps harder and the KTM did not give me an empty/low feeling sensation that the stock shock sometimes gave me at GH. In order to combat that feeling with the stock shock I would have to crank up the high speed compression so much that I would lose the comfort coming out of corners (and rear wheel traction). THAT’S NOT FUN AT GH! The Trax shock provides you with more high-speed damping and you still get a decent amount of acceleration comfort on choppy corner exits. I also noticed a little more connectivity to the the rear wheel (when hard on the gas) on flat corners with the Trax shock compared to the stock shock I tested the week before the event. The Trax shock is firmer so there is less wallow in the rear end when accelerating, so the rear of the KTM 450 SX-F tracks straighter and doesn’t upset the chassis as much. “Balanced” is a great word to describe both ends of the KTM that I raced, but I did notice the harder I pushed the more it rewarded me. If I tried to ride smoother/slower the action of the shock wasn’t quite as comfortable as the stock shock.
Billetproof Inner Hub And Pressure Plate
Why: The Hinson billetproof inner hub and pressure plate gives me longer life between clutch plate changes as well as slippage under heavy load/abuse. This mod was incorporated into the build more for durability (for after the event, then the event itself).
Pro Taper: www.protaper.com
SX Race Fuzion Handlebars
Why: I use the Pro Taper Fuzion bars because I like a crossbar on a KTM and they still give me enough flex to where the bike doesn’t feel rigid. Some other crossbar handlebars out there make the bike feel rigid and I hate that feeling.
$950.00 (with 10 Twisted Development maps installed)
Why: This has been a mod that I have been preaching for years. The Vortex ignition, along with Jamie’s maps, gives the KTM a stronger pulling power out of corners, an increased mid range hit, as well as a top end over-rev that you have to feel to believe. I still can’t get over how good this KTM is up the hills of GH. The thing pulls third gear forever! WIth this Vortex ignition and a FMF muffler, the KTM becomes a whole different motorcycle!
VP Racing: www.vpracingfuels.com
MR Pro 6 HT
Why: Jamie mapped the Vortex ignition for Pro 6 fuel to get the most horsepower possible out of my KTM 450 SX-F for the race. I am now back on pump fuel because I am just a local practice guy now.
Throttle Syndicate: www.throttlesyndicate.com
Graphics and Seat Cover
Why: Throttle Syndicate are good dudes and make some cool stuff. I love how they tied in the orange blue and white to make the whole bike pop. I am usually not a graphic/pre-print guy, but when you’re racing you might as well look the part right? Throttle Syndicate did this bike up right! Where is the fire emoji at?!
Works Connection: www.worksconnection.com
Axle Blocks $59.95
Custom Hydraulic Clutch/Brake Reservoir Cover Caps $37.45 each
Pro Launch Start Device $119.95
Oil Filler Cap $24.95
Why: Works Connection is one of the best companies I have ever come across. The people, the products, as well as the customer service you get is second to none. When racing, the Pro Launch Start Device is a must and easy to use. It’s so easy to use that my wife Heather can even lock down my front end, so you know it’s easy! The custom caps that WC are doing with your racing number is very cool and gives you that factory look. The Elite Axle Blocks is a must have if you’re a Husqvarna or KTM owner because it removes the fixed left side chain block and allows the rear of your bike to move freely under acceleration. It’s a simple mod that helps the comfort of your chassis.
MX53 Front Tire
MX33 Rear Tire
Why: Glen Helen never stays soft and loamy. It turns into hard pack, square edge by 11:00 AM, so I needed a front tire that gripped well on lean angle, under hard pack conditions. After the MX53 tire launch I knew that the MX53 front tire would be my weapon of choice in those conditions at Glen Helen. Although I do like a MX53 rear tire, I needed a softer tire to get out of the gate and down the deep start straight of GH, so the MX33 did it’s job and got me two excellent starts on the weekend. If you have a track that is soft in the morning and gets somewhat hard pack in the afternoon the MX53 tires work very good.
Complete Plastic kit $159.95
Frame Guards $49.95
Why: Acerbis makes great plastic that fits well, has the OEM original colors, and my OEM plastic was hammered. The frame guards also provide me with extra grip when squeezing the bike coming down those bumpy ass Glen Helen hills.
Why: I have had one battery go dead on the KTM 450 SX-F this year, so I decided to put a reliable/lighter lithium ion battery in the orange machine and FirePower has been my go to for more than just my KTM. The stock KTM chains aren’t bad, but mine was due to re-placed and since FirePower has durable O-Ring chains, I decided to put one on for this race and beyond. After initial the stretch, I usually only have to adjust the chain a couple times, so less maintenance is good maintenance in my eyes.