Rear suspension? WR vs EXC which should I order?

After lusting for a 400 EXC, I put my deposit down on a 2002 bike in June. I expect it any day now. (I riding a DRZ400E now) Now I am having second thoughts with the WR250F out and most of its’ bugs have been corrected or will be in 2002. A buddy of mine who rides a 200 EXC rode a 01 WR250F came off raving about the suspension. He said never realized how much his KTM skithered about. He feels that the KTM “no linkage” is not as good as the WR linkage.Any thoughts? The WR is lighter than a 400 EXC, develops almost as much power, and acording to my buddy he is faster on tight tails on the WR250F than he is on his 200 EXC. He liked the WR250F so much he ordering a 2002 bike. He‘s a little guy, 160# I am 190#.

Should I the orange bike or go blue?


I hope I am not trying to compare apples and oranges. I ride mostly tight woods in the NorthWest and Moab when it gets cold. I believe both bikes would be great and are suited for my style of riding.


[This message has been edited by nik (edited 08-05-2001).]

Originally posted by nik:

I hope I am not trying to compare apples and oranges. I ride mostly tight woods in the NorthWest and Moab when it gets cold. I believe both bikes would be great and are suited for my style of riding.


Nik, I own both a KTM 400 and a WR250F. The rear suspension in particular is better on the WR. I ride woods and the WR is more flickable and turns better. The WR needs a few mods (pipe, airbox mod, grey wire, YZ cam timing, about 10 lbs to shed) but is certainly quick in tight trail. The 400 has that nice lowend to pick it up over logs and in whoops, but it also has more mass and gyro effect. The WR feels much lighter and if you get used to flogging it, it will certainly keep up. I had to change the rear tire to a soft terrain tire as when it comes on the pipe it was spinning a lot with the stock one.

Another consideration - I just bent my clutch lever - $65 for the KTM part!

Both bikes have proven very reliable, with the KTM requiring more maintenance.

Hope this helpful.


[This message has been edited by nik (edited 08-05-2001).]

Hard to say. Seems most people who ride either bike are happy. I guess it comes down to which suits your style better. I'm a lugger and love the lowend power so the 400 is hands down the better bike for me.

I've watched my buddies flail away at the kick starter for, no kidding, 10-15 minutes on the YZ/WR250f's, too. And the last time I saw it, it was not a crash. We'd just pulled over after some easy riding to talk. The guy is very experienced with the Yam thumpers, too. He's also has a WR400F he's ridden for a couple of years. That magic button makes life so much easier that the 14lb's it weighs is well worth it.


John Brunsgaard

01 400 EXC, 99 250 EXC (gone), 99 200 EXC, 98 125 EXC, 98 380 MXC (long gone)

Thanks for your replies to date, this is what I hoping for, a little feed back from KTM riders. The rear suspension is the only negative other than price and availability I have heard of for the 400 EXC. I have only chance to ride the EXC 200, way fun, but I like thumpers and I do like small thumpers for woods. Although I wouldn’t call either the DRZ (my current ride) or the EXC 400 small. I am still leaning toward the KTM 400, but I don’t want to close the door on the WR250F. I quess what I am looking for is a little reinforcement for the KTM. Or maybe I should post this in the Yamaha area?

Nik :)

[This message has been edited by nik (edited 08-06-2001).]

Sorry, I guess I glossed over your rear suspension question. Getting the correct springs is very important on this bike. I'm 205 in street clothes and a good B HS and enduro rider. I have the PDS3 (PDS2 stock) in back and .46's up front (.42's stock). That a few clicker adjustments is all I've done.

The suspension is the best I've ever owned, by far. It's plush and very planted yet never bottoms or at least not that I notice. It eats up roots and rocks and turns on a dime (I have the 18mm offset triple clamps, too). The only place my 99 250E suspension was better was while going through whoop fields. The 400 backend wanted to kick to side a bit but not bad. If I just squeezed the bike harder with my knees, it went away.

I've since learned that you need a little different technique with this bike in the whoops. Instead of trying to kind of lean back and gas hard like I did with the 250, I need to ride more neutral and gas hard. The bike does not kick around when I do that and it takes much less energy than my old style.

All I've owned the last 4 years have been PDS equipt KTM's and I'm never that impressed with other bikes rear suspension when I switch with other guys.

I wonder if your friend needs to re-spring the bike or play with the clickers? At 160, the PDS2 should be about right but he may need stiffer front forks. Almost everyone does, it seems. If the front is too soft, it will have a big impact on the rear, too.


John Brunsgaard

01 400 EXC, 99 250 EXC (gone), 99 200 EXC, 98 125 EXC, 98 380 MXC (long gone)

Jeb hit most of it right on. I have ridden a couple of 250f bikes(once their owners got them started),neat bikes, but comparing it to a 400 exc is goofy. The 400s( KTM,YAM) run away and hide from them in the power department. And in fact weigh the same as a 400EXC. If you like peaky 2-stroke like power(compared to the bigger 4-strokes) go for it. Trail rider magazine( I think)had a comment a few months back describing it as a 125 moto-cross bike that sounds funny.Remember the 250f was designed to compete against 125s and that it does very well but it doesn't measure up to 400 standards (other wise Yamaha could drop their 400).As for suspension, for Non-motocross use,after setting it up I find my 400EXC rear suspension better than the 400 WR, and the front about the same. It took virtually no set up time on the rear suspension, but quite a lot of "clicking about" to get the forks right. Rear suspension sag,both static ans loaded are critical on the PDS suspension. The pds-2-250 spring was perfect for my 180 lbs. but if you are lighter,or heavier you will have to change the spring to get the suspension to work.


400 EXC--stock&great

YAMAHA 250--sold

250 sherco

Originally posted by David Rockwell:

I just bent my clutch lever - $65 for the part

I got some swamp land in Florida I'll sell cheap,....interested????

Shaw520 is right. While the price you quoted is the KTM OEM price for a clutch lever, there are much cheaper alternatives available. Moose, EE, Holeshot, etc. Back in '98 I paid that much to replace a lever on our 98 125EXC. That was the first year for the juice clutch and no one had them but KTM.


John Brunsgaard-jeb

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