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KTM ATV 525XC & 450XC Sport ATV - Race Ready

2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV Press Intro - Test Ride

2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV
Even though the KTM quads are aimed at cross country racing, it is apparent the first time you ride one that it is the most versatile quad currently in production. The power is substantial, yet very rider friendly and smooth. The 450 is comparable to the other manufacturer’s quads, but the potential for tuning is apparent. The 525 is comparable to a heavily modified 450, and its only 94db! In repeated drag races, the 525 was at least as fast a big-bore, ported, TRX450R with ignition mods and a full exhaust. The engines start quickly, with no need for the hot start. It seems that the hotter the engine gets, the quicker it fires. The starting seems to be not quite as instantaneous as a YFZ450, but way better than anything else out there with a button. The hydraulic clutch was fade-free during my test rides, and it does make a big difference when the quad is designed for a fluid clutch instead of a bolt-on retrofit affair. The ergonomics were definitely taken into account during development, and the plush seat is a welcome feature.
2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV
2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV

The suspension on the KTM’s is better than all the Japanese 450’s, with the YFZ being the closest and the LTR450 understandably better on an MX track. The CanAm DS450 is comparable to the KTMs on high speed MX-style conditions, but I personally did not get the seat time on a DS450 in a cross-country type terrain to make a proper comparison.

2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV swingarm skid plate
The SwingArm Skid Plate also has an intergrated chain guide, which is a nice feature, but if the skidplate comes lose it will bind up the chain, which happened to Adam McGill during the test ride
The KTM’s weakest point is a skittish front end, that is not very confidence inspiring in stock form. This is very noticeable on the 525. The proper caster adjustment, shock setup, and the addition of a steering damper make a big difference and are necessary to make this part of the package race ready. With so many shock, a-arm and bar clamp adjustment choices, it is going to be up to the owners of these machines to take the time to set them up properly.

During my ride, the rear shock was flawless, and on the GNCC-style test track, it really did not get my attention as something that needed immediate attention. The front brakes on the KTM’s are outstanding, and are surely the benchmark for all other OEM stoppers. The overall feel of the quads was that of modified race machines, and the long travel suspension and fast engines contribute to the aftermarket feel of the ATV’s.

2008 KTM 525XC & 450XC ATV
With the sport quad scene growing exponentially, and with the fight for market shares expanding well beyond the Japanese stronghold, KTM has come into the game with both barrels blazing. Their experience in manufacturing, cutting-edge technology, and passion for the sport have combined to create two powerhouse machines that signal the new world order of performance ATV’s. This is a great era of production racing machines for our sport, and KTM has pushed the envelope that much further with the 450 and 525XC.

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