Back by popular demand, the 450 SMR is a contender right off the showroom floor

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MY2021 brings with it the return of the KTM 450 SuperMoto to the paddock after a seven-year hiatus, and it looks like just what the doctor ordered if power-drifting, racing, and stunt riding – or any combination thereof – is your thing. It sports the proven 450 engine that comes with a smattering of rider-aid electronics so you can dial in the bike’s personality as you like. Additionally, the frame is adjustable, and the suspension comes off the top shelf to finish off the package.

KTM 450 SMR Design

  • New aggressive-styled graphics
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Championship-winning KTM 450 SX-F DNA
  • Grippy seat texture
2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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KTM stuck with the established SuperMoto look on the 450 SMR that, to the uninitiated, would look like a dirtbike with street tires, all the way down to the laced wheels. A frame-mount, fixed front fender rides high, right up under the lower tripleclamp, which does little to dispel that impression. Fork foot-mount uprights protect the swept area of the inner fork tube from materials that would otherwise lead to early fork wear and seal failure.

In case you had any doubts as to how this bike is meant to be used, the racing number plate in place of the headlight should tell you all you need to know, as should the lack of lighting altogether. Stock handguards protect your hamburger shovels, and the handlebars come with three preset positions to allow you some control over the shape of the rider’s triangle.

The flyline is very flat indeed as there is nothing in the way of a fuel-tank hump, so the seat runs with a gentle swale from fuel cap to subframe, and this enables some pretty dramatic body English for technical riding.

Since weight reduction was a front-burner subject during design, not an ounce is wasted on superfluous bodywork to leave the powerplant exposed and easy to get to for repairs, upgrades, and maintenance. Like the front end, the rear rolls sans lighting or tag mount to make this a non-public-road machine.

KTM 450 SMR Chassis

  • Lightweight Chromium-molybdenum steel frame
  • Responsive handling and superior agility
  • Adjustable swingarm
  • SuperMoto-tuned WP XACT suspension
2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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Chromium-molybdenum steel tubing on the 450 SMR was the material of choice for the main section of the cradle-style frame, but the factory switched to lightweight aluminum at the subframe to leave that rearmost section with a 900 gram heft. Robotic assembly-line operations deliver a precisely-welded product that is highly tuned for the correct balance of stability and flexion.

The center of mass – a function of both frame design and engine positioning – is such that it allows for quick reversals and even quicker flicks, a feature that certainly will be appreciated by racers and stunt-riders alike. A cast-aluminum swingarm finishes off the standing structure and can be adjusted so you control the wheelbase length.

The adjustments don’t stop there. The 48 mm WP XACT AER forks float the front end on the full trinity of tweaks and use a cone valve instead of shims, so you can eliminate bent shims as one of your maintenance headaches. Out back is more of WP’s XACT yummygoodness with a fully-adjustable rear shock to finish out the suspension. The suspension travel ranges are 285 mm and 266 mm on the front and rear, respectively, so you get plenty of stroke with excellent bottom-out protection.

As for the anchors, KTM tapped Brembo for its four-pot, opposed-piston caliper up front, opposite a single-bore binder out back. Those radial-mount calipers bite a 310 mm front disc and 220 mm disc in the rear to deliver ample braking power for this stripped-down sled. A set of ALPINA laced wheels round out the rolling chassis with Bridgestone slicks in a 125/600 R16.5 ahead of a 165/630 R17 that are made with racing/drifting in mind.

Frame: Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4 steel
Front Suspension: WP XACT-USD, Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP XACT Monoshock with linkage
Steering Head Angle: 63.9 °
Front Brake Disc: 310 mm
Rear Brake Disc: 220 mm

KTM 450 SMR Drivetrain

  • Competition-proven 450 cc single-cylinder engine
  • SuperMoto-tuned gearbox
  • Engine maps tailored for each gear
  • Traction and launch control
2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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The beating heart is the real gem here. A 449.9 cc thumper delivers the goods with a short, 63.4 mm stroke and voluminous 95 mm bore for a very grunty output. Exactly how much model-specific grunt is available is being kept close to the vest – no doubt because it is a proper race bike – but we know it will pump out 63 ponies at the red line.

