2021 KTM 450 Rally Replica: The closest you can buy to a Dakar bike
There wouldn't be many motorcycling reprobates who haven't dreamed of testing their mettle against a two-week overland desert rally, wondering just how far they'd make it if they only had the gear those Dakar boys get.
Well, the KTM 450 rally bikes have dominated the Dakar over the last 20 years (leaving aside an annoying Honda triumph this year), and KTM is prepared to sell you one as close to the race version as they can possibly get away with, if you've got some deep pockets.
Let's start with the price: the 2021 KTM 450 Rally Replica will cost you a hefty €25,900 in Europe, equating to nearly US$30k before shipping. For that, you get a big 450cc single, with a SOHC head "constructed from premium materials," an overhead airbox, Keihin engine management system and a tasty Akrapovic exhaust.
The five-speed gearbox has been adjusted to suit the averaged riding habits of Dakar legends Toby Price, Matthias Walker and Sam Sunderland, so while it's not specifically stated, this bike may well hit the kinds of 180-km/h (112-mph) top speeds the factory race bikes do, over rough terrain.
The frame is a chrome-moly steel trellis, lightweight and optimized for stiffness and stability; the self-supporting fuel tank doubles as the rear subframe and holds 16 liters (4.2 gal); and the swingarm is a thin, lightweight case aluminum piece, with flex behavior tuned to match the action of the WP EACT PRO race shock. Up front sit a pair of 48-mm, closed cartridge XACT PRO forks as well, using conical valves to improve damping characteristics at race pace and keep the thing from bottoming out. The total weight is 139 kg (306 lb).
Of course, the main thing you'll notice to look at this thing is the giant navigation tower above the speedo. The 450 Rally Replica gets the same tasty carbon-fiber frame as the race bikes, to hold all your gear up. While it's not specified, it looks like you get a thumb-scrollable rally book holder in there, as well as plenty of room to mount all your GPS and radio gear, all behind a clear screen surrounding a large headlight stack. Carbon fans will also like the super-light bash plate protecting the underside of the engine.
Basically, if you can't get it done on this bike, it ain't the bike, buster.
Check out a video below, in which KTM Rally team leader Stefan Huber talks you through the actual race bike from last year for comparison.