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Imaginary Garage IV – 2011 KTM 450 SX-F

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Andrew in Other. 55 comments

Numero quattro in the Imaginary Garage series is upon us, and just to make sure you guys aren’t getting complacent we thought we’d throw you a bit of a curve ball this time. As you can see, it’s a bright orange KTM 450 SX-F Motorcross bike. Last time we took a Bonneville and made it a dirt monster, this time we thought we’d start with a dirt monster and see just what happens.

So how’s it going to work? There’s going to be one round of suggestions as to how we will customise the KTM and all submissions will be done via comments below. We then choose the winner, make the mods, and post the results. This time the winner gets a brand new pair of Icon gloves of your choosing worth up to $145 North American Pesos. Hell yes!

If you aren’t sure exactly what to write, just pop back to the previous competition and take a peek. Study the winning entry closely; it’s the very first one in the comments section. We’re looking for creative, original, clear ideas. The more interesting the ideas, the more likely they are to win; if we can make a Triumph hill climber look that good, then the sky’s the limit.

You have 48 hours to get your ideas posted before we close submissions, so get them in ASAP. Please leave a valid email address so we can contact the winner.

Reaaaady? GO.

  • Rusty

    I would like to see it turned into an old school scrambler. An 18 inch rear & 19 inch front wheel, wide bull horn type bars and a single saddle seat. With a high burn the shit out of your leg pipe. And OH, just "stupid load".

  • Joe C.

    "Motorcross" Seriously?

  • Illuster

    How about a streettracker. Lower it to the ground. Some firestone deluxes on it an old bsa gastank and small tail section.

  • Board Track Racer

  • Ben

    Modern streetfighter/cafe racer – Lower a bunch, 18" laced wheels front and rear, bare steel Honda CM400 tank (or similar), stubby solo seat, clipons and a number plate/headlight combo out front. I'd leave the stock exhaust, you could probably make the lines work with the seat fairly well.

  • Ben

    And an underseat radiator to keep it clean (similar to that Taimoshan Aprila cafe)

  • Job

    First off, I love KTM!

    I would start by getting rif of the dirt bike tires and the gas tank (all the plastic). Lower the front shock and back suspention, get rid of both fenders. The bike has to be a true naked bike, with only a RPM dail and instead a nice numberplate on the front, number 71, love that number. Change the exhaust to one from Acrapovic for a nice deep sound. To honor the bike, paint parts of the frame in the beautiful KTM orange. To finish it all up, add a nice handmade leather seat. Going all vintage flat tracker on a modern bike!

  • sgeechee

    What about a bonneville salt flat racer?
    Lower, bit of a fairing; slightly streamlined (not like those cigars), longer swingarm,
    stretched out riding position (a la Rolly Free) (maybe with a slightly modified original seat, and very low clipons).
    Keeping a modern look. Something totally different. Maybe add a supercharger, whatever…

  • sgeechee

    Ah, yeah: And keeping the edgy, but still flowing look. One should still see it is/was a KTM, i think. Just for the fun of it.
    And not only lowering…slamming.

  • Leon

    I would go with 17" or 18" wheels, pretty wide (not as wide as supermotowheels) and knobby tires (not real offroad tires, maybe sth like the heidenau k60) on it, or maybe these typical maxxis flattrack tires. A single seat, an aluminium rearfender in style of the old scramblers, no mudguar in front. Wide superbike handlebars or flattrackstyle handlebars with only the necessary things on it, if it needs instruments an revmeter (not digital) and a small digital speedometer included. a small headlight with a protective grid. the tank should not be too small, and in shape of sth like the sr500. and the exhaust needs to be at the hight of the outlet and should be just a straight pipe, of course it may be loud 😉

  • Austin

    I've always wanted to see what a WWII era enduro might look like. Drop it down, extend the swing arm possibly? Rake the forks out a tad(nothing crazy, just barely noticeable). Get the paint scheme and that raw metal look going on, nothing shiney. Black rims, fatter tires. maybe some saddle bags and a side car? Saw some pretty cool ideas on here, good luck everyone!

