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Rethinking my choice in the WR; need a bit of advice please

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Hi all, I'm hoping for a bit of advice here, and I realize that this is the KTM forum, but a lot of guys here ride other makes too. I'm terribly frustrated at the moment, and I could really use some help.

First, a bit of background...I do a lot of mixed riding; dunes several times a year, moab a few times a year, some singletrack, some light trail/fireroad. I need a bike with a bit of power for sand/etc, but that will be ok in other areas too. I'm 5'8" with a 29" inseam.

I though I had found the perfect bike in the WR; YZ cam modded, grey wire, JD kit, Scotts stabilizer, protapers, opened up airbox, Q2 w/ powerbomb, etc.

But I'm having a few significant problems with this bike.

First; I drop it; ALL the damn time! In moab several times I put my foot down in nothing but air and ended up dropping it. It's 1/2 because the bike is so top heavy, and 1/2 because it's so tall. If it gets beyond a certain angle (which happens at times because my legs are so short) it's going down, no questions asked. And if it stalls, there really isn't much selection in where I'm going to plant my foot.

Monday at American Fork canyon we were doing a tight singletrack, and I literally had to ask for my buddies help getting the bike out of a few sections because I couldn't get back on the bike to ride it out. :D And another time, I damn near dropped the bike off the edge of a 200' cliff because I couldn't touch the ground anywhere, and it stalled. REALLY scared me.

Second; it just feels really heavy and tall to me (which it is). I'm not a big guy, but I feel like a kid riding his daddie's bike sometimes. On the real steep sections of the singletrack saturday, there was no option but to ride it (wasn't even near walkable). By the end of a section I'd be hanging on for dear life by the handlebars, feet dangling in the air. Uuuugh. And thank Yamaha for the estart! There is NO way I could have gotten on it and kickstarted it in many of those sections.

So; I guess the problem is that the bike is big, and I am not. It's tall and top heavy.

So, do I deal with it? Sag is set correctly and the suspension is probably not perfect, but shouldn't be too far off. Can't really make it lighter; it's a pig, and that's what the bike is. Can't lower it without totally screwing up the geometry of the suspensions.

Or, do I sell it and get a KTM of which I know nothing about (2" shorter seat height; 36.4 vs the 38.5 of the 04 WR). And then sell all my extra parts (extra front and rear wheels w/ sand tires), filters, a complete jet kit (dang near EVERY jet for the WR), etc? It'd be a huge hit financially, and I"d have to buy everything again.

A huge question for me is the reliablity on the KTM... Older bikes seem to be a question mark; and I can't really seem to find out one way or another on the newer bikes. W/ the WR, it seems to be a good consensus that it is fairly reliable (which has been my experience too). Maintenance seems to to be more involving on the KTM too.

Sigh. I dunno; can anyone give me their opinions?

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Unfortunately, I can't give you the exact dimentions on the KTMs. But I can say that I'm 5'9" and have zero problems of the sort you mentioned on my 400exc and 200exc. My 400 has 5,000+ miles of hard riding and has been incredibly reliable. I am very good about doing regular maintenance, but not a guy who likes to tinker. I need my bikes to be reliable because I don't have time to fix problems. For a smaller rider who likes riding nasty and/or technical terrain, it is hard to beat the 200exc. That bike is a giggle machine. Light, reliable and really powerful. The 400exc won't be as strong as your WR, but IMHO it has the ideal powerbank for trail riding.

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I'm 5'7" and had the same problems with my WR.I had the bike lowered, which helped a LOT, but I lost that much ground clearance. I love the feel of the KTM. It seems a lot more stable, and lighter for some reason. As far as the maintenance, the oil changes suck, but it appears that valves are a lot easier, even though I didn't do the first one myself. There are many other pluses to getting a KTM. Go check one out, squeeze the clutch, and you'll buy it on the spot :D

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Go check one out, squeeze the clutch, and you'll buy it on the spot :D

just make sure you're not squeezing the front brake. they feel the same on alot of them. hahaha. couldn't resist that.

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5'8" same inseam had a wr 400, top heavy pig ride a 300 exc now and it is much easier to throw around. For you I would look at the 200 exc if you are under 200 lbs and the 300 if over 200 lbs. the weight of the thumpers is a bitch. cope a feel on a two stroke trail bike and you will think you died and went to heaven. even the big KTM thumpers feel and are much lighter than the wr's Go sit on the bikes at the dealer , you will see and feel the difference.

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EM Rider; does the 2 stroke powerband of the 200exc make it difficult to ride trails? I would think with the terrain I"ve done that it would be extremely difficult to ride with a 'hit' in the powerband.

Whatevva; did you notice the lower seat height at all? Or do you think it's a lower center of gravity that helped you?

Zekedawg; same question, is it more difficult to ride the 300exc on a technical trail vs say the TTR250 in your sig? I worry about the powerband, and I can only have one bike by mandate of the almightly lord of the house. ;-)

I want to reiterate too that I'm not anti-KTM; I am just KTM ignorant. I don't KNOW about the maintenance, and the closest crappy dealer to me just closed their doors without warning. So most of it will have to be done by me.

