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Honda CRF450 X vs. KTM 450EXC

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I'm 24 years old, 5'9" and about 200 pounds, and I am a beginner interested in getting my first bike. I plan on donig mostly trail riding and a little track riding around the NJ, PA, NY area. I have narrowed my choices down to these two bikes. I've gathered that that the CRF is supposed to handle very well and be very reliable. I also really like the way it looks, plus it seems to have more of a record in cometition. The KTM on the other hand, is a 6 speed with a hydraulic clutch. I've also been told that it comes very well equipped, Brembo brakes, Renthal bars, Excel wheels, good suspension, etc. Then again I'm just not really familiar with what the Honda is equipped with in relaion to the KTM. As an aside, I'm curious about how come the KTM is a few pounds lighter than the CRF, even though it has an aluminum frame. Is that a testament to the KTM's superior equipment? I can' figure out which would be the best bike for me, and I don't expect that I'll get a chance to try any of them out, as I don't have any friends that ride (still gotta convince some to take the plunge with me).

I'd like to know which bike does actually come best equipped? Which handles best? Which inspires more confidence to the rider? Which would be best suited for the kind of riding that I'll be doing? Which will keep me better satisfied through the next few years, and whatever else I need to take into consideration at this point?

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well first of all welcome! its great that you want to get into our great sport. well about your ?, the KTM as i like to think of it is the cadillac of the desert. it comes with everything you could image such as pro taper oversize bars, hydraulic clutch, 6 gears, and even an x-ring chain. but all of this comes with a pretty hefty price tag. and if you were to get a KTM, its hard to find parts for it. The honda doesnt come with all of that stuff but it is still a very good machine. and that goes for the yamaha as well. (the only reason that i didnt mention kawasaki/suzuki is becuase those 450s arent out yet and they are first year bikes so try and stay away)but for the most part it all depends on what color you like. have you thought about maybe getting a 250f? these bikes are really fun and have good power especially for a beginner. and if your riding tighter trails such as they have back east it might work out better for you. i live in socal so i ride mainly wide open with my yz450 and i love it. so check into all of the bikes and you can get alot of info here on thumpertalk. just dont have a closed mind. open it up and check out all brands. hope i helped a little bit. good luck! :cry:

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Cool! Another new rider!

First off, buy used. I would not recommend a new rider buy a new bike. Second, I recommend you post to maybe a regional forum here on TT, explaining what you want to do. Maybe someone will invite you riding on their spare bike and let you take a ride on their 450. Same thing on ktmtalk.com. I often take newbie friends riding on my spare XR250... but I'm in Calif so that doesn't help you.

I think that a 450 would be a handful for a beginner rider.

Do you lift weights? Do you consider yourself really strong? Drop one on a hill and you will find out if you are strong enough :cry:

Maybe even a Honda 250F would be good...

As far as heavy-duty offroad riding goes I can compare a KTM 125SX and a Honda CRF450. Yes, they are vastly different, but they are both motocross machines. However the KTM does come with fat (strong) handlebars stock, and it has niceties like... you can remove the air filter without any tools... also, for mounting an enduro computer the KTM already has a threaded hole for a magnet pickup, right on the front brake mount. On Japanese bikes you have to engineer one yourself. And this is a KTM motocrosser I'm talking about. Their 450 has nice features just like these.

You can see I'm clearly impressed by the KTM. But the Honda has some points in its favor... like the gearbox is separate from the crankcase so you can use the correct oil for each one, and worn gear metal won't contaminate the crankcase.

The Honda can turn tighter at super-slow speeds like in the pits, because my KTM (and others I have ridden) can't turn the bars as much from side to side.

I must say, after riding dirt bikes since age 7, that I thik that getting to the air filter without having to take out bolts and remove the seat, is VERY nice. It counts for a lot in my book.

OK, enough. Neither is a clear winner nor loser in my book.

+sean

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if you're goinna do a "little bit of track riding," you may want to lean toward the crf450x. i've ridden a friend's ktm400exc and a friend's crf250x. the honda definitely has an advantage on the track. i feel completely comfortable doing the jumps with the crf250x. the exc tends to get too wallowy for me. i do notice a midstroke harshness from the honda crf-x shock and wish it were more progressive vs soft initial valving directly into anti-bottoming valving.

you're also correct about the quality of craftmanship of the honda. i can't stand the euro bikes... cheapie sheet metal screws holding the radiator shrouds onto the gas tank, unfinished swing arm, etc. the bikes look old very quickly.