  • twinlinemoto

    Lower it 6", lace up 19" rims to the stock hubs, add supermoto brake rotors, fabricate a simple but effective rear subframe that will house both radiators with fans behind them, mount a cafe style seat on it, throw out the airbox, tank, and radiator shrouds and add a UNI sock filter, and a early 80's style gp tank. Get a supersingle GP style exhaust and a 7" headlight. Killer cafe bike!

  • Jason

    Make it a KTM-vespa. Retro scooter front light, covered back wheel, front fender with offroad tires, suspension with signature KTM colour and zing. Sure its strange and may be ugly, but if BMW can sell a coupe-UV a la X6, enough inner-city posers will buy this thing. Not to mention it will make a killer courier bike.

  • I

    How about something inspired by a old trial bike? Classic looking fenders, front one close to the tire. Small seat. Small tank. And a much smaller muffler.

  • BigD

    I would say to go wild and do a chopper/bobber but really thats not all that doable so maybe go for a modern streetfighter.

  • gary

    I like the idea of turning it into a city/courier bike. It's light weight design and long suspension travel will help with this.

    My idea as far as design goes would be to mimic the stylings of an old Schwinn bicycle. 21" wheels front and rear with street tires that are on the skinny side but not ridiculous. Some full size fenders that hug the tires and a rack on the rear fender. Move the headlight down to the front fender. Remove the plastics and fab up a solo seat on a post. Run a line from the top of the triple tree down the center of the bike sweeping down to somewhere near the rear axle incorporating the fuel tank in this line which would give it that Schwinn look. Run the exhaust underneath and straight back on the right side.

    Take a look at this bike as an example. Sorry if linking is a problem.

  • Travis

    Slam it low. Hardtail. Under engine exhaust should help free up a lot of room out back.

  • John

    Long and low reverse bobber style, lower front fork, long wrap around front fender, long gas tank, dropped flare pipes, longer swing arm, solo rear curving seat, 35 degree profile handle bars. no back fender, stripped down from front to back, long low Bonneville Salt Flats rider

  • Adam.D

    The items that jump out to me when I see this bike the thin profile, lightweight, wide handle bars for snappy handling, and torque to accelerate. I think this platform would make a great candidate for a day to day commuter… kind of like a scooter on crack with more attitude. First off, lower the back suspension to make even the average user flat footed and comfortable. This will give the bike somewhat of a chopper/bobber stance and make it more comfortable in stop and go traffic. Rake out the front a few degrees in order to balance the steering from the rear drop, and of course throw on some nice street tires to make it stick. one thing to consider is the foot position as well, with the standard stance the pegs would be to far back to be comfortable, so we move them to the front down tubes. Doing this will achieve a foot position similar to a sportster or shadow rs. Add the necessary lights to traverse the city, but low profile to keep it light and tight.

    Overall your looking at something that is going to be lightweight and snappy that is perfect for weaving through traffic, accelerating for the pass, thin enough for lane splitting (if your crazy enough to do so) and a low and comfortable position that will make you feel confident in operation.

    I couldn't help myself after thinking about this today. I made my own image of it that I would love to pass on to you guys if you would like to see it. e-mail me if you would like me to send it.


  • Steven Oost

    I'd lower the bike bij changing the back suspension and sticking the frontlegs though the crownplate. put on some clipons (black). Get rid of al the plastic. Replacing the tank with a sr400 bare alloy tank (or simmular) with a used look ktm paint on it. A small round headlight (black). Use the old backlight of a xt500. Lose all the frame protectors and paint the frame painted black. A leather single-seat buddyseat (Nitroheads Stud/Roll Seat). Small bare-mettle back fender, front fender even smaller and painted black. Relocate the radiators in front of the engine, close to the front tire so the tank is clear. Replace the silencer with a Supertrapp and place it under the frame. The first part of the exhaust is rapped in heattape. Further id place 19" black rims with pirelli scorpio tyres, stainless steal spokes with white hubs. Replace al the instuments with the motoscope classic from motogadget (white). A big floating front disc with a big Brembo goldline calliper. And paint the engine bright orange.

  • A quick visual of what I'm thinking.

