I'm going to immidiatlly exclude all mX from this thread. I ride 100% desert. I have been on a YZ400 (420) for a couple of years now. I thought it was the greatest bike ever for a long time. After my second blown engine, I decided to try a KTM.

Sorry guys, the 520EXC is hands down a better bike in the desert. Gobs abd gobs of power. Not like the hit of the 426, but only because it makes as much power down low as up top. Great ergos, and the suspension is phenominal right out of the box.

Oh yeah, the start button, the wonderful start button. "My bike starts first kick every time", yeah right. I don't care what anyone says, in the middle of a 100 mile desert race the last thing I wanted to be doing was kicking my flodded YZ. That's more tiring than racing. My YZ starts first kick every time too, when in the pits. When the adreniline is pumping after going over the bars into a cactus, and minutes are ticking by, thats a whole different story. If you ever get a chance, try a 520, you won't believe it.


Pretend it's flat and give it the gas.

Originally posted by YZ400Court:

…the suspension is phenominal right out of the box.

I could not disagree more. IMO anyone over 160 pounds riding this bike (or the MXC) out west will want/need stiffer springs. I admit I haven’t yet ridden an MXC/EXC RFS so equipped, and can’t wait to do so, but right out of the box these things are woefully under-sprung. It’s a shame because you can’t really compare the suspension to my ’00 YZF as delivered. Every time I get on my buddy’s EXC, and I admit I would like to continue to do so, I wonder what those Austrian guys ride on that would prompt them to deliver a “racing” bike with such cushy suspenders. Even the SX I rode briefly dove too much up front for my tastes.

I’ve only got about an hour’s total seat time of experience on the new KTMs, but IMO I’m faster on my YZF (unless I stall it).

I do sympathize with you about your engine problems (I can relate), but I’m not convinced any other racing thumper is more reliable. Yet.

If you want to sell somebody on an RFS KTM, don’t mention the suspension (or the price).


I've heard about the soft suspension for some time now. I did crank the preload in the back, and put spacers in the front before I rode this weekend. I will need the proper springs for my weight, as i was only able to get the correct race sag setting with the static topped out.

Maybe I don't ride as hard as every one else, but I never bottomed. We rode two track stuff, extremely rocky, I did pinch a tube and trash a tire. I really liked the plush suspension.

Next weekend I'll go to a place with good g-outs, a couple of jumps and some 100mph sand washes. We'll see how it acts there (the YZ was great in this area).

I'm sure it is not the best bike for everyone, but it is the best for a big lazy guy who hates kicking the flooded blue beast (beast in a good way).


Pretend it's flat and give it the gas.

its interesting whay you say about the ktm,,,

imho the best bike ive ridden so far has been a 2001 vor501,

as new comes very highly specced ohlins etc

loadsa power,, wonderful to ride,,,

just needs the leccy button,,,

then i'd be unable to resist

as fot the ktm,,,,,well theres only so much orange a race track can stand :)


"when the dust storm comes they say the devil rides in"

Originally posted by YZ400Court:

Maybe I don't ride as hard as every one else, but I never bottomed. We rode two track stuff, extremely rocky, I did pinch a tube and trash a tire. I really liked the plush suspension.

The KTM is probably better all around for off-road as-is, but I’m frantically trying to talk my buddy into swapping springs (he’s 210 lbs.) to see how it stacks up against my YZ when you push it (or flop around in a long whoop section).

Not many rocks where I ride, mostly sand, and whoops, and sand whoops. I’m sure the KTM really shines in the rocks though.

I came “this close” (picture fingers actually touching) to buying a 520 MXC (to ride when my YZF breaks) and I’d have to say the suspension (and price) was what kept me away. Keep in mind, I’m no rocket ship (mid-pack A rider), ride off-road (no moto) and I only weigh 170. Maybe it’s just me, but when I ride one I think “WOW, this is sure soft!”. It wallows in the sand and takes away from the light feeling.

I guess riding a YZF for a 18 months will make anybody picky…

<h3><font color="Navy">Just had to throw this in here. I've located two KTM 520 E/XC's and my Dad and I are going this Thursday to pick them up! One for my Dad, he says he's getting too "old" to be riding the CR500 anymore, and one for my Dad's buddy! I just hope they prove to be as good as people are saying!</h3>



[This message has been edited by teamtoxic (edited 05-15-2001).]

My buddy has a SX400 and we have traded bikes many times. I love his wet clutch, realy love the auto decompression on it.. you just kick it and it starts, love how narrow it is... I also liked how trick it was out of the crate, protappers, excel rims, chrome pipes and check out the rotors.. whew...

But I do not like how spongy his suspension is... since it does have a longer wheel base and seems to have a taller center of G than my yz400 it just handles funny. It also tends to bottom out more. I am 180lbs and 6ft tall.. He likes the way his bike pulls in the power and so do I but we both feel like the Yamaha has better manners in the air and upon landing...

I tell you what I have yet to see 6th gear on his 400 and he even went up 3 teeth on the rear.. .it's just flat out fast!

KTM's are sweet but I like my Blue one better... KTM would I think be my second choice..

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