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I'm trying to like this bike....

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Picked up a slightly used 08 450excr mainly for the plate and I am keeping my dialed in 05 CRF450R. I live in So Cal and after a year of convincing, my buddy that has a plated 07 450exc finally got me to join in the plated fun.

Is my CRF really that good, or is my KTM a poorly suspended turd? So far, the only thing I like is the plate, kickstand, and e-start. The bike has 14-48 gearing (planning on going to a 13t cs), JD jetting with red needle 5th position (per JD recommendation through e-mail), 42 pilot, 175 main, o-ring on linkage and added diaphragm spacer, smog plugged, exhaust cut. Power is weak, no snap, feels flat.

Suspension is terrible. I am a 185 lb A rider, but I have no confidence to go A speed on this thing. I have gone to 7 turns in on the fork pre-load, 12 out on the comp, 17 out on reb. Shock is set at 45mm static with 110 rider sag and 12 out on comp. The forks dive and bottom on the small hits and feels harsh on sharp edge. The shock isn't too bad, but does feel vague and tends to ride high compared to the front when braking or just cruising a gear high.

I really want to like this bike, but I don't understand how others rate this thing so well. Frankly, it sucks in power and suspension performance and I feel like I am missing something. Is there any way to get the power on this thing to feel sharp and for the suspension to feel balanced to give a little confidence??? I am not used to letting off on the throttle when the going gets rough, but this bike leaves me no choice and if I did have the choice, there is no power to skip through the nasties.

I don't expect this thing to have the snap or suspension performance that my Honda has on the big hits, but there has to be a way to make it rideable for fast trail riding. Everyone seems to love these things and I feel like I am missing something.

If anyone has some advice tweaking the jetting or stock suspension to make it work to the best of it's limited abilities, I would appreciate it.... sorry for the rant, I am a bit frustrated.

Thanks, Jon

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When I got my used exc450 I had the same feelings. Get .46 springs for the front and set the oil level. I have 13/50 gearing and a OCEMQ needle and bike has been transformed, really rips. Rear Static Sag should be around 35 to 40mm.

After I dialed it to my liking its the best bike I have ridden!!!!!!!!

Also get a dirt tricks camchain tensioner.

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Are you mostly riding MX or off-road?

You are comparing two bikes that are designed to do different things.

The best money you can spend is to have the suspension professionally set up for you by someone that know WP. The suspension can be made to work just as good and maybe better than your CRF.

Gearing is the cheapest way to gain snap to your performance but it may hurt you on the street. Just be sure you check your chain adjustment with the shock remove method after re-gearing.

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I asked some of the same questions, the suspension is easy. The Honda beats you to death in the ruff stuff, KTM is smooth.

The KTM is more of a ride all day smooth motor. I asked specifically what parts would be different to get the different motor characteristics. Lots answered why a KTM is made to be smooth. I didnt ask that. I asked what was different mechanically. Then guys said basically that everything is different like the motor on a Honda is short stroke, lite crank, ignition, FWW, etc, made to have a hit and go fast.

So stop trying to make into a Honda in your mind, its not. You have to settle into that idea and ride it like it is meant to be ridden...OR...spend lots of money to make it rip. I decided it is a trail bike to ride all day.

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Thanks for the responses so far. I understand that it's not a CRF and not designed to work the same way and that is why I am keeping the CRF as well. The CRF is set up by MB1 for Dez/fast trail riding and is a bit harsh when the going gets slow and that is how I want that bike set up.

For the KTM, I just want a fun bike with crisp response and handling that will be compliant on the rough stuff and not do anything too surprising when I hit a g-out. It feels out of balance and stiffer fork springs will probably be in order to eliminate the diving and keep the forks up in the stroke where it is a bit plusher... I also need to check the fork oil level.

Regarding the power, I agree that the gearing change should give it a bit more snap and I have no plans on doing long pavement runs. I already made the investment in the JD kit, so I really want to get that working properly. In the current setting, it feels flat rather than sharp (if that makes sense). It's kind of like bwwaaaaa, rather than bwaaap (again, if that makes sense). I put in an MSR adjustable fuel screw and when I turn it in to find the stumble so I can back it out to the sweet spot, it never stumbles.. even with it turned in all the way????

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Get the KTM/FMF Competition Silencer (Black one), and leave the sparky in it.....it absolutely transforms the bike....i used the JD Jet kit for my buddy's 08 530 and it was an absolutely ripper bike....on my 10 530, i used the same JD settings, 5 other combo's, the Blias Racing Combo,...none of them could get me the agressivelness / snap of my buddies.....so i swapped his silencer for mine and bingo....either Red 5 or Blue 3 and the bike is tottally transformed...when and bought one the next day....got it new for $200 (retail is $314).....absolutely worth every penny if you want much better low end snap / torque.

I aslo own a CRF450R so i know the differences your talking about....and the above get's it real close....you wont be disappointed.

