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'97 400 EXC Purchase?

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Newbie here. I'm looking at some purchase options to have a dirt ride / SM conversion and one contender is a '97 400 EXC. The others are XR400's, CRF450, possibly a DRZ400S. There are only 600+ posts in this forum and I've read many, but your thoughts are appreciated.

1. No dirt experience. Lot's of street and track, though.

2. Want a reliable bike for some weekend rides, but don't want to ante up for a new bike.

3. Definitely want a plated bike that can be easily swapped to street tires.

4. Need specifics to look for, questions to ask sellers specific to KTM's.

5. Any serious issues to walk away from?

Many Thanks! :applause:

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All the bikes you've mentioned are great bikes. DRZ and XR are as solid as Sherman tanks. Low maintenance, super reliable ( just check out the local for sale adds for older XR's and DRZ's- you'll never see one with "brand new top end" or "rebuilt motor". They just run forever. You should have no problem finding one of them with plates in your state. The down side is that they're kinda old school. The handling is inferior. They're heavy and the suspension is definitely not as good as the CRF or EXC.

CRF's are motocross bikes unless you get the CRF 250/450X. Great aluminum frames; you have to mess with shims to adjust valves, but many guys out there say they rarely have to adjust them. The aluminum frame looks really slick but it complicates access to carburator and what not. Awsome handling though! My buddy has the "x' and I love his bike. Don't know much about the older EXC's other than it has rocker arms so the valve adjustmen is really easy and can be performed by even a novice mechanic. I'm sure they handle much better than the XR. I own an XR, and I can assure you they are heavy pigs that feel top and front heavy. They suck on whoops, but are great in slow technical stuff with their low gearing and soft suspension.

just my $.02

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I have a 94 400 exc and it is a pretty decent bike. Good power for running around town. Would like the 620 for highway use though. There are a couple of advantages with these older ktm four strokes. One is they have the older lc4 motor. Its holds more oil and doesnt rev as high which seems to make them last good on the street. Another advantage is they already have a cush drive rear hub which is much nicer on your geartrain. You can get them pretty cheap and if you look around for an rxc model they will be street legal form factory. Although I heard the rxc carb sucks. You should be able to find one for around a thousand to 1800.

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