First dirt ride on TE450 vs ktm 45XC

So today was my first day in the dirt with my 06 TE450, we rode the fire roads and single track at Baldy Mesa (so CA).

Ok, first the good stuff!

Firt Impression was that the bike was EXTREMELY solid and stable (comparing to my 03 KTM 525 EXC). No matter what I threw at it, it remained the fast, the slow, uphill, downhill, ruts, whoops it took anything I could throw at it. I especially like the way it handled deep ruts and uphills; 1st gear if perfect for tractoring up anything, it's like a mountain goat, it just effortlessly goes! And 2nd gear is the same just with more pseed. My EXC was always struggling to find the right gear in technical stuff (having to downshift half way up a gnarly hill, etc..) But eh Husky was perfect! So needless to say, I LOVE the gearbox!

As for the engine, it is STRONG! It seemed to have more power on short demand than the ktm and was stong and smooth, no power spikes. However it does take some getting used to as you think you are going to over rev each gear by the sounds of it...but just when you think you need to shift, it has a few more rpms left to it!

Ok, suspension. I thought it felt great on the street, but after 10 miles in the dirt I was wondering why I was so tired. Even though it took the big hits great, it was WAAYYY too stiff. We went a full 6 compression clicks softer in the fornt and 4 clicks softer in the rear (I am 6'0, 190lbs). This seemed excessive to me, but my buddy insisted it was that stiff! So the result was much easier to ride and still took the hard hits, but I thik the first part of the stroke is too soft and when you grab front brake, it tends to nose dive...maybe this can be fixed with a proefessional suspension job, or maybe it just needs to break in more. The stock settings were either for supercross or going 50mph through whoops in baja.

As for the handleing, it was great. Again the comments you hear about "point the bike in a direction and it goes there" are very accurate, this bike holds the terrain incredibly well and sticks to its directed position..very impressive. I like the high handlebars, I feel like I get get far forward and still sit up high.

I was really enjoying the bike...

So then it was time to switch bikes. I then took a hold of a 06 450 XC, no major mods except the suspension was re worked by "Trail Tricks". First impression when I initially sat on it was it felt like my old WR400 (a rolling couch); it sat lower and plusher. Also the handlebars wer very low in comparison to the Husky.

As I rode, the first thing I notcied right away was that the bike felt WAY lighter! The front end was very light compared to the Husky and the bike just felt smaller. Yea, I was pissed! However as I started to ride, I noticed that the bike wanted to hunt all over the place. Compared to the Husky, it felt "squirrely"; and as I took the first rutted hill, I noticed that the front tire wanted to skip around in the ruts and did not feel near as "planted" as the Husky. Plus you get that typical KTM headshake at high speeds, where the Husky donsn't even seem to need a stabilizer (although I am getting one for sure).

Gearbox..the XC has an odd gearbox. First of all, you cannot lug first gear at all, it stalls!! You have to be on the gas constantly...this proves hard in really technical terrain. The rest of the gearbox was ok.

Engine...right away I noticed that the XC did not feel like it had the power on demand like the Husky, it felt "weak"..but I was told that bike needs to be in the mid range..but so does my dunno about that. The KTM felt more like the "sewing machine" than my Husky which had some serious power....but again the Husky power is smooth and not arm ripping at all!

So, bottom line is the Husky DOES feel heavy! But, it seems to be part of the bikes "strategy" in that you get stability and a real gripping feeling of the terrain, with no headshake, or the bike wanting to hunt around on you. Couple this with the fantastic gearbox and sweet engine, you have a great bike!

Where I think this bike will really shine in either open desert or Enduro riding/racing. BUT, it also felt great just crusing on fire roads too..really the only terrain the bike had some issues for me was going down technical single track, the bike liked to pick up speed if you did not work 1st and 2nd gear just right, for engine breaking..but this could have been from my suspension not dialed in right.

Love the bike, just need some time on it to get used to it.

I would love to hear your guys feedback on my findnigs.

P.S. It is late, I hope I made sense!


Thanks, very interesting.

Do not worry if the suspension feels stiff. It will loosen up. My ’05 wr250’s suspension was way to stiff to begin with, and was first fully broken in at 1000 km. Your bike does not have the exact same suspension, but I am sure the same applies.

Now my suspension is just great. Much better than the suspension on my old ’02 EXC 520, I must confess.

I do not have experience with the 4-stroke husky’s, but after a CR and WR 2-stroke 250’s I must say the handling is outstanding. The bikes have proven to be stable at speed, no headshake and still turn great.

