[KTM]

2023 KTM 450SMR: ASPHALT WEAPON

3 weeks ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: KTM Images

Just a month ago, when KTM announced that its 2023 motocross models would come with radical changes to chassis, frame, engines, suspension, subframe and ergos, it was a pretty clear signal that those performance upgrades would surely find a home on the Austrian brand’s flagship supermoto weapon: the 450SMR. And sure enough, this week’s unveiling of the 2023-model 450SMR confirmed exactly that – top to tail changes that combine the MX bike mods with supermoto-specific technology to create “a bike purposely chiselled to annihilate the asphalt,” according to KTM.

Here is KTM’s PR with a snapshot of (and more detailed insight into) the standout designs and components found on KTM’s significantly updated 2023-model 450SMR…

In a discipline where tenths of a second and tens of centimetres make the difference in a lap-time or an overtaking move, then the precision and the sheer razor-edged intent behind the 2023 KTM 450SMR is exactly what any supermoto fan or racer needs.

2023 KTM 450SMR – TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS SNAPSHOT

  • Acute new anti-squat frame concept for unbeatable agility, sensitivity and stability.
  • Lighter and more durable 63hp engine package for peerless power-to-weight ratio.
  • New-generation advanced and easy-adjusting WP Suspension.
  • Searing braking components from Brembo.
  • Performance-led parts – from footpegs, compact exhaust system, electronics, wheels and tyres.
  • Improved ergonomics to accentuate agility and centralisation: better lap-times faster.
  • Unmistakable race-orientated graphics and one of KTM’s best colour schemes yet for the Supermoto market.

2023 KTM 450SMR – THE DETAIL

THE CHASSIS

The innovations start with the refined hydro-formed, laser-cut and robot-welded frame. Front-end focus and sensitivity and rear-end stability defines everything that is fast and strong on the Supermoto circuit. KTM has altered longitudinal and torsional flex (also through frame-wall thickness) to make sure that feedback is acute and on-point as any rider – from novice to world championship-level racer – will demand. A revised shock mount enhances energy absorption and straight-line stability for 2023. The ‘anti squat’ concept translates to better acceleration and corner exit and is also achieved, courtesy of the reposition of rotational masses and the new shock itself. The ‘inward’ located footrests augment the feeling that the 2023 KTM 450SMR can be gripped, carried and pushed however far the rider wants to go. The polyamide reinforced aluminium two-piece subframe is another ingredient for the overall greater handling effect with the bonus of superb strength. The flow of contact with the track surface comes spilling through the high-grade aluminum CNC-machined triple clamps which are newly applied with increased grip surface for less handlebar ‘twist’.

THE SUSPENSION

Sliding into turns has never felt easier, but the added reassurance comes from expert degree of flex pouring forth from the diecast aluminum swingarm, new 22mm rear axle and the latest generation of WP XACT suspension. AER 48mm forks have a split-damping function and simple tool-less adjusters among other advantages. The same practicality graces the new shorter, lighter (but still with the same amount of travel) WP XACT rear shock, which is fully optimised with several significant upgrades to enable advanced damping characteristics. The WP XACT shock is the most progressive and capable system seen on a KTM Supermoto machine yet.

THE BRAKES

Calculated millimetres on corner entry are made possible with high-powered four-piston Brembo brakes with a 310mm front disc. A 220mm disc and single piston caliper will bring the rear end around nicely while it’s feted by the Suter anti-hopping clutch and Brembo hydraulics that will let riders drift all the way till they shift.

THE POWERPLANT

Once the Metzeler Racetec SM K1 tyres (with a large usage window and rapid warm-up times) have been abused en route into the apex, the unmistakable firepower of the 2023 KTM 450SMR gets everything winding forward. The new SOHC engine is designed with mass centralisation as the goal and blasts out 63hp with the motor weighing just under 27kg – almost half a kilo less than the previous edition. The engine itself has been tilted back and the sprocket dropped by 3mm with new cylinder internals and crankshaft optimisation as other markers of the 2023 set-up. Pankl Racing Systems has supplied a redesigned five-speed gearbox with a new transmission ratio. Another feature is the fresh Quickshift sensor on the shift drum for clutch-less upshifts (which can also be disabled through the handlebar switch). The Keihin EMS (Engine Management System) will administer the traction control, launch control and Quickshift actions and the ability to flick between two customisable engine maps.

THE ERGONOMICS

Throwing the whole package into place on-track is now simpler with new ergonomics and the sculpted rider ‘triangle’ that permits an even better contact points between motorcycle and user. A recessed grip ‘pocket’ under the seat is another example of the fine-tuned practicality. There won’t be better or harder-looking bike on the track than the 2023 KTM 450SMR. The 1990s-derived splash of purple adds to the Ready To Race graphic vibe, together with the flat orange seat and white tail.

According to a somewhat tongue-in-cheek KTM Australia, “Extremely limited numbers of the 2023 KTM 450SMR will vanish through authorised KTM dealers in Australia and New Zealand from October, 2022”.

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