  • Kimi

    I'll throw in the idea of what I've thought about doing for a while now, and that is to convert a modern 4t enduro (well, I guess mx goes as well) to appear vintage. After getting tired to look at the current sharp angles and weirdo headlight shapes I have really fallen in love with the old Bultacos, Maicos and Husqvarnas, among the numerous small Italian brands from the 70s and early 80s, like SWM. So, as KTM is quite an old brand also, make it look like those 80s models with the white plastic tanks and red frames. I think it would look kick-ass, still with the modern, ass-high stance. That's exactly what I've thought about doing myself. Probably fit it with 17" wheels as looks don't really count in the woods but as a city roller it would definitely stand out.

  • unitedguitar

    First things first, the plastic has got to go. Then I would swap out the front end for something off of a sport bike. Something shorter than what is on it. I would also grab the swing arm off of said sport bike and lower the rear down a bit. Something along the lines of a CBR600 might work. Keep the spoked wheels but go with black rims and stainless spokes and a more street ready tire. Trash that front fender and go with a shorty fender that hugs the tire. Swap out the handlebars for a set of clip-on handlebars. Run the exhaust down around the bottom of the engine and you could reuse the muffler that is on it. Put an all black round headlight on it. Maybe a 6 or 7 inch one. Then after all of that is done, get a BCR seat and tank similar to what is on the Pinas 550. ( You'll probably have to make some sort of subrame that holds the seat up out of 1 inch tubing. Finally, I like the color choices that they have already on the KTM just not the way that they are laid out. Make the tank and seat primarily white with the sides having blocks of black that follow the shape of the tank and seat and pin striped in orange. Maybe tone the orange down a little.

  • Fredrik

    I was directly thinking bobber. Not a classic bobber with tons of chrome or satin black, but a rather modern and colorful creation. Go with a springer fork using rear shocks of a downhill mountainbike. Front 18 inch around 120 width, rear 18 but 160 width or so. Keeping the design of the swing but get rid of all plastics, a slimmed dropshaped tank in orange, with staright "flames". Would look cool.

  • Khayman

    Somethig like Raid style, whit good tank capacity and aerodinamic protection. But in a new fresh way.

  • 522design

    Check out Roland sands site . And cce motorcycles that's drake McElroy s sit they built som sick bikes out of motocross machines

  • ES555

    How about a street Hooligan type of bike….along the lines of what the Yamaha trickster was supposed to be in the beginning…a mix between a trails/mx bike made for assaulting the concrete jungle. Switch out the rear subframe for more of a single seat design, tuck the exhaust underneath, lower the suspension a few inches front and rear, bigger discs, trials type tires, triple clamps with less rake, smaller tank with minimal body work …and it would have to be quiet as so not to disturb neighbors while bombing stair sets or jumping off of loading docks…..

  • redrumracer

    i'm with kimi here. i think the retromod thing could be pretty fun. but while we're at it let's shake things up a bit more. how about a retromod supermotard? now we're talking.

    here's the spec: old school VMX styling. rear hoop, twin shocks, peanut style tank (maybe a husky tank just to really rock the boat?!), vintage fenders and fat seat with a plate on it but modern bells and whistles supermotard running gear. brakes, shocks, rims and tyres. make a centrepiece out of that beautiful motor and let the understated VMX pieces speak for themselves

    now i just need to figure out the paint scheme!

  • Gord

    Steam Punk ! Lots of tarnished copper bits and rivets. Replace the plastic with worn panels of black leather and orange stitching.Lower it a bit, rake out the front,shorten the rear fender.Old lantern for headlight. Bicycle pedals for footpegs. Wooden spokes with metal trim .Fat tire on the rear.Bullet style fairing.

  • Adam.D

    I posted earlier about the city dwelling version of this. I have uploaded an image of my vision. check the link below:


  • XcaptainXbloodX

    post apocalyptic/dystopian future bike?

    black out the bodywork (possibly remove the lower triangle shaped sections of it), black out the swingarm, swap in an aluminum front fender.
    a cluster of small LED spotlights or multiple projector housings for a headlight . rusty steel radiator guard/skidplate. ditch the silencer and do a undertail straight pipe with a turnout on the end. ice tires for that ultra menacing look. The seat on these are so plain that I think doing something in distressed brown leather would make it pop better.

    im on the fence about ammo can panniers or a rack and some sort of guard for the lights and maybe a whip antenna to fly the gangs colors. I think they might be too heavy.

