2018 KTM 450 SX-F
For 2018, the list of changes to the KTM 450 SX-F is short and sweet. Compared to the '17 model we have new suspension settings front and rear, new fork seals, a new fork damping piston, an orange frame as standard, a new welding process for the frame itself, and some changed plastic colors. This may not be a ground-breaking list but considering how well received this bike was last year, it's hard to expect more from a manufacturer that's in its third year (sixth if you count the FE models) with this generation of bike.
This latest generation KTM has a lot of things going for it, with insanely light weight and huge power numbers standing out the most. From there, we have arguably the most balanced ergonomics the orange bikes have ever had...along with their typical but still impressive Brembo brakes and featuring electric start standard for over ten years now. Honestly, their only question mark the last few years were centered around their suspension. With the advent of WP's AER 48 fork, acceptance has really come to the KTM as people can no longer state "yeah, the bikes are super fast and light, but the forks suck!" because, well, the forks are pretty darn good. Actually, since the AER first popped up to FE models ago, the changes to the bike each year has really focused around on continuing to tune these forks and their newest shock. Going from pretty good and acceptable, to near the mythical level that people are holding Yamaha's KYB SSS to. They've got comfort, speed sensitivity, initial feel, bottoming resistance, and some extra tune-ability...that about covers what you need!
If you want the most refined KTM 450 SX-F out there, the 2018 model is one to look at. But at the same time, a 2017 production or FE model is just as good if you're taking care of the suspension duties with your local shop. The only real change beyond that is the welding process KTM is using on their frames (or we should say WP, since they actually make the frames), which offers a bit more consistency and even comfort with how the frame flexes.