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450X - WR450 - EXC450 - Which is the better bike?

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I've done a fair bit of reading and research on the web, and on this site - Thanks to everyone who contributes for the info. I know all about the technical specs of each machine, however I've not been able to find a review that objectively compares all three machines from an enduro racer or trail rider's perspective.

I'm in Calgary, AB - there may be the occassional trip to the desert, but most riding and virtually all racing will be in the CDN rockies - terrain is cut lines/forest roads, single track, technical climbs, and loose rock. My background includes roadracing, racing motocross and crosscountry. I'm 5'9", 175lbs, fit and have strong technical skills. I've always ridden 2 strokes off-road, but I'm thinking it might be time for a thumper - and, I've been outa the loop for a couple years!

I'd like to make a decision in the next couple weeks so I can get on the bike! Please put in your 2 bits - I'd appreciate it. If you think a bike other than the three I'm thinking about would be better, please include it. Cheers! :naughty:

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Here is my take...

The X will surely be a good bike, but there are some top end issues and even though it is based on the "R" it is in many ways a first year bike. IMO stay away from any first year run. Honda has made significant changes to address weaknesses in the "R" each year. Will they have to with the "X"?

WR, Great bike, great power Maybe a good choice for you, but they tend to feel more top heavy as the center of Grav. is higher due to the dual overhead cams. I feel the power delivery is more abrupt than the KTM. Plus the Plastic looks old and tired fast. THe '05 has a smaller tank that may limit your range.

The KTM will be easier to adjust valves than either of the above (10mm socket and a screw driver, not bucket/shim like above) The KTM is 7 lbs lighter than the X and 8 Lbs lighter than the WR.

The KTM will be more finiky to set up the suspension and is messier to change the oil (2 filters/2 screens)

Pick your poison.

For a trail rider, I'd go KTM

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Being that you have read and investigated you should really know what the advantages are. The ktm is a purpose built enduro machine, the others are knock offs of the respective MX machine. The ktm is lighter and comes stock with many things that are aftermarket on the others. Braided lines, fat bars, speedo etc etc. The best thing to do is go look at each and look at the craftsmanship. KTM is better IMHO.

We can type all day on this, because it is a subjective topic. Nobody is going to yell at the top of there lungs to convince you to get the ktm. But most that ride the others and then come over to the orange side, quickly relize the difficencies of the other two. We can say bad things about the others and only good about the KTM. But is boils down to a gut feel and the experience of people who have had both. You have to have some trust and faith. Just know that the KTM is a better, lighter, and easier to ride bike. You, having experience will appreciate it. Go sit on all three and throw them around a bit the KTM will be your choice.

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Of course being a KTM rider, I would go with the KTM. I got to ride a 450X last weekend, it;s a really nice bike. It feels lighter than it looks, but felt to me like it carried it's weight a little higher than an EXC. The power delivery was nice, pretty linear, with good pull off the bottom. I didn't ride it much, just a quick test ride, so I couldn't say too much about suspension and handling, though I think both are probably fine. For most it's a matter of fit and feel, and I am most comfortable on a KTM. :D

By the way, we're about the same size, I'm 5'9" 170, and the KTM fits me perfectly, most other bikes seem to have a little higher seat height. :naughty:

Check out the latest Dirt Rider magazine for an eight bike comparison of the 450 enduro bikes. :naughty:

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I can't comment on the two other bikes, but I have the 05 525 EXC and boy do I LOVE IT! Hauls butt when you want, but can go as slow as you want :naughty: You sure can't go wrong going KTM :naughty:

Two things I wish KTM would do though:

Softer seat

&

Bigger gas tank

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I can't comment on the two other bikes, but I have the 05 525 EXC and boy do I LOVE IT! Hauls butt when you want, but can go as slow as you want :naughty: You sure can't go wrong going KTM :naughty:

Two things I wish KTM would do though:

Softer seat

&

Bigger gas tank

Amen!!! (Note that a softer seat and larger gas tank are easily remedied.)

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I recently chose the 450EXC, but I can't really say I did a thorough comparison. Aside from reading what I could in magazines, my reasons were;

- 450X kept being delayed here in Canada and it's a first year bike whose close relatives seem to have some valve/reliability issues. Frankly I discount those a little (though I'm sure there's some truth there) but the KTM seems to be a proven design in a lightweight (for a thumper) package. Until shortly before I made my decision I was convinced I was getting the 450X.

- Local Yamaha dealer not that strong and I had heard about a "top-heavy" feel to the WR. Lots of people really like them though and I'm sure it's a great bike.

- 450EXC seems to be known for it's stock features and general quality level. I went to see one at my local dealer and that seemed to come through to my eyes. I also appreciated the dealer - they are very small but seemed knowledgable and easy to do business with.

