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Are YZ's a lot more reliable than KTMs??

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I know there is durability and  then reliability. (Bic lighters vs Zippo lighters is the analogy Harley used to use in ads) When I look over a Husqvarna or new KTM, it appears to be built to a very high standard. The components looks very nice. Handsome design overall. WHen I look at a new YZ, the forks look very well made, and the rest of it appears to be decently made, but the looks of the components and spot welds looks much more hurried and lower grade. Then I look on the forums and seem to see so many more issues with KTM's needing sorting out from new.  Since the YZ is such an old and proven design I guess there are fewer problematic issues, but in your experience (I am a newb) do the Yz's have superior reliability compared to a KTM? On the flip side, do KTM's have superior durability and or rebuild ability?

 

Tia. 

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9 minutes ago, RollieW said:

I have put many hours on both and have experienced both brands to be equally reliable and equally durable. Neither is likely to leave you stranded.

When servicing them, do they come apart and go back together as well? Are they as well laid out from a servicing point of view? I know that when I had an RD-400, most of the fasteners were weakened by taking them apart .

As for suspension and bushings, do they generally hold up about the same?

Edited by nicad

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as with any bike IMO it's reliability is up to the owner and how it's ridden/maintained. That being said I find my yamaha to be much simpler to put back together than my KTM was

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I'm hoping my YZX is as reliable as my (2005) KTM has been. My KTM certainly is a quality bike, even though the suspension was seriously lacking. The only "problem" I had with it, was breaking the shock rebound damping adjuster. After reading on the forums, I found that it was a fairly common occurrence, especially when you let them set for a long time. Other than that, it's been stone reliable.

Considering I was only in the market for a two stroke, I only realistically had three choices: KTM, Husky & Yamaha. I've owned Yamahas before and never had any problems with them. The dealer was close, and the deal was fair. 

Plus, the YZ is a proven design. The YZ certain has a few quirks: false neutral downshifting from second to first, less than optimal low throttle response. But those aren't deal breakers in my book. I do want to clean up the jetting, and I have to remember to not be sloppy when downshifting! Time will tell, but I am hoping, with proper maintenance, it will be a good bike. Honestly, I am a little concerned with the power valve assembly. It might not be an issue, but my 200exc powervalve is very simple and easily tuneable. 

I was concerned with all of the issues with the '17 KTMs. I haven't drank the blue kool-aid and am not trying to pile on KTM. But it seems the 2017 year model had an unusual amount of issues. Everything from reeds to foot pegs and several other things. Plus, you have the suspension issue. I just couldn't pull the trigger on one. 

So far, I'm happy with my purchase. I don't think the perfect bikes exist. I think you have to weigh options and go with the one that has the most check marks beside it and stay up-to-date with maintenance.

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I've had both. The ktm is by far and away easier to work on. Tool-less airbox, they give you a kit with a few tore bits, 6-8-10mm and axle wrench and you can damn near fix anything on that bike with that trail kit. Jetting the bike don't have to remove anything just tilt the carb sideways. The Yamaha engine layout is shrouded by the tank and was much more cramped to work on. Also the shrouds don't cover the tank so the graphics lasted about half a ride. Say what you will about the ktm wood screws but I've had more problems with the inserts for plastic spinning that Yamaha uses. Overall I'd buy a Yamaha again but maintenance wise and little things that irked me I'd go ktm any day over the Yamaha. Reliability was the same but everyday maintenance is much easier on the ktm.

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Have owned several of both and currently own one of each and honestly I think I've spent more time trying to get my 17 YZ setup and working right for me than I've spent working on my '13 KTM in total. I think fit and finish is better on the KTM but they are both really solid bikes but I really think the KTM is a step above..

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Despite the jokes on the net, a KTM hasnt made anyone in my group walk back to the truck or need a tow.

And some of us have been on them for 7 years now. Purchased new and used, some in good condition and some roached.

Very easy to work on too.

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I think KTM caught up a few years ago. They are a nice machine. None of that applies to KTMs more than 10 years old.

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I own both currently.  I think there is little doubt that certain parts of the KTM are far more durable (e.g., clutch basket, pedals and levers), and the KTM is easier to work on for general stuff (air box, torque values stamped right into the part), but the reality is that all modern two strokes are amazingly reliable, and will give you years of trouble free service.  I started back in the 70s and every ride seemed to end in a break down.  You practically had to own a welder to keep things together!  Today it's very rare for anyone in a group to have a ride-ending problem with the bike--any brand!

