WR450 or KTM450exc ?

Just would like a few opinion's on what bike to go with. I have a XR400 now and I race H/S, I'm a C class rider over 40. Just going with one of these for the better suspention and the over 40 button.

Thanks Jay

I was debating which brand to go with back in January too. I sat on the 450exc for almost an hour at the KTM shop but in the end, I went with what I knew (came off a 02 WR426.) Two main reasons I went with the Yamaha over the KTM. First, the suspension. I hear good things about the KTM suspension...if you can get it dialed in. My Yamahas have had excellent suspension, even when not dialed in. Second, the price difference was huge ($1,100) between the two models. Everyone will argue that you get way more for that extra money on the KTM (bars, hydraulic clutch, etc.) and they're right to an extent. But I have added a ton of extras to my WR and I've still spent less than I would have had I gone with the KTM. We have one KTM dealer here in Boise and retail PLUS is the name of the KTM game because there is no competition.

I am very happy with my Yamaha!

Good luck with your decision! :)

I had Suzuki DRZ400e, KTM 200exc, KTM 520exc, KTM450exc and now a WR450. The WR450 is the best bike I have ever had.

I had to make the same choice your trying to make in march. The only thing I liked about the KTMs is that super soft clutch but the price is a little to much. Dont get me wrong I know KTMs are kick ass bikes but so is the WR 450. When you compare the 2 all you really need is handle bars and exhaust systym and thats only about 700 bucks depending on your type. The yamaha suspension is plush, comes with excel rims, easy mods to get all them hidden ponies out. But for me there was to things that made me decide, #1 MONEY, difference of at least a 1000 bucks, you could do alot with that. #2 CONVIENENCE I dont know about where you live but in Hawaii you can throw a stick and hit a yamaha dealer ship and they are well stocked with parts KTM has 1 dealership and the parts aint cheap and not as easy to get. I can tell you you wont be unhappy with the WR 450 and you will have a good hunk of change for a new blue costume with helmet and boots :)

I made the same comparison back in March and picked the WR450 over the KTM (and over the Honda 450 & 650). In San Diego, KTM dealers ask a premium with "dealer costs" added to the MSRP. So the difference was closer to $1,500 (since I was able to negotiate with several Yamaha dealers to get a great price on the WR450). I also knew that the WR450 would be reliable (knock on wood - no woodruff key failures on mine yet after 375 miles) and easier/cheaper to service & repair when required. I really like my WR450 and think it's a great bike. I added some extras to my bike (like a GPR stabilizer and pro taper bars) and I'm still way ahead of the price versus a KTM.

Sounds like we are similar riders (age and class). I have an 03 WR450f. Absolutely love the bike in the more open spaces (natural terrain motocross and moto-cross) type riding. However, as the tracks/trails gets tighter... the more and more I get buyer's remorse for not selecting the KTM. The lower center of gravity and better components on the KTM make it much easier for me to ride in the woods and on more technical terrain. I'm 6'-00" and weigh about 185#s. After 1800+ miles on the WR450R (about 500 miles in the woods) I would select the KTM if my wife and wallet would allow it.

In summary, I find myself "fighting the high center of gravity & 260 pounds of weight" on the WR as the day progresses on more technical tracks. On the other hand, the KTM seems a lot easier/fun to ride when fatigue starts setting in...goggles are fogged up, bike is covered in heavy clay, and the trail starts to narrow and get more difficult (Big time buyer's remorse that I didn't get the KTM). I used to think it was the high quality components (bars, clutch, etc.) that made the KTM "feel" easier to ride later in the day. However, after putting equivilent components on the WR, I'm conviced it is the high center of gravity (top heavy) feeling of the WR that I am battling.

Then it happens again... a nice cool Saturday morning... natural terrain moto-cross trail on top of the WR450... flying and smiling ear-to-ear as the awesome Yami suspension and motor make me feel like I'm 19 again.

