Krannie would be proud!

So as of late I have been pounding out some serious moto on my KTM 500. My KTM is setup perfect for my riding (offroad), feels good etc etc and of course isn't a true MX'er but it works good enough for now....

 

That being said, a fellow rider had just bought a 04 Honda 450r that had very little hours on it and was virtually bone stock. He was a newer rider and wanted me to try it out and help him with a setup. First kick the bike fired right up which is great considering I've been using electric start for the last few years.... He had his clutch pretty loose so after a few spins on the adjuster away I went.

 

Aside from the suspension being wayyy to soft for my weight and speed (as I nearly killed myself in the whoops discovering this), the bike felt friggin great. For some unknown reason the KTMs are tall bikes and the Honda felt so tiny, combined with the nearly 40lb weight difference the bike was a dream to move around with VERY little rider effort. The brakes were decent but not KTM good........But the motor was the selling point....It doesn't have the torque like my 500 but the motor pulled from super super low and just kept revving. On tight courses I can struggle with the 500 because the power is pretty much instantaneous but the Honda just felt so smooth and controlled I bet it would make a really good motor in the bush. In a whole, the bike just handled the track very very well considering the semi bald tires and soft suspension......

 

What was really interesting was how "fat" my KTM felt when I jumped back on it. I know the larger tank on my KTM makes up for a quite a bit of this but you don't realise how wide the KTM really is when you ride something that isn't. You also forget how much torque it has vs 450s, its a massive rush of power into a surging mid but signs off as early as it comes on.

 

All this being said, I have been searching for a new race bike and was really leaning on going back to a tried and true YZ 250. I really think a Honda 450 is now a major player.....I just have to find a clean one......Congrats HONDA, you may have a new customer!

All the motor issues on your KTM are easily addressed with mapping, and porting, if you want a wider powerband....but they still run too hot....so a radiator fan is mandatory.

In fact it's pretty much required to re-map the 500 to 450 XCF-W Euro specs and change the muffler, if you want it to run good.

The handling however.....

 

I WISH I liked KTMs cause they look trick and are easy to work on and adjust. 

Too bad they handle like a three legged blind dog.....

 

Comparing a CRF450R to a 500XC-W is not a very fair comparison, not that I am saying you actually were.

One is a world class track monster and the other is a overpriced tame trail bike that appears to be high performance.

I am very aware of the difference. I was more impressed that a 9yr old motorcycle still felt great. Unfortunately I could not say the same about a 04 KTM.....

after a decade of owning/selling multiple KTMs I left the brand for a crf 450.  I simply had enough of the suspension problems that is inherent of WP and I am at the point in my life where I ride for fitness/fun. 

I tried a KTM 250 2t in the early 90's & the suspension was not even close in comparison to a 93 CR250r owned.  Thru the years I've talked to other local riders & they still have complaints with the current models with WP suspension.  After all these years you would think KTM would have it figured out.   This is the main reason I've never had an orange bike in the stable after owning the 4 major brand colors.  Unless they went to Showa or KYB suspension I don't see owning one in the near future...   

I am very aware of the difference. I was more impressed that a 9yr old motorcycle still felt great. Unfortunately I could not say the same about a 04 KTM.....

Monk, sooner or later all come over to Honda, welcome.

BTW, I have a nice '04 CRF450 I'll make you a good deal on.

I have 2 CRF 450s and a YZ250, I like them both, but my YZ has been getting a TON more seat time.  Also dont forget the massive valve issues the HONDA has if you are going to put a lot of hours on it.  As a matter of fact I just pulled the head off my 08 last night after checking the valves and one intake had a 1.40 in it and was zeroed out.

 

Time for a rebuild again.  I go through a head a year pretty much and I keep my bikes very well maintained, but I ride it on the pipe like a 125 in the desert so it dies fast, Those valves are the bain of my existence, I wish they lasted longer. 

 

THats why I have been riding the 250 2-stroke instead, just pop a new piston in at 80 hours and off you go. Way cheaper to ride if you ride a lot like I do.  

I tried a KTM 250 2t in the early 90's & the suspension was not even close in comparison to a 93 CR250r owned. Thru the years I've talked to other local riders & they still have complaints with the current models with WP suspension. After all these years you would think KTM would have it figured out. This is the main reason I've never had an orange bike in the stable after owning the 4 major brand colors. Unless they went to Showa or KYB suspension I don't see owning one in the near future...

I don't really know how to say this but KTM suspension isnt all that bad. It's just valved and sprung wacky. Having a good tuner who understands is and goes beyond just a shim shuffle is where you have to look. Yes, my Yamahas have awesome suspension out of the box but I'm not your out of the box rider so it doesn't really apply.....

It's all about setup. 2 things I see on a regular basis is guys who own Japanese bikes try to set a KTM up like that too. I'm a firm believer at KTMs require the forks to sit lower in the triples and to run more sag....

got a 06 crf450r, 98 cr250r and 01 cr500r.  Love them all in the right conditions.  450 for MX and jumping in the dunes, 250 for the mountains single track and the 500 for just ripping everything in sight, running a turbo paddle in the dunes, pulling 4th gear wheelies in soft sand if frickin awesome and it still jumps as far as I want to.

