KTM Converts?

Alright guys. I, too, am on the fence as to which bike to buy. I am currently waiting for a WR450 but after looking at the KTM 450EXC yesterday, I'm reconsidering. I have noticed there are a lot of KTM converts here that have previously owned 426 Yamahas and I have some questions for you guys. First, what were the motivating factors of why you switched from Yamaha to KTM? What were the concerns you had about KTM's before switching? I have no doubt the motor will be comparable to the Yamaha in power, if not better, but what about reliability? Lastly, having been spoiled by the suspension of my 02 WR, I would like to know if the KTM suspension has equaled or surpassed what you had with your 426's. I know I have a lot of questions but I figured you guys would know best.

I didn't come over from Yamaha but I did convert. So far I love the bike. Every bike model has its quarks. KTMs is the valves need to be adjusted more then the Yamaha and the rear wheel spacers need to be R/R for some good aftermarket ones.

Now you will hear rumors that the KTM requires more maintence, IMO that is wrong. I do the same as I would any other bike, change oil, clean air filter, once a year grease bearings and axls, adjust valves. As far as suspension goes I'm not one of those guys that does 25ft jumps and extreme riding. So the stock suspension works for me.

I am happy that you came the orange board to get some input. We all have been in your shoes before "looking at that new KTM" wondering if it is worth the price tag. After you up grade your Yamaha you will of spent close to what you would of if you just got the KTM anyway. I'm sure the WR450 is going to be a nice bike but so is the KTM, why wait.

SSSHHHHHHHHHHH....... I think I hear something calling your name. Is it a new KTM 450?


One of my biggest concerns between the KTM and WR was weight. Each big bore WR I have ridden was quite fast but felt top heavy compared to the KTM RFS models. Reported here a few months ago was that the WR is 12 lbs. heavier than my 450EXC. I am quite happy with my choice.

My stock KTM suspension was mushy. I have since had it resprung and revalved and it's magic now. The Yamaha's have a better stock suspension. Everything else on the KTM is superior (well maybe not the rear wheel spacers). As far as the valves go, adjusting them is a breeze, no shims like you know who. Take the plunge, you wont be sorry.


I maintain my KTM's the same way as any other bike. There doesn't seem to be any significant difference. My past '00WR400 always seemed top heavy by comparison to the KTM's. As a counterpoint to the last post: I softened my WR's suspension(forks only), but haven't touched the KTM's other than adjusting to more spring preload. The WR was my shortest ownership of a bike, ever. The KTM still makes me smile every ride. :) It's a keeper!

I too am a convert from the WR/DRZ to the EXC. Like Mike, I needed to beef up my suspension a little to suite my needs. But, like James said this bike is a keeper. It runs and handles great! For awhile there, I was buying a new bike about every year. But, I plan on keeping this one. Can't see any reason to change. Good luck on your decision. Paul

I was a loyal Yamaha four stroke owner for several years. In 2001, I bought a WR 250 when they first came out that gave me nothing but problems. As much as I loved the engine, it was truly a love/hate relationship. After many dollars in repairs and upgrades, I sold it and bought a 400 EXC. Best damn bike I ever owned, period, Other than leaky fork seals, my KTM never gave me any problems. IMHO, the WP suspension is way more plush and adjustable than the KYB. Build quality and components are superior on the KTM. The down side is that KTM's are more expensive to buy, and the dealer's are more snotty and arrogant to deal with. :) I still like the Yamaha WR's, but could never see myself buying another one after owning a KTM. :D:D

I bought a 2000 520EXC from a lister. I love it. I came from a '96 KLX650R so anything would have been a huge improvement. :)

But, I wonder how many guys have gone from KTM 400/520's to WR400/426's? Not that many I bet. I bet the ratio is way higher the other way.

Don't get me wrong, I think the WR400/426 (and 450) are awesome bikes (I rode the WR400 and loved it, then rode a 520 EXC and REALLY LOVED it), but I think the KTM's are a bit better IMHO.

How about the CRF450? I've heard great things about them, especially the '03's.

