1999 YZ400F vs. 2000 300 EXC

For the last year I've been riding and racing a 1999 YZ400F. I love the bike, especially the motor, and have no real complaints. The only thing it doesn't do real well (in my opinion) is tight woods. Lots of fun on the MX tracks. But this was OK since 90% of my riding was at MX tracks.

But 4 weeks ago I crashed pretty hard during a MX race, knocked myself silly and fractured my collarbone with a grade 1 AC separation. I'm in my 30's, got a couple of kids at home, and I've decided that I should probably stay away from the MX racing. Practicing on MX tracks is still OK, and I could even race again if I wasn't so competitive. For some reason, when that gate drops, I forget that I have to go to work on Monday.

So now I want to stick to trail-riding and enduros, with the occasional Hare Scramble and MX practice day. The YZ400 is for sale and last weekend I bought a left-over 2000 KTM 300 EXC. This is my first two-stroke and I decided on the 300 because I'm 6 feet and 200 pounds and wanted the two-stroke woods bike that would come closest to letting me ride it like a 4-stroke. I ruled out the 380 because it was too big. I ruled out Gas Gas because of no local dealer.

Yesterday, 4 weeks to the day from my accident, I rode the KTM for the first time. 14 miles on some nice flat and easy trails. I'm still real sore and don't have full motion of my shoulder, so needless to say, I had to take it real easy, but I wanted to share some impressions.

Motor: Holly Cow! This is a two-stroke! I couldn't get on it too hard with my bum shoulder, but wow, this thing has a kick to it. People say that it is "electric", but those must be people who haven't ridden a YZ400 with a 10 oz. flywheel weight. It definitely comes on the pipe, and needs to be shifted way more often.

Weight: Feels much lighter, especially while lifting it up onto a bike stand. Not that you need to lift up the EXC nearly as often, since there is that incredibly convenient side stand waiting to be used. :)

Brakes: WOW! Much better brakes than my YZ. Yamaha certainly isn't known for great brakes, but I had no idea what I was missing. I was locking up the rear brake all over the place, killing the motor several times. But each time I stalled it, it just fired right back up again when I dumped the clutch. My YZ400 would certainly never do that! (Unless you were on a down-hill and were real quick with the decompression release.)

Gearing: That 1st gear is one heck of a granny gear. I wasn't in any tight stuff yesterday, so I never needed it except to start out. And I wasn't pushing it hard enough to even need 4th and 5th gear. The wide ratio transmission will take some getting used to.

Overall, I really missed the motor from my YZ, but then I've only owned thumpers for the past 15 years. Everything else was better on the KTM.

So did I buy the right bike? I don't know, it's still too early to say. I can't wait to get this bike in some tight woods after I've healed up the rest of the way.

good choice.... I have a wr and my brotherinlaw has a 300 exc I think it is a lot nicer bike then mine but i would like to have a 520

I'm considering a WR as a replacement for my 92' KTM 300EXC. Looking for a trail bike versus a cross country racer. Loved that 300, what are your comments about the WR? Plus I love single track!

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