450 EXC Newbie Purchase Help Please

So I've been lurking and sleuthing on this forum for days and I believe it's time for my first post.

I am currently searching for a 450 EXC...Preferably used but entertaining new. I haven't ridden off-road road for a few years but, used to race moto-x and woods ride and have been riding street bikes. I recently moved to an area that is abundant with trails but, they don't always cleanly connect in the woods. For this reason, I will not settle for anything less than dual sport plated bike. I've been researching and test riding 450 EXC's and also Suzuki DR-Z400S's. The DR-Z is in the mix because it can be had for much less (used or new), may be more reliable, and I don't hear any issues from people who street ride them. The 450 EXC is in the mix because hands down it's the best street legal off-road bike in existence (in my opinion). Any that I've test ridden have blown me away. On the flip side, my major concerns are:

#1 - I would like to be able to ride the dual sport up to maybe 60 miles on pavement...on occasion. Will the KTM survive mechanically? I'm not worried about increased oil changes or whether my arss will hurt or not, I'm talking about major mechanical stuff (i.e. wheel bearings, output shaft bearing, etc.).

#2 - Parts availability. I previously owned a 2000 KTM 125 SX and was constantly frustrated waiting for the simplest of parts to be in the dealer's hands. I've been told the situation is much better but, how good is it? I hate waiting for parts, during riding season.

All that being said, I think I'm leaning towards a KTM and have been looking at used bikes. I've looked at two used bikes, one was a 2003 and the other a 2004. The 2003 was mint with low miles and seemed like a steal at $3,500 but...no title. He never received a title or certificate of origin from the original owner. So unfortunately I can't compromise on that detail because I want no hassles with DMV when I go to register. The 2004 was mechanical all there and the asking price is $3,000. I actually went on a very good trail ride on the bike with the owner and was super impressed. The downside is that it has 6,000 miles (although the owner sounds like he meticulously maintained it) and the vast majority of the mileage was off-road...cosmetically evident. On the plus side, it's already registered in my state, so that shouldn’t be an issue. On the negative side, in addition the mileage, to make the bike look totally fresh again, it needs a new header pipe (substantially dented), chain and sprockets, plastics, and a DOT lighting kit (turn signals, horn, etc...This is just for my own piece of mind that I won't get pulled over often without it). Here is the ad text...describes the bike pretty well:

"2004 Ktm EXC 450, CT title, suspension set up for woods, radiator guards, bark busters, shark fin, factory computer, 2007 plastics, jet kit, power now, new tires, new seat cover, wheel bearings, new battery, new clutch, new pads and rotors, just serviced, always maintained, comes with extra parts, needs nothing, only you."

I've also been to the local dealer several times to window shop new. I would prefer used, as I'm trying to be frugal with this deal...allows more money for modifications. I could afford new but, would pretty much mean no moola for upgrades (i.e. things like a skid plate, bark busters, radiator guards, flush mount rear turn signals, jdjet, suspension, coolant overflow bottle and/or radiator fan...this would be the base list of mods, some I could live without for a while but, others are a must at the start. Cutting to the chase, the dealer has a left over 2009 450 EXC in stock and said they could get me out the door for $9,000 and I also worked rejetting into the deal at no cost...and am also working to see if they will cover the first service labor costs. They don't seem too interested in moving on the price because it's technically the same as an '11...don't get their logic though because it's still sat on the show room floor for a consider period of time.

So without rehashing all the details, what would you do? Used vs. New...and why?

Sorry for the long post...hopefully it's not confusing.

Thanks in advance!

I paid $5,500 for a 2007 450exc with only 300 miles on it. It is the only year of the RFS enginge that is 50 state legal for street. I would would never buy new when you can get a near new one for 1/2 price. Mine had 3 rides on it when I bought it.

Sure, a 450exc will do 100 mile dual sport rides no problem. The DRZ will do it too for a lot less maintenance. The KTM need the valves checked every 30 hours. If you are not up to this I would get the DRZ. There is a cost for the higher performance of the KTM.

Also, the KTM will need a rebuild on average at 12,000 miles. I do not know how long the DRZ will go.

I have a 950 for dual-sport to keep the miles off my 450 which is trail only.

Thanks for your advice. No, I'm not really worried about the extra maintenance...love tinkering on all my bikes. Honestly, I was going after a DRZ, until I rode the KTM...there is just no comparison on the performance end of things. I also hear ya, about buying used vs. new...the only issue is that I just can't seem to find a suitable used candiate. I've been searching craigslist, ebay, and everthing in between. I'm even willing to drive a few hours to view bikes...just can't seem to locate one.

Took 2 months to find mine and it was 8 hour drive. The hunt is part of the fun. Better to wait for a good deal than spend more than you can aford or buy one with high hours that will require a lot of work.

You see bikes that have been riden hard then sold before they need major fixes. I stay away, I look for the guy that just never rode it.


If it survives 20,000 miles I see no problem with 60. If I were you, I'd look for the latest frame, (2005 and up? oval tubing) just because it is the latest design. Won't make much difference since it is only cosmetic change, some say it handles better but still I think it's worth it.

All the maintenance talk is just load of crap. In reality it does not need more maintenance than any other bike, probably less. What manual recommends is for racing use and one mile offroad equals ten onroad. What I do know though, is that ktm is made f then times stronger parts than drz for example, but it also has a lot more power, especially if you go really big. That said, I have destroyed two cranks in less than 30 hours, but that was with 565cc cylinder and so much power it's hard to imagine. So it has it's limits, but stock 450 will never wear out.

Thanks DrKayak & gravelfreak!!!

