DRZ 400 vs 450 EXC in reliability

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by MihaiVeniamin, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    I heard a lot of good things about the DRZ in reliability (drz 400 S)
    What about the 450 EXC ? let's say from 2005,2006,2007

    I have now a DR 650 and I'm looking for something lighter.

    What do you suggest ?

    A 450 EXC can do a 200-300 km road section ?
    How often do you guys change oil an filters on yours 450 EXC ?

    DRZ

    pro: reliability, price, on road capabilities,softer suspension, dealer in my town, a reliable carb, etc etc

    against: tall bike, pretty heavy, not so powerful, a money eater if you want to make it more off road capable


    EXC
    pro:
    powerful, not so tall, better suspension, nice look, cheap parts, better tranny ratio, very lite 113 kg or so, best for off road, six gears, etc etc

    against: not so reliable ? , small gas tank, expensive to buy it from new, shorter service intervals, not so capable on road long sections, harder on suspension.


    -both are great bikes with its + and - but I want only one. I will have to sell my DR 650 also because I don't have all the money.
    -can be 450 EXC one do it all bike ?

    WHAT DO YOU THINK ? is 450 EXC reliable enought ?
    WHAT should I do ?

    thanks

    Mihai from Romania
    #1
  2. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

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    What type of riding will you do? How long are your trips? How many miles/km do you ride in a year? I have 12,000+ miles on my green DRZ-S, and the engine is going strong. I've heard of these engines lasting 30,000+ miles without any problems. How many miles can a KTM engine go? I don't know, there are a lot of opinions about it.

    Last summer, I rode from Colorado to Canada and back, about 2800 miles (4500 km) in 10 days. I did not change the oil or adjust the valves until I got back home. The oil still looked clean, and the valves did not need adjustment (they did not change even a half of a thousandth of an inch). A KTM would probably not be able to do a long trip like this without some maintenance along the way.

    If you are doing short trips (less than 1000 km) and mostly dirt roads, a KTM will be a good bike, but I would not do a 5000 km trip on one.
    #2
  3. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    my friends are having this bikes

    KTM 625 SXC
    HONDA XR 650 R
    HONDA DOMINATOR and CR 250 2 stroke
    KTM 450 EXC

    and right now my DR 650 SE from 96. I will keep up with them having the DRZ ?
    their bikes are better than mine in off road, and mine is the oldest.
    So I want a DRZ or a EXC to keep up with them.
    new DRZ in Romania (actually in my town) is 5700 euro
    new EXC in Romania (a 200 km dealer) is about 8000 euro

    The longest trip it was like this: 150 km on road then about 100 km off road (pretty hard for my DR 650) and then back home 150 km on road.
    I also made a +1000 km trip by myself and no problems...around the Charpatians mountains...but was 90% on road.

    My DR 650 has more than 40,000 and it is fine.
    In my first year I rode 10.000 km mostly on road,
    second year about 5000 km on road and off road
    this is my third year on DR 650...I will probably ride 3000 km or more, but I see that most of my friends are going more off road...short trips 1 day or a week-end, but that involves a car and a trailer and I do not have it.

    I know the service intervals for DRZ is abou 6.000 km.
    What about the KTM ?
    Fuel consumption is also a problem my DR 650 with a 13 liter fuel tank eats 4.5-5 liter / 100 km what about the DRZ and KTM 450 EXC ?

    KTM is more fun and easy to handle in off road...is a joy....I rode yesterday my friend's KTM 450 EXC '06 and i've love it, until now I was decided on DRZ but the orange beast change my ideas.

    thanks for your quick answer...
    I expect some other opinions

    thanks
    Mihai from Romania
    #3
  4. JayBo1

    JayBo1 Long timer

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    I've done 980km's in two days on my '06 450 EXC. This was about 560km's of offroad (twin track four wheel drive trail, mostly sand based), 240km's of well formed dirt roads and 180km's of tarseal highway. I had done an oil change before I left and did another when I returned. I had borrowed a friends 13 litre tank which gave me around 160km range. (We had 4x4 support with fuel).

