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Thoughts on the new (2017) 250exc-f and 350exc-f

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Im looking at options for the next bike. Ive been using my wr450f as a dual sport and i like it mainly because when i ride it, i ride a good amount of street on it and i like it on the street (Usually like 60%street and 40% trail if not 70-30) and now its become a designated supermoto. But im on the hunt for a smaller more nimble bike for mostly trail, enduro type riding (doing from colorado single track and mountain jeep roads to basic offroad trail in texas country) and but still streetable as i'll ride the road to get there. I was originally decided on the yz250fx and i was going to street legal it but i recently became aware of the 250 and 350 exc-f. I want something for more technical trail riding thats not as heavy and overpowered as my 450. My main concern is what are thoughts on these bikes and how they perform as well as the 350 vs 250 as ive never even been on a 350 before. Also noticed they dont have a kick start but looks as if one could be installed, is this the case? If not, what would be the closest thing, something like xcw-f or xc-f (as this bike seems to be exactly what im looking for). If i left something out please let me know, tried to add as much info up front as i could think of, thanks.

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Yes....unfortunately KTM has eliminated the kick start for 2017 EXC's...a big mistake in my opinion...but yes you can add a kick starter package...another $250 or so on top of what is already an expensive machine. KTM says they eliminated the Kick start to save weight....personally I believe they did it to effectively raise their profit margins...no rider consideration involved. I would never do any serious riding in the back country without a kick start, so for me the options are for a 2014-2016 model or another brand entirely.

In terms of the XCF-W...that's what I ride...a 2012 350...and in my opinion its the perfect bike...unfortunately again KTM no longer makes the "W" as of 2017...another big mistake in my opinion...and another reason for me to switch brands. ...the XCF-W is also not street legal in most states I believe.

I too came off a WR450f...went to the 350 XCF-W for the exact reasons you talk about....WR just too heavy and overpowered for good enduro. I love my 350!!  You may find the 250 a little under powered especially on the low end as your coming off a super luggable machine with lots of low end grunt. The one adjustment I had to make when I made the switch was getting used to less low end grunt...and that's on the 350.  There will be  a further noticeable decline when you go to the 250....and you will be working the engine harder on the 250.  For my money almost any highway cruising on a 250 is putting undue strain on the engine....just not designed for high speed cruising. 250 is a great machine, but I feel the 350 just gives you the right amount of overall power to deal with all issues.  If your a heavier guy...this would also push the 250 harder than a 350.

I doubt you will be disappointed on the 350..they are both very good machines with a very good track record of reliability and durability.

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i ride a 2015 450 XCW. i got lucky here in oregon, i took my forms to DMV and walked out with a plate!!! i've herd its was easy to plate a bike in AZ/ TX/ UT /ID and a few others.  i wanted a 350, but i talked to folks on alot of forums and for my size 6'4 235 lbs and about 255 loaded to ride i was told a 450 would be my ticket.  i have thoroughly enjoy'd it since i got it.  i have friends with 350 XC (gncc type bikes) but they are all sub 6 foot and sub 170 lbs so it suits them well 

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Where to start here…. First I’d say for  a person who really wants a mostly back woods “real dirt bike” that happens to have a plate and on-road plans are back roads, short trips, and running to the local 7/11 then the 350 is it hands down. I’m an ex Motocrosser and have ridden/raced for over 30 years, so keep that in perspective. Yeah, I wanted something a bit mellower but something useable to me for whatever I wanted to do. Since I gave up street bikes years ago road use was not on my list, but I do live in the real world and find a plate is required in many areas these days. Now a bit on the kick start issue. I don’t see it as being an issue for a number of reasons. As others have said you can buy the kit or as I suggest just pack one of those mini battery jump start packs. I’ve had my 2014 for 3 years now and have only used the kick starter 2 times. Once when it was new (just to see if it worked) and the second time was after trailering it in below freezing weather (after a few weeks of sitting in the barn doing nothing) I used it and the electric starter to get it started. The bike has been phenomenal in the reliability dept. Oh, and trust me. I’m not easy on my bikes. I should also mention mine is not stock as I’ve had Kreft do my suspension and added an SX throttle body and XCF muffler with the EU map modified with my USTool. I would also say take a good look at a used 2014-2016 as the changes were mostly things you’d change anyway (suspension, tires, etc).

