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.’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - FEATURE -

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

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