I will stay the course and keep searching for a good used bike. Thanks for talking some sense in my head...I'm just getting anxious that I'm not riding :smirk:

As for all the maintenance advice, that's what I basically assumed. If you maintain, you won't need to repair. If you don't maintain, you'll be repairing often. Basic principle I guess but, just sounds like KTM's maintenance requirements will only be marginally more than with a DRZ, XR, etc. I'm good with that, for the massive performance increase off-road. I also never understood why people say that riding them on-road will wear the bike faster. From my standpoint, there is only one change you really have to make...balance the tires/rim. I could also see trying to integrate some sort of cush drive on the rear too but, I don't know why that would be absolutely necessary...or how off-road performance may suffer as a result.

DrKayak...you mentioned that starting in 2007 the EXC's were 50-state legal? So was that the first year and they've remained ever since? I ask this question because the 2004 I went and looked at here in CT was registered and plated but didn't have all the turn signals, ignition lock, etc. I know I can buy kits and easily integrate but, would prefer to purchase one that was legal off the showroom floor (in case laws change or I move).


An rfs (exc up to 07) does not have any damping in the gearbox so pavement without a cush hub will be rather uncomfortable. Whether it hurts the bike or not is hard to say, but it definitely will not destroy it. You will have to run higher revs to keep it smooth though and that is not good. Also tall enough gearing will save the engine, but without a cush hub it is difficult to use the tallest gear in low speeds (below ~5000rpm or 50-60mph). Balancing the tires is not absolutely necessary if you use two rimlocks on opposite sides or otherwise balance it.

.DrKayak...you mentioned that starting in 2007 the EXC's were 50-state legal? So was that the first year and they've remained ever since? I ask this question because the 2004 I went and looked at here in CT was registered and plated but didn't have all the turn signals, ignition lock, etc. I know I can buy kits and easily integrate but, would prefer to purchase one that was legal off the showroom floor (in case laws change or I move).


Yes, the 2007 and newer 450/525/530EXC are all plated from the factory. Out here in CA a plated 07 is worth $1,000 more than a similar 06. You find lots of older ones that have been plated but there is a big fear DMV may take the plate some day.

As far as maintenace, Yea, I just clean the air filter, change the oil and check the valves, I plan to push my valve check out to 50 hours next time. I have freinds that ride RFS equiped Beta bikes and they never do any maintenance. To each is own.

Thanks again guys, now I'm definitely sold!!!

As far as road riding goes, I don't mind being uncomfortable...I just don't want to destroy the bike.


So what is in the 07+ models that make them more suitable for the road?...dampening in the gearbox? Sounds like me best bet, for what I want to use the bike for, I should narrow my search to only 07+ models.


Wait for 2012 500 exc. It's a dream come true. Finally they have everything you could ever dream of.

Apart from that, yes 07+ are better and run smoother onroad. I have not really got to compare a cush hub rfs vs xc4 (07+ exc engine) without one, but xc4 definitely is smoother than rfs without. But I am the wrong person to say whether you should buy one instead of an rfs because I just don't know. I like them both.

The main part about the 07+ EXCs is that they are street legal from the factory,they have passed emissions and have turn signals and a horn and hi low beam headlight too.I love my 07 525EXC but have friends with a 08 530EXC and a 11 450EXC and they have been good bikes too.


Sealed the deal!!!

With all the great advice I received, I held off spending my money on a new left-over 2009 that the dealer wouldn't let go for anything less that $9,100 (all inclusive...tax, title, reg, rejetting included, etc). After spending countless hours searching the globe on-line, eBay, Craigslist, etc, I located a 2007 450 EXC with ~1,000 miles (95% street / 5% dirt) for $4,600. Drove 9 hours one way to pick up my new toy but, it was a fun road trip (gotta find the postive). Registered the bike today and I'm good to go...minus doing some piece of mind general maintenance and adding some necessary mods (want to at least do a JD Jet Kit, Power Now & Power Now Plus, and unplugg the cork on the muffler, de-smog, skid plate, bark busters, etc).

If someone can explain how to post a pic, I'll do so...

Thanks for all the advice!!!

congratulations on the bike!!! the rfs engines are some of the best dirt bike engines built imho. my 07 has just over 450 hrs and almost 20,000 miles and it has been a stone reliable bike. just clean air filter, change oil, and check valves, they are super easy to check and adjust, and your golden!:ride::ride:

to attach pics; save pic to computer, click on "post reply" at bottom of last post, scroll down and click on "manage attachments" icon


Still can't seem to post a picture. When I click on the button that says "insert image" it wants me to put a web address in vs. picking a file saved on my pc. I suppose I could upload some pictures to a webspace I have but that seems like a lot of work to share pictures. Am I doing something wrong?

As for the bike...many modifications on the way. Soon as I get a chance, I'll post the master plan. :ride:

Quick question...

In 2007, I'm learning KTM offered a 450 EXC and a 450 EXC Racing. How do I tell which model I have? All the badging on the bike indicates 450 EXC but, all the owner's manuals, parts catalogs, etc, I received with the bike states 450 EXC Racing. One of the mods I just ordered was a 100 watt stator assembly and X2 HID headlight assembly (i.e. from Doctor Enduro) and it seemed to matter which model I had. Based on a conversation with them, we decided that I had a 450 EXC Racing. How do I tell for sure? Did the EXC not come DOT legal but the Racing model did?



the 07 exc's are the same, whether its called an exc or an exc-r or an exc-g. on the pic posting thing, once you hit the manage attachments button, at the top of the page it has a blank space with a button following labed browse. click on it and it will open your picture file on your computer. then select which pic you want.

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