WR400 vs. KTM520EXC

Spent yesterday afternoon riding the two bikes back to back and chasing each other around through the woods. It was lots of fun and a good chance to make the comparison. Here are a few things about the KTM and my perspective.


The KTM 520EXC:

-Kick starts easier than most 250 2-strokes but has electric start. Forget about TDC, just swing out the lever and kick

-10lbs lighter but feels like 20-30 lbs less It looks like a lower engine c.g. helps

-The extra 110cc with a single OHC makes loads more torque in mid-range RPM, blows past the WR when traction is there coming out of corners

-Top end power is very close between bikes, the 520 has a little more(it runs exactly like the Husaberg 501 but with an FCR carb)

-Handling is not as good as WR (my opinion here), in steering AND stability, the WR is better. More adjusting time may help (yes, we had preload right and tweaked the clickers)

-Suspension used full travel, didn't bottom hard off small jumps, worked well(springs OK for 200lb rider). The WR and EXC are close to equal in suspension performance, the EXC seems... loose feeling. More adjusting clickers may help the EXC, but for the day I preferred the WR

-Higher Pro-taper type bars make it more spacious for big guys and has adjustable perch position

-Tank is flatter and lower than either IMS or Clarke tanks for the WR, but only holds 2.4 gallons... NO BIGGER TANK IS AVAILABLE

-Seat has non-slip top

-Hydraulic clutch worked perfectly

-6 speed transmission with overall 4% wider gears than WR

-Reasonably quiet exhaust S/A which has some bark when opened up

-No crankcase vent tube visible, routes up under tank to airbox(?)

-No linkage to grease PDS shock

-Clear white tank

-Has a plastic headlight lens

-Easy access Twin-Air air filter

-2 easily accessed oil filters, only holds 1.25 qts oil

-there was grease on the axle, really! (the Austrians must be hiding the grease away from Japan's supply)


Two things really stand out on the 520EXC, the electric start and the mammoth torque output coming out of corners. At one point we stopped to chat and when we decided to go the 520EXC was 200 yards away by the time my bike was running (you guys know the drill!)


The 2.4 gallon tank is a downside, this REALLY needs to be made bigger.


Wish it was in my garage... :)

James Dean

[This message has been edited by James Dean (edited 09-05-2000).]

I very briefly rode Erik's KTM400SX yesterday. You are correct about it feeling light. It felt really small and light, like a 250. It is quite different though and was really ackward for me, I think it's just a case of having to adjust to a different riding style. His first gear was the same as my second gear, but then again, he's got the four speed. Also, the bike had no bottom end power at all, but really ripped hard on the top end. I think that power caracteristic is due to him having the largest (top end) end cap on his Pro Circuit T4 pipe. Also, I said a couple weeks ago how loud his T4 was, much louder than my DSP or anything else for that matter... well, yesterday he had the spark arrestor screen in and it was fairly quiet as far as aftermarket pipes go. I think this is a great pipe, you can tune the powerband with the endcap sizes and the noise level as well. Also, the KTM is much nicer in the small details when you start looking carefully at all the small things, and you can see how they try to save weight with each individual piece.


MotoGreg - The voice of absurdity

'99 WR400 - 'Cause thumpers rule and two-strokes drool!

'92 GSXR 7/11 (But I wanna get a dope 916)

I might let you visit my photo album for $3 - ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK - DANGER LURKS WITHIN

When the time comes for me to upgrade the 2000 WR, Yamaha better have done some pretty big upgrades to keep me on blue. I have ridden the 400 EXC for about 1 hour on the trails that I normally ride, and I could only imagine how good the 520 would be, i would say exactly like the 400, but on steroids !


RodH Canberra, Australia<A HREF="http://www.400thumpers.com" TARGET=_blank>

400 Thumpers Australia</A>

2000 WR400F See Photo's and Modifications

One friend picked up a 2001 KTM520EXC TODAY, and another guy whom I talk to picked up a 01 520SX also today..... I should be getting the word on the EXC by next week.... he's coming off an XR400.


i've had the gold valve forks done for the second time, i had the gut feeling that the guy couldn't turn them around but they've come back & i can't fault them. they work well on soft/trail & hard/washboard stuff. together with the yz timing & 10oz stealy flywheel i came 5th of 120 at an enduro previous to going on holiday.

thought i'd let you know as you had shown the interest. thanks. Taffy


5th place, way to go! Good to here the gold valve is working better.



-The KTM520 has an easily accessed spark plug, unlike the WR that needs the tank removed.

-Taillight is like the UFO YZ type, ready to mount a license plate.

-The opening to lift the bike on a stand is further back, making it easier to lift.



