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Reliability KTM four strokes

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I just got back into riding since my son started this year and am having a great time trail riding.

I bought a new XR250 and sorry now I didn't get the 400.

I'm thinking of getting XR400. I also love the KTM450EXC and know it's more than I need but what a plush powerful bike.

My question is: the XR400 is very reliable. The new Honda CRF four strokes seem to be having some issues with valve wear. I hate to spend big bucks and then be spending more time and money on head work.

How are the KTM 4 strokes in this area?

My primary goal is trial riding and I know the XR400 will be great but the KTM is tempting especially if I get a good deal on a new one.

Thanks for your input as to the KTM reliability.

Mark

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the XR 400 is past it's time. Buy the KTM they are great bikes. ELECTRIC start is important for a old guy back into the sport. I have seen so many XR riders kicking their bikes on the trails and kicking them. when you stall in a up hill rock section it's great to drop the clutch and hit that happy button, then get back into the flow before you lose all timing and have to let the bike fall and pick it up and kick that lame kick starter.

XR 400 is a dinosaur bike. It was legendary....big time enduro pros rode the xr for years........but now in my humble opion it's yesteryear's bike.

Yes all the competetion 4 strokes need attention to valves. If you want a jap bike look at the Yamaha 450 wrf it has a good valve train history. i'll let these KTM guys tell you about KTMs

I know about DRZs the R stands for reliabilty and a DRZ E model is electric start but you got your eye on a KTM GO 4 IT.

lots of guys ride KTM and lots of tech help on those bikes here and at KTM talk.com

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I would look at it as if there are two or three "types" of engines, each available in different levels. The Honda XR type, the KTM LC4 type, the DRZ etc are heavy old school engines that live forever. First Husqvarna, then Huseberg, then KTM and most recently each of the Japanese, Beta (by KTM), Gas Gas, VOR and yet another generation of Husqvarna are much closer to "Race" engines where they have made some compramises in longevity to get the weight down close to two stroke levels. Then some of those are offered with Ti valves to make them more racy yet.

As for the Enduro group of lightweight but not going to the extream of Ti valaves KTM has built more of these that all te rest put togther. KTM makes both the Enduro series and the MotoCross with TI valves in the 450 & 525 SX. How long those last is directly tied to how good of batch of TI the supplier had, some can be a nightmare, some just fine, I have drive two Infinity Q45's past the 100K mark with Ti and never given it a thought, 03 KTM 450SX, well some had a life expectancy measured in hours? They rectified that mid year, my Husky has Ti and the Honda that you have heard of having problems did as well.

If you get an EXC or MXC they are good fro quite a few miles but you do need to adjust them fairly often. The best thing about riding these, lots of input on sorting out the snivels avalable here & KTMTalk (I follow both).

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I am a huge XR fan and will always own one. But, I ride my KTM more often because of the greater fun factor, handling and most importantly suspension. I am not mechanically inclined and I don't have time for wrenching on my bikes. That said, I get along with my KTM 400 just fine. For sure the KTM requires more upkeep than the XR, but it is certainly not excessive. If it were, I would/could not own one. Best of all, IF you do keep up with basic maintenance, I've found my KTM and many of my riding buddy's KTMs to be very very reliable. I'm 100% trail, no racing, so I don't stress the motor with prolonged high RPM riding like some. That helps, but I also feel that KTM has a very sound motor design and quality control. Mine is approaching 5,000 trouble free miles and I am looking forward to many more.

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Mine is approaching 5,000 trouble free miles and I am looking forward to many more.
That should tell you something right there. All of these units will last a long time if you put a little effort into them. If for instance you have to adjust the valves every 30 hours, that can equate to 15 rides give or take, and if you ride 1-2 per month, that is a valve adjustment per year. My buddy has a 525 (now a 540) that he rides HARD 3 times a week, gnarly hill climbs and hammering the clutch all day. He had to rebuild the top end once in two year, if i had to guess I would say that he had close to 500 hours on that top end before it went. After seeing that bike, I have no doubts about the KTM reliability.