Well, the good news is you can't go wrong with any of these bikes. Good luck. -Ed

the dealer's are more snotty and arrogant to deal with.

Not the ones I work with. In my area, the Jap brand dealers are the ones that hard to work with. Obviously, this is not a knock against a brand. Any dealer can be good or bad. I tend to vote for the good ones with my wallet.

OK, here's the challenge-

Go to 3 different Yamaha dealers today and see if they have anything on the floor that you want. Then go to 1 KTM dealer and see if you can leave empty handed.


In reply to:


the dealer's are more snotty and arrogant to deal with.


"Not the ones I work with. In my area, the Jap brand dealers are the ones that hard to work with. Obviously, this is not a knock against a brand. Any dealer can be good or bad. I tend to vote for the good ones with my wallet. "

I agree with jeb here. My KTM dealer is the best motorcycle dealer in my area bar none.

Thats no challenge PUMPKIN_HEAD. I already know the results. :)

I too came from a family of WR/ yz owners. I had a DRZ and rode my dads wr400 (used to belong to Ty Davis, with all his racetech mods done). I got on my dads new 45e exc and knew it was the perfect bike. So much lighter, lean, and strong. Maintenance is a breeze (it's a bike, so there are some things that are expected). Well worth the $$ and it is a bike I will probably never sell. I have no need for anything more. I may get a 2 smoker for the track, just because I prefer it, but I have ridden my exc at the track, and aside from the triples, the suspension takes it farely well. May need to be resprung.

try and find someone in your area that has one, and ride it. I was on the fence for the 450 (CRF/WR), rode the EXC and never looked back.

I converted, I used to be Catholic! Just kidding, I came off of a DRZ, man am I a happier camper. :)

I dumped a YZ426 for my 450 EXC. Now my right leg has time to recover, thanks to the magic button.

I like any dealer who doesn't charge me retail!

I too am looking to convert. I have had KTM's in the past, 94 250exc, 95 440exc, both very reliable. But after having xr400 and DRZ, I am sticking to 4 strokes. My only concern with the RFS is reliability. I had read about broke spokes, leaking water pumps, broken starter intermediant gears. Reasure me. Are these isolated problems? I just want the ultimate trail bike, and always do my maintanence, but a broken bike that makes me miss a day of riding is of no use to me. Not dogging your bikes, just want the facts.

I'm getting off a DRZ. I've got a bit of remorse going on because my DRZ was so reliable and fun to ride. This 450 does a lot of things much better.

Why the remorse? Has you KTM not been reliable?

As far as suspention goes, my dad has a '00 YZ426, and I have the '01 520SX.

My front suspention, at the least, was crap holish compared to his suspention!!

Soft, soft, soft, kicky, soft, blow through travel, a TON of sag (almost 3" of sag up front!), and just plain soft.

I rode with it, liked it, and won with it MANY times. I didn't realize it was so poor. I rode my dad's 426, and I never felt like I was hitting bumps!

I sent them to MX-Tech, and had work done. They told me all my compression and rebound was GONE. Shims had been moved and broken off, leaving me with a oil filled pogo stick with a soft spring. The fixed em up, making them pliable and trackable. Now, they were just too soft.

I sent them back again, and now they are superb (from the one ride I got on them in the snow/ice). I was able to land on the front SOLIDLY, and no bottoming or kick.

I would say so far though, that the suspention has been the ONLY thing I have been disapointed in. The new models have better forks (48mm instead of 43mm), so I bet I'd like them alot more.

Yet, despite this, remember, I raced and won for over a year and a half (hare scramble), on this bike. Busted suspention and all. I never finished lower than 2nd. SO, bad or not, it was still good enough.

I hadn't cleaned my oil filters or screens in about 4-5 months.....nothing in the filters. So, the bike doesn't eat itself. It's going to be a tough bike to beat as far as durability and toughness in my book!!

I will never own anything but KTM from now on.

ddialogue, you and I think alike.

Do KTMs need a cush-drive for reliable dualsporting?

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