Jump to content

1st brand new bike: 200 XCW, XCF-W 250, YZ250FX or FE450?

Recommended Posts

Ok, well I'm finally in the market for a brand new bike and will pull the trigger next month. It would be my first ever “new” bike, so I want to make sure it’ll last me for several years of fun. This is a lot of money for me, and reselling any of these bikes would be very difficult where I live. I suppose it would be possible, but only with like a 30% price reduction. I feel like I really need to get this right, but there’s no way for me to test any of these bikes (though it might be possible to test a friend’s EXCF250). I'd appreciate any feedback regarding these bikes and your experience with them and which might best suit my needs/style. This is a long-winded post, so here are the cliff-notes regarding the contenders in no particular order:

1-2016 KTM XCW 200: $7450

2-2016 KTM XCF-W 250: $8700

3-2016 Husqvarna FE450: $8200 (NOT NEW)

4-2016 YZ250FX (or WR450f). $9000-9500

5-Possibly a 2016 Beta 350 ($9600) or 390 ($9800)


33 years old and fit/strong. I’m 6'5" and weigh around 190lbs without gear. I say this because I need risers and Fastway pegs on whatever bike I get and tall seats don’t phase me. I’ve been riding off-road for around 9 years. I guess I'd be a slightly above average B rider in my area. I’m a fairly aggressive rider, often in “point and shoot” mode. I like revving my bikes... Even the 450 was often full out in 3rd in the straightaways. Doesn’t help that my turning skills are crap. I do occasionally like to relax a bit and cruise around on flowing tracks, but by nature I like to wheelie over puddles and blast through whoops/water/mud holes or skid over sand with my weight to the rear.

I ride around 500-800km/month, or roughly around 22-28 hours per month. I think that’s quite a bit more than the average rider, so maybe worth mentioning. I also ride year round, so I really do clock some hours/KM. I also do a lot of multiday trips (once every two months or so). Anywhere from 2 days to 8-9 days (1500km). However, shorter 2-3 day trips (500km) are way more common.

Previous bikes

A few dual sporters (XR250Ls type bikes), then a 1992 KDX 200 and more recently, a 2005 WR450F, so I've owned both 2T and 4T. I liked both the KDX and WR, for different reasons as they’re obviously totally different. KDX was ultra-responsive acceleration-wise and fun in the winding stuff, but it definitely felt way less stable than the Yammie which had awesome suspension, torque and carried its weight in a stable 4t way. It would follow any line I picked regardless of ruts or rocks. I do remember feeling like I’d made a huge mistake after buying the Yammie and feeling how heavy it was, but I quickly grew accustomed to it's good points. 


I DON’T do many hill climbs are there are no “big” hills around here. Terrain here is mostly hard-packed, or in some areas sandy/muddy (in patches) depending on the season. Lots of creek crossings so on. For the most part it's packed or a bit sandy (sometimes deep but only in parts). Most riding is done around sea level, though once in a while I head out to the hills which are roughly 800-1300m.


Long version ahead: I’ve read a ton of threads and here’s my assessment of the current options. I’d appreciate any feedback from those who have experience with any or all of these bikes:

2016 KTM XCW 200: $7400

Fresh off the showroom floor waiting to be picked up. Two strokes aren't very popular here and I had originally passed it up, but now I'm drawn to it. 

Pros: Cheapest of the bikes. Simple engine and apparently very reliable. Cheap to maintain (I’m surprised how cheap gaskets/pistons are for this bike). Fun factor seems high. I wasn’t too thrilled with the shorter topend rebuilds at first, but it seems like in many ways, the gap in topend longevity between smokers and thumpers has been bridged. The high performance four strokes of today call for a topend after only ~100-150 hours, while new two strokes seem to get almost the same number of hours (unless racing)… 

Cons: Poor fuel economy and relatively bad mileage compared to newer FI bikes. This is maybe offset by comments saying it's not a thirsty bike. Having to always be “on”. Can’t really be dual-sported as easily as a 4T for those long multi-day rides. Jetting… Never really got good at it and I find it a pain in the ass. I assume it’s a lot easier on a newer carb though vs a 20 year old clapped out one. Oh, and mixing fuel+ having to carry a bottle or two of oil in my backpack on long day rides or multiday rides sucks… Then again, I was mixing 32:1 in those days while the KTM manual calls for 60:1. That’s almost half the amount of oil, so not as bad. Rage is extrememly important to me. I need to be able to do 100-120km to a tank. Reading around, it appears like the stock tank gives a decent range for a smoker (~90-140km???). Sadly, Acerbis only make a 3 gallon tank or 4.1 gallon one... So it's either an almost worthless 1L increase over stock, or a gargantuan tank that'll be too fat. 


