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Lusting after a KTM for off-road

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I currently ride a 2006 CRF 250X. Its the only bike I've ever owned and pretty much the only one I've ridden. The problem I have is that I'd like the bike to have more low end grunt and I'm thinking a bigger KTM (like a 525 EXC) would fit the need. The thing that happens is when I get into some rocky/steppy areas, too often my 250 will flame out when the rear wheel contacts a big step. I know...hit them faster...but I'm 56 and would rather kinda trials up some of the stuff. I've just geared my 250 down one notch to see what that will do, so time will tell. I try to clutch my 250 but it doesn't want to tractor over obstacles. I'm not talking endurocross type stuff, just typical rocky ledges and stuff like is typical in Colorado and Utah.

I've wanted a KTM for a long time and am thinking a non fuel injected, thus slightly older, well cared for 525 EXC would be good. I definitely want lights and street legal. Utah requires turn signals, so that would be nice to have even though I'll probably break them off.

Presuming you guys think I'm on the right track, what year 525 (or whatever number they used then) was really good in all respects? I'm 6' 185 ;bs and fully geared up with full camelback, probably 210-215 lbs.

Thanks.

Edited by dmac1

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06 started with a bike with alomost no issuea, 07 was street legal but had lots of smog stuff that needs to be removed, 08 went to the 530 and had lots of issues the first year with the new motor. So if CO will allow it to have a plate an 06 is good, if not then the 07. 05 had starter gear issues and 03-04 had not so good suspension.

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Any year from 05 up should be good (all the way to 2012), but arguably the most trouble free bike out-of-the-box ever is the 06-07 525. For your riding any of the big ktm should be just right.

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The '07 EXC would fit the bill perfectly as it came street legal from the factory. Most used examples will likely have already had the necessary modifications. Otherwise your best choice would be probably '09-'10 EXC's.

You'll be going from a bike that has little bottom end and chugging power to a bike that is all bottom end and ability to chug. I love the motor on my '07. I have very little experience on 250F's but they seem to require a shift any time the throttle is twisted, either more or less. Very little in roll-on response. You will be paying a pretty high penalty in additional weight though.

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts so far. Here is another idea...how about a 450 XC-W. How does that compare with a 525 EXC? The 450 has a light (did it come with a tail and brake light?) and I could throw on a horn to make it street legal in Colorado. What are best years of the 450?

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My 06 400 EXC came from Colorado plated(just headlight and brakelight) so suspect that plating is easy there...but u need to check that out first.

The 06 and 07 RFS motors(last two years of production) are great and cheap. :bonk::thumbsup: Huge knowledge base and tons of upgrades. If u get a older one there are a few well known issues to address.

The 400/450/525 all are a big step up in torque but also heavier than ur current bike. If u ride the higher elevations the big bores win.

:smirk:

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My 06 400 EXC came from Colorado plated(just headlight and brakelight) so suspect that plating is easy there...but u need to check that out first.

The 06 and 07 RFS motors(last two years of production) are great and cheap. :bonk::thumbsup: Huge knowledge base and tons of upgrades. If u get a older one there are a few well known issues to address.

The 400/450/525 all are a big step up in torque but also heavier than ur current bike. If u ride the higher elevations the big bores win.

:smirk:

Thanks! Yes...I plated my 06X via simply adding a horn and a brake light to a bike that already had a front and rear light...so that part is easy. Now they inspect the bikes to see about tires too, but no turn signals needed here. Utah requires blinkers though so we just buy Utah OHV tags when we go there.

We ride up to 11k in Colorado and my 250 has to be ran like a 2smoker up there or it has no power. But then, I don't bother rejetting so it is rich.

How heavy is a 450 XCF-W...and is a 525 EXC that much more?

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they all weigh with in a pound of each other(400/450/525)...265ish with fuel. the smaller displacements are reported to transition/turn better due to lower gyroscopic forces.

the alternative is the 300 smoker at 250ish...Slavens sets those up for a lot of people up there.

:bonk:

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If you want low end grunt, any of the big bore KTM's have it in spades. I've been on a 530 xcw for a couple years, and it's been a great bike. Something else you might try is a Rekluse clutch. I don't have one, but I know a lot of guys who swear by them. Good luck.

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I believe in all that these guys have to say. You can not go wrong with the big bore. However if you look at my signature you will see I ride an 08 450 EXC-R. Love the bike, plenty of power, already street legal. Yes you will have to do some mod's to get the gearing right. Now after saying that I would recommend that you stay away from the 08 & 09 models. In 08 it was the new motor and they have a oil transfer problem. I have had it twice! Stay away from this motor if possible. They fixed it in 09 at some point but some of the bikes still had it so I just would not take a chance. If you say you can plate a bike where you live just by adding the lights and blinkers than that sounds like a great deal. When you are looking into lights look at "sicassracing.com" they have some really good stuff. I changed my rear blinkers to their low profile blinkers and have never once damaged them and my bike has been on it's side plenty in the trails.