Was there a year where the KTM's got better, and the older ones were less reliable?

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Whatevva; did you notice the lower seat height at all? Or do you think it's a lower center of gravity that helped you?

I'd have to say both. The exc is slightly taller that my lowered WR but I wouldn't consider lowering it because it seems to be a non-issue on this bike. Plus I added the EE soft seat which dropped it down a bit.

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I ride the same WR as you; 04 450. You are right...it is a pig. But it is also a reliable pig at that. I owned an 03 KTM MXC 450 and it was just not the bike for me...a Little to twitchy up front and for some reason the vibrations from that bike put my hands to sleep. The bike did kick ass, no doubt about it. The oil changes are a bit ridiculous with 2 screens and 2 filters but in reality it only adds about 7 to 10 min of time to the whole process. My riding buddy just picked up an 03 300 EXC 2 smoker and I had the chance to ride it. Best bike on the planet for the woods...bar none. Trackable power with the 2 stroke hit. He, and I, both seem to run out of power on the major hill climbs and open stretches but in the tight and nasty single track that bike is MONEY!!! I don't think it will be much of a dune bike either as it runs out of top end power much quicker than the big bore thumpers. I would have to say if I was in the market for a new rig I would consider the 300 2 stroke for me but with the dunes and all I just dont know. Good luck on the deal and remember that a dealer close by can make all all the difference in the world. My nearest KTM dealer is 65 miles away while the Yamaha guy is 4. That is yet another reason I ride the blue bike. If an Orange dealer was closer I would be thinking KTM.

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if this helps you at all i came from a top heavy, tall, overweight drz. i now have the lighter 05' 450 exc. there is no amount of anything going to make up for the lighter weight, nimble feel the exc has. i am only 5'7" . with the lighter weight i dont have to put my foot down near as often. i dropped the drz regularly. i rode some of the central sierra's toughest 4wd roads and rode it like a trials bike. these routes are xtremely tough. my son was at the bottom of the canyon cussing because his crf450 wasn't geared or jetted for it. i could hear him from the top. plus in the desert when it comes time to run em out, the six speed says goodby to the crf. i won't go back to anything else...........kevin

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kincade, the 300 exc will lug up any hill the wr can. First thing I did when I got the exc was putt up some step hills NO PROBLEMO. Plus when you twist the throttle the power is NOW. I road a 200 exc and it is very nice. A bit down on power for me at 250# plus gear but in the tight woods you probably won't find a better bike than the 200 or 300. A stablizer is the next thing i am going buy. The steering is very quick on the orange bikes. the wr seemed lazy in comparison. The 300 exc doesn't have a massive hit like an mx style 2 stroke. more like a YZF if you have ridden one of those as compared to the wr. I actually like it. Ride a gear high and you never know it is there. The ttr is my wifes but I got (had ) to ride it one time in the woods and the major difference is the 300 exc is double the HP and 30 lbs lighter with better suspension, all in all the 300 exc is WAY easier to ride in the woods because it soaks up the trail where as the ttr kinda gets in its own way.

THe 2 strokes are easier to ride then the wr's ,( at first you won't think so, cause you will think your arms are getting ripped out) but once you get comfortable on the bike it will be easy. Then when you switch back to a big thumper you will feel how heavy they are and how much they push in the turns.

Don't worry about not having a dealer. places like this forum and KTM TALK are all the support you need. the bikes are easy to work on and if these guys haven't seen or heard of it before it probably doesn't exist.

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kincade, the 300 exc will lug up any hill the wr can. First thing I did when I got the exc was putt up some step hills NO PROBLEMO.

I may to have disagree with this... alot will depend on the altitude you ride at. We ride at 7000 to 110000 feet and I will take my 450 on the 1000 to 2000 foot long hill climbs any day. I can RIP up these hills in 3rd while my buddy on the 300 is rapped out in second and thinking first. While he can make the climbs the idea for me is not to putt up hills but rather to attack them and BLAST up them. The 300 is a SICK rig all the way around...no doubt. Like I said, if I was buying a new steed I would look long at the 300, I have just made friends with my pig of a WR and have figured out the finer technichues of riding the bike. With a Scotts and few other things I have come to LOVE the rig.

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Whatteva; thanks for the info.

JTWR; I'm surprised you said that the 300 runs out of steam up top; I always thought that the 2smokes were MORE strong up top than the 4strokes??? How is it at slower speeds? Is it still controllable? How in comparison to the 4stroke?

KCFZ; thanks for the input.

Zekedawg; I have ridden by buddies YZ426, and it definitely has a hit; you think the 300 is similar to that? I actually have the YZ cam in mine, so it's more similar to the YZ than WR.

JTWR; I hadn't thought about altitude. We ride all over the place. I'd say 50% is below 6000 feet, but the other day in AF we were at 10k+ feet for a good portion of the day.

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.... the 2 stroke powerband of the 200exc make it difficult to ride trails? I would think with the terrain I"ve done that it would be extremely difficult to ride with a 'hit' in the powerband.

