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Old 01-03-2015, 07:46 AM   #1
PlowHand OP
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KTM 350 exc vs 500 exc - wish you had bought the other one?

I think I've narrowed my search for a proper machine down to either the KTM 350 exc or the 500 exc. Has anyone bought one of these machines and then wished they had bought the bigger, or smaller, one?

This is my first post on this forum. I'm an old ex dirt racer that has been on street machines for several decades now and am feeling the urge to get back to my roots after doing an ADV ride in southern Indiana last fall. I will use the bike for local (within one day's ride) DS rides and distant (more than a days ride) ADV rides. I don't mind hard seats and a little vibrations. Il be getting rid of my big/heavy/slow current thumper because I have a "need for speed". 😊

I just don't want to spend $10,000+ on a bike then wish I'd got the "other" one. 😔
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:04 AM   #2
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I bought the 500 and have no regrets. I end up riding some highway to get to the dirt so the 500 works better for that.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:05 AM   #3
hollywood_72
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I went/am going through the same thing and it came down to this for me:

350 for tight technical single track and the occasional connectors (i.e. dirt roads, 2 track, etc...) to get there.

500 for dirt road/2 track and the occasional single track.

I don't think you could go wrong either way as everyone will tell you the one they have is the best way to go.

I'm going the 500 route as most of my riding is 2 track with the occasional couple miles of single track thrown in.

Now the next decision, KTM or Husky???

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Old 01-03-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
FamilyRider
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If you want it for dual sport, I would get the 500.

I bought the 350 and absolutely love it for dirt riding, but it doesn't have a wide enough gear box for good dual sporting. It has sufficient power for my old bones, but the gearing is too tight. I have to swap sprockets based on the type of ride I want to do, which is a hassle. I use 13/50 for dirt and 14/50 for dual sport. 14/50 lets me go comfortably up to about 60 mph. I can push it faster, but it isn't comfortable for me.

I suspect my Husaberg FE450 has the same (or similar) tranny as the 500. It will easily push 75+ mph and it has enough power for 1st gear crawling. My only problem with the FE450 for dual sport is the lack of good after market large fuel tanks. So I wish I had a 500 for dual sport rides (and my 350 for trail).
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:47 PM   #5
danketchpel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyRider View Post
If you want it for dual sport, I would get the 500.

I bought the 350 and absolutely love it for dirt riding, but it doesn't have a wide enough gear box for good dual sporting. It has sufficient power for my old bones, but the gearing is too tight. I have to swap sprockets based on the type of ride I want to do, which is a hassle. I use 13/50 for dirt and 14/50 for dual sport. 14/50 lets me go comfortably up to about 60 mph. I can push it faster, but it isn't comfortable for me.

I suspect my Husaberg FE450 has the same (or similar) tranny as the 500. It will easily push 75+ mph and it has enough power for 1st gear crawling. My only problem with the FE450 for dual sport is the lack of good after market large fuel tanks. So I wish I had a 500 for dual sport rides (and my 350 for trail).
Thanks for posting that info. I'm casually starting to look for a DRZ replacement for dual sport riding and I really want to avoid the "close ratio blues" as that's my primary beef with the DRZ.

I'd kinda like a smaller cc bike if it's got some grunt and suitably wide ratios. I wonder if the Husky 350 uses the same ratios as the KTM? This article by Cycleworld comparing the Husky FE 501 and 350 claims they both have wide ratio gearboxes.

I think I'd be torn between them. I like larger/tractor type engines but want a flickable feeling bike for single track, hmm... I kinda think a 450 would be my ideal engine size.

I've got a TR650 for the more open type ADV exploring type riding, but I want a single track bike that's still "reasonable" on the freeway for short stints, say 50 miles or so. Here in SoCal it needs to be able to do 75 mph or get mowed over unless I'm in the far right lane with the hyper-mileing Prius owners. My next dual sport bike MUST have a wide(er) ratio 6 spd gearbox, period.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danketchpel View Post
I wonder if the Husky 350 uses the same ratios as the KTM? This article by Cycleworld comparing the Husky FE 501 and 350 claims they both have wide ratio gearboxes.
The engines/trannys are the same for both brands. The KTM comes with a kick-starter, the Husky doesn't but sells a retro kit if you want one. The biggest difference is the linkage rear for the Husky. You can adjust the rear preload and fork height to get less seat height on the Husky without losing handling or steering.

