TECH An insider's guide to KTM'S Dakar bike
‘You race because you want to win, but at the time you are really suffering.’
1 The chassis hasn’t changed much on KTM’S 450 Rally bike since their conception in 2014. In essence the WP 52mm Cone Valve forks and Trax shock are the same you find on the KTM Factory enduro bikes, just beefed up to cope with the extra weight of the Rally bikes. A new linkage makes handling more progressive than older models, too.
2 Stability is a key part of the Rally bike’s ability off-road. It’s a beast, but it’s a controlled beast. A rally bike is longer than a regular enduro bike for stability and to cope with speed and the enormous weight of the full fuel tanks. The steel trellis frame is closer to the adventure bikes in KTM’S range and nothing like the back-bone type on KTM’S enduro and MX bikes.
3 Riders can manually change the suspension via clicker adjusters on the move or at fuel stops to alter the character of the handling as the fuel gets used up (weight bias changes dramatically as the 33 litres of fuel is drained). Adjustments take seconds and can make a big difference across hundreds of miles of riding. 4 The 449.3cc, single cylinder fourstroke engine is similar to that in the enduro machines but with Pankl parts including camshaft, crank and piston plus a larger inlet to increase performance. The gearbox is based on the KTM 450SXF (motocross) bike, but has taller fifth and sixth gears for higher speeds. 5 One huge difference over the enduro machines is the exhaust. FIM enduro regulations are more restrictive over noise than rally regs. The routing and diameter of the bespoke Akrapovic titanium systems helps the rally bike engines breath more easily, and is a significant factor in the higher power output over the enduro or MX machines. 6 The 2017 450 Factory Rally has tweaked engine mapping to better cope with the altitude of the race. Always an issue in South America, for the 2017 Dakar things will be tougher still with days at a time above 2500m and peaks of 4000m to scale. The engines
are going to have a hard time during their 9000km journey.
7 Radiators are rarely this big on offroad bikes, there’s an oil cooler too. “We always knew we need that for the oil,” says Rally Team Technical Manager, Stefan Huber. “The main bearing and the conrod need that because we need to run one engine for all the Dakar.” In years gone by teams were changing short-life engines overnight before rule changes introduced time penalties for doing so. 15 minutes added to your time for changing an engine is a disaster, the competition is so close now they are fighting for seconds and minutes. 8 Fuel pumps under both tanks are activated via a small handlebar switch to allow the rider to use fuel from either tank, and also drain one
tank into the other, or pump out to another bike.
9 The fairing takes 10 seconds to remove and just three bolts hold the fuel tanks front and rear, which means it takes less than a minute to reveal the bones of the bike. Mechanical training and bike knowledge are all part of the KTM Rally Team preparation for riders.
Removing the seat takes seconds, 10
revealing the tool kit and twin air filter. Dusty conditions are common in Rally racing so air filters get changed regularly during a day’s racing. The underseat tool kit contains everything you’d need to take a bike apart, and fix most mechanical problems. Common nut and bolts sizes across the bike and the use of Dzus fasteners mean the tool kit is surprisingly compact.
You can buy a full-on KTM’S Rally Replica for under £30k. An RC213V-S costs £150k 3 7 8 10 9 6 2 4 1 5