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What's the scoop on KTM's?

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I'm selling my XR650L after realizing that the bike is just too damn big and heavy for what I need. I ride extremely aggressively, and I simply cannot whip a 330lb bike around like I want. I rode a KTM XC-W 450 and was quite impressed, and was thinking of picking up a KTM after my XRL sold.

I know KTM's have a bad wrap regarding break downs and reliability, but truth be told, I don't know jack about them. I know there's always some truth in all lies, and maybe the early KTM's broke down a lot? I imagine if they still continued to do so, they wouldn't be in business anymore. Of the 730 members of my dual sport club, about 65% of them ride Katooms. I figure there's got to be a reason, but I don't want to make a mistake in getting one, nor do I want to spend more time wrenching than riding.

I'm looking at possibly picking up a 2006(?) KTM 525. Will this bike be able to withstand 200 straight miles of freeway without an issue, provided the rider is capable of doing so? I like that the Katooms have a 6th overdrive gear, so my assumption would likely be yes, provided I change the oil every 600 miles or so.

Will I be happy with my KTM, or will I be in the garage wrenching all the time? My only other option really is a WR450. I'm not looking for anything heavier than that.

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KTM's are just as reliable as the other brands, of course there are always some bad bikes no matter what manufacturer you are researching. If you are looking for XR type longevity and that style of maintenance plus tons of road riding I would think twice. They are fantastic offroad bikes, my 500 is the best plated bike I have ever ridden in the dirt hands down. As a road bike my 500 gets tiring to me after about 10 miles so I only ride it short distances to my local spots, if I going far away it goes in the truck.That being said the KTMs will require more frequent service compared to your trusty XR for sure, there are some members with very high miles on the RFS motors but the 350/500 motors this year are too new to compare longevity.

My only other advice is DON'T test ride the KTM offroad because you will end up purchasing one!

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XR650L ~350lbs

KTM 690 ~308lbs - ~$10300 6,200 mile service intervals

KTM 450 XC-W ~288lbs? (only dry weight is give, added 38lbs for fluids) - $9399.00 don't know the intervals

Out of those three, the 690 is definitely the fastest, the most reliable, and probably the most highway worthy. Much lower maintenance than the 450. The power might be a bit much for off road though and the weight balance probably isn't as good as the 450. Dual sports are all about compromise though, pick yours.

Edited by Oic0

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added 38 pounds for fluids? LOL &%$#@! do you put in there, liquid lead?

Edited by Ronus
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I have an '07 525 with almost 15,000 miles on it. 272lbs wet, weighed it myself.

Compared to an XR, yes, it's going to be a maintenance whore. Mfgr recommends 12-15hr oil changes, I sent oil samples out for analysis and got a 25-30hr interval back from them. During the summer when I'm riding constantly, that's still an oil change every other weekend.

Valves... stock... will need adjustment about every other oil change. Yes, that's once a month. Oversize kibblewhite valves and that interval goes to 2-3x/year.

Overall, it's a damn solid bike. Yes, it'll handle 200+mi highway (Most I've done in a day is about 260). If you're doing a lot of highway riding, a higher gear ratio will make the ride nicer and save some wear on the engine. (I have mine 15/48 for most DS riding, 14/48 for dirt/trails where a lower ratio is nicer). Planning a long ride memorial weekend, ~200mi/day.

Replaced the crank bearings with ball bearings a year or two ago, that's one of the recommended upgrades if you're doing a lot of dualsport/highway riding.

I *love* that bike. :cry:

DSC_0132.jpg

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Been very happy with my 530 exc. I run a top of the line sythetic oil and go a lot longer change intervals than the manual recommends and no problems, the thing runs very strong.

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added 38 pounds for fluids? LOL &%$#@! do you put in there, liquid lead?

38 lbs is probably abit heavy but fluids are pretty heavy. a gallon of gas weighs 6lbs plus coolant oil and fork oil. that will add up pretty quick

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added 38 pounds for fluids? LOL &%$#@! do you put in there, liquid lead?

Yep you're right, Im about 10 lbs high. I just googled bike wet weight vs dry weight difference.

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an 06 525 is probably one of the best racing bikes you can find as far as reliability. one of the last years and most refined of the RFS motors. Ive found my ktm to be very low maintenance and have 130 hours on it (05 450exc)

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My dad and brother have both run KTM's for years and never had any more issues than they've had with Jap bikes. Less issues actually. KTM's come with a lot of high quality parts right out of the box. Mainly the hydraulic clutch, Brembo/Galfer brakes, and (on two strokes) V-Force reeds. If I could have found an affordable 250SX I would bought it instead of my YZ without a second thought.

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Fast, light, aggressive-looking, unreliable or tons of maintenance (choose one), vibrating, expensive and expensive parts.

You know...typical European dirt bike.

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Fast, light, aggressive-looking, unreliable or tons of maintenance (choose one), vibrating, expensive and expensive parts.

You know...typical European dirt bike.

And you are basing this statement on what? I have owned 5 KTM's over the years both 2 and 4 stroke and none of what you said above is true. They have been no less reliable or more expensive to maintain compared to other brands in my experience.

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Fast, light, aggressive-looking, unreliable or tons of maintenance (choose one), vibrating, expensive and expensive parts.

You know...typical European dirt bike.

He's full of it. Don't listen to this absurdity.

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I am on my third KTM and they have proven to be just as reliable any other brand I have ever owned. If you buy a used bike just do your due diligence and make sure the owner maintained the bike correctly, this applies no matter what the brand. I can't count the number of times I have run into other riders that have purchased a used bike that was poorly maintained and when they run into problems blame it on the brand being "Junk or Unreliable".

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