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I just sold an '02 520 EXC when I bought another one--525 EXC. I had it 3 years, checked valve adjustment 3 times, first time no adj. needed, second time after about 2 years, intakes almost tight, (they run less than .003"), the last time I checked it before selling it last month it was ok, intakes closed up about .001", but still ok. So based on my experience they're ok.

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I sold a DRZ 400 and went a KTM 450 MX/C two years ago and have never looked back. I have 7500 miles on it and no major issues. I've worn things out, broken things in crashes but the bike has run flawlessly. I have lot's of friends riding orange and they also don't have any major issues. The only down side to the KTM vs the Honda is the maintenance schedule. I spend more time working on the KTM doing routine maintenance. The speed, power, and handling make is all worth it. I have a bud who claims to have 18K on his KTM and the motor has never been opened up... I think he may be full of #$$%^, but who's to say.

Morgan

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I've worn things out, broken things in crashes but the bike has run flawlessly.

Ditto!

I put a little over 10k miles on my 02 400exc before I sold it. I'm an easy rider but the kid I sold it to (my employee) rides it like a motocrosser and has put another 2.5k on it. The engine has never been apart.

We are going to replace the cam chain, gears, bearings and anything else it might need in a few weeks.

I sold an xr4 for the 02 400exc and liked it so much that I've replaced it with an 04 400exc.

I have a bud who claims to have 18K on his KTM and the motor has never been opened up... I think he may be full of #$$%^, but who's to say.

If my experience so far is any indication, that may very well be true.

.

.

.

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I own a 03 450 sx and have the valve problem. I have the hole bike apart and getting ready to buy new parts.I need to replace most top end parts. Iam not shure were to buy. maby you could give me some direction. It would be much apparatied.

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Rode XR4 for years (including Baja etc...) Great bike, perfect buddy bike and other than a broken throttle cable and a stripped shift shaft (which required a case split) it was really a good bike.

I then went to KTM400 (now 453) and am totally happy.

The KTM requires more frequent oil changes, and valve checks but I would not hesitate to reccomend one.

Rod

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My 02 400 EXC is about as reliable as it gets for a dirt bike. Change the oil often, check the valves, and just ride it!

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I have an 02 520 EXC--I'm moving into my 4th riding season with it--I like running the piss out of it (currently 3,500 miles of desert and enduro) 😢 ---however I never let the oil go beyond 200 miles between changes--Results--checked the valves once but they were perfect.

You do have to keep up everything else vs. XR--I've owned 5---but keep fresh oil in that engine and it will rumble for a long long time. 😢

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Buy the KTM.

I had to make this same decision in 03. I'm old now, and I'm back into riding. I was all set to buy an XR400, but then I went for a ride on my friends MXC520. Well, the 520 was too much power, but the "button" had me sold on KTM. (In addition to the modern bike design) I had a hard time kicking 4 strokes when I was younger. I've been on my 02 400EXC for a year and a half, and the maint. is not that drastic from the XR. There is a difference in price, but you get what you pay for.

If I had to do it today, I might look at the 05 CRF450-X. But then I found out the price is within $200 of the KTM, so I'd still have to go with KTM based on the reliability factor.

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I own a 03 450 sx and have the valve problem. I have the hole bike apart and getting ready to buy new parts.I need to replace most top end parts. Iam not shure were to buy. maby you could give me some direction. It would be much apparatied.

Travis from tracksidemoto, Munn's racing, Kibblewhite, KTMworld all would be able to help you.

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I have an 02 520 EXC--I'm moving into my 4th riding season with it--I like running the piss out of it (currently 3,500 miles of desert and enduro) 😢 ---however I never let the oil go beyond 200 miles between changes--Results--checked the valves once but they were perfect.

Valve stretch has nothing to do with how often you change your oil. If you've only checked your valves once in 3500 miles, you're running on borrowed time. KTM valves stretch and need to be checked on occasion. The EXC/MXC valves are more dependable than some of the Ti valved SX's but they still need some attention. I also go no longer than 200 miles on my oil changes and my valves still need to be adjusted every 25 hours or so.

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I adjusted mine only 3 times in a little over 10k miles. I imagine it has a lot to do with how hard you ride the bike. Production variances probably make a difference also.

Some of my oil changes were at the 900 to 1k mark on long trips in Colorado.

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