    I think if I was to use the bike for more distance than this ... well I don't think I would. A cush drive rear hub would make it last longer on the tarseal. I don't really think it's the bike for distance touring although I love the bike.

    I change the oil around every 6 hrs of race use and change the filters every time. I adjust the valves every second oil change, but more because I'm fanatic about my maintenance rather than any necessity.
    #4
  5. LILBIT

    LILBIT Ride you must.

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    You should throw a 525/530 in the possibilities as well. Don''t worry they are soft and easy to ride at low RPM offroad. More power for road sections and would pull taller gearing than the 450.
    #5
  6. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    in reliability I think suzuki drz is better and also in fuel consumption and also in price.

    but the KTM's are fun and powerfull and light...

    I should sell my DR 650 first and then a loan...and then...a lot of fun on an EXC.

    but I am afraid not to do a big mistake...I'm not a mechanic and I love to ride bikes not to fix or repair them...

    Is there any mutant between DRZ and EXC ? reliable like a DRZ and performant like a EXC ... that should do the trick

    I shall see...
    :thumb
    #6
  7. kobudo28

    kobudo28 Banned

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    I can't speak much about the KTM 450, although I had 640 LC-4 for a time. I found it to be high maint. ,but the most powerful single I had ever ridden, very tall though. A different bike then the 450 is.

    With regard to the "mutant" DRZ: Suz offers the DRZ 400 in the S version and E version in the states. The E being the enduro version of the DRZ. I do not know what the legal requirements are for registering a bike like the E where you live, but the E is sort of the "mutant" that you speak of. It is lighter, more powerful and weighs less and has better suspension then the S version. It is not "street legal" in some state in the US as it does not have brake lights, horn, mirrors and blinkers. Where I live you can add them and register and ride the bike on the roads, which is what I am doing with my DRZ 400E.

    With a little tinkering on the E, jet kit and a good pipe, it will make even more power to some extent although typically with some cost as it will be louder.

    I hope that helps.
    #7
  8. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    Two things here. First, reliability isn't the same thing as maintenance intervals. I believe an argument could be made that both bikes are reliable, meaning neither one is likely to explode on the trail. The DRZ will probably last longer given equal care and riding, but you'll probably be onto your next bike before you could wear out either one.

    However, the KTM needs more frequent maintenance. I would suggest you get together with your KTM friend and watch him do the oil change and valve adjustment on his 450 and see if that's something you would be comfortable doing. It has to be done more often on the KTM, no way around it. If you had to take it to your far away shop every time it needs service, that could get old very fast.

    If the maintenance is something you can do yourself, I would buy the KTM. You already know you like it for the kind of riding you do.
    #8
  9. thump

    thump Been here awhile

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    i have had both and i can tell you that they are both great for what they are designed for.the drz is stone reliable and will tolerate minimal maintenance and shear abuse rather well.the e model is a much better bike for most as the pumper carb and the lighter weight really change the ridability.the ktm is a better off roader IMO but needs more love:eek:il changes and valve checks but is extremely reliable as well and the build quality is much higher than the zook.my '05 450 exc has 250 hrs. of race/hard core trail riding on it and aside from the basics and 4 valve check-ups(usually within specs) still is tight and fresh feeling.the six speed trans is a big plus on open terrain too.hope this is helpful.
    #9
  10. paochow

    paochow Bye bye desert

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    Both the DRZ and KTM are going to be better off road bikes than the DR-650 you currently own, but the KTM is going to feel lighter, have more power, and be better suspended for aggressive riding. The KTM feels like a dirt bike off road and encourages you to ride it hard and fast. The Dizzer feels more like a dual sport in that it can do amazing feats off road, but it feels every bit of a challenge to do them.

