Opinions: 650 vs 520 vs 426

Seeking opinions from all the sages on this board regarding the above mentioned bikes. We do about 85/15% mix of desert/mx riding here in SoCal. Questions are:

- Any glaring reliability issues or horror stories?

- Problems getting (and keeping) green sticker?

- Which needs fewest mods to set up right?

- Which is easiest to live with and requires least maintenance? (This might leave the KTM out)

The green sticker 520s are nice but one dealer we talked to was getting $9000 for them! :) Any info would be appreciated!

Man 9000 USD for a 520??? Here in Canada, the 520 EX/C runs for 9900. Thats like 4 bux 'merican or something. I feel for you man.

On the reliability note, be careful if you use the synthetic Honda engine oil products. Honda recommends the synthetic oil, however it WILL make a clutch slip and glaze the plates in a matter of seconds in the right conditions. I was working my way out of a rocky canyon in semi-hot conditions when my cutch slipped and burnt as fast as you could snap your fingers. I replaced the friction plates and wire wheeled the steel plates, flushed out the oil system and changed to Motul 20/50 NON-synthetic oil and haven't had a problem since. Also, change the oil pretty often to avoid engine damage. I read an article about the cr450f that said one of the biggest reasons Honda split the engine and transmission cases on the 450 was to keep the clutch fibers out of the engine, since they can cause major damage in the bearings. Good luck.

Get the Xr. They require as much maintenance as a minivan but can rocket you across the dez like the U.S.S. Enterprise. My friend races his in MX once in a while and wins. I saw one that stopped running becuase the moroooon never cleaned the air filter. It was so damn dirty it even had little sticks in it. He cleaned it, started it, and ran perfect!!

You can get bikes from Canada for way less. I am not sure of the rules to get it registered but if you find out I can help you locate a bike. I will be heading south in about a week and could hall it down for you. The price of a 2002 520exc here is about 7000 USD. Let me know if your interested at spikeando@telus.net.

I can't speak for the K ost T oo M uch but I have lots of time on the 00XR and 01WR. If I had to pick "one" it would be tough. I have put more $$ in the XR for upgrades. The stock suspenders, rims, and carb, are good on the WR. The XR must have suspension work, the rims are so so, the carb can be jetted but will always have a flat spot on sudden openings. I just put an Edelbrock on because the flat spot about threw me OTB too many times. As for RELIA-HONDA-BILITY, XR's are known for being bulletproof. The XR is home in the desert. The WR is not as stable but not a bad ride at all. The XR is the only sure bet for the green sticker.

Best of luck,


Thanks to all who responded, especially to Spike101 for your kind offer. In the interest of avoiding green sticker hassles it looks like it's going to have to be an XR. The

California-model KTM is just too expensive and out of state machines are red sticker only. I figure that if I buy the Honda, add a GPR triple clamp and Edelbrock carb, I can pretty much leave everything alone after that. I'm still a couple months away from purchase so things can change but for now I see the XR as easiest to live with (and pay for :) ).


Send me an email if you will at pontiac_sr@yahoo.com

I may have something that interests you regarding your future purchase.

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