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As far as lifting it: I've only ridden one off road bike on a track, and that was my cousin's XR400. I stalled on hill and the bike tipped over and I didn't have any trouble lifting it up and starting it and going again. I also fell again later and lifted it and started it with no problem. I'm confident I could do the same with either of these bikes. Especially starting up again, since these have electric start.

From what I've gathered the KTM would be the better of the two in trails, but that the Honda would be better on the track. Which is a better rounded machine. Which would I be happiest with to ride around on trails from tight single track to fireroads, to motocross tracks, (maybe even some jumps) ... etc?

My other question is: The KTM comes with some really nice equipment from the factory. Am I gonna notice that? Like the KTM has brembo brakes, but I've heard people say that the CRF brakes like no other. Also, is the hydraulic cluth of the KTM, or the fact that it is has a 6th gear factors that will make a real difference out on the trails/tracks?

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oh and one other thing: are these bikes too much for the riding that I wanna do? Some riders have told me that even for tight stuff, I'd want the power of a 450, but Squad just said that maybe a 250 would be BETTER in tight trails. What does everyone else here think about that, as well as the stuff I just mentioned above.

Oh and thanks so much for all the help and making me feel welcome.

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can't stand the euro bikes... cheapie sheet metal screws holding the radiator shrouds onto the gas tank, unfinished swing arm, etc. the bikes look old very quickly.

My bike. Over one year old, ridden on the track. It all depends on how you take care of them. I've seen far more beat Honda's than Euro bikes. Not a dig, just pointing out that most things seen or read aren't true for all bikes.

Cool_Bike_3.jpg

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redrida. with a name like that I'm surprised you're not pulling more for the CRF. anyway, since you HAVE an EXC450, what would you say are its stregths and its weaknesses. as far as you or anyone else know how does it compare to the CRF 450X? if you've owned both Hondas and KTM's how would you say they compare in quality and reliability? as an aside why do people put plugs on the muffler?

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yeah, I should really get that name changed. :cry:

Anyway, my bike is a 450SX not EXC. It's the motocross version. Different motor with a shorter stroke which produces quick, snappy power. The EXC motor has a longer stroke which provides smoother power and more hookup (a good thing in the woods). The EXC is also a 6 speed where the SX is a four.

It's hard to say how the two bikes will compare but it'll probably come more down to personal preference. The EXC is a proven steed in the woods and enduro world, but the CRF250X and even modified 450's showed they're capable, too.

As far as quality and reliability, the build quality on both bikes is about the best you can buy. The KTM's are a bit more thought out though. The air filter requires no tools to service with P L E N T Y of room and little touches like fatbars, stainless steel lines, powdercoated frame and hubs, and the hydro clutch make it worthwhile. Oil changes take a bit more time because there are two filters and screens though. The CRF will come with a few nice things too like a side access airbox (still isn't as easy as the KTM though) and Renthal bars as well. Also, the oil changes should be quicker, but you have two cavities to drain so it probably balances out.

Bottom line, either bike will solid and treat you well. It will come down to what you feel is best for you.

As for the exhaust plug, I put it in when I wash the bike so no water gets in the silencer. I leave it in there until I go to ride it. :cry:

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hey red,

thanks a lot for you quick reply all that good info. yeah i'm really torn between the two it's gonna be impossible to know which one feels better to me without riding them, and there's really no way for me to be able to do that, which kinda sucks.

I'm sure I'd be happy with either one, but god forbid I should buy one then ride the other a few months later and realize i'd made a terrible mistake. it would eat me up inside.

on another note thogh, I notice that people keep saying that the Hondas are solid on the track and that the KTM's are great trail riding machines. Which bike would people say is best all-round? I'm still not sure what kind of riding I'll really get into. I expect that I'll do more trail riding but I want to be able to do moto as well.

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IMHO, both red and orange bikes (and blue) are great for the reasons given here, but if this is your first bike, and you are going to ride tight woods, you will be doing yourself an injustice on something larger than a 250.