Good luck to you and let us all know what you end up with. Maybe a picture to go along with it????

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Thanks for all the words of wisdom guys! It sounds like the RFS motor is the one for me.

Isn't the transmission in the 450 XCF-W geared more for trails vs the XCF?

And how does the gearing in the 525 EXC compare to that in the 450s?

Lastly...how do the suspensions compare between the 3 bikes?

I've got a possible line on a 2006 450 XCF that was recently converted to a 525 with EXC transmission. I'm being told the 450 suspension is superior to the 525. I'm 6' and 210 ish with all gear.

Thanks again!

Edited by dmac1

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??? The '06 450 XC had a semi close ratio 6 speed trans, open chamber forks, electric and kick start and lighting coil with no lights. You are saying that someone put a wide ratio EXC trans in the '06 450XC? That doesn't really make any sense. After the body style change in '08, the XC took on the SX chasis, motor, and suspension and the XCFW got the new SOHC motor and the wide ration trans.

The '06 450 XC was (is) a great bike. RFS motor, fairly light, great suspension (open chamber forks) and rock solid reliable. The later XC models are great also, just more racey and kind of all business.

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??? The You are saying that someone put a wide ratio EXC trans in the '06 450XC?

Thats what he said...but he also said they changed the motor to a 525, so they are calling it a 525 EXC and has all the lights and such. He knows the history of the bike because he bought it from his riding buddy but he says he prefers a 300 2 smoker as the 525 doesn't have enough snap out of corners and such.

He said the motor has all KTM parts but he wasn't clear on exactly what they did. I'm guessing his buddy did the work. He specifically stated KTM put the same motor in the 400/450/525 and that his wasn't bored out to change it to 525. He said it had a different piston and wasn't clear on what all else but said something about the head. I asked again if it was bored out and he stated no. If it not bored, the only way I can conceive of getting more displacement is via changing the stroke via changing the crank (I guess). Can you just switch around an RFS motor like that?

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a wide range transmission(gear set) transplanted into an XC yeilds an XC-W or EXC...

...sounds like they put a OE KTM 525 jug and piston on the 450...so it's not a bored out 450 but it still has a bigger bore and piston... :smirk:

:bonk:

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a wide range transmission(gear set) transplanted into an XC yeilds an XC-W or EXC...

...sounds like they put a OE KTM 525 jug and piston on the 450...so it's not a bored out 450 but it still has a bigger bore and piston... :smirk:

:bonk:

Cool! So it sounds like they've done a good thing for what I want the bike for.

What do you mean by a "525 jug". I'm guessing you mean the head....i.e. the top end....the part of the motor with the cylinder and valves. So you mean the cylinder is wider and thus the need for a wider piston.

And it just bolts right on huh? So it can be changed to a 400, a 450 or a 525 as simple as that? Wow!

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jug = cylinder

yup these are modular engines even with factory parts :smirk:

bore, stroke and cam came get you quite a range in displacement and attributes.

:bonk:

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For what it's worth, earlier this year I was in the hunt for a new to me steed. After many hours of research, I put my crosshairs on a 2007 450 EXC-R. Two main reasons for my choice...street legal from KTM and the RFS engine. Over the course of this season, I've mod'ed the heck out of a basically bone stock bike and am extremely happy with my selection. Although we don't have your altitude in New England, the terrain isn't far from being different. The only major flaw of an '07 vs. '08+ is the suspension but, that can be easily remedied by any reputable suspension tuner.

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Ok....sounds good so far. How is the cockpit sized? I saw where someone said the seat was lower in a 450/525 vs a Honda 450. True or not? I don't want to be too low because I have a bad knee and the tighter I need to bend it if sitting down, the less happy my knee is long term. I'm 6' tall and kinda long in the leg and arm.

My CRF 250X is ok...my buddies CRF 230F is too low for my liking.

Thanks.

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Based on what you wrote about your size, I am an equal match in height & weight. My 450 EXC seat height, after setting the sag is not low...its on the high side. My inseam is around 30" and I can't flat foot when at a complete stop but I'm not on the tip of my toes either....somewhere in between.

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Also forgot to add that leg bend while in a seated riding position is definitely not excessive. One of my knees isn't that great and I have no ergo complaints. I do stand more than sit while off road though.

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