Shane Watts wins on 125's. No way I'm going to ride a 125 even if it means going slower. Power equals FUN! Thats what makes 4-strokes appealing, the power. Otherwise I'd be on a 250cc 2-stroke weighing 225lbs. It would be much faster for me in the tight stuff, most would agree. If you want less power of the 400 with the same weight of a 520, it's your choice. If it were my choice it would be the 520... :)

James Dean

Anyone know if the exc's can get a green sticker in California, or will a red sticker be required. Also, How in the world are these guys getting these things. Everywhere I have checked the waiting list is a mile long. I am interested but can't seem to find one. I want to keep the WR and the KTM in the stall. If you can believe this, my wife said "whatever" :) She's given up. Hooray!!!


KTM best bike period.

Yesterday I rode my new 2001 400EXC it is far better in the technical stuff ( better turning ) and has a nice midrange hit.My old WR had more up top and didn't shake its head on the firetrails.But the button wins the battle.In my opinion the 520 would be too much of a beast in the technical stuff.

last sunday all the lads with 250exc's were all talking about getting rid of them. two of them had had water in the crank so it was all new bottom end, one of these has got a scored barrel to show for it so that's got to be re-nikasiled & new piston.

the third one, which has already had the crank go, has had a leaking barrel for three meetings. apparently they crack downwards from the back left cylinder stud.

of course the one with the scored barrel wishes his would crack for warranty!

i can't believe that KTM make a bike more reliable than the Japs, i've had all that unreliable stuff. unlike you dualsporters, if any of us racers have any problems that's saturday night blown, that's the weekend turned into scuttling up there sunday morning (late) & being uptight.

stand back everybody & look. there's a bl**dy great big hole in the market for a jap manufacturer to market an electric start, light & well sorted 400/500. it'll happen soon & as they said in the french connection (1) "you're all gonna get well".


Ya gotta wonder if that isn't exactly what Honda has in its sights for release 12 months from now..... but hey!... you can listen to a prototype of it now!

Oh great, just what i needed. Someone to say that the KTM is a better bike than the WR. Someone please tell me i'm not making a wrong decision buy the WR!!!???

Although I find both the WR400 and the KTM EXC 400/520 too big and too heavy, I would rather get the WR400 then the KTM400.

I rode both, and the KTM400 just seems anemic compared to the WR400 (YZ timing, WB silencer).

The WR needs a tank and seat change while the KTM doesn't, but I think the WR needs much less maintenance then the KTM.

The KTM needs constant oil changes, 4 oil filters, constant valve adjustments.

My Husaberg is like that and I like tinkering with the bike before each ride, but for all the others who want a racing bike with XR reliability and minimal maintenance the WR is the way to go.


Husaberg FE501 1996

KTM 520EXC,lighter,faster,ready to race right out of the box. Don't forget easier to start than a WR also. :) I like the Yamaha but think my 520EXC is way better than the 99WR I had. Like I said race ready right out of the box.Does not need any of the expensive upgrades the WR required

Hi Geoff !

Don't get me wrong, I think the KTM RFS's are great bikes.

As far as maintenance, I think it's similar to a Husaberg as the KTM's upper top end is copied from Husaberg (as is the clutch).

Reliability is probably better then my old model Husaberg as my bike has no direct pressurized oil channels to stressed areas and no oil filters.

But I still love my bike as it's the only open class 4-stroke I have ever rode that weighs and feels lightweight like a 2-stroke (20 lbs. less then the KTM's or the WR's).


Husaberg FE501 1996


i like tinkering, you know mucking about with them. this web site is half the fun to me. i'd rather be out riding but when i can't i like thinking of new ways of going quicker.

over here in the uk the only little mag that is into non motox or dirt tested the wr,xr,dr & the ktm. they only just gave the ktm the nod. but it was a standard wr.

YZ timing, tank & seat, flywheel, juice clutch, pro-tapers in advanced position, sussies done front & rear & this thing flies!

out of the lot above the ktm would have saved me the juice clutch, tank, seat & the top yoke. this is a mass production bike that cost me far far less than the KTM. the ktm is £5,200 over here if you can get it & the yam is £1,000 less. i've spent £500 so far on the above items. i can sell the stuff when i'm done & i can even move it on to the next bike.

the ktm is a better bike STANDARD but due to the fantastic blokes on this site every $ i've spent has improved the bike. just one needle worth $5 was a waste of money.

we've got enough people on this web site willing & able to keep improving their bikes & mine. if the ktm is a better bike then i'll get a lot of pleasure in beating them knowing that i'm a better rider.

the dealers are geared up to work on the yams not the ktm's. the first bloke to say how good his ktm was said he didn't know what to do with his time!


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now