Any way you go on this I’m sure you’ll be happy as KTM seems to have built a dam good bike for the masses.

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58 minutes ago, travertt said:

Yes....unfortunately KTM has eliminated the kick start for 2017 EXC's...a big mistake in my opinion...but yes you can add a kick starter package...another $250 or so on top of what is already an expensive machine. KTM says they eliminated the Kick start to save weight....personally I believe they did it to effectively raise their profit margins...no rider consideration involved. I would never do any serious riding in the back country without a kick start, so for me the options are for a 2014-2016 model or another brand entirely.

In terms of the XCF-W...that's what I ride...a 2012 350...and in my opinion its the perfect bike...unfortunately again KTM no longer makes the "W" as of 2017...another big mistake in my opinion...and another reason for me to switch brands. ...the XCF-W is also not street legal in most states I believe.

I too came off a WR450f...went to the 350 XCF-W for the exact reasons you talk about....WR just too heavy and overpowered for good enduro. I love my 350!!  You may find the 250 a little under powered especially on the low end as your coming off a super luggable machine with lots of low end grunt. The one adjustment I had to make when I made the switch was getting used to less low end grunt...and that's on the 350.  There will be  a further noticeable decline when you go to the 250....and you will be working the engine harder on the 250.  For my money almost any highway cruising on a 250 is putting undue strain on the engine....just not designed for high speed cruising. 250 is a great machine, but I feel the 350 just gives you the right amount of overall power to deal with all issues.  If your a heavier guy...this would also push the 250 harder than a 350.

I doubt you will be disappointed on the 350..they are both very good machines with a very good track record of reliability and durability.

Good to hear, i pretty sure around where i am the xcw-f if i can find one is not factory street legal, but as stated before im ok with that as i was planning to legal the yz anyways ! And i have done so to my wr as well so im going to look into the 350s, its sounds perfect. Also info i left out that is important to state is that im 5'7" at 160lbs so im a fairly small dude lol

 

15 minutes ago, brute448 said:

i ride a 2015 450 XCW. i got lucky here in oregon, i took my forms to DMV and walked out with a plate!!! i've herd its was easy to plate a bike in AZ/ TX/ UT /ID and a few others.  i wanted a 350, but i talked to folks on alot of forums and for my size 6'4 235 lbs and about 255 loaded to ride i was told a 450 would be my ticket.  i have thoroughly enjoy'd it since i got it.  i have friends with 350 XC (gncc type bikes) but they are all sub 6 foot and sub 170 lbs so it suits them well 

Ya that makes sense and thats something i left out is the fact that i am only 5'7" and 160lbs, thanks for the input!

 

13 minutes ago, jim9006 said:

Where to start here…. First I’d say for  a person who really wants a mostly back woods “real dirt bike” that happens to have a plate and on-road plans are back roads, short trips, and running to the local 7/11 then the 350 is it hands down. I’m an ex Motocrosser and have ridden/raced for over 30 years, so keep that in perspective. Yeah, I wanted something a bit mellower but something useable to me for whatever I wanted to do. Since I gave up street bikes years ago road use was not on my list, but I do live in the real world and find a plate is required in many areas these days. Now a bit on the kick start issue. I don’t see it as being an issue for a number of reasons. As others have said you can buy the kit or as I suggest just pack one of those mini battery jump start packs. I’ve had my 2014 for 3 years now and have only used the kick starter 2 times. Once when it was new (just to see if it worked) and the second time was after trailering it in below freezing weather (after a few weeks of sitting in the barn doing nothing) I used it and the electric starter to get it started. The bike has been phenomenal in the reliability dept. Oh, and trust me. I’m not easy on my bikes. I should also mention mine is not stock as I’ve had Kreft do my suspension and added an SX throttle body and XCF muffler with the EU map modified with my USTool. I would also say take a good look at a used 2014-2016 as the changes were mostly things you’d change anyway (suspension, tires, etc).