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if you truly want that mx 450f hit like a crf or yz or kxf you should have gotten the 530 the hit once the mods are done is better....since you already have a 450 though,i have 2 ideas that might help.

if money is not a concern to much...i think you could put a 530 crank and cylinder in it, or better yet, get a 530 crank and do the 570cc ktm hard parts kit.

the second suggestion that helped me like my 530 to feel more like an mx motor was to go to a 1/4 turn throttle tube like the one from moose racing with the switchable cable cams.

i found myself thinking my bike was a bit flat compared to my yz450 but then i would realize there is more throttle in there, but stock it is almost a 1/2 rotation tube.

when i put the 1/4 turn tube, it hit the power that much sooner and felt more like an mx bike engine.

and of course 3rd, still too tall of gearing at 14/48, go to at least 13/48 on a 450exc or even 13/50.

i think once you get the power feeling like you want the suspension will feel better. but you do need to go up on the springs and maybe even re-valve it if you like the way a crf feels.

me i like the plush soft suspension, but the front bottoms way too easy for me when stock.

it really is minor stuff but it will surprise you when you get it set up for you

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Where did you get the FMF pipe from for only $200?

It was a one time thing from the dealer, not a common price, although i have seen them on the net for mid to high $200's (not ebay)....he ride's with the same silencer on his bike and given he runs the dealership, pretty sure he could have any exhaust real cheap...

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A note on the suspension...i've had a few bikes, and none of them took as much to set them up as my XC-W...it's just picky....doesnt take a lot of money to get right (i did need springs, but i'm heavy so that's normal)....but playing with the clickers and definatly getting the sag right makes a huge deal.

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the other choice is to sell it and buy a honda xr650L dual sport, im sure that will feel just like your crf. im obviously being over dramatic to make the point that a STREET LEGAL bike will never feel like a full race mx bike.

but the euro ds bike are the ONLY ds bikes that come close.

i raced motocross for 40 years and love a well set up yz40f, but after dialing in my 530 i can cut laps close to those on my yz, AND honk at the spaz in my way crossing up lines.

not many bikes on the market capable of that.

dial in your ORANGE, realize it is NOT an APPLE, then youll love it

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haa, I do like the horn too.

Again, I understand that it is not the CRF and I am not trying to make it in to that bike. I just want to have it reach it's potential. I want it to run like the offroad shootout winning XCR-W (or better). I have a feeling that the gearing change to the 13t front will help a lot (13-48).. that should be similar to 14-50/51.

I went with the 450 beacause it was a great deal on a barely used bike and from what I understood, the 450 revs out quicker than the 530.

I never thought about the throttle range as suggested earlier. I may look into that down the road. I simply want crisper response so the bike will snap to life a bit quicker. I said earlier that JD told me through e-mail to go to the red in 5th position, but it was actually 6th position he told me to try. Maybe I need to go back to the 5th and fiddle with the fuel screw a bit. Any sense in trying the blue needle in So Cal?.. maybe I need to look into the AP squirt?

I will eventually get this bike figured out, but I am having flashbacks of 2003 when I bought an Orange 300mxc, raced it (d36 HS) for less than a year and got rid of it (could never get comfortable with the handling). At that time I went back to my 01 YZ250 and wallah, I was confident and fast again..

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... I failed to mention that I also have a Scotts Stabalizer on my CRF. I plan on getting a top mount for the KTM so I can switch back and forth. That will help some of the twithchiness (is that a word?)

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the 450 doesnt rev out quicker in my opinion, it may rev out farther a bit, but the pop on the bottom is alot more, and i think that is what you are missing, that instant bark of a mx bike.

http://www.denniskirk.com/jsp/product_catalog/Product.jsp?skuId=1901590&store=Main&catId=&productId=p1901590&leafCatId=&mmyId=

this is the one i used it quickened up the snap

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as far as "feeling" like the award winning 450xcw, there is NO DIFFERENCE except the lighting {hi/lo headlight, stop/tail, turnsiganals, horn, key switch,}

a few smog bits {which i hope you have stripped them all already anyway}

and some suspension settings, although the shock and fork are the same.

frame is the same, motor, carb, cam, and heads are the same.

the only real difference is the pieces required to plate it

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oops forgot... the needle is different, and the pilot jet.

as well as the adjustable steering stem on the xcrw that is not on the excr.

i checked my book...the forks and shock are exactly the same,even the springs and click settings for comp and rebound

maybe its just YOU....:banana:

seriously though...honda handling is very different than alot of other bikes.

not to be a dick...but i hate hondas.

i cant stand riding cr's or crf's.

the showa suspension is harsh and chattery, the steering is twitchy and knifes under too easy, i just dont like the feel.

i love the feel of my ktm, it took a bit of fiddling to dial it in, but i always liked it alot, just dialed in MORE to my liking.

it is possible the bike is just NOT for you.

again..NOT ripping on your honda, just saying they are NOT for me

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my 450 has a stronger hit than my buddies 530, needs a dampner, if your idle is set low then the front end will dive like a mofo in the chop. suspension will need a revalve, find a wp person though.

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