 

Right bike for the ride makes it great.  Wrong bike just sucks, you just don't know it until your on the right one LOL!!!.  450 in the mountains wrong, 250 in the dunes wrong, 500 in the mountains way wrong!!!, not that I haven't done all this but it's just not as fun.

500AF in the tight woods is one of my favorite things... they got some good grunt down low and are very light bikes.

I tried a KTM 250 2t in the early 90's & the suspension was not even close in comparison to a 93 CR250r owned. Thru the years I've talked to other local riders & they still have complaints with the current models with WP suspension. After all these years you would think KTM would have it figured out. This is the main reason I've never had an orange bike in the stable after owning the 4 major brand colors. Unless they went to Showa or KYB suspension I don't see owning one in the near future...

In some ways most stuff isn't close to a 93 cr250 ;)

I think stock vs stock there's nothing better for a novice (not calling you one)

The YZ250 pushes in the turns unless you get a offset triple clamp. Glad you liked the ten year old beasty Honda 450, Monk.

The YZ250 pushes in the turns unless you get a offset triple clamp. Glad you liked the ten year old beasty Honda 450, Monk.

 

Ya, like I  said, the bike felt really really good.....Super light and plenty fast....

The CRF did 9 hours of this today......without issue, perfect power, truly awesome handling....

 

IMG_0707_zps8bb5f103.jpg

Ya, like I  said, the bike felt really really good.....Super light and plenty fast....

 

Ten year old CRF here in good shape. If I didn't already have my YZ450 I'd go looking here. 

 

http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/mcy/4057081209.html

Ten year old CRF here in good shape. If I didn't already have my YZ450 I'd go looking here.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/mcy/4057081209.html

It sounds like the 07/08s are the hot ticket. I'm going to look at a 07 with about 10hrs on it next weekend for $4k.....

I don't really know how to say this but KTM suspension isnt all that bad. It's just valved and sprung wacky. Having a good tuner who understands is and goes beyond just a shim shuffle is where you have to look. Yes, my Yamahas have awesome suspension out of the box but I'm not your out of the box rider so it doesn't really apply.....

It's all about setup. 2 things I see on a regular basis is guys who own Japanese bikes try to set a KTM up like that too. I'm a firm believer at KTMs require the forks to sit lower in the triples and to run more sag....

Monk - in the outdoor season Emig was commenting on the factory KTM team trying to find a good suspension set up for both the 250f & 450f.   It seemed like they were searching for a good set up thru the season up untill the last race at Elsinore in southern CA. I understand that factory teams make adjustments during the season, but they were trying new components according to the commentators.  Just going off what was said during the broadcast of the mx series that just ended.

 

On the CRF450 being a good bike.  I'm a die hard old school 2t guy & never thought I'd own one till I rode an 05 model.  I had ridden an 02 & 03 model year & wasn't impressed.  Didn't think they offered an advantage over my light & nimble excellent turning 03 CR250r.   It wasn't till 05 I got to ride another crf450r that convinced me that the 450's were getting better.   Ended buying a left over model in Nov. 2005 & now on the 4th 450r owned as I believe they're getting better with technology.         

Edited by H4L

In some ways most stuff isn't close to a 93 cr250 ;)

I think stock vs stock there's nothing better for a novice (not calling you one)

The KTM was a co-workers 91 or 92 250 2t model & in all fairness the 93 cr was done race tech.   I can't remember who did his suspension but it wasn't very good.   I regret ever selling that 93 as it's one of my favorite bikes of all time.   

I don't doubt KTMs efforts in searching for the right setting. They have never had a caliper of rider like Dungey so I don't imagine it will be easy. The big 4 have yrs upon yrs of data to look back on. Data built by some of the fastest riders around.....

As for my Honda experience, I've ridden a ton of bikes but most of those have been in offroad environments and more then not, poorly setup (basically stock MXers in the woods). To jump on the Honda in a controlled area and put a good 15-20min on the bike, it was just so easy and felt effortless. Now I am well aware that my 500exc is not the ideal MX bike but, it is familiar and comfortable to me which does give it a huge advantage over the Honda at first thought. I'm sure the Honda will show some disadvantages but the "overall" package is what impressed me.

It was the exact same impression I had when I bought a 08 YZ 250. After 1 lap the bike just felt so good and natural and again, the bike was 100% stock. I sold that bike for a 2012 250xc but a strange thing happened, the 250xc didn't bring that same feeling until I dumped a bunch of money into it.....

The YZ250 pushes in the turns unless you get a offset triple clamp. Glad you liked the ten year old beasty Honda 450, Monk.

 

Thats what they tell me, but I can turn it just fine, I have my fork tubes slightly slid up in the triples and run a dampner, now it does everything good. Plus I choke up really far on the tank when I am turning, but I have to because I am a midget, I dont have a lot of weight to move around so I need to exaggerate my body english compared to most people. 

 

I love my YZ.  

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now