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KTM turned the model year concept a bit upside down a couple years ago, when they first introduced their Factory Edition models. That allowed them to bring their latest updates to each race season, by building enough models to satisfy the AMA's homologation rules. But as popularity of the models has increased, production numbers have crept up as well...though this year's model is still a limited run, with a total of 699 built for the U.S. market. That's up from 555 last year.

This time around they focused on chassis improvements, new suspension components, and once again, trimming weight. Since they first introduced the bike in 2012, they claim a total weight savings of five pounds, with nearly a pound-and-a-half of that coming this year.

So what's new in the chassis? This year there's a new forged and machined cross tube at the rear of the frame, which is said to allow for less flex and more precise alignment of the swingarm pivots, rather than the welded tabs used in previous years.

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Suspension is also all new, with a new lighter 48mm WP 4CS fork that features a four-chamber closed cartridge design. They also reduced the axle diameter by 5mm to 20mm, and reduced the axle offset by two millimeters (to 33mm), which increased the trail, and they say the new setting provides more stability. Weight has been trimmed throughout, with lighter springs, the smaller axle, and a new design fork guard.

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The Neken triple clamp is also new, and it's also had some weight trimmed, and it has a similar look to what's on the Red Bull/KTM bikes. It retains the 22mm offset.

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In the rear, the suspension has also received a big makeover, with a WP 5018 shock/linkage package,  and a new billet link and pull-rod that's 2.5mm longer than before, resulting in a less progressive curve. The shock also features a 4mm longer shaft, though wheel travel remains unchanged.

The suspension settings were developed with input from the U.S. scene.

In the wheels, you'll find some familiar pieces, like the machined finish hubs, and black Excel rims, but there are some new lighter components (brake rotors and sprocket), and some all-new Dunlop Geomax MX52 tires.

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Broc Glover was on hand at the bike's intro to talk about the tires, and he noted that it had been developed on the race circuit over the last three years, it's an intermediate to hardpack tire, with a directional front tread pattern, and raised knob-with-a-knob design in the rear that changes the knob's flex pattern and reduces chunking. He also mentioned that the carcass has an anti-bounce rubber compound to better absorb bumps. Look for these tires to be available separately at the beginning of March 2014.

What other goodies can you expect to find on the Factory Edition? How about an Akrapovic titanium muffler, the same orange frame paint and Factory Red Bull KTM graphics, a Selle Dalla Valle seat, holeshot device, orange frame guards and radiator louvers, and a limited edition commemorative badge on the frame.

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There was little mention of changes to the engine or transmission. But sometimes no news is good news. And finally, you can't overlook some of the not-so-stock goodies, like the electric start, the hydraulic clutch, and aftermarket brakes.

So are you drooling yet? If you’re ready to step up and grab the closest thing to what the team rides, you’d better have been saving your pennies. Suggested retail is $9,899.

Specifications

Engine

Type: Single cylinder, four-stroke
Displacement: 449.3 cc
Bore/Stroke: 95/63.4 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.6:1
Starter/Battery: Electric starter/12V 3Ah
Transmission: 5 Gears
Fuel System: Keihin 44 mm throttle body EFI
Control: Four valve/SOHC with rocker levers
Lubrication: Pressure lubrication with two oil pumps
Gear Ratios: 16:32 18:30 20:28 22:26 24:24 -
Primary Ratio: 32:76
Final Drive: 13:50
Cooling: Liquid cooling
Clutch: Wet multi-disc DDS-clutch, Brembo hydraulics
Ignition/Engine Management: Keihin EMS

Chassis
Frame: Central double cradle type, Chromoly steel
Subframe: Aluminum
Handlebar: Renthal, aluminum Ø 28/22 mm
Front Suspension: WP-4CS USD, Closed Cartridge, Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP-Monoshock with linkage
Suspension Travel Front/Rear: 300/330 mm / 11.81/12.99"
Front/Rear Brakes: Disc brake 260/220 mm / 10.24/8.66"
Front/Rear Rims: 1.60 x 21"; 2.15 x 19" Excel
Front/Rear Tires: Dunlop Geomax MX52 80/100-21"; 110/90-19"
Chain: 5/8 x 1/4"
Silencer: Aluminum
Steering Head Angle: 26.5°
Wheelbase: 1,495 ± 10 mm/58.86" +/- .4"
Triple Clamp Offset: 22 mm
Ground Clearance: 371 mm/14.61"
Seat Height: 992 mm/39.06"
Tank Capacity, Approx.: 7.5 l/1.98 U.S. gallons
Weight, Ready To Race, Approx.: 106.7 kg/235.3 lbs (without fuel)

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