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Torn between three bikes. . .

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New to Thumpertalk, and I wanted to first ask possibly one of the most frequent questions: which bike would I be best suited to? The three I am considering are a basically new XR400, a low-mileage CRF 450, and a KTM 450EXC. I'll probably use the bike at some point for dual-sport and extend my riding into late fall and early spring with the possibility of light MX or trail. I already have a Ducati, so I know the drill for high-maintenance bikes, but I'd perfer a more reliable bike if I'm out in the elements. I have done some reaserch on weights, power, and valves. But in real-world use, how do these stack up? Thanks for any opinions.

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largely depends on your experience. The 450 bikes you mention are high performance compared to the xr400. but the xr 400 is stone reliable, won't leave you stranded although the 450's are also very reliable. if youre not scared by the additional maintenance i'd go with the 450 whichever fits you better and has better/closer dealer. I was torn between the ktm and honda but went honda because it was more comfortable and it was a honda. nothing wrong with the new orange bikes though just I've been down the euro road before and got burned and since staying japenese i've been happier. Just my .02

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Now the first thing you have to ask yourself who do you ride with? If your riding buddies all have XR type bikes get the XR. If they have CRs/CRFs get the CRF, same with the KTM. All the trails/tracks can be ridden on with any of these bikes. XR will be lower maint with higher weight/less suspension. Plenty of items out there on the aftermarket to spend money on. Who is the best will stocked dealers in your area? Because you have a "Duck" you probley will swing towards the KTM. You just can't go wrong with todays bikes, but get the style of bike that your buddies have. Don't want to ride the duck with a bunch of gold wingers.

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It sounds like your new to the off road scene...and with that, I say buy the XR. Its as reliable as the sunrise, will practically run without gas, is fairly light, handles decent and you wont get yourself into trouble with too much power right out of the gate. Not to mention they're fairly cheap. And selling one is as easy as putting an ad in the paper...it'll be gone in a day or so...

XR's should be legislated into being first-bike bikes.

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Thanks for the quick posts. Yeah, I'm kinda new to the recent dirt bikes. I used to have an old YZ back in the day, but haven't done much with bikes that steer with the back tire lately. I've ridden a CRF 450, and it's a completely amazing bike-just think and it's doing what you want. I just can't see the maintenance that's required on a Honda. The Duc I have isn't that finicky. As far as who I ride with, There are guys owning CRFs and a KTM. I just haven't ridden the XR400. It sounds like a solid nike, I'm unsure if I'd outgrow the performance of what it offers.

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I would highly recommend a Suzuki DRZ400s for the type of riding your looking at. Like the XR, it requires very little maintenance and has enough power to get through and over anything you want, without too much power to get you in trouble. It's also street legal for dual sporting and has electric start. If you get into real "hard core" offroading, you'd be better off with the KTM or the CRF450 (I'd get the X over the R) and installing a Trick Dual Sport Kit.

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If you're going to be mostly trail riding, the XR comes ready to go. If you want to turn the CRF in to a trail/woods machine you're probably going to need to spend some money and time on it. For a trail machine, comparing the price of the XR and CRF isn't really a good comparison. One is ready to go, and the other will probably require several hundred dollars expenditure on aftermarket goodies.

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DRZ 400E is YOUR best bike in my opinion. Much better ride than the XR400 (I have had both). EXC and CRF (I have an EXC) are both great but definately need more maintenance (oil changes, valve checks/adjustments). The DRZ is a little overweight, but has plenty of power and a good suspension.

Seems that I see quite a few left over DRZ's also, which can save some $.

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i say go with the ktm450exc. first of all if u ever want to dual sport it you can cuz it already has the lights and the wide ratio transmission perfect for the road and the trails. the crf is going to to put you into a money proplem cuz you got to buy the lights for it and change the gearing around if u want to dualsport it also, pluse its a mx bike its ment for the track. the xr is a great bike i had 2 xrs when i was younger and they were soild but i think you will outgrow the power on the bike also, pluse its heavier than the other 2.

im surprise that nobody said anything about the wr450f yet. its a great bike and the motor is bulletproof. it also has a wideratio trans so it would be great off road and on the road and it comes with teh lights too.

