KTM versus Yamaha - Keep it clean


I am not an expert or a professional rider so I approach this from personal experience and 20+ years of riding road and dirt. So, REMEMBER, all comments should be above the belt, not rude or derogatory to anyone. THis is my opinion, if you dont like that is fine. Afterall, it is all subjective.


Larger displacement, but not much more power for the displacment. Love the magic button and the suspension. Even love the color.. :) But, when it comes to moto-cross tracks and the like. No comparison to the Yamaha. I have ridden my 400 back to back with a KTM520 with pipe and found the following results.

Yamaha turned better, Accelerated better, held it's line better. The KTM handled the bumps better but suffered head shake at speed through the rutts and the whoops.


A little heavy, but what a motor! Not the best bike for the woods or trails (KTM in my opinion is better in this area), but as a MX/SX/Desert bike, nothing is better. This is a bike that needs to be ridden hard. If you dont ride it hard, it will hurt you and you will not touch it's true potential. Realistically, the YZF250 will be better for alot of people as you can ride it hard....

The 2002 Yamaha will be an all aluminium frame (according to sources) and will be a 450. The weight saving on an aluminium frame relative to the existing will be in excess of 10lbs. It wont have ther magic button, but it will have over 5 years of reliability and engine development.



Hey Mitch,

I've got 'em both. A '99 WR400 and the '01 520MXC. Love them both. Here is my input....

KTM - At times it is a bit squirmish in the woods. That front tire just doesn't wana stick. great power throughout the RPM range in all gears while still maintaining a quiet note with it's stock exhaust. No way this things has too much power for the woods like i've read on some other posts. I'm glad a i went the 520 MXC route and not the 400 MXC. The suspension is excellent for woods and this bike is ready to rock right out of the box. Just had to go down one tooth on the front sprocket and i think perhaps a tire change on the front will take care of that wandering. Haven't felt the head shake you mention and i've had it up to 73MPH so far. 3.2 gallon tank has taken me up to 63 miles so far without reserve. Oil changes are kind of a bitch...2 filters, 2 screens, basically 3 drain plugs...Air filter access is awesome, remove side panel and there it is. Pro taper style bars, and i personally love the linkless suspension. No overflow for coolant and i've heard horror stories about overheating. Overall this thing is awesome!!! Need i mention the magic button. and the weight.

Yamaha - As you mentioned before...this thing loves to be ridden hard. If it's not screaming thorugh the woods, your missing 70% of the experience. As far as handling, it goes where you point it! I've had excellent results using the stock YZF exhaust and some minor jetting. Tires didn't last a season though. I still haven't got the suspension dialed in just right. At times it's a little stiff and others, it's way too soft....oh well. Other than the first week (getting used to it) It will always start first or second kick. I added the Ty Davis hot start and that took care of being sure it starts second kick, even when it stalls, i dump it....etc.

Gearing seems to be dead on, and i've travled around 115 miles without hitting reserve...I personally believe this thing pulls harder than the 520. But i've only had 5 rides on the 520 so far.

They both have their weak points and strenghts. To each their own i guess. I know i couldn't decide. that's why i ended up with both...Boy did that piss-off the girlfriend.


Excellent news Chuck.

I thought I would raise this concept of bike comparisons now that many of us have been exposed to both. I am impressed that you own both.

Personally, I have a 4 banger and a 2 piper. Love them both. Hanging out patiently for the 450 though.

Good luck and happy trails Chuck


PS. Let me know your thoughts after a few more rides on the KTM regarding how "you" feel they compare on an MX track.

Hey Mitch,

unfortunatlly i only ride about 1% MX type stuff. I live in Eastern Mass and love the tight woods and rocks. But do occasionaly run across an MX situation so i'll let ya know. I grew up with 2-stokes and would love to pick another up some day but in order for that to happen i would deff. have to sell one of the 4-stokes....just can't bring myself to make a decision though....maybe in another year...we'll see.

I will tell ya this though...If Yamaha would just make that new 450 with the magic buton, i probably sell both.




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