It's a tough decision, but I'm not getting any younger...therefore, if I could do it again...and I had $1,000 in my pocket...I'd pick the KT :thinking:M.

Much of this debate probably depends on the type of riding you plan to do. I ride in the desert and the WR450 does very well. Would I pick the KTM for my type of riding - no!

I have a buddy (who shall remain nameless) that has a KTM450MXC.

His bike sucks and he can barely keep up. He always breaks down and always sits on trail and starts crying. I don't know what to do to comfort him. :)

:D :D :D

Just kiddin ya DP400. Actually the KTM's are really nice and to tell you the truth, I can't keep up with him no matter how hard I try. Just the same, I think he would be just as fast on a WR but unfortunately or fortunately for me, he doesn't ride one.

You won't be sorry either way. If your bank account can afford it why not spend the extra money on KTM and be happy? Oh ya, because the WR is the best enduro bike out there and cheaper! :D


Many here talk about topheavy yamaha compared to not so topheavy KTM. Somtimes I wonder if people really feel the difference in topheavyness between those bikes or if they just quote and belive what they read in the magazines. I´m not able to tell if the wr450 is more topheavy than the KTM. And if anything I find the WR450 easyer to handle in tight trail than the KTM. I like the WR engine better and I love the WR suspension. After reading the review in the Dirtbike mag I was sure that the KTM 450 would be the dream bike but after owning one and driving it I just didn´t like it. I liked the 520ktm better (well I liked it alot but not as the WR450) After driving the WR450 now about 900km/560miles The only thing I regrett is not getting it earlier but different people different opinion.

As a close comparison, I had a '00WR400 and now a '02400EXC.

The EXC feels much lighter and does not tire me out nearly as much in the woods. In wide open riding areas the Yamaha had slightly better suspension, but then again the EXC has a 6 speed transmission.

I am more satisfied with the KTM EXC because of the convenience that nothing more than handguards were installed to make it ready to ride and it has more versatility for a broad range of conditions. Overall, the bike fits me better with the adjustable bar perches (I'm 6'2" tall). The use of lighter aluminum stand, sprocket, bars, and muffler, and then juice clutch make a difference. No regrets here.


You can get the KTM with a green sticker :) But that may not matter to you in texas.I had a DRZ all tricked out and loved it,it had a ton more power than an XR400.I now have a WR450 and also love it but the jetting was a bitch!But if i could have found one and had the extra money i would have got the KTM.If for nothing else the green sticker.

Let me say that both bikes are very good. You can feel the top heavy and slow steering of the Yamaha in tight woods! Once the pace picks up on wider woods trails and desert type terrain the Yamaha suspension and stability are very confidence inspiring. Both machines are capable of being set up for different riding conditions but unless you like going slow the Yamaha kicks butt over 30 mph compared to the KTM. Oh and the Yamaha has more flywheel and bottom end grunt! :)

I've never ridden a KTM,but...

I'm also an over 40, novice rider, and traded my XR400 for a WR450 this year. I loved my XR, and was worried the WR might be to much bike after I ordered it. The XR was so easy to ride, and made those 100 mile days a joy.

I don't miss it.

While the WR feels heavier in the tight stuff(and feels heavier lifting on to a stand :)), the stability more than makes up for it. At speed, the WR is way more stable even without a steering damper than the XR was with one. I could instantly blow by guys in sand washes that I was afraid to pass on the XR. Even in tighter terrain, although not as flickable, the WR is more stable in turns, so faster. In real tight rocky stuff, the supension is better, so I feel it's a wash.

Plus, if you do stall, the e-button saves you so much energy, that it's more than worth the extra weight.

And the POWER... like a rheostat. Don't believe the magazines. I don't notice a "hit." Like the XR, just dial in as much as you want, but there is a lot more on tap. I find myself having a ball 'steering' with the back wheel in sweepers. Very controllable.

Can you tell I'm in love with this bike? I can't speak for KTM, but if you go blue, I don't think you'll be dissapointed. It definately ups the fun factor.