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Stay with Red!!

I am a die hard honda guy ,but this guys wants some real advice and the HONDA CRF is the last bike he needs ,unless you are talking about the tank I mean XR .

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Go with the DRZ400e, not the S unless you specifically want a dual sport bike. The e is lighter than the S and is a great trail bike, at a good price and is very reliable. It holds alot more oil than an mx bike and so you don't have to change the oil every ride and worry about your valves exploding every other ride. It is very easy to ride in nasty conditions, will climb just about any hill and can putt along all day or haul when you crank the throttle. I take mine everywhere, and will choose it over my CRF anyday for an extended trail ride since it is so much easier to ride and less tiring for long rides. If you plan on riding the track, the CRF can't be beat, but it doesn't make a great trail bike. I know many people buy them and ride them offroad, but unless you change the sprockets, flywheel, buy protection, etc they are not easy to ride, and the stall and kick factor can be a real bummer on a long ride.

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The Suzuki is a decent bike and all, but what do you think will move out of your garage quicker, an XR or a DRZ...its kind of a no brainer there...

Also, garauntee yourself this: You will grow out of the XR if you ride it more than once a month for half the year. You'll want to sell this "stepping stone" bike. Thats why I recommend the XR. Well, that and the fact that its crazy reliable, your 9 year old daughter can start it and maitenence on it is almost zero except maybe the air filter. A guy down the street from me has an XR400 hes had for at least ten years...he called me the other day to find out what kind of oil to put in it.....let me say that again...HE'S HAD THE BIKE FOR TEN YEARS...DOESNT KNOW WHAT KIND OF OIL TO PUT IN IT....Tires were flat...chain kinked from sitting outside since the last time he rode it...a year ago...F'n thing started on the third kick...

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don't be so sure you're gonna grow out of an XR400 so soon. there is plenty of power there and more than enough to get you into trouble very quickly, especially here in michigan. once the stocker has bored you, you can mod it to get more power out of it. the only downside to it is the weight and the suspension. it's heavy, and the suspension hasn't had an upgrade since... 2000? it can be made better with the right springs and valving, and i suggest it's the best idea here.

that being said, i've ridden with guys out here who flat out FLY on that thing.

my buddy has a WR426 and i'm telling you it's a lot of ******* work. he's had that motor apart (cases split) TWICE in three years. last time i rode it, i noticed his front wheel bearings are SHOT. it's a nice ride, great suspension, lots of power, but jexxus, not the most reliable thing and certainly more work. also, these high-rev engines aren't fun at all in the tight singletrack that you can find here and there (Evart, for instance). once it's on the open trail it's a screamer, but in really tight he has to keep the rev's up and use the clutch to get power out of it. i like the DR-Z for the reasons already stated, but the thing is HEAVY and its suspension is both crappy (too soft) and not as easy to upgrade as one might think. and search the forums about the fellow who's swingarm bolt rusted solid into the sleeve that passes through the motor. he tried to remove it using several tricks and finally MELTED HIS SWINGARM OFF with a torch. can you imagine? the DR-Z guys were saying "been there, done that, drilled and tapped the bolt and wrenched it out, and now i take the swingarm off once a year." errrr....

i've ridden a KTM only one time, thought it was a good bike, nice grunt and good suspension (near as i could tell) but it was expensive, not just to buy, but to maintain. i.e. the rear spring on an XR400 can be replaced for about 75$. the special progressive rear spring on the KTM is about 110$. the brembo brake parts, etc make things just a bit more expensive. i have no idea how much maintenance is required. KTMs are very popular here in michigan. i probably saw 40 of em at the Rites of Spring.

remember, on most trails here you're only gonna get about 200 feet before you have to slow and turn. but there are times when you're going to go down a steep 35 foot hill, turn a wickedly sharp right hand corner, and then back up just as steep. the XR400 allows you to do all that in 2nd gear, damn near come to a complete stop, and then lug the hell up the other side.

when you're done, just wash it down and put it in the shed.

my 2 cents.

best of both worlds? i think it's YZMAN (from michigan as well) who has an XR and a YZ400. don't be afraid to post this same question on the "north" forum. plenty of guys with different bikes who are riding the same trails you'll be riding.

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