Decisions, Yamaha WR450, KTM 525EXC or 450EXC

Well I've decided to go Thumper and I'm selling my 96 KTM 360MXC. I need a little help/opinions

to make the final decision. Take into account that I'm a lard a$$, 6'2", 210lbs and ride 80% woods,

10% on a homemade track and 10% on fast fire trails. I may get into hare scrambles, someday, but

that will be as close to racing as I’ll ever get. I’ve only ridden about 5 years on a real bike but I found

the 520EXC more manageable than my 360. I plan on keeping this bike at least 10 years

(the 360 is going a little early).

I've narrowed my decision down between the KTM 525EXC, 450EXC and the Yamaha WR450,

rejecting Cannondale, Honda, VOR, Husaburg and others for things like long term part availability,

being boat anchors et cetera, et cetera. Below is how I’ve rated the different characteristics, I’ve only

actually ridden the 520EXC and a (YZ250) so most of the ratings I’ve deduced from Magazines. Because most Mags

are written for the MX group I have a hard time knowing how well their critiques transfer to woods

riding. Please let me know where I’m off base.

Note: I’m not including cost, by the time you update the WR with good foot pegs, a comfortable

seat, handle bars, triple clamps, flywheel weight, o-ring chain, hyd clutch and frame protectors

the cost is very close. Most of the above is to get more comfortable on the WR, the EXC just seems

to fit better and wouldn't require the above alterations.

Engine 525EXC=10 450EXC=8 WR450=9 WR needs flywheel weight

Drivetrain 525EXC=10 450EXC=10 WR450=9 KTM has hyd clutch + 6 speeds

Handling 525EXC=8 450EXC=8.5 WR450=9.5 KTM new offset triple clamp

Suspension 525EXC=8 450EXC=8 WR450=9.5 Yam has best for MX, for woods?

Ergos 525EXC=9 450EXC=9 WR450=8 Yam will need seat, pegs, bars and t-clamp

Breaks 525EXC=9 450EXC=9 WR450=9

Weight 525EXC=9 450EXC=9 WR450=9 A bigger diff would be if I could lose lbs.

Part Avail 525EXC=8 450EXC=8 WR450=10 I own a KTM - I Know

Relib/Durability 525EXC=10 450EXC=10 WR450=9 Yam looks old quick, KTM is higher quality

Starting 525EXC=10 450EXC=10 WR450=9.5 Yam got better but not as good as KTM

So after adveraging the scores the WR450=9.15 the 525EXC=9.10 and the 450EXC=8.95. So where do

you disagree.

What about your local dealer? Is the Yamaha or KTM shop run by idiots? I noticed you're from Michigan so the California emissions headache is not a problem. With the machines being so close on your important items it should come down to which dealer is better.

The bottom line is All the bikes are great bikes..For what you are using the bike for, you coulldn't really go wrong with any of them. Dealer location, and dealer attitude should definetly be factored in. The bike is plenty fast even with out the fly wheel weight. I ride a 99 wr400, and the bike goes fast enough for me, i know I'm not riding the bike to it's limit ( Let's face it very few of us are ) I race some Hare and Hound scrambles and finish in the top 1/2, I would probably due better if I was in better shape. I ride my wr 400 because I like Yamaha, I can get parts easily, and the bike rips, plus your bike will have 50 mor cc"s and 4 more years of technology, plus the "Magic" button.

To be honest I have never had a problem starting my bike, usually on the first or second kick, but the magic button will be nice when you fall on the side of those hills :) Hope that helps, If you ride blue you won't be disapointed :D

Wow, what a list of items, first off I don't know why you think you need to buy all the extras. The WR450 hasn't even come out yet so were not sure what the seats like, why do you think you need triple clamps for the Yamaha but not the KTM? Whats after market T-clamps and foot pegs going to do that the stock one's can't do? The only thing you listed that you might need is handle bars, and Frame guards. Don't get in the trap thinking you need all the trick stuff. Ride the heck out of it, get really good on it, then decide if any of those things you listed would really help you be a better rider. Both great bikes, the WR is about $1,000.00 less,and would probaly have better resale value.

lard ass at 210 well i must be a huge lard ass at 6' 230. lol :)

No point asking me i'm one eyed :) they all have there own problems, depends which problems you want, you can be sure any of these bikes will be a good choice and you'll love whatever you end up with, so stop analizing, purchace and let it rip!!!! :D

For the type of riding you do, you have seleted the right group of bikes

Obviously being in the blue forum we will tell The yamaha is best .

You should wait for the WR450 to see if you like it

The WR's have always been a cut above the rest of the competition and they dont break.