  • Fredrik

    After a nights sleep and some fresch coffee I'll continue with my bobber idea.

    The major thought is create a slimmed bike, its an agressive 450 engine, not much for a cruiser at all. It should be apperent when looking at it.
    The tank should be something whit lines from Z1000 MKII, not round, not square. A low handle bar for the agressive riding position.
    Short front fender. For what the exhaust concerns I'm not sure, either it can be placed where it is now, or have it placed under the engine. The silencer should however be placed whit the same angle, it's important to see the orgin of the bike.
    The wide ass coolers should be replaced with two coolers in seperate places, one centerd above the exhaust, and one behind the air filter.
    One important part left, the rear end of the bike. Imagine a new CBR 600 ass combined with the ass of the RD400 wrench monkies modified for a night club. Turn the ass of the CBR up side down to get the shape of a classic cafe ass, but stretched and slightly squared as the RD400. In the same hight as the sadle, which should be something classic looking, cafeish.

    All in Orange, black and white, giving the look of a KTM bike, not something a drunk bikebuilder would create.

    Over all should the bike be lower, with the swing arm parallell to the ground.

  • Dave

    Call it "Fire and Ice"
    It becomes a dual to ride through the winter.
    White plastic fades to blue.
    Bike is lowered 2 inches.
    Zega Pro Panniers on the rear
    High front fender removed. Replaced with Dakar style front fender.
    Minimal Dakar style front end. Exists for wind protectione
    Minimal lighting.
    Ice studs in tires
    Blacked out engine and rims.
    Crome exhaust.
    Orange hand guards.

  • Oh well well,

    First of all scrap off all that plastic, we don't need it!
    Back i'll change a little things
    1) The exhaust: what's that huge thing?! Take the terminal away, let's go for a little essential one, a loud one.
    2) The swing arm: maybe the stock one is strong (i bet it is), but the frame is made by steel pipes: GO PIPES! I'd love the looking of the gpz550 unitrack swingarm I'd go that one!
    3) The rear frame: bend it down in order to make the seat a little bit more closer to the wheel.
    4) Lower the front fork
    5) Big wires wheels are ok, we take them, but put on some road tires
    6) Change the braking system, double disc on front, not huge brakes, it's not a suberbike, something compact
    7) On the sides i'll put number plates
    8) And then let's put something completly unusual on a cross! i'd go for a harley XLCR883S conversion seat.
    9) Custom made alloy tank, small capacity, just for fun!
    10) Put a fender on the front wheel, close to it
    11) Add a light, a big circular cafe style light, with metallic grid in front of it
    12) I'd like to move the handle bar a little bit, just to take it a little more forward and a little bit lower
    13) Then i'll paint the engine matte black, as the wheels, black frame, brown leather seat, polished tank and tail
    14) turn signals bar end

    it would be very interesting to make tank and tail joined in one piece

    The bike i made in my head is suited for the city, typically an europen one, it has to be slim, and has a lot of acceleration rather then top speed, the bar must be confortable but not too large because in these cities there's not much space trough the traffic, good brakes because you always need them, and obviously, good looking!

  • akvamme

    two words: sidecar racing

  • Tjtebbe

    Street Machine :Street flats, Carbon fiber plastics (less of them more super naked), run the rear exhaust as a double shotgun out the back, replace the seat with more of a bobber or a cafe racer flat seat (essentially just make it smaller and sit in the bike) maybe even a springer seat would look wild on it, no plastics off the back of the seat, Maybe a small rear fender that comes up off the swing arm and isn't attached to anything else but a strut on each side and is molded over the rear wheel maybe a foot long?, small bar end mirrors or maybe just one, molded in front head light that flows with what plastics are chosen, side mounted brake light off the swingarm…I'm rambling now…but I'd like it haha.

  • Carlitos

    Toss that frame and slam that drivetrain, forks and rear wheel into a drop seat frame with a single sided swingarm. Put some industrial mini apes on it and some midsets. Keep everything raw and unfinished.

    Keep the forks and throw on a 21" skinny front with knobies to match the rear. Also put some kind of rally style headlights, crazy bright for all them drunkin nights partying out in the wilderness!


  • Lovebot

    Step 1. Fill with gas
    Step 2. Ride the piss out of it

    when the knobbies are worn smooth, do whatever the fuck you want.

