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KLX300 v KLX450R

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Some time ago I upgraded from a much modified KLX250 to a KLX450R.

The 250 had a 300 kit, full Staintune system, Dynojet, heavier springs + 10kg excess weight removed. I thought it was a pretty hot little bike and was a delight to ride.

At first the 450 intimidated me so I kept and preferred to ride the older bike.

Over the past few months I have become more accustomed to riding the 450. With over 1000km I am still running the original rear tyre which is now totally stuffed.

Today I was out riding with the teenage son of a long lost friend (his father died 6 years ago in a motocycle accident)

The young bloke was riding the 300 and me the 450. For the first time I rode the 300 immediately after stepping off the 450. I could not believe the difference – I though the brakes were binding on it was so unresponsive. The handling was still sweet – I could boss this bike around and as it had good tyres was not sliding heaps like the 450.

The message to all you 250 and 300 riders is that you can never make the old KLX into what the newer bike is. At one time I was going to put a 331 kit + pumper carb on the 300. It still would not have been half the bike the KLX450 is.

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As they say.. "there's no replacement for displacement"..

Although in this case you also have a way better chassis and suspension package, but there's some areas where I could see some people prefering the 300 over the 450. A small person and/or a person with not a lot of experience who rides really tight woods-type trails, and who's maybe intimidated by the Fo-Fiddy.

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Here in Kalifornia one reason to pick the KLX 250s/300 is because it is street legal for this state. The KLX 450R is not. There area many areas that you can not ride an unplated bike.

But they are definitely two different bikes. No one should even think they can get 450R performance from the 250/300 do matter what they do to it. The 450 not only has bigger displacement but the suspension is much more modern.

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How much better is the suspension in the klx 450? I am usually riding trails and very light motocross. This past weekend I was very aggressive on the track and the front forks bottomed out over every jump--even the relatively small ones. I know brewster and a number of others recommend the KX suspension mod but I am not convinced I should spend more money on this bike.

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i rode this weekend on my 300 and met up with a guy on his 450r. he told me when he got his bike the front forks were mush on and that his rear is mush as well. he used to race motocross and he said he doesn't even jump his 450. he also mentioned to me the headaches of it overheating and having to constantly have the battery on trickle charge.

moral of my story is every bike has problems. i went everywhere he went, but so did his son and his son was riding a klx 110. so should we all buy that bike as well? :p

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I have had three different 450's, I did have the KX not the KLX as one of them, and with the mods I have done to my 300, I honestly prefer the 300, my first real dirt bike was an 02 KLX 300 that I bought new, and after all the bikes I have owned, and I have owned many, I have come back home to my 07 300R. Mine is snappy super responsive and extremely comfortable, I love the high RPM's this little beauty slings up, very light and nimble, and if you are David Knight then sure, upgrade the suspension, but for the fast trail riding and small to moderate jumps I do, the 300 is awesome, I have lost many a buddy on 450's trying to keep up with me in the woods on mine, it handles like its on a rail!! I won't part with mine, unless the threat of my little one going hungry is eminent, thats the only way.:p

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How much better is the suspension in the klx 450? I am usually riding trails and very light motocross. This past weekend I was very aggressive on the track and the front forks bottomed out over every jump--even the relatively small ones. I know brewster and a number of others recommend the KX suspension mod but I am not convinced I should spend more money on this bike.

The 450 suspension is way better. On landing jumps it is like being in a armchair. If I land incorrectly either too much on the front or back, the 450 is kind and forgiving, and does not try to spit me off. Not to say that the 250/300 is bad. Mine has uprated springs and on the general rough stuff is pretty good, but I can go much faster on the 450.

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I don’t think the KLX 300 is a motocross bike. It is how ever an excellent older technology trail bike. In my opinion a MX bike and Trail bikes are two different things. With that and about five bucks you can get a cup of coffee at starbucks.

I’m not sure that the KLX 450R would be the best moto-crosser either. If you want a moto cross bike look at the bike the KLX 450R was developed from, the KX450F. The KLX 450R was made to be a trail bike, with different gears, suspension and changes to the motor.

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The main reason people come back to their older 300s, 331 or what ever size you created is brute toque the 450’s have. If Kaw made a KLX 250r (same as the 450 but a 250) no one would come back to their old bikes. Modern 250 MX four strokes are tame compared to the 450 but packaged in the same chassis these little 250 are a blast to ride. Same issue with 250 two stroke MX bikes, most said the four stokes 450 are easier to ride because the smoother powder band. Powder delivery is everything when it comes to riding. Everyone has different taste but at the end of the day smooth motor wins!