Fifty miles on the freeway is a lot for any of these model, IMO.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:32 PM   #7
jasonmt
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2015 KTM 350 / Husky 350:
Primary transmission 24:73 3.04
Transmission ratio
1st gear 14:32 2.29
2nd gear 16:26 1.63
3rd gear 20:25 1.25
4th gear 22:23 1.05
5th gear 25:22 0.88
6th gear 26:20 0.77
Alternator 12 V, 168 W

2015 KTM 500 / Husky 501:
Primary transmission 32:76 2.375
Transmission ratio
1st gear 14:36 2.57
2nd gear 17:32 1.88
3rd gear 19:28 1.47
4th gear 22:26 1.18
5th gear 24:23 0.96
6th gear 26:21 0.81
Alternator 12 V, 200 W
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:38 PM   #8
b56tc
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I had the 350 and loved its weight and precision. Did not like the power band as the revs necessary were higher than was suited to my ability in tight or twisty single track.

Traded it for the 500 with concern it would not have the same precise feel. It doesn't. But it is very, very close. What it does have is the power and confidence to crush the terrain in front of it as opposed to finessing it.

My apples to apples comparison was back to back summers on hermosa creek trail outside of Durango. The 350 required a lot of feathering and work to carry through the tight sections, and when done I was tired. The 500 made them easy, neither it or I broke a sweat. A perfect match for me.

Both pretty buzzy on the road, I could not see spending a day or longer on either.

So I bought a F800 for those missions -

Best of all worlds for me


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Old 01-03-2015, 06:42 PM   #9
w33b8t1
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I have a 500. Power wise it has more torque than my 300, but overall power doesn't seem too different. Gobs more than the regular klr/dr units.

The 500 is more road worthy, but it feels exactly like riding a dirt bike on the street.

If you are considering either for adventuring, get the 690.

If you ride wider open areas then probably the 500.

Tighter areas the 350.

ETA: After rereading your post, get the 690.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:46 PM   #10
oregonlmd
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I bought a 350 EXC on 12/31/14, haven't yet had the opportunity to ride it, but I had a tough time deciding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b56tc View Post
My apples to apples comparison was back yo back summers on hermosa creek trail outside of Durango. The 350 required a lot of feathering and work to carry through the tight sections, and when done I was tired. The 500 made them easy, neither it or I broke a sweat. A perfect match for me.
This is funny to me, and a good part of the reason I went with the 350. I'd ridden the Honda 600's for years, then the Yamaha WR400/426's, then the KTM 525's (2005/06/07). Lots of experience and love of the bigger power and torque. Used them all as my trail bike AND dual-sport bike.
I then got a KTM300, and couldn't warm up to the 2T experience.
I then spent the last couple years on a WR250, and it has been a transformational experience for me.

At 50, I am less able to muscle the big bikes and their power around. I don't have that pull-my-arms-out-of-their-sockets thing going on all day, and for me, the rev-it-a-lot necessity of the 250 has been both easier for the way I ride and at the end of a long day, easier than the power and mass of the larger bikes. I have had a lot of fun on the WR250. So, that's half of why I went with the 350.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyRider View Post
If you want it for dual sport, I would get the 500.

I bought the 350 and absolutely love it for dirt riding, but it doesn't have a wide enough gear box for good dual sporting. It has sufficient power for my old bones, but the gearing is too tight. I have to swap sprockets based on the type of ride I want to do, which is a hassle. I use 13/50 for dirt and 14/50 for dual sport. 14/50 lets me go comfortably up to about 60 mph. I can push it faster, but it isn't comfortable for me
....So I wish I had a 500 for dual sport rides (and my 350 for trail).
I ride tight muddy rooty western Oregon trails, and wider-open central Oregon trails, too. If I rode central Oregon only, it'd be the 500. For trails, for me, its the 350.
But I also have an XR650R for my usual dual-sport riding (which for non-trail use is the best DS ever in my unhumbled opinion). Since I have the XR, its pointless to have another big-power bike for my needs. If I was only riding more open trails, and two-track, and a bunch of road, the 500 would be the very best choice, even if I had the XR, too.