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I also just replaced the clutch for the first time in my ktm at 45 hours. Turns out it wasn't even needed. My yz250 needed a clutch about every 15-20 hrs. This clutch may last forever!

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2 hours ago, rpt50 said:

I own both currently.  I think there is little doubt that certain parts of the KTM are far more durable (e.g., clutch basket, pedals and levers), and the KTM is easier to work on for general stuff (air box, torque values stamped right into the part), but the reality is that all modern two strokes are amazingly reliable, and will give you years of trouble free service.  I started back in the 70s and every ride seemed to end in a break down.  You practically had to own a welder to keep things together!  Today it's very rare for anyone in a group to have a ride-ending problem with the bike--any brand!

Reminds me of a story. When my dad was a boy they learned how to fly control line model planes.

My grandma said every wednesday they'd go out excited with a bunch of planes they built in the week.

And then come home with long faces and kindling wood haha. This probably would have been late 60s early 70s.

His first  (and only) dirtbike was a secondhand honda XL175. He said he thought it was awesome but realistically  was a pile of shit. The hot ticket was a Suzuki TS185.

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every bike breaks you are going to break it dont matter who built it, look at parts prices for a big job, and then run away as far as u can from the ktm, oem yamaha parts are very reasonable

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I know I've spent waayyy more time and money on KTM suspension than my YZ's, only KTM I still own is a 250SX set up for off road. All I've done is put the right springs on a YZ for my weight and riding, set sag and a few clicks here and there and I'm done. Both are easy to work on. I do miss the adjustable PV of the KTM and it seems there is a larger variety of aftermarket goodies available, but maybe it needs them.....

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I currently own a 2009 450 EXC and a 2017 YZ250X..........Both are different in their own way. I liked the ease of working on the KTM, it has fewer bolts to take the tank off, and none for the air filter which is super easy. The dual oil chamber is goofy but it didnt last long in the bikes. It is tough, reliable, and a lot of fun. 

I put 170 Hours on the KTM over a few years, changed the oil a pile, a cam chain that was stretched, and valves once. I maintained it very thoroughly and it was good to me. Taking it down to West Virginia soon! 

I am struggling with the jetting of the YZ, have fouled 3 plugs starting it in colder temps. It runs perfect once it has warmed up. I will back out the fuel air screw before jets, because the jets are spot on on the chart. And got an EG plug vs the fouled ES.  I can already tell you I like the suspension on the Yamaha better. i like the weight better. 2t vs 4t is different though. 

I really enjoy my bikes from both companies.....went with the new Yamaha because of the reputation, weight, X trail model, and of course....PRICE!

 

 

 

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Depends on what KTM you are talking about and what year bike. 

My experience with KTM used bikes.

Yes the machine Finnish of parts is nice but that is cosmetic & just makes people think the build is better IMO, I got sucked in by this as a mechanic, Ohhh good quality! My 2010 & mates '12 ktm 300, & mates 2014 520KTM forks are really tricky to get soaking up the soft stuff & taking the full stroke (loads of $$$ spent re valving playing with springs etc). If you don't set up KTM suspension correctly, they are less forgiving. Get it right and you have a well set up bike, Get it wrong & they just don't work well. Some big name "red bull" riders in NZ, soft mount the handle bars on the new model 300's ??? right what does that tell you. Clutch baskets rattle on 300's. Otherwise a great bike. 2016 had wheel recalls on KTM's too. The 520 has had its issues with flat spots in the top end. This has taken awhile to find the injector faults after its warm. Keep in mind, fuel injection can leave you stuck in the bush! My friend had a stick break his fuel line two weeks ago & was towed home.  The 350's have failed from blocked injectors too. IMO a new bike with a carb does the trick without this type of hassle. This will go against the grain with most riders but when your are a mechanic, sometimes less, is more. I don't like the idea of fuel injected bikes getting water blasted or riding them through streams etc. I'll take a carb any day.