Any way you go on this I’m sure you’ll be happy as KTM seems to have built a dam good bike for the masses.

I hope thats the case on reliability but i would still need a kickstart. And that sounds pretty accurate for me when im back home running backroads to the gas station to fill up etc. what bike exactly do you have?

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2014 350EXC with the 2014EU map in XCFw trim and some other mods. Why the EXC and not the XCFW? Because in this state the pen that made it legal to plate a dirt bike can also make them non-plateable... The EXC is DOT 50 state legal and not so easy to ban from the roads especially when all I have to do is bolt back on the smog crap.

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I may be one of the odd ones, but I am not too worried about not having a kick starter.  Been riding for years with buddies with both kick and electric start and the only guys that ever use their kick starters are the guys that don't maintain their motorcycles and head out into the woods without a working battery.  I've also experience trail side breakdowns ranging from a piece of dirt in the main to broken cases and bent valves.  The bent valve breakdown was the only bike that wasn't getting ridden out under its own power and a kick starter wasn't going to do anything about that.  Unless you are the person that drains a battery before you actually investigate why it won't start, a kick starter probably isn't going to help you out.  To date, I have never been in a situation where a kick starter was the deciding factor as to whether someone was hiking or not.  

All that said, I think there are some precautions that many of have in our cars that we should think about bringing along on the trail such as some short jumper cables and extra fuses.  

I'd bet there were a lot of guys running around complaining when auto companies finally did away with crank starters on cars and trucks back in the early 1900s, but not having a crank starter hasn't stopped me from taking my truck 20 miles into the woods during hunting season.

 

The only thing I don't like about my EXC-F is that stupid license plate bracket and the fact that there isn't a suitable aftermarket replacement yet.  I find it ironic that the first bike I bought I had to add stuff to make it street legal and this one I have to remove stuff that is going to get broken on the dirt.

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2 hours ago, bldmtnrider said:

I may be one of the odd ones, but I am not too worried about not having a kick starter.  Been riding for years with buddies with both kick and electric start and the only guys that ever use their kick starters are the guys that don't maintain their motorcycles and head out into the woods without a working battery.  I've also experience trail side breakdowns ranging from a piece of dirt in the main to broken cases and bent valves.  The bent valve breakdown was the only bike that wasn't getting ridden out under its own power and a kick starter wasn't going to do anything about that.  Unless you are the person that drains a battery before you actually investigate why it won't start, a kick starter probably isn't going to help you out.  To date, I have never been in a situation where a kick starter was the deciding factor as to whether someone was hiking or not.  

All that said, I think there are some precautions that many of have in our cars that we should think about bringing along on the trail such as some short jumper cables and extra fuses.  

I'd bet there were a lot of guys running around complaining when auto companies finally did away with crank starters on cars and trucks back in the early 1900s, but not having a crank starter hasn't stopped me from taking my truck 20 miles into the woods during hunting season.

 

The only thing I don't like about my EXC-F is that stupid license plate bracket and the fact that there isn't a suitable aftermarket replacement yet.  I find it ironic that the first bike I bought I had to add stuff to make it street legal and this one I have to remove stuff that is going to get broken on the dirt.

Well put, never thought of it like that. I still just like to have the piece of mind that i have a back up that i can resort to especially since ive had to use it with a brand new battery on my wr a few times. A few were when i stalled in the middle of some rough terrain and the electric start wouldnt bump the motor over and i had to kick the kickstarter i guess to pass the the compression stroke i believe and then i could electric start it. Its happened two or three times? Not often at all but i just like to know that if i have to, i can kick it over for whatever reason while i never plan to need to use it.

 

3 hours ago, jim9006 said:

2014 350EXC with the 2014EU map in XCFw trim and some other mods. Why the EXC and not the XCFW? Because in this state the pen that made it legal to plate a dirt bike can also make them non-plateable... The EXC is DOT 50 state legal and not so easy to ban from the roads especially when all I have to do is bolt back on the smog crap.

Gotcha. Thats understandable. Luckily where i live i can put a plate on the bike very easily! If that were the case would you have gotten like a 14 xcw-f?

