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Custom KTM 450 SX-F Flat Tracker Is a Purpose-Built Race Bike, Values Function Above All

Building a great custom motorcycle is no easy task in general, but crafting one for a professional racer can be an even taller order to fill. Folks whose bread and butter is the racetrack will naturally scrutinize any machine to a greater extent than your average Joe, especially when the said bike is meant to serve them in the upcoming racing season. Of course, a builder like Pierre Dhers would be more than up to the task.
Custom KTM 450 SX-F Flat Tracker 25 photos
Photo: Matthieu Borrego
Custom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat TrackerCustom KTM 450 SX-F Flat Tracker
He’s the man behind Freeride Motos Racing over in France, and had been tasked with putting together a fully-fledged flat-track racer back in 2020. The project was commissioned by fellow Frenchman and Dakar Rally driver Pierre Lauchaume, who planned on entering the FIM Flat Track Championship and needed a purpose-built bike to take him across the finish line.

Confident that a talented guy like Pierre Dhers would take care of his needs, the other Pierre decided to give Freeride Motos a call and start discussing the specific details. After a bit of back-and-forth, Sir Dhers and his client began searching for a suitable donor to act as the project’s basis. Eventually, they concluded that a KTM 450 SX-F would fit the bill just fine, and a 2013 model made its way to Freeride’s shop near Toulouse.

It was promptly dismantled upon arrival, then the real fun was ready to get underway. The SX-F came with excellent WP Suspension technology straight out of the box, so there was no need for Pierre to change its inverted forks or rear shock absorber. He did want to give the KTM a more appropriate stance for its future role as an authentic flat tracker, though, and reinforcements were called in for the best possible result.

Our protagonist got in touch with Sebastien over at Off Road Development, entrusting him with tuning and lowering the SX-F's suspension goodies. Once that was done, Pierre turned his attention to the unsprung sector, where he fitted a fresh set Excel rims measuring 19 inches in diameter. These bad boys are enveloped in H-18 Flat Track rubber from Mitas and laced to Talon wheel hubs by way of stainless-steel spokes.

Custom KTM 450 SX\-F Flat Tracker
Photo: Matthieu Borrego
Of course, this KTM wasn’t going to need a front brake any longer, so the project’s author had it removed while sorting out the creature’s footwear. His next port of call was the exhaust pipework, with the factory hardware getting swiftly removed to make way for a custom setup. The header has been manufactured from scratch using stainless-steel piping, and the accompanying race-spec muffler was sourced from Mivv’s catalog.

Secured in place via a bespoke bracket, the latter keeps maximum noise levels at just under 112 decibels in accordance with FIM regulations. As a nice little touch, the Mivv branding on the silencer was removed and a Freeride Motos Racing badge fitted in its stead. Besides the new exhaust plumbing, the liquid-cooled 449cc single-cylinder mill also benefits from a larger aluminum radiator.

The two are connected by way of white silicon hoses from Samco, and some more Freeride branding made its way onto the CNC-machined radiator shrouds. Up in the cockpit area, things are as minimal as you’d expect from a fully-fledged race bike. We see a low-rise Renthal handlebar kitted out with bare-bones switchgear, ODI grips, and a billet clutch lever, but that’s just about it.

Custom KTM 450 SX\-F Flat Tracker
Photo: Matthieu Borrego
Pierre really dialed everything to eleven in the bodywork department, though, coming up with an all-new fiberglass outfit to replace the stock garments. At the front, you’ll see the typical number board any true flat tracker must have, and there was obviously no need for any fenders here. However, we do come across a pair of custom lower fork guards that flank the front wheel.

Up high, the tailor-made bodywork comprises a small fuel tank cover and a pointy tail section with integrated side number plates. As for the long, enduro-style saddle, it was fabricated by Christophe Cannac of Akotabe and is wrapped in premium black leather upholstery. Right in front of it is a CNC-milled aluminum filler cap fashioned by Pierre Dhers’ father.

Finally, the motorcycle’s gorgeous livery was actually penned by Monsieur Lachaume himself, but executed by Remi over at Art Scratch. The base color is a vibrant shade of light blue accompanied by yellow backgrounds on the three number boards, as well as black and white detailing all throughout. With the paint job complete, this 450 SX-F flat tracker was ready to serve its owner on the racetrack.

Function may be paramount for any dedicated race bike, but that’s not to say form has to be forgotten about completely. Freeride’s modded KTM does an excellent job at illustrating how the latter can still find its place in the whole mix, and it would look great on public roads with some street-legal accessories, too. Still, the dirt track will be its playground for the foreseeable future.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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