KTM 350sx 2011 fuel injected Tony Cairoli replica. Beautiful looking bike, no kick start (didn't like this idea at all). Poor rating suspension for MX riding, but this made it a beautiful trail bike with factory suspension settings. Opened the engine up at 160 hrs & this was the worst thing i could have done, it was going fine but had wear & was due for maintenance. Service manual states replace all engine bearings at 100 hrs & piston, valves and basically replace everything. The piston was $550 NZD the valves $550 NZD. After fitting an after market reputable piston it would not stop smoking after the rebuild when blipping the throttle after warm up, perfectionists worst nightmare. Followed piston suppliers advice and got barrel re-plated and diamond tip honed + replaced valve guides and valves (compulsory with new guides) had already replaced valve seals... and tried everything else to stop it smoking. The bike was better after the re-plate until the cam chain tensioner failed after i dropped the bike on a hill & piston contacted valves under hitting the start button. (another known ktm350 problem). Towed back home.  New tensioner & then it was fixed, Thank goodness it only failed on start up & didn't bend the valves.  To be fair... I will never use another after market piston in a bike,  however all the local bike shops said they never diamond hone the bore or go this far when rebuilding a bike! My point here,  is that high compression fine tuned well engineered engine doesn't mean it will take to nicely to change! old parts vs new parts... regardless of how far you go, we did everything above the bikes shops advice & used professional machine shops for the precision work etc.  After spending $2K trying to resolve these issues and hearing of other internal engine ktm problems in the machine shops conversations i'd had, the nice bling didn't mean anything anymore to me.

Ktm manual stated remove engine for the head to be removed... being a trained Audi/VW/Peugeot technician i didn't have to, but it was a prick of a job really.

I respect this was a used bike and it was my decision to run an after market piston but from the many many conversations I had with bike shops using the same after market pistons on other bikes i got burned really.

Yamaha.

Long story short, the Yamaha WR450f is known world wide for reliability & "Yamaha in general" has a good reputation! The argument in NZ for KTM was everyone has one (2 years ago).

Hence i bought a new Yamaha 2010 old stock for dealer cost... wr450f. It rides perfect for me, with factory suspension trail riding. I have only set rider sag two years ago & haven't touched the suspension.  

The factory advised mods have been done, carb jets (the dealer never got around to it for me). Muffler modified to YZ style & its on par with my 350 fuel injected for throttle response. The WR is probably faster on the straights and handles really well in all honesty for a heavy bike... the mods can be done by twisting the carb also as someone mentioned above it couldn't, well i did! Given the engine is basically a de-tuned YZ it would be the same, tucked away between the alloy frame etc. 

I could rave on but basically you get my buzz, i think i will have this bike for ten years and doubt i will open the engine for maintenance for a very very long time.

 I'd go YZ any day and leave KTM for others personally. I'm sure KTM make a good bike, but i want a good bike when its 8 years old too.

Edited by surfez
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Thanks for spelling out your journey with this particular KTM. Those were very expensive parts. 

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I've had them all. KTM are great....for me the things that broke were weird....kickstarter shaft etc. Not deal breakers but stupid issues. My ktm 350 was fine and the guy I sold it too cursed the day I was born.
Just sold my rmz450.....it was a 12.....I rode the snot out of it and it never failed me while everyone was moaning about transmissions etc. I guess maintenance is key.

Now I am flogging a 16yz125.....it's all about the love.
Mix some good fuel jet it and a pipe....drive and tires. The bike is so great. Love the simplicity and love the fact that you have to ride the thing well to beat four strokes.........and I do.......oh I do haha

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20 hours ago, Puddn421 said:

I've had both. The ktm is by far and away easier to work on. Tool-less airbox, they give you a kit with a few tore bits, 6-8-10mm and axle wrench and you can damn near fix anything on that bike with that trail kit. Jetting the bike don't have to remove anything just tilt the carb sideways. The Yamaha engine layout is shrouded by the tank and was much more cramped to work on. Also the shrouds don't cover the tank so the graphics lasted about half a ride. Say what you will about the ktm wood screws but I've had more problems with the inserts for plastic spinning that Yamaha uses. Overall I'd buy a Yamaha again but maintenance wise and little things that irked me I'd go ktm any day over the Yamaha. Reliability was the same but everyday maintenance is much easier on the ktm.

Do you have to drill holes in the Pistons for the bridge port exhaust? That would suck..

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