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KTM 450 EXC VS. 250X

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I have always been interested in a KTM 450 EXC but never had an opportunity to get any real seat time on one.

I've had alot of down time with the X lately, so I went out and bought a slightly used 04' 450 EXC last weekend.

My intentions are to ride this while the X is down and until KW comes out with SS valves for the X. During that time, I can get aquainted with the 450 and decide which bike I prefer to keep in my garage.

I've only had the chance to do one ride on the 450, but here are impressions of the bike:

(I know that we are comparing apples to pumpkins here, but I know of many people who are interested in both bikes)

1. The power of the 450 is absolutely perfect for me and my liking. It has tons of power everywhere and the power is jawdropping 😢

The power is very smoothe and controllable with a good hit that gets that front wheel up easily in any gear.

To me, it feels just like the power delivery of the X, only 200 CC's more.

2. Suspension: Bone stock, it simply cannot compare (or even come remotely close) to the amazing boingers on the X.

I immediately felt stuff that I never felt on the X. I am 175lbs, which is what the stock suspension on the 450 was designed for. But if I keep, it is still going to the shop to get revalved. I've always known that the X's suspension is great, but this only reconfirms it.

3. Handling: The bike felt very light. I really didnt notice much of a weight difference from the X. The KTM carried it's wieght very low, like the X does. However, the steering was very unimpressive. The front end was very twitchy and unstable. It washed out very easily and had lots of head shake at any real speed. This is even with the forks rasied up a bit, like many KTM riders recommend.

This is just not a bike that you can point and steer as easily as the X. It also vibrated quite a bit. I even rattled one of the nuts off of the engine mounting bolt on the ride. Definately need to loktight everything down on this bike.

All in all, it is a great bike. Better than many of the other 450's that I've ridden. But it is just difficult to be impressed with any bike after riding a bike with the amazing suspension and handling of the X.

However,

The power of this bike has more of a "fun factor" to me over the X. The power response gives me something that I desperately miss when riding the X. Dont get me wrong. We all know that the X has plenty of power for a 250. But it just doesnt have the snappyness that I love when riding dirtbikes.

There are some adustments that I will be making to the 450 to get it setup for me. And I know it will take me some time to learn to steer the 450 better.

But as much as I love the amazing power of the KTM, I am not ready to trade it for the X yet. But I hear the KW will be about 4 more weeks (or more) before they release the SS valves. So I'll have some time to make up my mind.

😢

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Nice report Motomanfan,

Did you find out what happened to the 250x yet? I have always liked the 450 KTM but here in the East I think it would be a little to much weight wise and power wise. At 43 years old I have owned alot of bikes and tried alot of different types of racing. I am now at the point where I don't want a bike that I have to try hard to keep it under control. Like a 250 mx bike as a woods weapon. I have decided that I want to race Harescrambles next year. I am staying with my Honda. 😢

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A 450X would be right up my ally if I wasnt so concerned about the valve issues that I've had with the X 😢

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Great review!

Your liking the KTM for fun factor is why I still ride my WR426. BUT - the WR doesn't vibrate, doesn't headshake, has a great suspension for a big bike, is very fun and predictable and turns very well - all in all a great (but heavy) bike (I moded the engine with auto-decompression cam and a different exhaust).

I too had plans on getting a CRF450X mostly because I figured it would be a little lighter and have an e-start. I'm going to fix any problems I might have with the 250x as it is worth the effort for now, but no more hondas for me - I need to have complete confidence in a bike - and with the 02wr there just aren't any problems!

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the 250x i rode had pretty nice suspension. i don't think it's any better than my revalved 250sx tho. it's nice that someone finally put nicely valved woods suspension on a stock bike. i think if you take your 450 to dick's racing in roseville and have them revalve it, you will be very pleased with the results.

-mark

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So now lets hear how you REALY feel about the 450EXC. Yesterdays ride may have sealed the deal eh???? 😢

Bye Bye red ponie?? 😢

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😢 :cry:

The changes we made to the supsension settings really helped smooth the susspension out. It's still not quite as plush as the X is in the slow stuff, but performs better than the X on the the bigger hits and jumps. Once I learned to steer the bike, I actually enjoyed the way you steer the KTM more with the rear.

Its a very sweet bike indeed.

But no, I'm gonna give it some more time to decide which one to keep.

Good ride yesterday, Cisco.

Thanks for having me and the family up for the weekend.

If we end up going to Disneyland next month, lets sneak the bikes in and do wheelies up and down Main Street 😢

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An opinion on the CRF250x from a KTM 450EXC owner... 😢

I'm a fairly newbie here, started riding dirt last year on a DRZ and quickly realized I wanted a pumpkin! Bought a 04 450EXC this spring and couldn't be happier. Have done a lot of the recommended mods, JD kit, GPR steering damper, etc, etc... nothing major. Getting to the point where I'm pretty comfy on it and truly happy with it.

Finally talked my buddies wife into letting him get a bike! 😢 So we go and get him (malibu3) a CRF250x last week. Spent the weekend riding and had a great time. I got to spend some time on the 250x and liked it alot. It made good power, very smooth, with no real hard hit or down low grunt power like my 450, but it did make smooth power thru the entire rpm range, would even pull the front wheel in 1-3 if you got on it. It didn't have the low end I was expecting, I tried to lug it around once like I am used to doing on the 450 and it died on me, almost put me over the bars. But as long as you keep it revved up you have plenty of power. Not 450 power, 😢 but enough... lol

I know the bike is lighter but didn't notice the weight difference at all. I was really worried going into the weekend that I would fall in love with how light it was, but I didn't. Not saying it's heavy, just saying it wasn't the day and night differece I saw when I went DRZ to KTM.

