Spotted on the KTM factory bikes of Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray, Rui Goncalves at pre-season races, these new perimeter frames, fitted to both the 250 and 450cc factory four-strokes, appear to be pre-production items most likely to arrive in a showroom near you in 2010.
Perceived to improve both handling and steering, the tubular steel-constructed frames look very different to the oval-tubed frames found on the standard SX-Fs since the 2007 model was launched in the autumn of 2006. The frame also offers an undisclosed weight saving and an abundance of room in which to work around the engine and carburettor, especially once the seat and fuel tank are removed.
Rumor has it that the new frame could be designed to hold an EFI unit instead of a carburettor, although that's something KTM engineers, quickly dismissed.
"We have no plans to fit fuel injection. The main reason we decided to make the new chassis was just to make the bike better. There was not really a problem with the old frame but it's something we thought we could improve on, in racing it's important to keep pushing and improving to keep ahead of the pack."
Initially computer-designed between August and December last year, the new frame was built in KTM's R&D department, before undergoing two months of rigorous testing at private test tracks, then finally being released to team riders.
"KTM are always testing and trying to come up with something better, but at this stage we can't say whether it will make it into final production," according to KTM R&D department spokesmen.
The initial feedback from the riders and technicians is very favorable indeed and, if the results from the early races are any indication, it should be a ripper year for KTM.