What a crazy first-world problem to have, eh?

By the way, I worked up a spreadsheet to calculate RPM's at a given speed in each gear, and it also reverse-calculates speed in each gear for a given RPM. I did this to figure out what gearing to replace the stock gearing with.

With the stock 14/45 gearing, the 350 turns 5656 RPM at 60MPH.
With 13/52 - the gearing I went with - it'll be turning 7038 RPM. Fine for traversing some miles between trails, bit I'd not want the engine to do that all day. Redline on the 350 is 12000 RPM (wow!). With 13/52 gearing, that'd be 102MPH in 6th. In 1st, at 2000 RPM (roughly idle speed), it'll poke along at 5.7MPH. This engine has a huge range!
Some more examples at 60MPH: 14/50 = 6284 RPM. 14/52 = 6536RPM. 13/50 = 6768 RPM.
A different size tire will change the actual RPM's very slightly.

oregonlmd screwed with this post 01-03-2015 at 08:03 PM
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:09 PM   #11
oregonlmd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonmt View Post
2015 KTM 350 / Husky 350:
Primary transmission 24:73 3.04
Transmission ratio
1st gear 14:32 2.29
2nd gear 16:26 1.63
3rd gear 20:25 1.25
4th gear 22:23 1.05
5th gear 25:22 0.88
6th gear 26:20 0.77
Alternator 12 V, 168 W

This is interesting. KTM's site says the 350 EXC's alternator output is 196 watts.

Quote:
The 350 EXC‑F engine is equipped with a 196 watt alternator featuring an integrated freewheel for the starter. The alternator provides sufficient power for the fuel injection system, lights and other electrical loads. Compared with the 350 SX‑F, the oil-cooled rotor has a larger diameter, which provides more gyrating mass and requires a larger ignition cover.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:17 PM   #12
garrett
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I've had both. First I bought the 500, rode it and loved it. It has a pile of torque, great balance and is a fantastic bike for 2 track and open terrain and very good for tighter single track. I LOVE riding technical terrain so when I rode my buddy's new 350 back to back with my 500 I knew it was for me. I found a low hours 350 EXC bought it, sold the 500 and never looked back.
The 350 doesn't have the arm ripping torque the 500 does but it WILL climb everything the 500 can. It's slightly lighter, but feels much lighter, and handles easier in tight terrain. I found I was hesitant to tackle technical stuff (like splatting a rock face) with the 500...(I was afraid I WOULD splat). The 350 is lighter and I'm much more confident with that bike and will tackle obstacles that would have scared me off on the 500. The 350 does not have the low end, off-idle torque the 500 has, that said, it doesn't lack for torque. It really works well on steep climbs, you just have to twist the throttle a bit more.

It's been said already: Are you looking for a "dualsport oriented" dirt bike for 2 track, jeep trails and some highway? Then the 500 might be the right choice.

Are you looking for a very good trail bike that will connect moderate trails via the highway? The 500 might be a better choice.

Are you looking a great dirt bike for tight trails? 350 all the way. Great bike for the "average Joe" that you can ride all day. I'm really pleased with mine.

Chilly White has some great reviews on the 350 and 500. Poke around on his site. I found his reviews quite accurate and well written. I copied a couple links for you.
Good luck with your choice
Garrett

http://www.enduro360.com/2011/11/12/...350exc-review/


http://www.enduro360.com/2013/12/04/...g-term-update/
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:47 PM   #13
jasonmt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonlmd View Post
This is interesting. KTM's site says the 350 EXC's alternator output is 196 watts.
I was going off of page 108 here:
http://www.ktm.com/uploads/tx_ktmpro...3182_en_OM.pdf

And page 107 here:
http://www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com...2026_en_OM.pdf
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:04 PM   #14
b56tc
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and this one by Chilly as well -


http://www.enduro360.com/2012/02/15/...500exc-review/
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:07 PM   #15
riverflow
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I don't have a comparison, but I have a friend with the 500. He has no trouble at all on trails with it, granted we don't go hardcore anywhere. I can't see the 350 being significantly different until you get into really tight stuff.
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