FIRST LOOK: KTM 2022 MX RANGE
Back in mid 2018, when KTM invited us to Italy for the international media launch of their new-generation 2019-model motocross machines, they seemed pretty confident that they had their opposition covered. Those 2019 models came with really big changes to chassis, suspension, bodywork and engines, and the combined mods allowed these bikes to take a big step forward on their predecessors. At that launch, KTM’s marketing team even went to pains to remind us that their ongoing obsession with weight savings had made their 2019 KTM 450SX-F a full 10kg lighter than the heaviest 450cc MXer on that market, Suzuki’s RM-Z450, and at least 5kg lighter than the rest of its 450cc classmates. And that was in spite of the fact KTM was the only one in the group to have an electric start at that time!
In fact, KTM was so confident with their 2019 MX model platform that their next two year-models, in 2020 and 2021, saw only minor refinements to that package. Sure, for 2021, the KTM range got updates to suspension and chassis (and the 450 engine got some big internal updates). But the 2021 mods were still made to what was essentially the 2019 platform, with the introduction of the first-ever wireless smartphone tuning option (through the myKTM app and PowerParts Connectivity Unit kit) unlocking the bikes’ potential by opening up an incredible range of intuitive tuning options for owners.
All of which explains why KTM’s 2022 MX range doesn’t come in for any radical updates. And to the Austrian factory’s credit, the PR about the 2022 bikes doesn’t pretend they do. Instead, the thrust of the PR is that the past four years of generational evolution has resulted in “the most complete and most technologically advanced line-up of motocross and supercross machinery”, and that, “After decades of seamless flow of information from the race paddock to KTM’s production line, the complete 2022 KTM SX range is closer than ever to their title-winning bikes; the absolute reference for motocross and supercross competition worldwide.” That and the fact the 2022 bikes get an updated livery and blue seat cover – which, if the recent feedback on Transmoto’s social media channels is anything to go by, has gone down pretty damn well.
But what does everyone think about the new “frame finishing coated in racing orange to further reinforce the proximity to the championship winning machines of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing stars”?. Well, the orange frame has always polarised opinion. Irrespective of your frame colour taste, astute observers have noted that its introduction signals that the 2022 bikes will be the last of the current generation, with the 2023 models seeing a significant overhaul. At least, that’s what orange-frame models have signified in the past.
Complementing KTM’s 2022 SX range is a series of Sportminicycles that share the same race-driven development approach as KTM’s full-size motocross bikes. The 50SX, 65SX and 85SX models all claim class-leading performance, state-of-the-art WP suspension, high-end brakes and minimal weight. And for tech-savvy riders, there’s the 2022 KTM SX-E 5, the latest incarnation of a high-end electric mini-crosser that can grow together with the young rider on it.
According to KTM’s Product Manager Off-Road, Joachim Sauer, “The new SX range is all about the proximity to our race machinery, and the bikes that are doing the business on racetracks around the continents. We’ve been refining these packages for several years and we feel the connection, both aesthetically but also in terms of performance, is now closer than ever. To prove our point, we gave production bikes to MXGP and MX2 World Champions and I’m glad to confirm they were surprised and impressed with their performance. It was fitting to give the 2022 models an even ‘racier’ look with the blue and orange design and to remind riders and fans that there isn’t a more Ready To Race motocross range in any paddock anywhere.”
The 2022 KTM SX models will be available at authorised KTM dealers in Australia and New Zealand from July, 2021, onwards. Pricing are yet to be confirmed.