  • fullrice13

    single side swingarm
    400 section rear wheel & hoop
    45 degree rear seat
    short cut header pipes
    roundsaw blade front discs with radial calipers
    straight bars drag style
    16 inch 5 spoke f/wheel with moto rubber
    windowed engine casings
    fat 4bolt wide billet yokes top an bottom (trees as you say in the U.S.A)
    1 inch of both fork legs poking up thru top yoke
    fork shrouds

  • Vyraz

    how about chopping a scrambler into a chopper?

    Body: get rid of the rear plastics and remove the seat
    leave the plastic cover around the fuel tank to give is some shape
    remove the front handle bar, and fender (leave the handlebar risers

    Height: Drop the rear down till the engine is 4-5 inches off the ground

    exhaust: remove the muffler and and give it straight pipe slowly increasing the diameter every 4 inches (to make it sound great) aiming about 40 degrees up

    Rear Swingarm: Extend it out maybe 30% longer
    Airbag monoshock
    Rear fender attached (be it welded or bolted) to the rear swingarm leaving half inch clearance from the rear tyre

    Seat: Single seater mouted to the backbone/frame

    Front: Single round headlamp
    using the handlebar risers attach slightly curved dragbars
    no need to modify the front as by lowering the back the front automatically "rakes"

    Tyres: Front: Tyre maintain offroad tyres to remind of origins of this bike
    Rear :Wide dual purpose bike tyre (maybe 190/50)
    Rims: Front to be maintained spoked tyres, Rear: any rims to fit the said wide tyre (preferably spoked)

    colour: maintain black and orange and ensure KTM logo is seen clearly (just as in the picture)

  • Walter

    I would love to see an old Dunstall style road race bike mixed with modern components. Borrani spoke wheels , Dunstall fairing and exhaust, minimalist solo seat with period correct rear cowling. A modern set of forks and brakes say from a gsxr and dropping the rear geometry to match. Oh and lets not forget one of those lovely hand pounded aluminum gas tanks. Fun stuff ! Thanks guys.

  • Eric the great

    Turn the dirt bike into a 3 wheel trike 2 wheels up front one in the back. Kinda like a can-am or a t-Rex but something much more afforedable:) make it for the street and put a turbo on it. Give it like a forward type seat like you would see on the movie tron legacy. Or make a bike inspired by the movie tron legacy.

  • Tomohawk

    I'd get rid of the plastic and lower the suspension about three inches on both ends. Replace the wheels with red anodized spoked wheels with black spokes and hubs, wrapped in street tires. Remove the plastics, powder coat the frame, engine, fork lowers and swingarm black. Get carbon kevlar parts, red and black, to replicate all of the plastics that are on it now, except the fenders and fork protectors. Chop the rear fender an inch or so from the back of the seat and instead make a carbon fiber hugger. Replace the front fender with a tiny carbon fiber one that sits just above the tire. Replace all the nuts and bolts with red anodized bolts from pro-bolts. Install a mini carbon fiber undertail two brothers exhaust. Replace the number plate with a custom fairing with HID projectors, like the future 1 fairing on And finally, paint the fairing black and a red racing stripe down the middle, including stitching on the seat and painting it on the rear hugger. Done.

  • Tee

    I would streetfighter chopperize it!

    1. strip all the plastic off
    2. drop it as low as it can go!
    3. change the swing arm and kit a 240 fat rear
    4. slightly stretch the front fork
    5. Spoke wheels (star, contrast cut RSD type) 18"
    6. big a*s peanut tank
    7. Drag bars
    8. solo seat
    9. pipes… 2 into 2 devil horns type arrows vertically (downwards off course showing the direction to "hell")
    10. LED rear lights and signals
    11. fron head light composed of 4 small leds in square shape
    12. no chrome, all powder coated
    13. tank in denim olive/army green
    14. small rear fender of the same color

  • BB

    Triumph Street Triple engine. 19 front, 18 rear wheels. Trials tires. Fenders and seat from BSA 441 Victor. Alloy tank from C15T BSA 250. Single analog speedometer. Exhaust ala Triump Hurricane. Lights from MV Augusta Brutale. Ditch the plastic. Powdercoat frame dark grey.