    The KTM, on paper, is actually a better streetbike than the DRZ, thanks to its wide ratio 6 speed transmission compared to the DRZ's 5 speed. In practice however, it's lighter weight means wind and truck blasts affect it more in terms of straight line stability. For aggressive riding around town however, the KTM feels like a 45 hp bicycle and makes a great hooligan bike. Ridden back to back, the DRZ feels more planted and stable, but also heavier and less flickable. For long trips, the DRZ has a multitude of aftermarket luggage racks and larger tanks available. Good luck finding a rack for a 2008 EXC.

    As others have mentioned, the KTM will require more frequent maintanence intervals. That being said I have seen KTM's ridden several thousand miles that didn't have their valves checked ("The valves need adjustment?:doh") The KTM is very easy to work on, especially the 08's, requiring very few bolts to be removed to take off the seat and tank. If you click on the following links you can compare the valve adjustment difficulty between the two bikes
    DRZ Valve Adjust
    KTM 530 Valve Adjust

    Just be sure to note that the DRZ valve adjust intervals are very infrequent, although most recommend checking them every couple of oil changes. Speaking of Oil changes, they are very easy on both bikes.

    Regarding fuel consumption, I generally get better economy with my 530EXC, mainly because I'm not rev'ing it out as much. The DRZ generally is good on gas, but during high rpm highway droning it is possible to acheive dead dino drinking in the low 30 mpg's.

    I'm currently working on a shootout comparing the DRZ, Super DRZ (434), KTM 530, and 990. Look for it to be out within the next month or so.
    #10
  11. GR0NK

    GR0NK Got some screws loose!

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    I don't have a 450 but rather a 525 EXC. My buddy had a DRZ400-S until last week. Both are 2005 models and both have been serviced regularly and run strong. The DRZ is very reliable, maybe even more than the KTM RFS engines but that is like saying a Ferrari is 5 mph faster than a Lamborghini, when they can both exceed 200 mph! It is my opinion that the KTM RFS motors are one of the most reliable designs to date. Factor in the relatively high state of tune they are sold in and they are nothing short of amazing. Of course I'm biased though.:wink:

    I have already converted one of my riding buddies (XR280 to 400EXC) and it was my 525 that made my other buddy sell his DRZ. He is now looking for a KTM, Husky or Husaberg. Another buddy who just installed a high comp piston, cam and exhaust in his XR650L has recently admitted that he will likely be riding something orange in the near future. :lol3


    Sean :bmwrider
    #11
  12. AWM

    AWM Beard Bros Racing

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    Go with the DRZ400E,for the price,and keep the DR!That way you get the best of both worlds.DR for the long trips you want,and the DRZ for jam'n in the woods with your buddys.
    Only you can figure it out.
    I had a Husky 430,loved that bike!But i had a DR600 for the long dual sport trips.I had to be alitte anal with the husky,i didn't mind.The DR,i didn't do shit except oil changes,and it wouldn't quit.
    I guess the point is KTM's will need more antention then the DRZ.Performance is similar,with the edge going to the KTM.But thats a 3000 euro difference,and on top of that the KTM will cost more to maintaine.
    Just my two cents.Eitherway good luck.
    #12
  13. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    thanks guys

    I appreciate your quick answers.

    It's hard for me to decide but first things first...I have to see the money in my hand.

    Money is the problem, and my old DR 650 I can not keep it...
    I can afford only one bike street legal, so the DRZ 400 E is out because in Romania we can not plate it.
    I think the 525 or 530 is to powerfull for me, and to expensive.But a 525/530 desert racing should be nicee (13 liters gas tank is super).

    more detalis about DRZ 400 S and 450 EXC (2005,2006,2007 and EXC-R 2008) would be also appreciated.
    #13
  14. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

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    I can't tell you about the EXC's, but I have a Kawasaki KLX400SR. This is the same thing as a Suzuki DRZ 400 S, except it has green plastic.