A SOHC setup actuates the valvetrain and keeps weight low up top with an aluminum cylinder and 320 gram piston to complete the top end. Keihin supplies both the 44 mm throttle body and EMS for precise control over the engine speed, a must for both racers and tricksters alike.

An aluminum radiator provides all the cooling this mill needs while itself contributing to the lightening efforts. Dual oil pumps pressurize the forced-oil lubrication system, and this helps draw off excess waste heat as well for some extra thermal protection. Power flows through a SUTER slipper clutch to reduce rear-wheel hop and protect the integrity of the rear contact patch, with a five-speed transmixxer to crunch the ratios. A tough O-ring chain conveys the power to the rear hoop.

As for electronics, the 450 SMR rolls with a SuperMoto-optimized traction control feature and an engine-map function, plus a Launch Control system that’ll help you safely stick the holeshot every time.

Engine: Single-cylinder, four-stroke engine
Displacement: 449.9 cc
Transmission: 5-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Starter: Electric starter
Bore x Stroke: 95 mm x 63.4 mm
Clutch: Wet multi-disc Suter clutch, Brembo hydraulics
EMS: Keihin EMS
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Chain: 5/8 x 1/4"

KTM 450 SMR Price

2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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The 2021 450 SMR rolls for $11,299 with a $450 freight charge tacked on. It’s a KTM, so guess what color it comes in. Yup, you’re right, but the graphics are new and give an aggressive vibe that says you’re to be reckoned with.

KTM 450 SMR Competitors

2016 - 2020 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM
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2021 KTM 450 SMR
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This machine is clearly built for bona-fide racers, but what if you never plan on hitting a track/course or just want to be able to ride to your favorite hooligan haven on public streets? In that case, you may find Suzuki’s DR-Z400SM more to your liking.

Suzuki DR-Z400SM

2016 - 2020 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM
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In the looks department, Suzuki hits all the right design high points from the high-mount front fender to the recessed fuel tank and clean upper lines. Full lighting front and rear means you can indeed ride it in traffic, but the blank sideplates give it just enough racebike appeal to pass muster.

The stems are almost fully adjustable but the front forks lack a preload adjustment and so they fall behind a skosh. Likewise the engine; it displaces only 398 cc against KTM’s spicy 450, and relies on a carburetor for induction control, so it’s no surprise that it generates a modest 33.4 horsepower against the KTM that puts out almost double that. Sure, this makes the Suzuki unsuitable as a proper racebike, but it’s plenty of juice for stunt riding and low-key commuting. Unsurprisingly, the 2021 DR-Z400SM rolls for much less cheddar with a $7,499 price tag that is sure to buy it some business from the less-than-deadly-serious in the hooligan market.

Read our full review of the Suzuki DR-Z400SM.

He Said

“KTM’s racing chops cannot be denied, and this new SMR is certainly no exception. Make no mistake folks, this is no beginner’s bike but a serious machine, even if the displacement falls toward the low end of the spectrum. I haven’t actually had the pleasure yet, but based on my experience I feel confident saying that the bench seat is firm, to be very kind.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This is KTM’s rebirth of their supermoto range and the 450 SMR is a proper-built bike for the intended purpose. Built on the 450 SX-F, the SMR comes tuned specifically for supermoto. The chassis updates this year make for a more sophisticated ride and the engine is flawless on the track. Inspired by the success of the Husqvarna FS 450 and rider demand for the return of the SMR, KTM listened and here we are.”

KTM 450 SMR Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Single-cylinder, four-stroke engine
Displacement: 449.9 cc
Transmission: 5-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Starter: Electric starter
Bore x Stroke: 95 mm x 63.4 mm
Clutch: Wet multi-disc Suter clutch, Brembo hydraulics
EMS: Keihin EMS
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Chain: 5/8 x 1/4"
Chassis:
Frame: Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4 steel
Front Suspension: WP XACT-USD, Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP XACT Monoshock with linkage
Steering Head Angle: 63.9 °
Front Brake Disc: 310 mm
Rear Brake Disc: 220 mm
Details:
Color: Orange
Price: $11,299

Further Reading

KTM

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Read more KTM news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ktm.com, suzukicycles.com

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