WR 450 or KTM? Advice welcome

I'm getting a new bike and don't know what to choose.

I'm hesitating between a 03 wr450 and a exc 450.

Having ridden the 250F for a year, I love the light weight of the little blue one.

So on the new bike, weight will be a big issue.

Which one is the lightest? KTM or Yam?

At this time, I'm leaning towards a KTM because the Yamaha dealers are below any standard down here in Belgium. Ktm dealers seem to be better according to my riding buddies on KTM's. Another benefit is that the KTM is quiet yet powerfull. I don't know how powerfull theWRF is with the European exhaust. The biggest advantage is that the KTM is ready to race for Official Belgian Enduro's (brakelight, horn, quiet exhaust)

one concern is the reputation KTM has had in the past, I think they are more reliable now, but would like to know from^people who own one. Have there been issues with the new 450? Like Yamaha had the woodruff key issue on their new 450, how is the KTM doing? Coming from a 250f, I love the light and accurate steering, which 450 is comparable, the Yam or the KTM?

Thanks for helping out!

What about the price difference between those two bikes in Belgium?

Have a look to the may-03 edition of Dirt Bike magazine, they are doing a shotout of the midclass thumpers (XR400, DRZ, WR,GazGaz,KTM450). I received it yesterday night and haven't check it yet so I'll read it and come back on this thread later...

This report from dirt bike might give you the basic infos you want to know.

Right now I think that both bikes have plenty of power ( The KTM is the most powerfull when stock but the WR might beat the KTM score with very few mods) At almost 50 HP to the wheel for these bikes, power is not the problem

I think you are right with choosing the best dealer if there is a good difference

The advantage of the Yam would rely more in its wonderful suspension and its handling (I'm pretty sure there is only the WR450f to beat my 426 at this game)

Anyway, both are great bikes

Congrats on your futur ride whatever it is a 450 pumpkin or the Yammy :)


The price difference is 570 Euro, 7750 for Yam, 8320 for pumkin.

The suspension is a big concern for me, I've always been happy with my Yam's suspension, some people are happy with the KTM's pds system, others aren't.

Dealer service is important to me, check a previous post to see what we go throug in Belgium:

Nice Belgian dealers

It's about the same price difference as here in Can.

Belgian both seem to be great bikes. The KTM comes with bars that will last more than one ride and a few other small things that need to be put on the WR. I think a big deciding factor would have to be your dealer support.

B-WR250F, better check my response on the post titled WR450 =Tall heavy load

try to ride them both.it's your money so it's ultimately your decision. i have no complaints about my WR450 but i have never ridden a KTM.

I did this on another post so I will do it again here.

A picture is worth 1000 words


I'm not in this picture....but my dust is....and a KTM 520


:D :D

To be fair, the KTM pilot is my brother and fellow tt'r Pumpkinhead. When he managed to keep the front wheel down on the MXC, and I missed a shift of lost my front wheel, he would out pull me. But not by much. If I hit my shifts, no mistakes I could usually keep up or pass.

Bottom line is the big cc's (KTM 520) won 6 of 10 times I would say. His bike has the AP mod. Mine you can check the sig line below.

Conclusion. KTM makes a good bike. from a performance support, and cost standpoint, I would still buy the Yamaha. Nothing against the KTM. Even if I had the cash, given the results above, I would still buy the Yamaha.

My opinion only. Pumkinheads will differ I'm sure. :):D

Racemile :D

look how much prettier that blue one is !! :)

The most recent article I read had the WR at 6 lbs heavier than the Katoom. Thats with steel bars, and the guards around the engine which the KTM lacks. It would be interesting to see how close they are with ally bars on the Yam, and guards on the KTM. When I bought my WR, the KTM dealership would not come within $1200.00 of the price I paid for it.

Now that I've red the May report in the Dirt Bike Magazine, I can tell that I'm a little bit mixed up.

OK, The KTM seems to have more power and acceleration than the Yam in stock form ( big surprise to me after seing the previous photos from this thread) and they said the yam felt a lot heavier.

But, I don't understand some passage like when they say that the WR feels heavy and right after say it is made from a motocrosser and feel like it. It seems really contradictory to me to say that...MX are not suppposed to be light and agile? :D They rate the WR down with very bizarre criterions like power usability :D( what do they mean by that anyway? :)) They bring the WR down with "Agility" criterion and say it feels like the YZ. :D

If I keep the important criterions in mind ( power, weight, suspension, noise levels, overall quality of components, price) they are both almost equally good and the choice has to be personnal and related to the dealer.

