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Are this decade's dirtbikes much better overall than the old ones?

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I'm considering to sell my ol' 2003 450exc for a newer (2010+) streetlegal endurobike cause I feel like it's past its prime.

Feels like dirtbikes in general have advanced so much after nearly 15 years, making this old one feel like clunky old grandpa. I admit I've gotten a fixation to these new bikes but I've heard how good these bikes perform, how light they are, how long rebuild intervals they have compared to old bikes, etc..

 

What do you guys think? Is this true or is it just a halluzination I've made up to get an excuse to swap for a new shiny one? Is it worth the money & hazzle?

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Overall I'd say a 2018 is quite a set up from a 03. Not to knock ktm (I do like them) but their suspension and overall handling kinda sucked in 03 unless you spend a bunch of money on the suspension.

The suspension is a lot better on the new ones and they feel lighter but the motors only perform a touch better.

I've always heard the older rfs ktm four strokes last longer than the newer motors but the new ones last long enough I wouldn't worry about it.

I like to get a new bike every 4-5 years just to try something different and new. Unless your broke getting a new bike is the way to go.

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Yes! My Husqvarna Fe450 is my favorite dirt bike. I just ride it whenever and wherever because it's plated. Maintenance is simple and increases service intervals of done religiously. I've got 40 hours and a little under 1200 miles on mine and other than checking valves ( always within spec) and an almost obsessive oil change and air filter routine I've had no issues. So in short the bike makes less power than my 450sx, but I can ride it from my home to the woods and not have to worry about being bothered by local PD.

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I ride an 03 I bought new in 03.  I could buy a new bike but I see no reason to do so.  It does everything I need it to just fine.  I've ridden many newer bikes and come away with the why bother feeling.  I think sometimes that maybe something a bit lighter, but then I look at the weight of many comparable bikes and its pretty much the same.  Maybe if I raced or something.  BTW, its a somewhat modified XR250R.

I guess it's just a matter of priorities.  Are the new bikes worth the expense to me?

Are they better.  Probably.  And in some ways not so much.

Edited by cjjeepercreeper
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Newer bikes are newer technology. If you are satisfied with what you have, keep it, but since 03, the suspension and handling has improved by leagues, as well as power delivery. At an amateur level people win on 20 year old bikes regularly.....but if you got the money I would upgrade for the more easy to ride experience

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40 minutes ago, biglake said:

Overall I'd say a 2018 is quite a set up from a 03. Not to knock ktm (I do like them) but their suspension and overall handling kinda sucked in 03 unless you spend a bunch of money on the suspension.

The suspension is a lot better on the new ones and they feel lighter but the motors only perform a touch better.

I've always heard the older rfs ktm four strokes last longer than the newer motors but the new ones last long enough I wouldn't worry about it.

I like to get a new bike every 4-5 years just to try something different and new. Unless your broke getting a new bike is the way to go.

Cheers!

Need to start keeping my eye out for 300 exc's

Do you happen to know in which year (if all) model they fixed the starter motor issue I've heard much about?

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1 hour ago, juputti said:

I'm considering to sell my ol' 2003 450exc for a newer (2010+) streetlegal endurobike cause I feel like it's past its prime.

Feels like dirtbikes in general have advanced so much after nearly 15 years, making this old one feel like clunky old grandpa. I admit I've gotten a fixation to these new bikes but I've heard how good these bikes perform, how light they are, how long rebuild intervals they have compared to old bikes, etc..

 

What do you guys think? Is this true or is it just a halluzination I've made up to get an excuse to swap for a new shiny one? Is it worth the money & hazzle?

Only you can answer. If you arent sentimental over your old bike the news ones are lighter, more powerful, better ergos on the plastics and handle better. So performance only the new bikes win.

If you are satisfied with your older bike and don't want to see it go the choice becomes harder.

Thats why I own 3 bikes and have bought a 4th!

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4 minutes ago, juputti said:

Cheers!

Need to start keeping my eye out for 300 exc's

Do you happen to know in which year (if all) model they fixed the starter motor issue I've heard much about?

2017 is the best e starter design. All others are a compromised solution even though they can be made to give reliable service with Time Love and Care

Edited by BushPig
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7 minutes ago, hondaman331 said:

Newer bikes are newer technology. If you are satisfied with what you have, keep it, but since 03, the suspension and handling has improved by leagues, as well as power delivery. At an amateur level people win on 20 year old bikes regularly.....but if you got the money I would upgrade for the more easy to ride experience

Sent from my SM-N920V using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

I think its a matter of what you get used to.  I started riding in the early 70s, and talk about bad suspension.  So, growing up on bikes that had 2 rear shocks, an 03 is light years ahead.  You get to a point in life I guess where you are just happy where you are at. ;)

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I think its a matter of what you get used to.  I started riding in the early 70s, and talk about bad suspension.  So, growing up on bikes that had 2 rear shocks, an 03 is light years ahead.  You get to a point in life I guess where you are just happy where you are at. ;)

I had a 76 xr75. As I grow older, the jumps get bigger, margin of error gets smaller and I still have speed left in me, so I like the new tech. And it's cool to learn while you work on the bike

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I think the biggest improvement is the light weight e start.  What I TOTALLY disagree with is the sudden proliferation of e start bikes with no kick starter.  To me, that is idiocy on a trailbike, and pretty crazy on an mx bike.

