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KTM 400XCW as a newbie bike?

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Is a 400 XCW a good bike to learn on?

I have heard that one should learn on something like a 250 4 stroke because of its size. I have also heard that they can really suffer at altitude. I live at 8,000 feet and will sometimes ride at 10-11,000. This is what got me onto the 400 XCW. Smooth power, plenty of torque, and rides smaller than a 450. But at 20-25 lbs heavier, Am I asking for trouble?

My dilemma: Wife doesn't approve of me buying new toys every couple of years. So I need to buy a bike that I can learn on yet enjoy for years to come.

Me: 6'3", 190 lbs, 42 yo fit with lots of mountain bike experience; but with no real trail experience on a motorcycle.

So what do you think?

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that is an excellent choice... if you can find one. but it has such smooth power delivery that anyone from beginning to A rider could use it no problem.

IMG_2483.jpg

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With no trail experience, I would be very cautious....it really depends. Ive ridden with newbies that dumped the bike every 5 minutes and Ive ridden with very few that are naturals. Im not certain of the power loss at that altitude, but the bike could be a little heavy for you, being inexperienced.

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I learned how to ride a dirtbike, at age 28, on a 2001 WR426, which I bought new and still ride. I am 5'8" and about 175-185 lbs. It made for a VERY steep learning curve, but it is doable. That bike can, and will bite you HARD if you do not exercise extreme control over the throttle. It is also heavier and less manuverable than a smaller bike. I am very athletic and strong, so I adapted well. Do I use all the horsepower that a big-bore can put out? Not in the slightest, except for certain situations.

I say go for it, but go in knowingly that you may not progress as fast as you think you should. Exercise extreme discipline of the throttle hand and unleash extra horsepower through aftermarket parts/mods only after you are comfortable.

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Is a 400 XCW a good bike to learn on?

I have heard that one should learn on something like a 250 4 stroke because of its size. I have also heard that they can really suffer at altitude. I live at 8,000 feet and will sometimes ride at 10-11,000. This is what got me onto the 400 XCW. Smooth power, plenty of torque, and rides smaller than a 450. But at 20-25 lbs heavier, Am I asking for trouble?

My dilemma: Wife doesn't approve of me buying new toys every couple of years. So I need to buy a bike that I can learn on yet enjoy for years to come.

Me: 6'3", 190 lbs, 42 yo fit with lots of mountain bike experience; but with no real trail experience on a motorcycle.

So what do you think?

I spent the day on a 400 XCW awhile back and was super impressed with the bike. The power delivery has been described as linear/electric and I would agree with that. At the altitudes that you will be riding and at your weight I would think that the 400 would be a better option than a 250 four stroke, especially if you want to hang on to one bike as you gain skills. I seriously considered getting one myself. I remembered reading these articles in Dirt Rider, so I will pass them on to you. IMO it is too bad that KTM is no longer making the 400.

http://www.dirtrider.com/reviews/long_haul/141_0905_long_haul_ktm_400_xcw/index.html

http://www.dirtrider.com/tests/offroad/141_0808_2009_ktm_400_xc_w/index.html

http://www.dirtrider.com/reviews/dirt_bike/141_0904_ktm_xcw_four_stroke_versus_two_stroke/index.html

JP

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Since you are pretty tall, another bike to consider would be the Husky 310. Tall riders often like the fit/feel of the Husky. It would also be an ideal bike to start with IMO. It would not have the power of the KTM 400, so not sure what it would be like at your altitudes. Check out Cafe Husky if you want to know more about the 310, lots of good info there.

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Go for the 400. At your size it is a great beginner bike for Colorado. Member “BlueMountian” on this forum recently bought a KTM 400 and would be a good source for an opinion (send him a PM). He also is new to dirtbiking but had Mtnbike experience. I am under the impression that he is quite happy with it as a beginner bike. The KTM 400 will keep you happy as you gain experience and get faster so it is a good choice for a long term bike also.

CoKTM

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400XCW will be a good choice. Its purely a trail bike so its going to have relatively soft suspension and a smooth power delivery.

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Congrats! What year did you get? Get on KTMTalk to get all the info you can stand. Let us know what you think when you get a chance to throw a leg over it.

CoKTM

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Thanks for all the feedback. Just bought the bike!