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4 hours ago, bldmtnrider said:

I may be one of the odd ones, but I am not too worried about not having a kick starter.  Been riding for years with buddies with both kick and electric start and the only guys that ever use their kick starters are the guys that don't maintain their motorcycles and head out into the woods without a working battery.  I've also experience trail side breakdowns ranging from a piece of dirt in the main to broken cases and bent valves.  The bent valve breakdown was the only bike that wasn't getting ridden out under its own power and a kick starter wasn't going to do anything about that.  Unless you are the person that drains a battery before you actually investigate why it won't start, a kick starter probably isn't going to help you out.  To date, I have never been in a situation where a kick starter was the deciding factor as to whether someone was hiking or not.  

All that said, I think there are some precautions that many of have in our cars that we should think about bringing along on the trail such as some short jumper cables and extra fuses.  

I'd bet there were a lot of guys running around complaining when auto companies finally did away with crank starters on cars and trucks back in the early 1900s, but not having a crank starter hasn't stopped me from taking my truck 20 miles into the woods during hunting season.

 

The only thing I don't like about my EXC-F is that stupid license plate bracket and the fact that there isn't a suitable aftermarket replacement yet.  I find it ironic that the first bike I bought I had to add stuff to make it street legal and this one I have to remove stuff that is going to get broken on the dirt.

theres a guy on ebay that makes replacement tails for the 17 FE/EXC's that ive seen on adv rider and someone put a link in one of hte 17 threads on here. it looks to fit perfectly!

Edited by brute448

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7 minutes ago, brute448 said:

theres a guy on ebay that makes replacement tails for the 17 FE/EXC's that ive seen on adv rider and someone put a link in one of hte 17 threads on here. it looks to fit perfectly!

I made mine from a DRC unit... Super clean! 

IMG_20170330_201746_959.jpg

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Ive had an 08 530, a 12 500, and now this 350xcf which I have plated. In the woods, even with the 4.5g tank I have little issue, even riding with my 'A' friends, if anything it puts us in even playing field with the ones I might have been faster than. 

Out of the 350s it's about as powerful as you're going to get and still have a 6spd.

I just finished a fairly diverse 100mile run today on the 350XCF today and though it's fun, it isn't ideal. When the throttle is being leaned on its probably the best bike available when revving the hell outta out of it coming out of corners, tight single track and of course the moto track. But the bike doesn't want to be idling in 6th gear down a road. The 530/500 were 10x the bike for exactly that...Even at a 60/40 split the 450/500 is going to be better... If it was just short transfer sections less then a few miles then yes, I would get the 350 but nothing more then that... 

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8 hours ago, brute448 said:

 

that sir, is a thing of beauty!

It really is !

13 hours ago, Monk said:

Ive had an 08 530, a 12 500, and now this 350xcf which I have plated. In the woods, even with the 4.5g tank I have little issue, even riding with my 'A' friends, if anything it puts us in even playing field with the ones I might have been faster than. 

Out of the 350s it's about as powerful as you're going to get and still have a 6spd.

I just finished a fairly diverse 100mile run today on the 350XCF today and though it's fun, it isn't ideal. When the throttle is being leaned on its probably the best bike available when revving the hell outta out of it coming out of corners, tight single track and of course the moto track. But the bike doesn't want to be idling in 6th gear down a road. The 530/500 were 10x the bike for exactly that...Even at a 60/40 split the 450/500 is going to be better... If it was just short transfer sections less then a few miles then yes, I would get the 350 but nothing more then that... 

Gotcha. Ya with the wr when i ride, i purposely choose 60/40 split because of the bike, ive had times where i do 90/10 split trail to street just because im feeling some trail, even though she isnt ideal for that. What im hoping for on the next bike is for it to be more enjoyable on trail so can do like 75/25 or 90/10 trail to street around home and be able to do single track and jeep roads all day in the mountains. Sounds like a 350xcw-f would be perfect

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16 hours ago, Turtlerider said:

Well put, never thought of it like that. I still just like to have the piece of mind that i have a back up that i can resort to especially since ive had to use it with a brand new battery on my wr a few times. A few were when i stalled in the middle of some rough terrain and the electric start wouldnt bump the motor over and i had to kick the kickstarter i guess to pass the the compression stroke i believe and then i could electric start it. Its happened two or three times? Not often at all but i just like to know that if i have to, i can kick it over for whatever reason while i never plan to need to use it.