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450 Suspension is completely up to date, tunable and much, much better than the 300.

The 450 may as well be the KX450 with a flywheel and a few other changes. The 300 will never compare. I don't see kawasaki bringing the 300 back with the predecessor 450 doing so well.

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If Kawi did to the 300 what it delivered in the 450 (decent suspension and pumper carb) they would have a big enough market to make a profit, IMO.

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The big problem with the Enduro market right now is that there are no serious trail/playbikes to speak of. No more XR400, or KLX300's all you can get right now are versions of MX bikes that have a kickstand and lights. I know that the motors, and susp on quite a few of the 450's are different but they also all have the same price point. So you can either have a CRF 230 or you jump all of the way up to the X bikes if you want a honda. CRF230 = $3699, CRF250X = $6699 If Honda or anyone else would build something in the middle people would buy it!! If you want green KLX250-s = $4999 KLX450 = 7499 sorry no hard core KLX 250 to compare prices.

And why do none of these bikes have 6-speed transmissions! If I had a bucket of money to spend a Orange KTM 400XC-W would be in my garage!

Now back to my coffee!

Dennis

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And why do none of these bikes have 6-speed transmissions! If I had a bucket of money to spend a Orange KTM 400XC-W would be in my garage!

Now back to my coffee!

Dennis

KTM needs to get off there high horse with ridiculous prices,

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The high prices are do to the weak exchange rate with the dollar and the Euro! Sucks really!

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The big problem with the Enduro market right now is that there are no serious trail/playbikes to speak of. No more XR400, or KLX300's all you can get right now are versions of MX bikes that have a kickstand and lights. I know that the motors, and susp on quite a few of the 450's are different but they also all have the same price point. So you can either have a CRF 230 or you jump all of the way up to the X bikes if you want a honda. CRF230 = $3699, CRF250X = $6699 If Honda or anyone else would build something in the middle people would buy it!! If you want green KLX250-s = $4999 KLX450 = 7499 sorry no hard core KLX 250 to compare prices.

And why do none of these bikes have 6-speed transmissions! If I had a bucket of money to spend a Orange KTM 400XC-W would be in my garage!

Now back to my coffee!

Dennis

Look past the extra cash and you will find more for your money compared to the Jap bikes. If you like the Jap handling then NO European bike will be worth the money. Woods, enduro or a true DS the European bikes win all the time. 6-speed tranny, great handlebars, brakes, suspension and power with a wheelbase to give traction. What else do you need for a DS/single track tamer? Shop around and you can get great prices for these bikes and most of the time the same price as the japs. KTM’s are pure race bikes no matter how they come dressed. Modify your KLX to have good power, suspension and handling and you have just cut the cost difference in half if not more. How much was your big bore 331?? Did it come with EFI? Is it 34 hp? How are your 50mm fully adjustable forks? All this in a 250cc 50 state legal DS for just $1000 more than a KLX250s stock. KTMs and other 450cc bike are more money but way more bike than most need in a DS.

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Hey Weantright,

I see what you are saying, but my KLX was my very first dirt bike and I paid 2300.00 for it and I have spent about 1400.00 on hard parts not stuff that is worn out through attrition. That money included a 330 kit, Pumper carb, and a Stroker susp kit. No EFI but no bikes in 04 had that, no plate either but I have gone places and seen things that I am so glad that I spent every last penny of the money on the KLX. That is what it is all about having no regrets! So keep the rubber on the dirt or road which ever you prefer!

Dennis

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No question that Euro bikes are a large step up in quality. Japanese bikes at the upper end are certainly competitive, though. I totally agree that there's a large gap in decent mid-range play/trail/competition bikes. It's hard to understand why there aren't a lot of choices in the 300-400cc size, which seem to fit a lot of riders.

There are no shortage of opinions, for sure. Some like big, some like small, some like short, others tall, and some like blondes. Personally, if I were to buy another dirt bike, it'd be one of the Japanese or European 450s with dual sport capability (read, as dirt-oriented as possible, but legal). I love my 300. It's been a great bike for 2 and half years and counting, and I don't intend to get rid of it. It would just be nice to have another choice on days where I'd like to ride more fire roads and fast stuff. The 300 starts to lose ground on longer stretches when I'm mixing it up with friends on bigger bikes.

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Your wish is coming as AMA and KTM are pushing for a limit of 400cc 4 strokes. Seems that AMA thinks that smaller 4 strokes are less intimidating and more beginner riders with pick-up the sport of racing.

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