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So...... I need to hear from those that are riding high altitude gnarly single track. After Saturday's ride I'm thinking about parting with my CRs and getting a KTM 300 XC-W! Painful to admit that. Anyone get their CR to ride like a 300 XCW or 250XCW? If you did, what did you do to make the change?

'Both have full FMF fatty systems

97 has fww, vforce, reed block spacer, pwk Airstriker,

Guy I was riding with was on '17 250xcw, he tried riding my 01 through the rock garden and STRUGGLED. After I got myself back together, fell 3 times, I got on the KTM and blazed right through the rocks. I know I've never had any trouble with the section on my 450X so not rider skills related

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Is it motor or suspension? Fork oil level been lowered at all?  Base gasket removal? Those are the cheap party tricks, but to be like the XC you'd need porting and valving/springs.  97 wasn't one of the better Hondas, it might not make sense throwing money at it.  Some people contend exhaust manifold spacers can help, Ive never tried them.

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Is it motor or suspension? Fork oil level been lowered at all?  Base gasket removal? Those are the cheap party tricks, but to be like the XC you'd need porting and valving/springs.  97 wasn't one of the better Hondas, it might not make sense throwing money at it.  Some people contend exhaust manifold spacers can help, Ive never tried them.

Already tried the '97 in the gen2 chassis,the 97'smotor was modded by Eric Gorr for hard enduro/enduro cross racing, suspension dialed for me, I really feel it's motor. When trying to restart on rocky uphills it just can't tractor it's way up. Both bikes are a blast on less technical trails but when it gets nasty they just can't find traction. I've also tried a 450x clutch in place of the cr clutch. That actually was pretty noticeable, but still not enough. Running 13/50 right now...... maybe lower gearing? Rekluse?

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Those XCs are amazing at finding traction at low speed.  Obviously stock the engines have different porting, timing, and pipe.  You've already worked on porting and pipe though.  You've probably shifted your torque down but are still hitting really hard compared to the XC.  Are you running the 9 or 12oz FWW?  I'm pretty sure they have an 18" rear wheel too which might be part of it.  Supple suspension helps keep the rear end from bouncing too much as well.

I've just added a 12oz FWW, 13/50 gearing, and lowered my cylinder 0.03 on my 2005 for this very reason.  I've gotten so fat my suspension ought to be supple now:)  When I was younger I just went faster, end of problem.  I no longer have the energy, stamina, desire, or ability to haul through the woods like that and can no longer get my stock CR up exactly what you're describing.   I still have to test the bike out and see what I accomplished.

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Those XCs are amazing at finding traction at low speed.  Obviously stock the engines have different porting, timing, and pipe.  You've already worked on porting and pipe though.  You've probably shifted your torque down but are still hitting really hard compared to the XC.  Are you running the 9 or 12oz FWW?  I'm pretty sure they have an 18" rear wheel too which might be part of it.  Supple suspension helps keep the rear end from bouncing too much as well.
I've just added a 12oz FWW, 13/50 gearing, and lowered my cylinder 0.03 on my 2005 for this very reason.  I've gotten so fat my suspension ought to be supple now:)  When I was younger I just went faster, end of problem.  I no longer have the energy, stamina, desire, or ability to haul through the woods like that and can no longer get my stock CR up exactly what you're describing.   I still have to test the bike out and see what I accomplished.

Yeah have a 9oz in, all the motor mods you mentioned I've done. I think I could soften up the suspension a bit more. Have you gone rekluse yet? Have an auto clutch in my 450x I might try sort of my last hope I think

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I live in norther BC riding just about everything from track to mountain. Love my slow technical mountain rides with steep shit. I have an 01 CR250 that I've had for 12yrs. I run a 13/52, FMF Gnarly pipe/shorty silencer, Barnette Dirt Digger clutch and a Moose Racing Ultimate clutch lever(feels like a hydraulic clutch). No flywheel weight, no engine work, no problems. I have no problem with steep start or super slow stuff. My buddies always comment on my steep controlled starts. 

A gen 1 aluminum frame is hard to compare to a ktm steel frame in all aspects. I know you think it's motor related but suspension and for suspension geometry plays a big factor in traction and abilities as well. My buddies 2007 300 XCW makes me feel like a professional after riding it for a short while haha.

Don't ever rule out the rider haha. I'm always blaming myself not the bike. Gotta push yourself to be better, don't assume you don't have some practice to do. 

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I live in norther BC riding just about everything from track to mountain. Love my slow technical mountain rides with steep shit. I have an 01 CR250 that I've had for 12yrs. I run a 13/52, FMF Gnarly pipe/shorty silencer, Barnette Dirt Digger clutch and a Moose Racing Ultimate clutch lever(feels like a hydraulic clutch). No flywheel weight, no engine work, no problems. I have no problem with steep start or super slow stuff. My buddies always comment on my steep controlled starts. 
A gen 1 aluminum frame is hard to compare to a ktm steel frame in all aspects. I know you think it's motor related but suspension and for suspension geometry plays a big factor in traction and abilities as well. My buddies 2007 300 XCW makes me feel like a professional after riding it for a short while haha.
Don't ever rule out the rider haha. I'm always blaming myself not the bike. Gotta push yourself to be better, don't assume you don't have some practice to do. 

Oh I know I have lots of improvement to make in my riding. I guess I'm just wondering if I can get my CR to have the low/slow speed manors of the XCW..... or how close can I get. I have to say that I was just amazed by the 250xcw I jumped on it feeling spent onto a bike I'd never been on on a steep climb in nasty conditions and just blasted up the climb. I have my 450X that I can rail in that terrain but it's nice to not have all that weight

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Going to get one of those moose clutch levers, been looking at them for a while. Thanks for that input and fww input. Going to soften up the suspension as well. Just can't believe how good the KTM was Stone stock! No mods at all! That's what has me questioning my CRs am I trying to put a square through a circle? I know I need/want all the help I can get in making these rides fun .

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Going to get one of those moose clutch levers, been looking at them for a while. Thanks for that input and fww input. Going to soften up the suspension as well. Just can't believe how good the KTM was Stone stock! No mods at all! That's what has me questioning my CRs am I trying to put a square through a circle? I know I need/want all the help I can get in making these rides fun .


If you can afford it, sell the CR and get a KTM. If I ever get a new bike it will be a ktm or husqvarna
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So update....
Added a 14oz fww and wow now I have a tractor! I have hope in my Honda ways again! lol
I am still planning on getting the 300 from my buddy come spring, but at least my bikes not holding me back anymore!

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The transmission makes a difference too.  The KTM's have a transmission built for slow woods riding.  Since I will never go orange, I deal with the Tranny in my 250's that was built for MX/SX. Nice to see the FWW got you happy.  Keep the red bike, the orange one will never be quite as good. ;)

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