SCORE Journal Issue 10 - 2015

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 74 of 83

KTM 500 KTM BUILDS THREE CHOICES FOR THE BAJA-BOUND RIDER The American mantra for many thing seems to be "bigger is better." For those headed to enjoy Baja on two wheels, this definitely holds true. While 450s are the weapon of choice for those who race, there are many more who ride for fun on the world's most famous peninsula. If you're one of them, a little more displacement could be just the ticket as too much more results in weight and bulk that penalizes you when the going gets more technical. KTM's 500 models, (three HUSQVARNA FE 450 NEW IN THE U.S. BUT NOT IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE Husqvarnas used to be the bikes to beat in the desert, and that was certainly true on the Baja peninsula from the late 1960s to the early '80s, winning the Baja 1000 11 times during that period. They truly were kings of the desert and were the target for everyone else. For whatever marketing explanation, Husqvarna didn't import the FE 450 to the U.S. prior to the 2016 model year, though it's been successfully raced in other parts of the world for the past couple years. Racing is certainly what this championship-winning FE450 is all about with its liquid-cooled SOHC 449cc fuel-injected engine, six-speed transmission and electric starting. (There's no kickstarter, but you can retrofit one pretty easily if you don't trust batteries.) Husqvarnas are positioned as premium-level bikes and the $9999 FE 450 justifies that with components like the WP 48mm 4CS (four- chamber) fork coupled to a fully adjustable WP shock that works through a thoroughly tested linkage, strong yet lightweight three-piece composite subframe and more powerful GSK brakes. A Baja racer will need to get a larger fuel tank and dry-break system to replace the slim 9.0-liter standard cell and add some high-power lights, but the FE 450 would otherwise be close to race-ready as it comes from the dealer's floor. KTM 500 075 SCORE JOURNAL

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