DBM are right on some points though: it is very difficult to understand why Yam has not been able to produce a Ca green stickered bike even after all the pluggins ( throttle stop, restrictive exhaust, lean jetting...) while the KTM is green stickered.

Also,the KTM has good bars and hydraulic clutch but in the end, you can't decide on the base of these criterions because the KTM is much more expensive. I think that the testers just prefered the KTM for personnal reason ( like I prefered my kdx 200 over a IT250 in those past years without really knowing why )

If we bring a WR450f with honda-red stickers and plastics to DBM, will the 450 EXC be on top of the shoutout over the WR? :D

I am very anxious to try a 450EXC :D

But, I don't understand some passage like when they say that the WR feels heavy and right after say it is made from a motocrosser and feel like it. It seems really contradictory to me to say that...MX are not suppposed to be light and agile?

You never know where magazines are coming from but I do understand the statement a bit. It's almost the exact thing my friend said when on his WR450 at times. He said the bike was a little tall for his type of riding, suspension is a little harsh in the rocks, it revs too quick and stalls easier than his DRZ in tight slow tractor stuff. Also the compression braking is a lot lower than he was used to. Are those gripes or just things he is not used to? Probably a little of both. We then went to a more open section and he thought he was flying faster than he ever was on his DRZ.

My friend probably agrees with the mag that there might be too much YZ in the WR for his style of riding as he has to work more. This doesn't mean the WR is a bad tight woods bike by any means it's just in the tight twisties he thinks his DRZ rides lighter and is smoother. It's just a personal preference thing.

Your best bet is to get a test ride on each bike and see what your personal preference prefers. Do you like smooth or lots of zip when you ride? That's how I would sum it up.


I've ridden both extensively and own a WR450. I believe your dealship issue should play heavily into your decision.

I've read the Dirt Bike review and really don't agree with their wishy-washy contradicting review.

In short, in my humble opinion...here is what I think of the two bike:

WR450R - Far better suspension. Does feel a little more top-heavy (center of gravity) in low speed tight single track trail riding. However, at higher speeds it does feel much lighter and seems to handle more like a purebred motocross bike than the KTM to me. Components suck from the triple-clamps to handle grips (However, with after-market bars and a steering stbilizer on both bikes the WR is at par with the KTM except for the hydraulic clutch... personally, I don't like the hydraulic clutch...used cable all my life...but can see why other like it).

KTM- definitely less vibration. The bike feels very solid and the top-shelf components from the triple-clamps on up give a very good first impression (may be why Dirt Bike said it feels much lighter... both bikes weigh 250+ pounds, and when you first feel the Yamaha's vibration versus the KTM's solid feel, the KTM definitely feels like a lighter bike at first). The KTM also has better stock tires (soft Michelin's clean out in mud...whereas, the harder stock Dunlops on the Yamaha don't clean out in the gumbo.

In short, every time I'm in tight muddy hills I get buyer's remorse and wish I would have went with the KTM. Then, when I'm riding at higher speeds at a more-MX style, I smile ear-to-ear that I went with the WR. BTW... in the US, by the time you put a decent set of tires and bars on the WR the price is within a few hundred $USD. In short, unless you have grown very fond of the WR's suspension or a vast majority of your riding is MX-like, I would definitely go with the better dealer (KTM).

I did the shopping also when I bought my WR. It pretty much came down to price, The Katoom dealer wouldn't get within $1400.00 of my best price on the WR. That said, if I had to do it all over again would I still buy the WR? Probably not. 3 out of the last 5 motorcycles I purchased in the last 8 years have been Yamahas and I've never been so dissapointed with a "customer service" department in my life. My dealership (Hardings in canton, oh) made me wait 4 weeks to get the TSB done, they said they were waiting for the parts (?). I took the bike in wednesday, and they said I MIGHT get it back on monday. The TSB says About .7 hr for the repair. What does this have to do with Yamaha's CS dept you ask? When I called them to see if I even needed the TSB done because I had heard that Yamaha may be correcting this on later bikes (I bought mine the last day of feb), the person I spoke with said she didn't have a clue what I was talking about. She asked me where I'd heard about the TSB and when I told her the internet(TT), she got kind of snotty and said that they "don't like to hear about the internet". I then told her that if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't have heard about the TSB because neither Yamaha or my dealer had contacted me, And that I had a copy of the TSB right in front of me. Dead Air. All I wanted to Know was whether or not my bike even needed the TSB and they could not tell me. As far as I know, this is not a new problem, it seems like Yamaha has known about it for some time, why doesn't anybody at the dealerships or the "customer service" department know anything about this? :):D

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