350exc or 450 exc

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by DirtWarrior, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. DirtWarrior

    DirtWarrior Adventurer

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    Hey guys,
    I'm throwing around the idea of picking up a smaller thumper for OHV parks and some single-track riding and occasional trips to the desert. I currently use my 690 for bigger rides and riding mostly fire roads with it. I was looking at the 2013 models and I noticed there is only a weight difference of 8 lbs between the 350 exc and 450exc bikes. Guy's at work are telling me to buy the 450, but none of them have ridden a 350, so I want to hear your opinions. I'm not a big guy at all, weighing 145 and the bike will not be used on roads (other than to cross trails).

    Nick
    #1
  2. spencergt66

    spencergt66 Been here awhile

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    If your doing mostly fire roads and open desert I would go for more CC might even consider the 500 with the FI now the bikes rev quick and are pretty peppy but I would think if you got the 350 you would be looking for more on the open stuff. Tighter single or dubble track the 350 would shine but wide open your going to want goobs of Tq
    #2
  3. Cyberg

    Cyberg Adventurer

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    I would go with the 450 for the fact that they last longer than the 350 between rebuilds. Plus at 145 lbs you wont have enough ass to make the tire on the 500 stop spinning. Also the 450 will have better resale over the 350.

    Im a big guy and the 500 has more than enough hp.
    #3
  4. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    You would really have to ride each,the 350 involves higher rpm whether its on a trail or dirt road,a 450 that has been made to run mild so as to be street legal from the factory should be pretty smooth. Maybe your only looking at the dirt only models. When resale time comes,the dual-purpose bikes are WAY easier to sell,and they dont weigh much more then the dirt only bikes. As far as I know KTM doesnt make a street legal 450 so thats it for that idea.

    Really.........for strictly dirt I like my 300 lots better then any 4 stroke,personal issue.
    #4
  5. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    300 2-stroke
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  6. chippertheripper

    chippertheripper motorcycle junkie

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    I also vote 300, but if that really isn't an option, 350.
    In the woods it's alot harder to make up for any bikes shortcomings than out in the open.
    And it's not really the 8lbs that makes the difference, it's how that weight is carried...up top and in rotating mass makes for a more sluggish handler.
    #6
  7. Cyberg

    Cyberg Adventurer

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    Remember he lives in Ca. Alot of our trails are not as tight as back east style woods riding.

    Also I think the 350 is a high maint engine design. He also stated a smaller 4t compaired to his 690. Now if he wanted a 2t I would recomend the 300 as one of the best bikes out.
    #7
  8. DirtWarrior

    DirtWarrior Adventurer

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    I would definitely like a two-stroke, but that is not an option for me simply because of the red/green sticker law in Kalifornia. I'm getting the impression that the 350 excf is a high maintenance engine, but as someone mentioned, I'll have to try both bikes. Is the street-legal 450 not available for 2013 in the U.S?
    #8
  9. Bofaxrunner

    Bofaxrunner Adventurer

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    I have a 690 kitted with a rally raid, and a 350 excf. I could not imagine a better combo. My best friend has a 450 exc, and we swap all the time. His bike has more low end, but they seem to be almost identical on the top end. We have the same gearing btw. Once I got my 350 dialed, I wouldn't give it up for anything. I turns much faster and feels much lighter than the 450. I have a 3.5 gallon tank and almost always have more fuel than my buddies stocker and we both agree my bike is more flick able.

    It does have a more complicated valve adjustment, but it makes the bike feel so smooth while revving. I can't imagine you would regret it.
    #9
  10. 4play

    4play Next?

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    I rode a friends 350 & ride with him all over AZ. That thing is like a mountain bike with a nice torquey engine. I don't know that maintainence schedule, but he's never compained & seems to love the little bike.
    #10
  11. motomark39

    motomark39 I reckon so

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    In the last year I have tried all 3, 500exc, 350xcf, and as of right now still have the 450xcw. 350, not torquie, no grunt off the bottom, mid range up motor. 500, great bottom, great torque, very strong. 450, same as the 500, BUT easier to manage, can be more agressive, and less tiring to ride longer than the 500, feels better in the corners. The 350 is a good running bike, but doesn't get the adrenalin flowing with a twist of the wrist.
    #11
  12. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    Is the 450 is street legal in CA? Doesn't look like it to me on the KTM website. 350 vs 500 seems to be the choice in new bikes.
    #12
  13. Steveman

    Steveman Been here awhile

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    absolutely +1, bought the 350 right out of the show room. Had a 450 which is strong and has more low end torque. But the 350 is much easier to ride, handles like a 250 and when grip is bad eats the 450 and 500 with ease.

    Many prefer the 500 for "what they call enduro" but real enduro ends in second gear or even earlier. Desert blasting, fire track and greenlaning, I'd take the 500 as it is just superstrong. As soon you get in the real hard stuff forget it. You cant manage the torque. And that is why even big guys in enduro championship go for the 350. Well, have to admit Johnny Aubert although championship winner swaps back to a 500 from the 350. But the exception proves the rule :1drink

    CU
    Steve
    #13
  14. Navaho

    Navaho Long timer

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    These guys were not too happy with the handling and suspsension of the new 450.

    http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/178/13021/Motorcycle-Article/2012-KTM-450-XC-W-Shootout.aspx

    The complaints that they have about the handling is the way I feel about my 2007 450 and very typical of most KTM bikes I've owned or ridden. They are tall and squirrely. Designed for clearing obstacles and turning on a dime (at the expense of stability).