The suspension was great... no complaints there. I did feel a little skittish as I also got real used to my steering damper, so without one it felt real squirly. I know apples and oranges here (get it?) but from what I could tell it did handle well. I wouldn't say better than my bike, just different and equally as well. Would take some more time to see if I liked one or the other better.

Final thoughts... overall very nice bike, but not in the least bit tempted to go trade in the ktm like I thought might have happened. I love the power of the 450 and all the other little things that go along with the ktm (read: hydraulic clutch 😢 ) I think it's going to be a great bike for him! Now if I can just get him to listen to me about what to do to it... 😢

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Motoman

I was thinking about your bike handling issues we talked about and wanted to see if you had tried some of the suggestion that were givin to you - and then I stumble apon this post. Good to see your working out some of the issues - the KTMs take some time to dial in and like you mentioned - getting used to steering with the rear wheel - it is fun!!

I do agree the X is a fun bike!! If I could get another bike I would consider the X - BUT I aint givin up my Pumpkin - she's been tooooo good to me!! Best bike I've ever owned!!

Ride On 😢

DP400

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Hey DP,

You gonna ride with us at Cow Mountain this weekend?

Bill said you were wanting to ride Stony. But come ride with us at C.M.

😢

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MMF

If not this time we will have to hook up at Cow or Middle Creek. 😢

dp

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Nice comparisons between the bikes.

Thanks for taking the time to share the perspectives.

This isn't a "X" comparison, but may add some information about the "R"--

I have about equal numbers of hours on my '04 CRF250R and '04 450EXC. The 250R has modified off-road suspensionvalving, 18" rim, and other off-road add-ons. I really notice the difference in weight between these 2 bikes. The power clearly favors the 450, but the 250 makes good use of it's power and has top-end to keep up with the bigger bikes where we usually ride.

Any rides that are woods oriented and using lower gears are the times I take the CRF250R. Higher altitudes and higher speeds make me want to use the 450EXC. The 6th gear in the 450EXC makes it walk away from smaller bikes in open spaces. The EXC fits me better (at 6'2") right off the showroom. It's more spacious. The CRF needed bar risers and pegs moved back for my comfort.

Each of these bikes has it's strengths and I can't entirely choose between them other than where we ride on any given day. I would have to say that in most cases, the CRF250R is more fun because of it's light weight, suspension performance, steering, braking, and overall feel.

James

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Couldn't agree more, James. 😢

I love my '03 KTM 450 EXC.... It's been a great do-all bike - and very reliable.

Got the wife a 250X and did the break-in for her out in the deep, dark Pacific Northwest woods. Was *very* impressed by it's handling and low-speed manners in the tight and twisties.

Then I rode it at the Euro GP out in Goldendale, WA. (Open, fast, high-desert terrain.) Then it felt a bit underpowered, a little short (I'm 6' and 2xx lbs.), and just a bit twitchy here and there. In that environment, I was missing my bigger, longer, comfy Katoom w/ the bigger mo-mo.

I love the Katoom's stablity, power, reliability, no rear shock linkage, easy as pie air filter swap, and it's easy adjust valves.

I love the 250X's flickability, fantastic suspension, easy to check valve clearances, less compression-braking, and classic Honda fit-n-finish.

I dislike the Katooms wooden seat, TWO oil filters_TWO screens, and less than plush-plush front suspension. On the Honda - I dislike the tighter airbox, and horrid carb access (frame blocks it). And I HATE the intake valve problem (we're on our second set).

Bottom line?

If I had the money/garage space - I buy and ride the 250X in the woods ... and my Katoom 450 in the faster, more-open riding areas and GP races.

Both are great bikes ... and both have their specific strengths and weaknesses. I'd like to have both. 😢

Hmmm..... 450X..... 😢

Cheers! - RandyB

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This discussion is the reason why I kept the Katoom after buying the R. Each bike has its strengths and are both great to ride depending on the terrain. 😢

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I own both the 04 ktm 450exc and the 250x. I thought the 250x was going to be the best thing since sliced bread that honda can produce. The 450 is a 10 compared to the 250x. Honda made it almost impossible to jet the bike without taking it appart. This is my first Honda 4stroke and it seem it is missing something in every comparison. I recently bought a 04 KTM 200exc ( a two stroke) and thought I was nuts to try one. I have to say that this 200cc bike should win every shootout against the 250x in every catagory.

Dale

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I have an 05 KTM 450 EXC and rode a CRF250X on numerous ocasions. Always at the end of the day I always felt bored on the little 250 and always wanted my 450 back.

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It like comparing an apple with a bigger orange. You can't really do it, they are not in the same catagory. Besides I love my X just as I am sure you love your KTM.

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It like comparing an apple with a bigger orange. You can't really do it, they are not in the same catagory. Besides I love my X just as I am sure you love your KTM.

Agree on this one... In tight woods, on the 250X, I think I can run away from myself on my 450 EXC. In a more open area, I can ride my EXC faster/easier than the 2fiddy.

Different horses for different courses... - rb

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What is it about the KTM geometry that you steer the bike more with the rear of the bike?

Also, in fairness how does the CRF250X compare to the KTM 250EXC Racing? (This apple & orange are at least the same size)

Along the same lines how do you guys think the 450X will stack up to the 450EXC or 450MXC? They're about the same price.

Thanks! 😢

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