 

Gotcha. Thats understandable. Luckily where i live i can put a plate on the bike very easily! If that were the case would you have gotten like a 14 xcw-f?

Yup.

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1 hour ago, jim9006 said:

Yup.

Sounds good im going to look into the 350xcw-f then. Hopefully she does good on more technical trails and single track. Sounds to be what im looking for.

Edited by Turtlerider

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The whole 'kickstarter for backup' is becoming something of a crutch. Maybe to poor preventive maintenance? 

To think you can kick a FI bike when the pump dies is laughable. Pump is dead, you cannot fix that on the trail unless you plan on carrying a backup assembly. No amount of backup kickstarters are going to help. 

Yes, you can and should upgrade the stock battery for more power but many don't. They just jump on a bike expecting it to work perfectly every time right from the factory. 

I like to use my dad as one of the best examples of a true DS rider. Literally 30-40k miles a year on his bikes (two full trips and back from Canada to the tip of SA with his wife. A KLR650, a XR650l, a KLX250 and a XR250. 3 of those bikes don't have a backup kickstarters. He never had single issue all 100k miles throughout both trips. 

Only 1 single time does he reference where his bike died and he had to walk. It was so cold he had to light two campfires and place his body in between them to keep warm. A dead reg/rec being the culprit. No kickstarter would have helped... 

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23 minutes ago, Monk said:

The whole 'kickstarter for backup' is becoming something of a crutch. Maybe to poor preventive maintenance? 

To think you can kick a FI bike when the pump dies is laughable. Pump is dead, you cannot fix that on the trail unless you plan on carrying a backup assembly. No amount of backup kickstarters are going to help. 

Yes, you can and should upgrade the stock battery for more power but many don't. They just jump on a bike expecting it to work perfectly every time right from the factory. 

I like to use my dad as one of the best examples of a true DS rider. Literally 30-40k miles a year on his bikes (two full trips and back from Canada to the tip of SA with his wife. A KLR650, a XR650l, a KLX250 and a XR250. 3 of those bikes don't have a backup kickstarters. He never had single issue all 100k miles throughout both trips. 

Only 1 single time does he reference where his bike died and he had to walk. It was so cold he had to light two campfires and place his body in between them to keep warm. A dead reg/rec being the culprit. No kickstarter would have helped... 

Its personal preferance really. Some people like mirrors on their bikes and some dont. Now if you have one, is it gonna stop someone from rear ending you? No. And people still use mirrors for whatever their personal preferance is. (Not really the best example but whatever) Some Things happen wether you do your maitenance or not, because dirt bikes take a hell of a beating on the trail. Maintenance is one thing, a part failure is another and i'll know when something else is wrong when my bike wont kickover, and i will be happy to know that even though that doesnt fix my problem, that i still have it. People think different ways, point being no amount of convincing right now will make me change my mind on a kickstart. Now i dont want to stray away from the point of this thread.

Edited by Turtlerider

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Quote

The whole 'kickstarter for backup' is becoming something of a crutch. Maybe to poor preventive maintenance? 

To think you can kick a FI bike when the pump dies is laughable. Pump is dead, you cannot fix that on the trail unless you plan on carrying a backup assembly. No amount of backup kickstarters are going to help. 

There are many scenarios where you can have a battery/starting related issue other than the fuel pump failing.

So you've never been in a situation where you left your ignition switch or lights on during a break and didn't have enough juice for an e-start...but lots to run the fuel pump

So you've never been in a situation where your perfectly good battery started to fail on a ride...too weak for e-start...but has more than enough juice to run a small fuel pump.

So you've never been in a situation where you watered out your bike, ran the battery down very low trying to e-start it....but a number of well executed kicks got it fired up in the end.

So you've never had a crash where your e-start button was severely mangled and a simple kick got you going.