The CRF450 is probably the best MX bike that I have ever ridden, but since no one has ridden a CRF450X yet, comparisons are somewhat moot. We can assume that it will be great bike given the success of its MX brethren, but it's a bit early to compare it to a KTM. In general KTMs tend to be better tight woods bikes.

Regardless, you will learn more and quicker on a 250. It takes an experienced rider to get a 450 anything through the woods quickly.

If you must, I just rode a KTM EXC450, my WR450FS, and a CRF450 back to back, and the KTM is the easier to ride in tight woods due to among other things its softer bottom end. The WR and CRF both rip off of the bottom.

Good luck whichever you choose.

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no prob beta,

The CRFX would probably be easier to convert to an R because they use the same motor. The SX and EXC use different motors. You could make an EXC track capable (I saw a stock 525 at the track a few weeks back. He was going good too!)but the motor will have a different feel then the SX (smoother and more willing to find traction). To convert the CRF you'd need to change the timing, etc (the factory calms down the R motor by doing several mods) Of course, both bikes would need suspension work for serious track riding.

Even if you can't ride them, at least sit on them. I personally find Hondas cramped (I'm 6'3). Some people of the same height find KTMs cramped so you can see the variances in styles among people. Pick what feels right for you and have a blast.

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This thread gets 13 responses but my Honda 450X or KTM 525EXC thread gets ONE response???????

What's up with that?????????? :cry: :cry: :lol: :lol: :lol::cry: :cry: :cry::lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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I have an crf450 i`m setting up for woods . You wil have to add 1 or 2 teeht to it,a heavier flywheel,oring ,spark arrester,lager tank,a good set of offroad tires,revalve for woods + who knows what .KTM maybe? 250 maybe, a 450 is a lot of bike for a beginner, start slow. I love my crf450! :cry:

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250? Most people have told me that i'm ok to start with a 450 since it's not like i'm used to riding a slow bike and would have to worry about adapting to a new bike (breaking old riding habits). I'd simply be cautious with this one and get used to it as i'd have to get used to any bike. would not most riders agree with that? I just figured the extra power could be useful (especially as I improve), if it's not gonna get the best of me.

What i really want to know now is which bike will be best suited to do all the kind of riding I wanna do WITHOUT having to make changes to it. just hop on and ride where-ever. which would probably be best for that? KTM's are better in the woods, Hondas are better on the tracks. Is one of them more well rounded? Meaning is the KTM better on the track than the Honda is in the Woods; or vise versa?

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too much power has got me out of trouble more than its gotten me into it. i took 4 years off and then bought an xr650r to get back into things (it hauls a$$ in the bush BTW) never found that the power got me into trouble, but when you come up too slow on a nasty uphill, just being able to crack on it and ride right on up is a good thing. Each to their own, i'll take too much power anyday, BTW, im 5'9.5" and 170 with my gear, so it doesnt take a big guy to throw a big bike in the woods. I wouldnt waste my money on a 250F, except maybe on the track. For the same money spent on a new KTM, you can buy a new crf and convert it to what you need. BTW, the honda is heavier, but the frame is pretty much indestructible, thats why. JUst my .02, JR

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Just wondering, why would you buy a bike that's cheaper and spend all that money making it what the other one already is if it's the same money spent in the end? The question I think is regardless of which route you go, in the end, which one is more versatile.

What do you guys think of buying the MX version (of either) which would be cheaper to begin with, and put money into making it offroad? Again, it may end up being close to a wash on the finacial side (or will it?), but I would think you would have a more versatile machine in the end, for close to the same amount of $$ whether you started with a CRF, CRF-X, SX, or EXC. Thoughts? :cry:

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IMO, in stock form it works well for everything..except really tight stuff maybe, like places where you are having to "walk" the bike around big rocks or something of the sort, this is where if you go buy a bigger rear sprocket (2-3 teeth bigger for about $25) then you will be set. I do both trails and mx, so I found it to be good in stock form, just geared a tad high for super tight stuff... or trying to follow someone that is geared lower through tight stuff :cry: Regardless of which bike you end up with, you will need to get a skid plate so you don't smash the frame. Good luck :cry: :cry:

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