Congrats on the new bike. Let us know what you think after you get it out for a good ride. :thumbsup:

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Thanks for all the feedback. Just bought the bike!

One thing you might want to do is get it fuel injected so that you won't have to mess with jetting. Just my two cents. Congrats on the purchase.

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CoKTM is spot on- FANTASTIC bike and I love it. It was his #1 recommendation and I'm glad he took the time to help me out. I'd recommend it due to it's "unscary" power delivery and great torque. It feels light and is fun to ride. It has good power down low and winds up quite a bit too....just without any powers jolts that can get a new rider into serious trouble. Enjoy and see you on KTMTalk...I just joined.

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One thing you might want to do is get it fuel injected so that you won't have to mess with jetting. Just my two cents. Congrats on the purchase.

:thumbsup:

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Yes, excellent choice. My friend's first bike was a 2010 400 XCW. Everything about it is spot-on and the weight is "hidden" very well. Rides much lighter than it is, the power is smooth and tractable down low with a nice midrange. Never a surprise in the delivery yet it comes alive on top if need be. He's not a racer but the bike is ready for some Western-style open trails and track if the day comes. Get the jetting sorted for the elevation, set sag, dial in clickers and have fun!

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gbalko

Congratulations. Pictures please so the rest of us can wallow in our jealousy.

And for God's sake go easy at first, find some nice forest service roads to learn the clutching, shifting and throttle control etc before hitting the tight trails you have probably been riding mountain bikes on.

Make sure you have an OHV permit or a license plate before you do that. If you run into a tight ass forest ranger, he will be happy to give you a $125 ticket for riding on BLM or forest service land without either one or on a public road with only an OHV permit (nearly bagged myself $500 worth of fines down in Rampart Range taking the shortcut back to the car with the 3 kids who were tired and just wanted to get back quickly).

The only thing I believe your previous mountain bike experience helps you with is picking your lines on the trails and or rocky 4 wheel drive roads. In my experience, not much else is the same (mtn biking = slow uphill/fast downhill; trailriding = fast uphill; slow downhill).

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One thing you might want to do is get it fuel injected so that you won't have to mess with jetting. Just my two cents. Congrats on the purchase.

Fuel injected, really? How much do you think that would cost?

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I have my inspection tomorrow so my 400 XC-W will hopefully be street-legal very soon. Definitely get the OHV sticker to start. It's only $25 or so. Plating is another story but I'm doing it anyway. The kit (including tires) probably cost me $500. I bet the title work will not be cheap. However, using highways to connect trails will not be a stressful or expensive affair. Plus, if you ride in an area like Moab, it's nice to ride from camp or hotel instead of hauling the bike. I bet those cops are hungry for extra revenue.

I may or may not stick with DOT tires though...after this set wears out.

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Well I rode the bike for the first time yesterday out in the BLM area outside of Rifle, Colorado. Great spot with all types of terrain: road, hills, sand, creek bottoms, tight singletrack, etc...

Everyone's input was spot on.

The bike is a 2007 with the RFS engine. It has only 38 hours on it and is fully loaded. Rekluse, Scott stabilizer, FMF pipe, carbon fiber skids, radiator guard, radiator fan, lights, and re-valved forks.

First of all let me say that the Rekluse auto clutch that came on the bike makes riding a dream. The guy I was with was stalling and feathering his clutch to keep his RPM's up and I had no worries!

The bike doesn't ride heavy at all. As long as I was moving and in a good position the bike just reacted to my input. As someone else said earlier. The suspension is super plush. The motor was super smooth. For a 4 stroke It really revs quickly and pulls evenly throughout the entire power band. I get what people mean when the said "electric". I also love all that low end torque to get up hills. I hopped on my friends 200 XCW and had to really keep the RPM's up to get up things that were so much easier on the 400. I am so glad that I didn't buy a 250! On a lighter note, I almost learned the hard way that those Brembo brakes sure do grab.

By the way jetting seems to be fine. The local dealer jets it for 6,000 feet and I have yet to notice any issues.

I will :send pics here in the future. Thanks again for all of the info.:thumbsup:

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Hilarious- those front brakes have really freaked me out a few times....got my heart really racing for a minute after that bite. :thumbsup:

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