The 200exc (now called XC or XCW for 2006), "carves" on trails (and is only 214lbs). Some complain regarding the "hit" of the 200 vs. the 300, but its a very predictable fun hit.

The 300 doesn't hit, but has arm ripping power, pulling hard in all gears and can be a handful on tight trails -- requiring more throttle-control focus (as the 300 is comparable in power to a 525 4-stk, sans 30lbs).

I'm 6'1"/215 and really enjoy both, but if you are under 200lbs, the 200 is a nobrainer. It comes with lighter springs than the 300, so should be better out of the box for your size. It's the lightest mainstream woods racer, will lug with it's flexible 6-speed or it'll rip with a huge grin factor.

Elton

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kincade, the 300 exc will lug up any hill the wr can. First thing I did when I got the exc was putt up some step hills NO PROBLEMO.

I may to have disagree with this... alot will depend on the altitude you ride at. We ride at 7000 to 110000 feet and I will take my 450 on the 1000 to 2000 foot long hill climbs any day. I can RIP up these hills in 3rd while my buddy on the 300 is rapped out in second and thinking first. While he can make the climbs the idea for me is not to putt up hills but rather to attack them and BLAST up them. The 300 is a SICK rig all the way around...no doubt. Like I said, if I was buying a new steed I would look long at the 300, I have just made friends with my pig of a WR and have figured out the finer technichues of riding the bike. With a Scotts and few other things I have come to LOVE the rig.

JT, no disagreement on the 300 on hill climbs mine would run out of steam on some long hills at altitude, i have it jetted better now and want to retry the same hills but, a 525 sx will pull it all day long, I was refering to lowend power on the 300 being comparable to the wr, Torque is very similar and the ability to ride them slow is the same.

The hit of the 300 is nothing to be scared of, only respected. :D

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Elton; thanks for the advice. It would be strange to go from a 450 to a 200 and have almost the same amount of power. I keep thinking of the 300 as a 'small' motor; but I guess it's at least equal or greater to the 450... I'm 160#, so the 200 might in fact do it for me... What is the top end like? I keep reading that the 300 might 'run out of steam' in the sand; but I thought the 2 strokes had a great upper rpm range?

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EM Rider; does the 2 stroke powerband of the 200exc make it difficult to ride trails? I would think with the terrain I"ve done that it would be extremely difficult to ride with a 'hit' in the powerband

I bought my 200exc a year ago after years of riding XRs and KTM four strokes. It is my first two stroke. There was a period of adjustment when I had trouble on technical and rocky trails that were easy on the 400. But once I learned two stroke technique (e.g., use the clutch and learn to ride downhill faster), I find that almost everything is easier on the 200exc. The 200 easily pulls long/steep sand hills that sometimes strain the 400. I just have to keep the motor humming and not lose RPMs. As said, the 200's hit is not harsh and very predictable. I like it. But there is no question that I get tired faster when riding the 200. Lots more clutching and shifting and the bike needs to be ridden more aggressively than the 400. The 400 can be ridden lazy and is a very forgiving bike. Perfect for long all day rides.

R

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.....What is the top end like? I keep reading that the 300 might 'run out of steam' in the sand; but I thought the 2 strokes had a great upper rpm range?

I don't go much faster than 70 on any of these bikes; some say the 200 and 300 "exc's" will do 90, if so that'll be wound tight with stock gearing IMO. The 4-stk is more relaxed on high-speed cruising.

The 300 pulls harder early in the rev-range, the 200 revs-out longer with a nice mid-hit -- no 2-stk has the long "revving forever" gears like your WR.

I don't ride at altitude or sand; I've heard guys say the 300 is better at altitude and it's torque (less wheel spin) is better in sand. If you are riding a lot in sand consider a "mxc", now called a "XC" in 06, close ratio tranny -- but I'll have far less top-end vs. the "exc" or "XC/W" for 06.

Elton

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What is the top end like? I keep reading that the 300 might 'run out of steam' in the sand; but I thought the 2 strokes had a great upper rpm range?

I've been riding the 200 in sand and pumice at 7500+ altitude the past week. The bike has way more than enough power to handle this terrain with ease. My 200 tops out at about 60mph with 14/48 gearing and even then the motor is screaming. Not a high speed machine.

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if you ride open streches like we do here in the west, 2 strokes are almost out of the choice because of gas mileage. i have gotten as high as 57 mpg when easy cruising in the nevada desert on my 450. less if you are on it....and i will pull any hill that is rideable......kevin

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Ever consider the WR 250F? It's a little lighter and, for your size, would have ample power. I'm 5'9 180lbs. and it's been a good choice for me.

Oftentimes, I think the most important thing you can do is make sure the suspension is set up right for you and make sure you have the right tires for the right conditions.

I'm also thinking about getting a KTM (i.e., 400 EXC), but not for something lighter or more manageable. I'll be keeping my WR for trails and would like to get the KTM to make it street legal and for doing some enduros and safaris.

In the tight woods, single track or wide sandy areas, my WR 250F runs great.

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