- I have also given my share of business to Honda and, though I really like Honda's, I was ready to try something different.

Maybe not great reasons, but they're mine!

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The ktm is lighter and comes stock with many things that are aftermarket on the others. Braided lines, fat bars, speedo etc etc. The best thing to do is go look at each and look at the craftsmanship. KTM is better IMHO.

We can type all day on this, because it is a subjective topic. Nobody is going to yell at the top of there lungs to convince you to get the ktm. But most that ride the others and then come over to the orange side, quickly relize the difficencies of the other two.

I have to agree with Zekedawg. The KTM definitely comes with lots of stuff most people end up replacing or upgrading anyway. With the KTM you already get it.

Also, many riders who have had Japanese bikes and then gone to KTM realize the higher build quality. I've gone from Japanese to KTM, back to Japanese, and back to KTM. The Japanese bikes were good, but the KTM is better built.

So I would say as far as quality, KTM has it.

Now you have to decide which one you want.

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I have a 05 KTM 300exc (2-stk) and a 05 WR450 -- both are awesome bikes. I can say nothing but good things about each and the companies who make them. I have had more small issues with the KTM and it's in the shop getting the suspension tweaked. The WR has been problem free, but you must do the (easy) free mods to unleash it.

I would not touch a Honda 450X given that it's a first year bike (read about the 250X nightmares) -- it's heavy, high maintenance and expensive.

Since you want a 4-stk, I would really look at the KTM525; not to "diss" the KTM450, but you can get a WR for $1k less. If I were going to pay that much more and deal with the additional KTM 4-stk maintenance and suspension tweaking, I'd get the 525 -- otherwise I'd get the WR and put the $1k in mutual fund and save up for a 300exc (which would rule where you are riding).

Elton

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I demo'd the WR, YZF, CRF-R (not x - wasn't available yet) and the exc. The KTM was a 'oh wow'! riding experience, and I'm now a proud owner of an 05 450exc. I have put almost 200 miles on it, and I've found nothing to change my mind. Also, Dirt Rider's current issue has the 24 hour 450 shootout results(8 bike manufacturers participated), and the KTM won hands down :naughty: . (5 out of 8 first place votes). What's interesting is that all 8 bikes recieved a lot of favorable press, but in the end the 450exc got 5 1st place, 2 2nd place, and one 3rd place vote. None of the other 8 bikes had that kind of showing. Read that article, it should help you out.

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Amen!!! (Note that a softer seat and larger gas tank are easily remedied.)

Yep, it'll cost about $350 though :naughty:

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Since you want a 4-stk, I would really look at the KTM525; not to "diss" the KTM450, but you can get a WR for $1k less. If I were going to pay that much more and deal with the additional KTM 4-stk maintenance and suspension tweaking, I'd get the 525 --

You should pick the 525 or the 450 based on your needs, not just the fact that they are close in price. The comparative bargain will not be much comfort if you find you've got too much motor for your riding/racing style.

I agree about the first year deal. Honda has had some pretty shaky introductions of new motors and frames over the last few years.

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It depends on on which forum you ask this question. :naughty:

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WoooHooo! Got a 300EXC - thanks to everyone who contributed, I appreciate the info. The 300EXC I think suits my needs best, it's the bike I first considered, but they were all sold out for the year up here in Alberta. BUT... I found one in Montana, AND they're significantly cheaper in the US than in Canada (even after the exchange rate). Unfortunately, I'm gonna be crazy busy until the end of the month, so I probably won't be able to pick it up 'till May, but at least I got what I wanted!

Cheers! :naughty:

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Excellent choice; you will LOVE it! :naughty: 525 power, 30lbs lighter, low maintenance, crazy fun :naughty:

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WoooHooo! Got a 300EXC - thanks to everyone who contributed, I appreciate the info. The 300EXC I think suits my needs best, it's the bike I first considered, but they were all sold out for the year up here in Alberta. BUT... I found one in Montana, AND they're significantly cheaper in the US than in Canada (even after the exchange rate). Unfortunately, I'm gonna be crazy busy until the end of the month, so I probably won't be able to pick it up 'till May, but at least I got what I wanted!

Cheers! :naughty:

I hear that is one nice machine. You'll love it :naughty: Congrats

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Test rode the 450X today. Seems like a very nice bike. Well equiped and typical Honda quality fit, finish and design. Doesn't seem to need any mods like the 250X for decent power. Was extremely QUIET!!! I'm sorry but when Honda makes it this quiet it only begs owners to buy some loud, expensive system. May be the future of the sport but at least I can hear my stock 450EXC muffler and still not encite the locals. My only complaint is how much stuff is sticking out from the right side of the motor. The headpipe looks to just begging to hit the ground. Waterpump etc. seemed wide and poorly protectedby a plastic guard.

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