So you've never been in a situation where after a long break on a cold ride your battery wasn't quite up to an e-start but your kick start worked just fine.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of the e-start system failed but a simple kick got the bike going.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of your charging system failed on a ride and left you with a battery too weak to e-start but strong enough to run the fuel pump and  use a kick start to fire up and head back to the truck
 

So if you've never had any of this crap happen to you....you're a lucky man...I would be buying lottery tickets.

But s*** happens...at least it does to me...So I do good maintenance and I don't ride when I have a known problem with the bike....but on top of my good maintenance, I want a solid, low tech, virtually indestructible and non-electrical backup start option...AKA a kick starter.

For 11-12K...the bike should come with a kick start....offers much more value to any woods rider than a 2.5 pound weight loss....IMHO. 

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2 hours ago, travertt said:

There are many scenarios where you can have a battery/starting related issue other than the fuel pump failing.

So you've never been in a situation where you left your ignition switch or lights on during a break and didn't have enough juice for an e-start...but lots to run the fuel pump

So you've never been in a situation where your perfectly good battery started to fail on a ride...too weak for e-start...but has more than enough juice to run a small fuel pump.

So you've never been in a situation where you watered out your bike, ran the battery down very low trying to e-start it....but a number of well executed kicks got it fired up in the end.

So you've never had a crash where your e-start button was severely mangled and a simple kick got you going.

So you've never been in a situation where after a long break on a cold ride your battery wasn't quite up to an e-start but your kick start worked just fine.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of the e-start system failed but a simple kick got the bike going.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of your charging system failed on a ride and left you with a battery too weak to e-start but strong enough to run the fuel pump and  use a kick start to fire up and head back to the truck
 

So if you've never had any of this crap happen to you....you're a lucky man...I would be buying lottery tickets.

But s*** happens...at least it does to me...So I do good maintenance and I don't ride when I have a known problem with the bike....but on top of my good maintenance, I want a solid, low tech, virtually indestructible and non-electrical backup start option...AKA a kick starter.

For 11-12K...the bike should come with a kick start....offers much more value to any woods rider than a 2.5 pound weight loss....IMHO. 

So well put ! Way better put than what i said lol. Thanks for stating this. Maybe people are just getting lazy ??

Edited by Turtlerider

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1 hour ago, travertt said:

There are many scenarios where you can have a battery/starting related issue other than the fuel pump failing.

So you've never been in a situation where you left your ignition switch or lights on during a break and didn't have enough juice for an e-start...but lots to run the fuel pump

So you've never been in a situation where your perfectly good battery started to fail on a ride...too weak for e-start...but has more than enough juice to run a small fuel pump.

So you've never been in a situation where you watered out your bike, ran the battery down very low trying to e-start it....but a number of well executed kicks got it fired up in the end.

So you've never had a crash where your e-start button was severely mangled and a simple kick got you going.

So you've never been in a situation where after a long break on a cold ride your battery wasn't quite up to an e-start but your kick start worked just fine.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of the e-start system failed but a simple kick got the bike going.

So you've never been in a situation where any part of your charging system failed on a ride and left you with a battery too weak to e-start but strong enough to run the fuel pump and  use a kick start to fire up and head back to the truck
 

So if you've never had any of this crap happen to you....you're a lucky man...I would be buying lottery tickets.

But s*** happens...at least it does to me...So I do good maintenance and I don't ride when I have a known problem with the bike....but on top of my good maintenance, I want a solid, low tech, virtually indestructible and non-electrical backup start option...AKA a kick starter.

For 11-12K...the bike should come with a kick start....offers much more value to any woods rider than a 2.5 pound weight loss....IMHO. 

What can I say, 31yrs of riding, 27yrs of racing, 1000s of hours over a multitude of bikes... I guess I'm just that lucky!? The closest I've come in recent years is a dirty fuel filter due to me not cleaning a tank during a tank swap, a mistake 100% of my own fault...

Must be a boat load of abandoned African Twins, Super Teneres, BMWs, KTM 690/990s and like wise left into the bush because they didn't have a kickstart either... :rolleyes:

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