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Need Opinions: 2003 KLX400 (new)

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I was looking to buy a Honda CRF230 or CRF250, but today at my local shop they said they had a brand new 2003 KLX400 they received from the manufacturer (along with some 2003 Honda XR's)

They will sell the bike for $4,791 (instead of the MSRP $5,499) Bike is brand new, just out of the box. Comes with warranty etc.

Question is, I had not researched Kawasaki's before so I am not familiar with the bike. I heard it is the same as a Suzuki DRZ-400, but I know nothign about that one either, lol.

So honest opinions:

- Is the bike for that price a good deal?

- Is it dependable?

- Any performance/maintenance issues?

- Sales guy described it as a sheep in wolf's clothing, basically saying it has great performance but isn't a full on racer. I'm not looking to race, so it sounds good... but is that an accurate description?

- Compared to a 2004/2005 Honda CRF-250, which would you buy?

Thanks for any and all opinions!

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It is an ok price, not great because it is 2 years old now. If you plan on selling in a few years then it may not be such a good deal. If you plan to keep it for along time, then its better.

It is the same as the DRZ400, and it is dependable. It really doesn't require anything special for maintenance. It is smooth, quiet and has a bunch or torque. I will agree with the dealer on that description. It's not an mx bike, but for other duties it does well. The suspension components are pretty darn good, best fork I have ridden. I found it handled tight trails pretty well too. They didn't skimp on quality, and I doubt you will be looking for any more power.

Now for some negatives, if you are a small person it may be too big. It is too big for me. Of course it is heavier than the 250's, and bigger engines also have more inertia so they feel heavier when moving them around. It is tall like most bikes now.

I think you need to choose a bike based on what you want more, a 250 or 400. You are comparing 2 bikes with different sized engines and there are huge differences due to that. Don't be lured into a bike due to price, you may not like your decision later. I think you need to compare whether you want a 400 or 250. Do you have hills that a 400's power will come into play? Or maybe you just like big power, and the 250 will feel weak, especially on low end. A drz400 can almost idle up hills that have other 250's screaming, no exageration there.

As to reliability, the crf250 is not very reliable. You can read up on that in the other forum. It's valves have gone bad lightning fast with quite a few people, and they say the 2004 cylinder skirt is guaranteed to crack. A cylinder skirt is not easy to inspect either. I would not consider the 2004 crf at all. You should read the crf250 forum so you know what you are getting into, many current owners have said they would not buy one had they known of all the problems.

I hope this helped some. I used to ponder the 250 vs 400 question, but after riding a 400 for 1500 miles of trail, I know its to big for my size/weight, and skill comes into play as well, which I don't rank that high either.

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Thanks for the info Lolley. buying a bike sure gets complicated when you start wondering if you are making the right decision! Do I buy a bigger bike than I need now, so I don't have to spend money upgrading later, or do I buy what I need now and worry about the future later? Tough decisions.

The 400 is probably a bit bigger than I need since there are no big hills around me unless I take the bike north to West Virginia or thereabouts. I'm in Florida, so it is mostly sand trails.

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Thanks for the info Lolley. buying a bike sure gets complicated when you start wondering if you are making the right decision! Do I buy a bigger bike than I need now, so I don't have to spend money upgrading later, or do I buy what I need now and worry about the future later? Tough decisions.

The 400 is probably a bit bigger than I need since there are no big hills around me unless I take the bike north to West Virginia or thereabouts. I'm in Florida, so it is mostly sand trails.

Power is a nice thing to have in sand too, keep that in mind. I wouldn't reccomend a CRF to anybody at this point, due to the valve problems, I've heard of them going in under 1000 miles, and honda still hasn't done anything to fix them. I think if you do decide to go with the KLX, you should try and talk the dealer down lower, you should be able to get $1000 or so off for a two year old bike.

Hope this helps,

Kevin

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Thanks Kevin. So you think in the low 4,000's would be a fair price? I have noticed the increase in complaints about the CRF-250 and of course it scares me as well. Is the handling of the KLX-400 pretty smooth? Since it is close to 50 lbs heavier than the 250 I just want to make sure I am not getting to far behind the curve for enjoyment. I fully expect to fall down many times while getting used to a new bike since I have been out of it for about 12 years (crashed a YZ-250 pretty bad) so I want to make sure I don't loose the enjoyment of biking by getting in over my head to start. :cry:

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I just looked in the dealer book to see what cost on an '05 is, and it looks like it's been discontinued. Knowing what the typical margain is, and also factoring in what dealer incentives should be, I think it's fair to say that your dealer can go lower.

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Dbunye, did you post this in the DRZ forum? I think you did but I am not sure. Anyway, I just bought a KLX400SR (and LOVE it) brand new for $4300 OTD. The dealer was asking $4900. Make an offer. It's worth what you are willing to pay and no more. My dealer came back to me asking for $4500 and I said "nope, 43 is what I have" and he took it. You gotta remember that the bike is 2 years old already, even if it is new, which means he will want to get it off the floor to make room for '05s. By the way, the KLX400SR (dual sport) was only made in 2003 in the states. It is the exact same bike as the DRZ400...NO differences except color. I took mine on my first dual sport ride, which involved some pretty rough trails, and was thoroughly impressed. I enjoyed every minute of it. Smooth power, nice suspension (maybe just a tad too soft), and handled well. The only thing it needs is a comfier seat but we'll have to wait on that one. I rode all day and have no complaints.

I considerred a CRF250X before I chose my green machine. I like my bikes like I like my women...low maintenance. Sure, those high maintenance ones are fun to play with but at the end of the day you wanna go home with the one that's not gonna make ya go crazy, ya dig?

Not to mention I like having the dual sport because now the world is my playground! No boundaries brother! Whatever you buy, have fun!

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