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1 minute ago, hondaman331 said:


I had a 76 xr75. As I grow older, the jumps get bigger, margin of error gets smaller and I still have speed left in me, so I like the new tech. And it's cool to learn while you work on the bike

Sent from my SM-N920V using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

When I raced mx in the mid 70s there weren't really any jumps.  I would hate to think what my 2 shock 360 would do on one of today's big jumps.

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When I raced mx in the mid 70s there weren't really any jumps.  I would hate to think what my 2 shock 360 would do on one of today's big jumps.

Seen it happen, they do better then you think

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I love my 06 525exc. I would love to have a new 300exc. Rode one recently and it was amazing. But, the old trusty 525 just feels like home.

It is not the most powerful, not the lightest and doesn't have the best suspension. But I ride with guys on new bikes and keep up with them just fine in everything from wide open to technical single track. It owes me nothing and feels like a well worn glove. 

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1 hour ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

What I TOTALLY disagree with is the sudden proliferation of e start bikes with no kick starter.  To me, that is idiocy on a trailbike ...

Yep, I'm a beginner rider but that has bugged me since day one of getting into dirt bikes. I'm regularly 50+ miles in the middle of nowhere and if freaks me out to think if I bail (which I do a lot) and manage to damage my e start hand control what am I supposed to do? By all means toss a kick lever on the side during production and charge my an extra $100 for the bike.

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I have an 08 KLX450R which is an 06 KX450 with e-start. A couple things in favor of keeping older bikes if you are like me.

  • Fits like a glove, every part of the handling and power is mapped in your subconscious.
  • You have tons of spare parts for it, maybe even a spare bike.
  • You know all the fluid levels, volumes, specs, torques without looking it up.
  • You can do a top end, fork rebuild, or anything on it almost blindfolded.
  • You know what socket size to grab for any bolt without looking.
  • You have sentimental attachment
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1 hour ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

I think the biggest improvement is the light weight e start.  What I TOTALLY disagree with is the sudden proliferation of e start bikes with no kick starter.  To me, that is idiocy on a trailbike, and pretty crazy on an mx bike.

What's the failure rate of e-starters at the pro level? Are there any statistics at all? I would imagine if KTM-Husky, Honda, and Yamaha have all done away with kick starters, it must not be an issue. 

 

And to the OP: fuel injection is awesome. That's good enough reason for me. 

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1 minute ago, MarioThePlumber said:

What's the failure rate of e-starters at the pro level? Are there any statistics at all? I would imagine if KTM-Husky, Honda, and Yamaha have all done away with kick starters, it must not be an issue. 

 

And to the OP: fuel injection is awesome. That's good enough reason for me. 

Its called peace of mind when you are 50 miles from nowhere. ;)

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Yep, I'm starting to lean towards the new one.. Only flaw I can think about getting a new shine one is that will I get scared to ride it. I'll probably be crying myself to sleep in fetal position after crashing it for the first time.. Spending 8k on a new 2017 300exc will probably make me anxious as &%$#@!.

Yeah, I could settle to on an older one, but I wonder how frustrating issue the starter motor really is

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The old bikes are better in many ways, especially considering how most are used by the average rider.  Twin chamber forks are a pain in the ass and more maintenance intensive, requiring more frequent service to avoid a substantial degradation in performance.  Open cartridge forks perform consistently as long as the have oil in them.  In a head to head scenario at the highest level of the sport, twin chamber forks will provide an advantage, but the vast majority of riders will gain very little from them.  I used to wonder why Kawasaki and Yamaha stuck with what was considered an outdated design for so long until I had to maintain a set of twin chambers.

Electric start is a gimmick and adds nothing but weight.  I would not buy a bike without a kick starter.  I have no problem kick starting a bike, I actually prefer it. 

Fuel injection is unnecessary as well.  Adds a fuel pump, injector and supporting electronics where a simple carb will do.  Make no mistake, it will leave people stranded.  Modern fuel injection is very reliable but it can not compare to a carb.  Don't want it.  Leave it for street bikes.

In terms of frame geometry I don't see much improvement since the 2000's.  I do not feel that my 2005 steel frame is holding me back.  I can still hold my own against bikes a decade newer without leaving my comfort zone.  Suspension setup on the older bikes often requires some work to get correctly dialed in but the potential is there.

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