2016 KTM XCF-W 250: $8700

Pros: Easy to ride and can probably be strung out a lot. Parts readily available.

Cons: I’m worried it might not be enough coming off a 450. I know it won’t lift the front end as easily, but it might make me a better rider in terms of smoothness and flow.


2016 Husqvarna FE450: $8200

Not quite new, but almost... Bike was bought by the current owner around 8 months ago and ridden around 1200km (~55 hours). The guy never rode off-road, he slapped SUMO wheels and a LHB on it. Didn’t look abused though he did drop it once so the right radiator is slightly bent (he said he’d replace it with a new one).

Pros: I know I’ll like it as I know what to expect coming off a 450. Basically a smoother, more mordern WR450 with good fuel mileage and precise throttle response and handing.

Cons: None really… It’s not 100% new which bothers me a bit. He oiled the filter only twice and with motor oil, but if riding roads, I guess it’s not a big deal. He did seem to do a proper break in and all that, but the idea of buying new and being 100% responsible for any mechanical faults is tempting.


2016 YZ250FX (or WR450f): $9000-9500

None available, but it was my original choice and I figure it would cost me around that much (plus a lot of headache) to buy one abroad and have it shipped over (plus hefty customs).  

Pros: I think the aggressive nature of the FX would suit me perfectly. It would be a power downsize, but apparently it really rips and I can add some LED lights myself for quite cheap (a must). I like the idea of it being tunable and the suspension on the Yammies is always amazing.

Cons: A bit pricey as there’s a big unknown in the costs and delivery.


There are also two Betas which are contenders. The 350 and the 390. The price is a bit high for me. More importantly, I’m worried their tame nature will make me miss the “hit” of other bikes such as the Japs. Or maybe I’ll get used to it and it’ll make me faster in the long-run? Also, they have lower seat heights which I think I'll consider a hindrance rather than a benefit, being 6’5” and all.


Then, there’s also the option of getting a used bike, but for some reason I’m fed up with dealing with old bike problems or negligence from a PO. Would save me some $$ in the short-run though.



  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I'd only consider a 4t if I wanted a street legal dirt bike, ie; 350/500 exc, husky etc. I rode a kdx220 for 2 seasons and absolutely loved the motor but the suspension was a bit lacking. This made me test ride a few ktm 200s, the 200 engine was very similar to the 220 in the delivery department and the suspension is twice as good. The 200 feels way lighter vs the kdx. From what you listed I'd go ktm 200, I'd like to test ride a new 150 Xc as apparently it is the next best small bore enduro bike. Good luck

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input. Indeed, my KDX had shitty antiquated suspension. Along with mixing fuel, it's what I hated most about the bike. I got new fork springs which made a nice difference. However, one of my first memories of the WR was on my second ride. I was trying to convince myself to like to bike and still wasn't too pleased. I then came racing past a corner and a huge pothole of sorts followed by a mound was there. I braced for impact knowing I would feel it by tightening my forearms and squinting my eyes. The bike then just glided over... Wow! I was sold from then on modern suspension. 

For the record, there is no such thing as street legal here so I can ride and plate whatever I want. I just checked and I spent $3400 on my WR and over a year and a half I spent close to $3000 in maintenance.... Jesus. Some of that was bling (Rekluse which I ), but a lot of it was small stuff like tires, cylinder kit and so on. Never needed new valves but definitely tired of spending a lot of 4T and used bikes. I do ride a lot so I guess some expenses are to be expected (~300-400 hours/year). Bit worried about getting the jetting right, but I guess it's just a learning curve. 

Is doing the odd fire road or bit of highway towards another trail a pain on the 200? It's got 6 speeds so should be ok? I remember I had to do a bit of highway on the KDX a few times and it sucked (constant buzzing sound isn't fun unless accelerating/decelerating). Can the 200 be kept at a fairly constant RPM for 30-45 mins or so, or should they be revved a bit, then let go, rev and let go? Noise is a bit of an issue, but then again my WR was louder than any smoker... Either way, I guess the 6th speed is there for that very reason? 

Edited by Bitteeinbit

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

No one else? I'm sure people have KTM 450s, 200s, YZFX and so on. Or have ridden them... 

So far two votes for the 200. Anyone else? 

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

All I can say is that with your range of choices and your difficulty in narrowing it down,  you NEED more than one bike.   If I were  you and I still had the wr,  I would keep it and buy the 200.  I love those.  

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Reply with: