When I was looking for a Dual-Sport bike, I purchased the WR250R based upon the following criteria:
6-speed, for the highway speed
Aluminum Frame for weight saving
Single track capable AND Dual-Sport capable
Large Aftermarket support
The WR250R is a very capable bike. It meets all of the criteria above, and does a great job of getting you to places and back. Its very capable of taking abuse, and pushes on despite the abuse.
The ONE big thing that persuaded me to move on to the 500EXC was the overall lack of power on the WR250R.
Last year I was in an event that never happend, and I quickly realized that if I wanted to run with the larger bore bikes, I had to spend most of the engine time in the higher RPMs. The first and second day were real eye-openers for me in terms of what a rally is like. The third day I decided to really push the bike and see what I could do on the little bike. I was able to keep up, and at times even passed a few of the larger bikes, but I felt like I was pushing too hard; pushing myself and the bike. At one point, I was pretty much tapped out at 72mph, when a larger bore KTM came flying by me like I was nearly sitting still. Despite my dust trail behind me, the KTM rider came up on me so quick and passed me equally as quick......seriously, I jumped off my seat.
So, I decided that I need to look for another bike that could give me some legs on the open road, AND yet provide me with the exhilaration of the tight single track. Again, I need to establish a criteria so that I wasn't going at this half-cocked.
450cc or larger
Aluminum frame (or lightweight bike)
Single track capable AND Dual-sport capable
Large Aftermarket support
After looking around for some time, and talking to several different riders of different bikes. I talked and listened to a rider named FORE! about KTMs. This guy knows his bikes, and he is an excellent rider. He stated the following: "everything I've thrown at the KTM, it has taken
". This guy can ride! Hearing that from him, made me a believer. Seeing races such as the Romaniacs, with their KTM bikes made me a believer in the toughness of the bikes. Seeing them in the Dakar......well, you get the idea.
After looking over the KTM bikes, I heard about the up-n-coming 500EXC. New engine, new FI, new frame, new this and that. Well, I do have some pretty good mechanical skills, and thought that whatever I run into, I'd like to fix it myself so that I know how to fix it in the future. Some may take issue with the "reliability" of this NEW 500EXC motor. Yes, its new, but lets take a broader look into the KTM history. They are good bikes. Fuel Injection is the future, and not having to re-jet the bikes is simple awesome, and easy. This 500EXC is actually lighter than the WR250R, which is a welcome attribute.
As for this being my last KTM bike, well.....considering the price of these bikes, I don't intend on purchasing another KTM. I believe this bike has the power to shred single-track trails, sand hills, mud, and can still move down the highway at a nice comfortable clip. This bike has everything I have wanted in a dirt bike AND A Dual-sport bike. Yes, I've added a few things; better lights, 12V power outlets, etc, but as the core machine goes, it has it where it needs it.
In summary, this KTM is lighter, stronger (frame), more powerful (easy
wheelies in the mud), faster than the WR250R and certainly
way more fun to ride than the WR250R.
My next bike will be a Yamaha Super Tenere. My wife loves to ride along with me, and well, the KTM is just not suited for two up. So, the Super Tenere will be excellent for both of us, AND it will be great for me when i want to take a longer ride through the the mountains.....