Good luck


Most of the "goodies" I've listed is to open up the cockpit. Your right, the WR isn't out yet but I'm sure it will have the same ergos as the YZ. I've riddend other YZ and I seem cramped (maybe it's something I have to get use to). The only other "necessity" would be the flywheel weight. Two of the YZ riders in my group had much better control after the weight installation.

My guess is that the WR450f will have a heavier flywheel than the YZ450f.

Think blue !!! :D

I just got my wr 426 wr 2002. I'm 6-2 and at 220. I tell you, when I ride that beast I seem to be 20 years younger with 50 pounds less :). I think that weight is not a major factor for these machines, as you can adjust and install stiffer suspension parts to fit your needs. Concerning power, (even in stock form), it is not a concern for me there is plenty of it. But remember that if your are in good shape you will be faster :D :D

All the bikes you chose are great machines. I think the same thing as the other guys, the best dealer for you and the $$$ for new parts should be decisive factors. :D

I got all the protection for the bike, skid plate, rad guard, bushguard, frame guard, and a handlebar with a higher rise. I have no regrets, as for the rest I'll see as it comes along.



i notice you mentioned wanting 10-yr reliability and parts availability, but didn't mention any of the XR line??????

i know the 650 is a joke for most trail purposes, i've ridden a friend's, and it's so wide and heavy its like straddling a cow. (moo)

the xr400 has to be the most reliable bike on the planet, has more than enough power for trailriding like you describe, and did i mention it's reliable?!?!?!

I know it's a little heavy, but that would give incentive to become less of a self proclaimmed lard @$$, wouldn't it

(bike weight + rider weight = total weight, therefore if you reduce rider weight, you have less total weight)

but, if you still don't want to consider it, then you'll still be happy with either of the two bikes you choose, just know that the WR always has been, and prob. always will be a stand-up, moto style bike that rewards a rider willing to go at it full bore 100% if the time.

not sure about hte exc line of the katooms, but rode a 520sx, and it's bottom end seemed awefully soft for trailwork. i imagine the exc has a lower first gear, though.

have fun roosting whatever you get.

racer36 :D

p.s. personnally i think an XR50 would be your perfect trail bike.. get stuck and you can pick it up and carrry it out or throw it up over the top of the hill :)

Blue beast is the best... Think BLUE Brother

The most important thing to know, (I think) is what Mitch R said: very few of us will ride these bikes to their limit (where the little power difference could make the difference). I'm not trying to tell that it is useless to choose the one that seems to be the best, it is just that any performance difference between the bikes you mentioned should be so small that your ability to ride the bike will easily overcome these differences.

My partner rides an XR400R 99 which is heavier and has way less power than my 426'01 but he would be able to kick my a... everytime we ride only because he rode hard in 1999 and 2000 and I did not follow him at that time because my work did not allow me to... :) Experience is everything! (almost) The time you spend trying to compare is not invested in riding and getting experienced: buy the bike, ride the bike and have fun my friend! :D

The KTM 520? Isn't it that bike that Dirt Bike Mag mentioned to be: "ridiculously too powerful" last year?


Woody I can't speak for the WR450 since there is limited info,but the flywheel weight would be in reference to the YZ450 IMHO.I have ridden a 520EXC and I was faced with the same dilemma.The deciding factor WAS suspension and handling.I also enjoyed the mid-range pull of the 426.The 520 seemed too electric motor like for my tastes,but it still is a torque MONSTER.The starting mystic of the 426 is Bull####,but that won't be a concern for you if you choose the WR450.I also weigh 200 lbs.and I have launched this WR further than I care to without problems.Kudos for suspension.All the bikes you are looking at are great machines Good Luck my friend :)

I sleep with my yamahas so I guess I can't comment. My brother in law has an 03 525 mxc and says he loves it - but he doesn't sleep with it. If it was so good wouldn't he want to keep it warm at night?

My unbiased opinion (I ride a DRZ 400 kick on heavy steriods). I have ridden the new 03'450 EXC, a 02'520 EXC, and all kinds of Yamaha's 400, 426, YZ & WR. I would wait until the reviews come out on the WR450. They will be out in a month or so. Remember this is going to be a 10 year bike for you, get the right bike! My friend who just got the new 03'450EXC said that changing the oil and all of its filters and pre-filters is bull shet!! There are many variables to look at when choosing the correct bike. The magic button is sweet, especially when you get tired. Ask yourself, what bike will allow me to ride with the least amount of energy? Because, if you are a trail rider, then you will be able to ride longer and harder on a bike that is easy on you. Racing is a totally different equation!! Good luck!

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