KTM’s are also great bikes, well built and reliable, but I must say I do not have the same confidence when riding them. They do not fell as “planted” and have a tendency to wobble. This applies also to the newer models of KTM’s I have ridden, in spite of the changes that KTM has made in the few last years


Here in Sweden we change forkoil to SAE 5 OEM is 7,5

Enduro: 115 mm airgap

Motocross: 100 mm airgap

Best regards Klas Husky dealer :thumbsup:

Nice comparison! Give the suspension some time, its seems to soften up a bit after 700-800 miles. I changed out the stock fork oil with a synthetic 5w and that helped as well. You got love the motor, IMO its stronger than the KTM 525.

Good writeup and glad you enjoy the bike. Everything you mention sounds very familiar to me. My only reservation before buying the TE was the close ratio gearbox. But after 600 miles in all sorts of terrain, I'm sold. The gearbox is perfect for trail riding because you always seem to be in the correct gear. No gappy feel and plenty of power everywhere. My suspension still feels stiffer than my 400exc, but I've gotten used to the TE's feel and will leave things alone. I put a damper on ASAP and although the suspension is stiffer, it has never surprised me.


I don't know where you bought your bike but I'm surprised you weren't told that the whole bike feels like it "breaks in". Not only does the suspension work better but the motor runs stronger after a hand full of hours. Keep track of your clickers, the suspension is VERY adjustable, six clicks makes a much bigger difference than on a ktm. As You get to know the bike, every little idiosyncrasy starts to make sense.

You'll love it :thumbsup:

(hey, I made it too 100 post :thumbsup: )

The dealer said about 20 hours for the suspension to break in, but it was way too stiff to ride trails with as it was. I know 6 clicks seems rediculous to me. I am sure as it settles in I will be increasing compression.



Excellent write up! I agree that my suspension felt better this time out than the first time. I went ahead and dialed out all compression, I had too much sag on the rear shock and handling improved a lot also. I got a pretty full ride in today on my 06 TE 250 and will start another thread on this but I got to ride a TC 250 and a TE 250 back to back today. One of the big diferences is you do not realize how much weight is on the front end of the TE's with all the wires, computer, 5 pound horn etc.. I ride tight woods and there was less upper body strength to get the TC through the woods. I would not give up the license plate for anything just think we all can come up with a way to lessen the weight up there. My buddy has a 06 KTM 450 EXC and said that he did not have to think to ride the Husky fast through the woods. There was no setting up turns to miss stuff as the Husky is so well planted and goes where you want it to. I did not get a chance to ride his EXC today.

I have a "new" TC450 2005 and rode it back to back with a 525 EXC through about 10 miles of desert wash, riverbed with water and mud. I have a scotts damper on my Husky and a IMS 3.5 gallon desert tank. The 525 was stock.

First thing - the TC 450 broke in very well after about 10 hours of riding. The engine and the suspension seemed to work into place after a while. I'm a big guy 6.0 235 and have the rear spring/sag maxed out. It works well for me in the Desert but kills me on a track. If I do any more track rides i will have to swap out the rear spring for a heavier one. I put on a TI-4 Titanium Procircuit Silencer and pipe and it really improved the midrange and the top end (while screaming before) is like a rocketship now

The KTM did feel smaller lighter and had so much headshake that i was worried riding it at high speed through the river beds and washes. If you buy the KTM the next and immediate purchase has to be a damper.

The Husky forks seemed to absorb the fast bumps and a quik blip of the throttle lifts you up and over a lot of stuff even at highspeed , high rpm. I couldn't get the Ktm to do this for me and felt very unsure of the bike and myself riding anything technical.

Getting back onto my TC 450 after the KTM 525EXC made me realize how much raw power the Husky has. It felt like i was going from a 250 to a 450. The bigger wider feel, especially with a desert tank was somehow comforting and made me feel in total control

The KTM feels like your riding in a Lincoln Town Car with bad front shocks. The Husky is like being in a Saleen Mustang!



I totally agree with you on the power difference in the Husky vs the KTM, the Husky just feels so much more powerful.

As for the TE 450 vs the 510 in the desert...I have yet to ride the 510 but even my 525 was not necessary when I was racing D-37 Hare & Hound; the top speed was maybe 75 in one or two spots but only for maybe 4-5 min straight. Other than that most racing in the desert has become much more technical over just plain high end fast. I would have to say that if you did primarily Baja type racing, then the 510 would be your ticket, but even the SCORE series has seen a dramatic drop in overall average speed and has become more technical. I am not sure though how much more low end grunt the 510 offers..I can't be much, the only difference is the something like 5-6mm in stroke length, the bore is identical to the 450.


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