wr450, ktm 400exc, xr400, mod. 2 stroke? HELP!

Rode for many years 12-21 (mx 2 strokes, mostly mountain trails). Nightmare on the tight stuff with 2 stroke. Want to get back to my beloved sport. 4 stroke sounds appealing. Smooth, strong power, yet light enough not to beat you up...while still being able to get the adrenalin going. Would like a green sticker...

I am 40 years old, very good shape. Work out 3-4x/wk, run. 6'4", 195 lbs. Enjoy trails, sweeping mountain roads, tight stuff. Experience was with 2 strokes...that power was intoxicating yet admittedly tiresome for this type of riding and basically almost impossible to negotiate the tight stuff with those late 70's 2 strokes. In short, powerful, light and controllable power...bigger 4 stroke?

Realize that I am dating myself. The technology is so much more advanced that perhaps my understanding is off base for what is available today for a given cc displacement. Thinking that a 250 2 stroke comparable with a tricked out 400 4 stroke (understanding the difference in power delivery along the powerban).


Heard the xr 400 was bullet proof, just a bit heavy, underpowerded and cumbersome? Praise for reliability.

Ktm 400exc, more race ready yet more expensive and more maintenance.

Have been told that a pre 1997 2 stoke, green stickerable, and modified "down" for trail would be good.

Wr450 gets good praise, although don't think that it is green sticker.

So what would be the suggestions for a good overall bike for trails, cross country, desert, tight trails...I'm asking too much I know. Thanks ever so much for your advice and consideration. Looking forward to trying to rekindle those childlike ways of just enjoying the play, fun and love for the outdoors!

Welcome to T T it's a great site . I aim 44 and i have a 98 wr 400 and it put's a smile on my face every time i ride it . It will climb any thing as long as i can hold on to it , it's great in the woods in my opinion and you should be able to get one for decent money ,3 grand or so . im happy with it but then im a old fart .what ever you get ENJOY - HAVE FUN


The world is your oyster, there are so many nice bikes to choose from these days. I was in a similar situation and ultimately ended up with a KTM 400exc. Personally it has not required any more wrenching than my old YZ400 (another fun bike). A friend of mine rides a '01 KTM 250 mxc 2 stroke and it works great in the tight stuff. I'll get off my orange sales pitch and just say focus on the type of riding you plan on doing. My YZ has a blast but I was working much harder on the trails (no flywheel weight).

The 4 strokers have come a long way and they keep getting better. It's all good, just don't sell yourself short and get something you will "outgrow" in six months. Any of the bikes you mentioned would probably be a safe bet, it's hard to go wrong. Once you start riding you'll get a feel for exactly what you want in your next bike :D...hmmm. I'm biased towards the KTM, hey it's all good! :)

Good luck

In the conditions you are riding in you can not go wrong (but very right) on a KTM 400/450 EXC or a WR450. Both AWESOME bikes!!! They can both handle a wide variety of conditions. I have ridden MANY Yamaha 4 strokes and this years WR 450 is the best bike they've made so far IMO. Either bike you could become instantly confortable on. MAN IT'S A GOOD TIME TO BECOME A KID AGAIN!!! :)

sounds like you have the answer already wr450 !!! it is a great bike , plenty of power and forgiving when needed.

I don't know what your financial situation is, but my advise would be to buy a used bike since you are just getting back into the sport, if only because the risk you are taking in buying a bike you end up disliking will be a less costly risk.

Once you've been "in the loop" for a year or so on your used bike you will know what to replace it with, or maybe discover that you will remain satisfied with the used bike you bought.

Anyway with that in mind I would say look for a two year old KTM 400 EXC. You can't go wrong there, and if you don't like it you should be able to get rid of it pretty quickly. My second choice would be YZ 250 two stroke, '00 was a very good year for those, they have smooth power for a two stroke and w/ a flywheel weight could be a terrific trail bike. A KTM 300 EXC would be good also, but I've never ridden one of those. They are supposed to be almost as smooth as a thumper.

Don't get the XR, given your experience with motocross bikes you will be disappointed with that bike, although they are pretty much idiot proof and real good in tight trails...

I would recommend the 250F but I'm thinking you will be dissapointed with the power given your size and past experience.

Hope this helps. :)


I was recently in the very same boat as you. I am 45 now, raced in my teens, had a cr125 Ellsinore. I just bought an 03 wr450 after thinking I need it (the fever hit me) so I traded my 03 KLX300R (yes it was new also). I was torn btwn various KTM's but bought Yamaha due to having dealers all around me, and, I thought if it was based on the YZ it would be fast and handle well. Initially when I got it home it was a dog. I had no idea there was a throttle stop, rev limit etcc. After doing the free mods explained in this forum (fairly easy) the bike is a rocket. If anyone needs more power they should be drag racing instead! The E start is a big plus the KLX did not have that and boy what a pain that is! The only pick I have is the tallness of the bike. If I were honest with myself I would say my old KLX300R was just fine for really tight trails. The WR is harder to ride due to height. On faster stuff the WR is a thoroughbred. The power is intoxicating, however to really use all the bike has I've got a little more practicing to do.

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