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Unstable front end ???

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I own a Wr400 '99, which is a wonderfull bike but feels sometime a little heavy ,or unwilling to turn. I'm willing to buy a 400EXC, not only because it's lighter, but because it feels lighter. I never had the opportunity to try one, but I heard that the KTM is so easy to handle that it's getting unstable in rapid bumpy sections. Off course it's logic that there it's always a compromise between handling and stability, but is it a good compromise ?

I would like some input of you pumpkin riders :) Thanks in advance

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It sure handles a lot better, IMO, than my buddies WR400 in the woods. The WR is stable at speed, though. I put a Scott's steering stabilizer on mine before I ever rode it and I've never experienced any front end nervousness. I also run 18mm offset Scott's triple clamps which should make it more nervous.

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I own a 98 YZ 400 with thw 5mm offset triple clamps from Scotts. It also has a Scotts stabilizer. The handling and suspension (acme revalved) on that bike is perfect. It carves corners with the best of them. There was only one time I ever experianced headshake on the YZ (in a 80 mph sand wash).

My 01 520 exc handled like crap at first. I'm not very good at suspension setup so it has taken me a while to get it rideable. The shock has been revalved, but is still a little squishy on the big stuff (great on the smaller and mid size hits now). I never rode the KTM without the Scotts stabilizer, but even with it it can be twitchy.

The KTM changes a great deal with small changes in spring preload adjustments. 3/4 of an inch too little race sag in the back will make the bike extremely difficult to turn (but still twitchy). With the proper race sag setting, the bike turns pretty well, but not quite as well as my YZ. I believe the 18mm Scotts clamps would help the KTM, it just seems a shame to have to spend more on an already outragously priced bike (then again my YZ is about a $10,000 bike after all mods and goodies).

I'd suggest trying a KTM before buying one, Scotts 5mm offset clamps for the WR would be a lot less expensive. I bought the KTM for the button, and did not care much about anything else. I'll get it worked out in time, without killing myself kicking.

BTW I rum my damper 12 to 16 clicks out (1-1/2 to 2 full turns). Usually I leave it at 16, only when the sand washes get really fast and straight do I go to 12. I found the bike turned a lot better and still handled pretty good at 16. When I first got it I ran it at 8 or so, and thought it was great (anything was better than riding without it). Experementing led me to 16.

[ November 13, 2001: Message edited by: YZ400Court ]

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After a pretty bad crash, I was forced to replace the stock bars and bar clamps so I bit the bullet and purchased the Scotts Triple Clamp Kit. This includes their triple clamp, bar clamps, steering stabilizer and Pro-Taper bars ($600.00).

The steering stabilizer makes a world of difference! No one should try to ride offroad without it. You vcan, of course, just purchase the stabilizer, but buying the entire kit saves you about $150.00.

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Newbie question, having never ridden with a steering stabilizer: Are they only for "higher" speeds? Any effect at slower going? Any types of riding where one would hurt more than help?

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Steve49, the stablizers work great for high and lower speeds. They are totally adjustable so there is really no condition under which you could not use one. I have the Scotts setup on my WR and love it. Wouldn't want to ride without it. The other nice thing is that if you have more than one bike you can easily remove it from one and put it on the other. They are probably one of the best after market investments you can make. P

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I run mine 6-10 clicks out, depending on terrain.

The thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to be going fast to have the high speed deflection circuit kick in. That works when your front end is deflected at a high rate of speed like clipping a tree with your handguard or hitting an unseen root/rock. Works just as well if you're going slow or fast.

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Thanks for your input guys, but in fact everybody answered the question : Is the front en of a KTM unstable ? By saying great the Scott's steering stabilzer is. What i understand is that there is a kind of unstable behaviour of the bike, or m' I drunk ?

It's strange, in Europe very few people use steering dampers on offroad bikes ?

Now to the point, KTM freaks, is the front end twichy, nervous, unstable....or not ????? :)

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"Now to the point, KTM freaks, is the front end twichy, nervous, unstable....or not ?????"

No, the KTM's are very stable bikes, they experience "Head Shake" more than the Japaneese bikes. My 520 is very stable, but it headshakes a little, and my 250 doesn't head shake at all, but it does bump steer pretty bad.

As to noone in Europe having steering dampers, Noone in Europe has giant car stereos, 4 tv's in every house, surround sound in every room, swimming pools in the back yard, or 2 cars per person. But doing it bigger, louder, and spending more is an American tradition. Oh yeah, sometimes it is actualy better.. :)

[ November 14, 2001: Message edited by: Dr.s ]

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I agree that KTM's are not twitchy or nervous. The only time I experienced head shake and one tank slapper on my 400 was before I got the proper springs for my weight and at a very high speed. After that it was much more stable.

I put a WER stabilizer on it anyway. I also find that stabilizers help at any speed. Goes a long way to relieving arm pump too.

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Contrary :) to the others I'd say yes it it twitchy, slippery and unstable feeling. It is something that has taken me 15 rides to get used to. Now that I'm used to it I don't notice it until I ride a buddies bike. My 520 is much less forgiving than my YZ 400 in the suspension setup department. I still hope to get it better, time will tell.

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Originally posted by YZ400Court:

My 01 520 exc handled like crap at first. I'm not very good at suspension setup so it has taken me a while to get it rideable.

I never rode the KTM without the Scotts stabilizer, but even with it it can be twitchy.

3/4 of an inch too little race sag in the back will make the bike extremely difficult to turn (but still twitchy).

[ November 13, 2001: Message edited by: YZ400Court ]

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If your KTM is twitchy or unstable, your suspension is not set-up properly for your weight.

Riders who are used to XRs and WRs get on KTMs and call them twitchy,.... I call them 'more responsive'.

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