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Honda xr650r vs ktm 525 exc

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Just curious if any of you have ridden both of these bikes back to back to compare their power.  I am looking at a 2003 XR650R that is uncorked, running a pro circuit pipe, etc.  I test drove a KTM 525 EXC that was completely stock yesterday and was totally unimpressed with the power output.  My YZ 250 would eat it for lunch in acceleration!!!  The XR is 7 hours away and I'd hate to go all that way for the same impression.  Any input would be appreciated.

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I've owned both, still have the XRR. I don't consider them as in the same class. The XR is a big powerful animal, very fun and exciting. The KTM is likely a better off road bike for most people, very powerful, lighter than the XRR. I would have to be much younger and stronger to flog my XR650R off road. I think it would do it, but I might not be able to hang on. 

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650 is a torque monster, if a KTM 525 pulls 1 gear too high, a 650 will pull 2....but the KTM will do everything better....

 

I don't know what purpose you have for the 2 bikes but if its anything below 3rd gear, the 650 is a BRP....

 

Oh, and your YZ would not walk away from the KTM......

Edited by originalmonk
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Okay, well that kind of makes me think that the XR isn't for me.  The KTM was very smooth, maybe so smooth that it didn't seem all that powerful.  I've owned a CRF450 and I know that the first time I rode it every season that it intimidated me till I got used to it.  The 525 didn't feel all that more powerful than a CRF250 that I sold this week.  I know it was, just didn't feel like it.  Either way, I thought I was going to be thinking "WOW" when I got off of it but that wasn't the case.  If the XR is slower, than I don't think I'm interested.

 

I'm looking for a bike for endurance ice racing, think high speed desert racing.  Looking for something with decent power that won't grenade.  Have been running two strokes as they typically live longer in this style of racing but thought I'd try a four stroke this year.  Might have to just stick with a two stroke.

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I'm looking for a bike for endurance ice racing, think high speed desert racing.  Looking for something with decent power that won't grenade.

the xr was built exactly for this and will outlast the ktm it wont feel as powerful but it will pull like a diesel tractor in comparison 

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stock 525exc seems to have between 45-54hp depending on whos dyno chart you look at, a stock xr650r dynos at 45-48rwhp, xr weighs more so will feel slower, the xr is more durable though, up to 60rwhp is still fairly durable on these mtrs though

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I think you need to try a cr500  :)

XRR is great in sands, but it will need some getting used to, it's quite heavy compared to yz250, x1.5 if not more  :D

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I don't know how the 525exc's are set up over in the US, but a bone Stock euro version 525 will outpower a XRR all day long, my buddy had one a few years ago and when both of us downshifted and pulled some revs, the 525 would pull away With a clear margin, but in a top gear Acceleration from low revs the XRR would destroy the 525, the XRR is a torque monster

 

reliability and service is a different issue though, the 525 might be reliable for being such a high strung engine, but the 650 is king of reliability, no comparison.

 

if iceracing is Your intended usage, both bikes will have enough topspeed, the 525 have a 6 speed transmission, the XRR only have a 5 speed but With longer ratios, I frequently ride my XRR on frozen lakes.

 

Edited by Norway
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I have time on my son's 650R  and also a friends '05 KTM 525EXC. I would say there is something dreadfully wrong with the 525 you rode if it is slower than the bikes you mention, it should eat every one of them for lunch.

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I don't know what to say about the 525, is a low hours unit that looks pretty much brand new.  It did a lot of popping off the throttle which suggested to me that it was lean.  Of course the salesman said it was due to old gas, which it might have been.  Maybe rejetting would be all it would take.  I just thought after all these years of hearing how fast the 525s were that I would have been a lot more impressed.  Didn't want to have to go straight out and big bore it to a 540 to make it feel quick.  I would suppose a muffler change would probably wake it up as well, the outlet on the pipe looked tiny compared to most big bore bikes I've seen.  And maybe my YZ wouldn't actually be quicker, but that two stroke snap just feels like it.

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the KTM's are known as powerhouses, if the one you rode didn't feel powerful enough, there could be a number of things going on.

1: it might be corked\restricted, since I'm in europe I don't know how the bikes are set up in the US, but It might be restricted to meet emissions\noise regulations, jetting might be dangerously lean, intake\exhaust might be restricted and so on.

2: it wasn't healthy, something might be wrong with the engine, old gas doesn't help performance, but valves out of spec will give you popping on decel too, and there could be other issues too.

3: you where expecting too much, the 525's are powerful machines, but they are still big-bore 4 stroke with lots of torque down low, you won't get 2-stroke snap and the same peaky powerbands out of these.

 

if you have the chance you should try to get a ride on a different 525 just to compare the power, make sure the one you where looking at wasn't tired and unhealthy.

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No, it's probably just that embarrassing moment when you're used to a 2stroke twinturbo-like acceleration and how fast it is spinning and then going to a 4stroke even if it is in fact accelerating faster you just feel how it vibrates and the engine is the same at the bottom as it is at high rpms, no sudden hit, no twin turbo, too smooth, not like you used to  :)  especially on user-friendly ktm motor =)

I remember I missed my street legal 125cc 2Stroke even when I got the drz400, but just think about it, that ktm can make 50 MPG! You can get yourself far-far away on those  :D

Edited by MCVL
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i agree with the cr500 comment. Your used to the 2 stroke power band. and big thumpers just dont have it. and yea a 250 smoker would woop a xr650r i know my cr250 weights close to a hundred pounds less. and has about the same hp. If you thought the toomer had lazy power your going to think the xrr is even worse. Dont get me wrong. Big thumpers have there place. I spend more time on my xrr than any other bike i own. it just does everything that well. and for sustained high speed riding(50 mph +) the xrr is king.

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if iceracing is Your intended use, then get a '94 or up CR500, I have both a CR500 and an XR650R, and while I do love riding the 650R on ice, I have to say I love the 500 more...

much lighter, much more violent and same excellent honda reliability, the only Downside is that it DRINKS fuel like crazy.

 

I could never pull 5th gear wheelies like this on the 650R.

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Never owned the 650r but spent enough time on one. Have owned both a 525 and cr500e (street legal). My favorite by a long shot was my cr500e. Instant power, there's no waiting no matter where you are in the powerband. A well tuned 500 can be looped out at 60mph but in saying that they are also highly predictable and enormous fun once you get used to their power delivery. No way anything less than a highly modded 250 will walk away from the 525. I almost killed myself on the 525 when i first bought it because i rode without paying attention to the speedo. They do give the illusion of being much slower than they actually are. Also makes them far less fun for adrenaline junkies. I always felt like the 650R was a tractor, you'd dial on the desired speed and it would stay there regardless of how steep the climb or soft the sand it'd just muscle through. BTW the only reason I sold the cr5 is because of it's horrible fuel economy.

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So here's the issue. The race I'm gearing up for is the Numb Bum 24 which as the name suggests is a 24 hour race. I've rode it on a 250 2 stroke which was decent other than it not having a lighting coil. Meant battery powered lights which can be a pain. The short list I've come up with is the KTM 525, XR 650, KTM 380 and the CR 500. I have taken brand new bikes out of the mix due to the fact that I can't stomach putting a brand new $10k machine through this kind of race!!! All of my choices allow me to run a lighting coil. The XR would be reliable but is a lot of bike to throw around. The CR 500 would be great other than fuel mileage. The ktm 380 might just be too old and parts are off the charts expensive. That left me with the KTM 525. I'm going to look at another one tomorrow and compare it to the first one and see how I feel about it. Decisions, decisions......

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The XR600 is not a bad choice. Comfy seat, sledge hammer reliability, easy to ride.

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