And in Utah, it's like sex, all day long. :D

(but ditch the 739's, especially the front)

I debated for a year over this very question. Anyone who knows motorcycles has to respect what KTM has brought to the table. They are excellent motorcycles and IMO KTM is on top of their game. After the specs of both bikes were actually released, the "meaningful" differences (to me) were not enough to decide either way. As mentioned, the KTM comes out of the box with "extras" at an increased price. Providing you personally like these "extras" and they fit your needs. You've hit a homerun! These "extras" are preferences and customizations to the bike. Yes, those "extras" cost money and since I am going to pay additional for "extras" regardless of which bike I choose. "I" get to decide, which bars "I" want, which pipe "I" want and whether or not "I" need the hydraulic clutch, etc, etc. Here are a few factors that help me chose Yamaha.

1. Larger and local dealer support.

2. Availability of OEM parts @ 20% off retail.

3. At least $1300 less out the door.

4. "My" decision on the "extras" to set up "my" bike.

It's a win/win situation. Evaluate your personal needs and how/where you plan to ride. Pick the bike, set it up right, go ride and don't look over your shoulder. :)


OK - maybe I do know him :D

All's I can say is thank god he doesn't ride a KTM !! :D Then he would be really fast :D

What I like about the KTM is that you dont have to push it home. Whats also nice, is knowing that when you hit the e-button, there is not much chance of the motor self destructing :)

I believe that the two bikes mentioned are the best fourstroke off-road bikes you can get. Recent magazine shootouts all give the KTM EXC/MXC's the top spot over the WR. I'm not sure that many WR owners here have had the chance to ride a new KTM RFS, I have and I think they're great. As far as the comment made about pushing a WR, that's lame! I've owned 3 WR's in the past and after racing 3 full seasons in the Best in the Desert Silver State Series I'm proud to say that my bike has never DNF'd me, just rock solid reliability, Yes I have read the famous "Woodruff Key" posts, no problems in my camp. I don't feel like my bike is top heavy at all, I feel better on my bike because of the suspension. The WR's strenth in my opinion is the suspension, I love the way my bike handles. These are dirt bikes and none of them are perfect, but these two bikes are awesome machines. Either one will do just fine for what we all do with them..

Dan, how many km do you have on your 03?

What amuses me is the fact that a lot (not saying you) guys brag that they have done 500miles with no failure. Wow, when I buy a new bike, and I look after it, I expect 1000's of trouble free miles (I exclude wear and tear). What do you think the 03 bikes resale value will be when many are engine time bombs? You try convincing a buyer that it only happens to other WR's, but not the one you are trying to sell.

My bike has not failed and I've done about 500km (arent I grateful), but I've already had to tow 2 other WR's home. Good odds hey, 50% of people I know personally have had problems.

It is a great performance machine. I just dont like this axe hanging over my head everytime I go for a ride - Will I make it back or not.

Until Yamaha fix this problem permanently, I have a hard time recommending the bike over the KTM450

One of the things I like about thumpertalk is that we can have discussions comparing one bike to another, and people don't get all funny about it. I checked out [and added to] a discussion over at ktmtalk that wasn't so, it's somewhat entertaining; http://www.ktmtalk.com/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=25709

I purposely was slightly antagonistic to draw out the insecure :)

Hey CraigW,

4,283 miles on my 03 WR450. All dirt miles! Altitudes from 700 feet to over 10,000 feet! Never had woodruff issue or had preventitive repair done to it! Reliability has been awesome! Nothing has failed other than normal crash damage:

all body panels, head light, ignition button, header, clutch cable, hot start cable, throttle tube. Service:

Oil change every 200 miles, oil filters every 600 miles , one valve clearance service at 3000 miles, fork oil change at 3000 miles, steering head & swing arm and suspension linkage lubrication every 1000 miles, new chain and sprockets at 4000 miles, 6th set of rear tires, 3rd set on front tires, spokes adjusted twice to true up rims. Want to go riding? :)

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