KTM 400exc vs DRZ400 a different angle

Greeting awesome KTM riders. I have been searching for a new/newer bike for a while. I presently ride a 91 dr350s that I actually like alot. I only wish it had electric start. By visiting the various forums, I was able to eliminate Husaberg (known problems scared me and local dealer did not know about them, really scary!) I then though about the drz400 until I saw that the ktm was 25lbs less. Well, I actually rode a drz400 this weekend and it scared me to death. The engine seemed hard to control, just crack throttle and it takes off hard along with severe engine braking. I hit a fist sized rock and though I was going to have a concussion from the way the suspension transferred the impact to me. not to metion it threw the bike 2 feet to the side. I was interested in the 400exc but now I am thinking it may be too much. I mostly ride desert and organized dual sport (district 37). I feel that I am an average rider, I seem to do fairly well in the organized rides. (A few people pass me, I pass a few people) It will be really hard for me to find someone that has a 400exc to test it and I would hate to put down 5-7 thousand and then find out the bike is way beyond me. I would like to hear your comments, especially from those who have ridden both.


Get the KTM 400. It is the easiest 4-stroke to ride, and won't wear you out either. It won't tire you out, and you will instantly be a much improved rider. It is lighter, and definitely feels like it too. Not only will you NOT be disappointed, but you will be telling all your buddies just how AWESOME the Katoom is and how they should get one too. Erik

Thanks for the encouragement. I know the KTM is a great bike just from reading what actual owners/riders say here. I guess I was worried about the power being to much. After I was on that drz400, It felt like I was in heaven when I got back to my old poor DR350. Much smoother suspension and predictable power. I autocross sometimes and frequently in autocross less is more, slow down and speed up, smooth and steady. etc. I thought the DRZ would be like that but it definatley seemed to be for the very aggresive driver and I was wondering if one could "slow down and speed up" on the RFS.


I have 2600 mi. on my DRZ400E. If you think that hits too hard, you should steer clear of the KTM. The truth is most ppl. find the DRZ's power smooth and linear. The KTM hits at least as hard. The XR400 has more bottom end than the DRZ. Was the DRZ you rode modified for straight Motocross? Doesn't seem like you should have much problem "handling" a stock DRZ's power.

I have a 520 EXC, and a 01 DRZ 400.

The DRZ is a nice bike, but compared to the KTM it is a Tonka toy. The suspension is much nicer on the KTM.

The 400 has more power but is more controlable.

Your DR has about 20 hp, and the 400 has about 40. Dont turn the throttle as much.

My 98 DR350SE had the following done to it:435 Thumper big bore,ported head,megacycle cam,carb bored to 35mm,Vortex airbox,thumper header,FMF powercore muffler.Kouba link arms,Eibach rear spring,race tech fork springs.As you can see a pretty much joke free DR.It was stolen and replaced with a 2001 DRZ kicker.Not a single regret I love the new steed.Outpowers the 435 when the motor gets going with a lot less off the bottom.I like the suspension on the DRZ better and it handles the turns worlds better than the 98.It feels lighter and it is by about 35lbs with the loss of the E start.My bud has a 520EXC I have ridden it plenty and its a flat out better bike than the DRZ.No surprise I'm sure.Only things I do not like about the KTM is no grease fittings to be found anywhere.The manual tells him to take the suspension apart after XXhrs and regrease yea right.The motor holds just over a qrt of oil and needs to be changed more often as it contaminates that much faster.Now parts, most guys here say they have no problem getting parts.First part my bud has needed for his bike is a headlight assembly(it met a tree).Three weeks now and no sign of it from the dealer its "backordered".This may very well be an isolated instance.The bike is light has E start to boot and has dumptruck loads of power.Again it IS THE RIDER that makes a bike fast as my other bud on his 96DR will leave both me and my KTM comrade choking on dust at will.

Everything seems hard to ride after a DR350. It's one of the easiest to ride bikes out there, very forgiving and user friendly.

Talk about a culture shock switching to '01 520 EXC...

Truth is, KTM took some work getting it to fit me, but I'm very comfortable on it now. Took some work getting the suspension to be as plush over rocks and roots as the Suzook, but once I did, it not only equals, but still handles the big landings the DR never could.

If you get the KTM, go soft on the suspension, adjust the handlebars for comfort and balance, gear it down with sprocket changes, and ride it in a higher gear on the trail. That'll take care of the compression braking issues. Plenty of power to ride it this way.

Feels light compared to DR or DRZ, but RIDER is the main difference. A friend of mine has no trouble beating me with his DRZ, and I've been faster than some riders on WR400's with my DR.


'01 KTM 520 EXC

'95 Suzuki DR350 Dirt

'01 Silverado 2500HD 4x4 Duramax/ZF-6spd

Excellent info! I will stay on my mission to find a 400exc. I will pay carefull attention to the suspension setup and my own throttle control abilities when I get it. I will miss my DR350s. Anyone out there in district 37 doing the LA-B-V?


Just a fast update:My buddy broke his rear brake lever last weekend and he got a new one in less than a week.Guess it depends on what you need.

if i were mr mmersol and was contemplating a

ktm i would definately ride one first,mainly because they cost so damn much.the parts cost is higher than normal(jap bikes).you know if anybody hits a fist sized rock the same result could happen-weight,suspension setting and whom it was setup for and their

type of riding.according to the 20/40 hp. post above-they tell you to go with double

the hp. than the dr has,why?because for some reason ktm'ers are stuck on these bikes and try to convince everyone how great they are.

my opinion is to test ride first then make a decision dont let knuckleheads steer you into a crack smoking decision,anybikes suspension can be modified if you like the engine.


On a "lighter" note.

If your buddy is in a hurry for a headlight assy we've got one in stock.


Mike Kruger

Cycle Zone KTM

Topeka, KS

866-843-7433 toll free

Allways the joke-stur mike....

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