    Some comments from the article:

    "One of the most telling discoveries is that none of our testers listed the XC-W as their bike of preference, while every other machine got at least one top vote."

    “I could never come to grips with the handling of the KTM. The front end pushes like crazy, and the back end wants to slide all over the place. It’s always twitching and moving around. I never felt like I could give it my all on the KTM. I was afraid I’d end up blowing a turn and wind up in a cholla cactus.”

    “Stability is questionable in the high-speed, bumpy sections," adds our Pro racer. "Although the suspension soaks it up well and it is well balanced, I think for how fast the bike is geared to go from the factory, the suspension should be stiffer.”

    The KTM did however get praised for it's motor and light clutch.
    #14
  15. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

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    chilly from enduro360.com:


    * ASternad, on 02 September 2012 - 10:52 AM, said:
    Chilly -
    Between the 350 and 500 as per your ride test - if you were going on a ride and had no idea what you would be encountering (tight, sand, open, rocky), which bike would you prefer?

    response:
    Bike choice, that is a tough one. Personally I enjoy riding the 350 much more. It is a real riders bike, very responsive and great handling. I also like the way it makes power. For better or worse, it has a small bike personality. It surprises me that the power is pretty much on par with my older RFS 450's. I just picked up a '13 350exc that will be a long term test bike, super excited about it.


    Personally I'm 200lbs and I got the 350. Was advised by folks that have access to both bikes (along with 9 other bike at anytime) and they said if it involves dirt they grab the 350. I couldnt be happier. As powerfull as my xr650, not quite as tourquey, but plenty of low end none the less and feels likea bicycle. really easy to handle.
    in
    #15
  16. Steveman

    Steveman Been here awhile

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    +++1 nothing to add, really :1drink
    (I am 190lbs w/o gear)
    #16
  17. Steveman

    Steveman Been here awhile

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    I also saw the video and read the test. For me it is very clear that they say that. And as far as I understand enduro riding in the US and over here in Europe is different. Whenever I enter "enduro" or "enduro riding" in the YouTube search box I get a million results. Whenever I look at US clips I see guys blasting through the woods, desert or forest trails. Where when I see clips from Europe I see tight and twisty mega climbs combined with mud.

    The KTM EXC's and XCW's are further away from the Moto Crossers then one might expect and that is why KTM offers three different 350/450's in the US but not in Europe. My friends in US have after a day of riding at least 100+ miles on the clock where I have probably 20. And my bikes are in 6th gear maybe 3 minutes in two years, no bullshit. I swear

    KTM tries balancing an enduro bike with a MX. Try a Beta and you'll see what I mean. Probably the best in tight stuff, just not half as good going fast.

    Cheers
    Steve
    #17
  18. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Our fearless leader,Ned,who has ridden Dakar and had many KTM thumpers rode a 350 for a while on a test,he liked it but said all the shifting got old,gotta keep it spun up pretty tight to make power.
    Beings the weight is close to a 450 I would tend towards one of those. I have a 530 and its gentle as can be,turns great on tight trail and just chugs along when needed to do so. It can go real fast but only if I twist the loud handle.
    450 wasnt available street legal in the US for 2012 or 2013,KTM figures they have it covered with the 500/350. Lotsa guys like the 450 though.
    #18
  19. Navaho

    Navaho Long timer

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    I have owned three KTM EXC's and still ride an '07 450 EXC. I also have a steel-framed WR450F with Race Tech suspension mods. Our single track is 2nd and 3rd gear speed and with a lot of sharp turns. Even in tighest trails, I am much faster on the Yamaha. The problem I have on most KTM's is that they tend to oversteer, no matter what you do with the rear sag (and don't dare raise the forks). It is the steering angle and high c.o.g. that has me fighting the bike. It was the same on the 400EXC, 300EXC and 200EXC. I don't even feel safe riding the KTM without a steering damper.
    People say that the Yamaha doesn't turn as sharp. That's true but the trade off is stability, and it is what allows me to push harder without zig-zagging all over the trail or in the whoops. The only problem with the WR's is that the stock suspension is not set up for high speed.

    If I had to pick a new 4-stroke woods bike today, it would be the new WR450F. I've ridden one, and the suspension and handling is really nice. The suspension is the best of any bike I've ever ridden.
    #19
  20. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Thats an odd take,gotta wonder if they had their bike set up right. Ive had KTM's since the late 70's and ridden tight woods in nor cal exclusively with them.
    They tend to turn on a dime and claw their way up anything I point them at.
    Pushing ft end? Squirley at speed? I dont know what they're talking about.
    KTM has some how lucked into winning all 4 big off road championships last year,desert or woods,and they tend to dominate. I dont think they have lost a shootout test in any american mag against any and all enduro bikes made.
    Lightest in test,most modern features,best suspension out of the box. And for dualsport their bikes are even farther out in the lead.

    I dont think its the bike holding you back. Who knew www.motorcyclesuperstore.com did bike tests? It reads like a little kid wrote it.
    #20