  • The motorcycle with its settings is perfect for a flat track. I would go for 19” wheels, steal fuel tank as on a vintage MXs, slimmer seat with dark brown leather with a steal frame. Small curved rear fender.
    No front brakes.

  • DS

    emphasize the low weight and small size of the motor and come up with a 250 GP-sized wheelbase track day hoot…

    slot the motor into a Tesi 2D or Vyrus chassis (smooth, curved front fender).

    flat black swingarms, black frame, black wheels, orange springs, orange connecting/steering rods, black seat with orange stiching, bubble wind screen

    feel free to come up with your own top sub frame branching off the Vyrus frame. (trellis steel maybe)

  • Youssef "Custom Junkie" Azmi

    First up, truly fantastic the previous triumph bonehill climber!

    I say veer away and trike the mean ma'r f'c*r!

    Take a not-too-distant relative KTM atv 450 sx rear end; Perhaps extend it if needed; keep it to the metal & satin clearcoat; custom weld it on. Slam the shock down. Slap on some wide whitewall pie crust Cokers on a spanking new killer set of Motosport Alloys 14" or 15" M10 Reaper atv wheels. Keep a knobby Maxxis street tire up front on an 21" wheel a-la nightrod special (black powdercoated, grooved & with a red stripe to complement the rears).

    Shun the plastic bits for brushed aluminum instead, perhaps applying the same KTM graphics but in washed-out racing vintage red white & blue instead. Fenders both front & rear are to be chucked of course. Up front a salt flats racer style aluminum half fairing with 2 x vertically positioned Crime Scene Choppers Rapide headlights – tinted dark amber please.

    Fuel tank? Hodaka style, whereas Bum will settle on a minimalist type cafe racer seat – again aluminum – with only 3 or 4 tuck'n'roll style red metalflake vinyl inserts for padding. Exhaust would be in the form of dual black ceramic coated shorty stealth tailgunners – upswept for that extra badass attitude! Whatever needs to be done to the handlebar, the hand grips should stay. they're awesome!

    Crazy enough? oh, & with all the raw steel/brushed aluminum thing going on, the frame should be in triple apple candy red. Dub the whole thing the Thrice KTM.
    Good luck imaginary build-off'ers!

  • Caveman

    KTM….Keep Two Mechanics. Only mod youll ever need 🙂

  • Caveman

    Bah…and throw some street tires on there. My commute to work is becoming rather boring.

  • Andrew

    Entries are now closed peeps. Thanks & stay tuned.

  • Sascha

    Hooligan the bike, sitting nice and high (short seat) almost resembling a speed triple R, lean it forward with a very large tire in the back, black out the frame, expose the pipes.

  • Torsak

    my idea is retro vintage Tracker

    1.Change the wheel is black, size 19. "
    2.Change for the flat tire.
    3.Change the fuel tank is aluminum.
    4.Change style seat tracker.
    5.Change the exhaust. Is down.
    6.Install headlamp
    7.Paint tank retro style.

  • Youssef "Custom Junkie" Azmi

    uuurgh! the waiting is killing me!

  • RJonesy

    Listen, All the other ideas are great you guys are really thinking … But realistically I Think we need to see one BAD Dual / Adventure Sport… Like Mad Max meets Baja 1000 … Supermoto Front Fender with a secondary fender mounted behind the wheel too keep junk off the motor… Bad Azz looking OVERSIZED DUAL BAJA Headlight and small signals … Oversized bars/ Bark Busters / Bar End Mirrors … OVersized Tank and Shrouds The Whole Body in Black … Dual Exhaust similar to the new DRZ400SM Yoshimura exhaust only not so "cookie cutter" This is where the Mad Max comes in … In true ICON Style lets build it ourselves … welds/discoloration and all right there … Moto style rear fender with with LED tail light and signals … Bag brackets build so it doesn't scratch the number plates … Some Brown Leather bags like it just came our of WWII … Stick with a 21 up front and an 18 in the rear w/ 50/50 dirt street tires … Put a thick padded seat on it … Gotta Slap some billet rotor guards and case saver for safety … I Think It would be original and get away from making it a Chopper or Street Fighter … IT would be for Real World Cross Country Badassery !!!