    The S model, at least in the USA, has lower compression, less aggressive cams, and a different carburetor, so it has about 5 hp less than the "E" version. It weighs about 35 lbs. more than the E, and about 40 lbs. more than those KTM's. Some people think the "S" is a big, heavy, slow dog. However, it has a lot of stuff that make it a better bike for the street. It has a strong rear subframe (good for carrying camping equipment), a readable odometer, headlights that actually are bright at night, and turn/brake signals that others can see. You can add the "E" carb and get another 3 to 5 hp. It can go 65 mph all day, no problem. It can go much faster, but it is scary on a highway at 75+ mph. If you want to race those KTM's on dirt, the DRZ 400 S is not the bike you want. However, it can go on long trips with very little maintenance. I get between 50 miles per gallon (at a constant 70 mph) to 60 mpg (normal riding).

    Here is my ride report from Colorado to Canada on the Great Divide Route, about 4500 km in 10 days. I might ride from Colorado to Mexico this summer (another 4500 km round trip), and I won't hesistate to take the same bike on this trip. This time I won't pack as much stuff. :wink:

    If you want to ride your bike 40,000 km like your DR, get the DRZ. If you want more dirt performance, and have to keep up with other KTM's, go with your heart and get the orange bike. You will spend more money, but you will enjoy it more. I have a 2 stroke 200EXC, and :eek1 that thing is so light and has more power than my green DRZ :eek1 so I understand why you want a KTM after riding one.

    Good luck and buy what makes you happiest.
    #14
  15. Rogue_Ryder

    Rogue_Ryder 速 Flat Biller 速

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    I dunno what a used MX bike goes for over there but, here for the price of the KTM EXC you could buy yourself a DRZ and a couple year old 2 stroke MX bike (KX250, RM250 YZ250).

    I have a DRZ400S and a KX250. The DRZ has plenty of power for off-road, but it's kinda heavy in really tight stuff, my KX250 is almost too powerful in the woods but it's fun :evil I had a XR650L (similar to the DR650; not sure they have XRLs in Europe) and that bike was a heavy slow manuever pig in the woods and the DRZ is 100x better riding in the woods than the old 650.

    The DRZ400S with a little suspension tuning (sprung for your weight, proper sag settings and messing with the clickers) will get it pretty damn good for off-road riding. I can ride sand whoops in 5th full throttle on the DRZ without a problem. However a KTM 250XC-F could smoke my DRZ in the woods...Just because that bike is so light and much better suited to woods and I think that 250 makes almost as much power as the DRZ (same motor as in the SX).

    I say get the DRZ if you're going do any amount of street work to get to the trail and get the KTM if you'll be 90% on the trails. The KTM is like a Porsche and the DRZ is a Ford in comparison. If I had the money I would've loved one of those EXCs.

    I really don't like riding my DRZ for long stretches of highway, so I'm hopin' a KTM LC4 will be able to do the longer road stretches (+100 miles). The LC4 motors are just as reliable as the Suzuki Motors.
    #15
  16. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    in this moment I would buy the DRZ because is less expensive and more reliable and road worthy.

    but the KTM is like a nice dream...
    #16
  17. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    I heard that 450 EXC-R needs only 600 ml of oil ? is that true ?

    How much oil needs a DRZ 400 S ?
    #17
  18. Marvin_ADV

    Marvin_ADV Been here awhile

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    How much oil needs a DRZ 400 S ?[/quote]

    I think roughly about 1.8 quarts or about 1.7 liters
    #18
  19. reconsmr

    reconsmr Banned

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    The gearbox and engine oil are carried seperatly, 600ml for the head, piston and crank only. The overall capacity is just a little more than the recommended amount on the last generation RFS engines IIRC. The benefit is no gear/clutch contamination of oil for the bottom/top end of the auctual engine, like a two stroke. Early bikes had a seal issue, said to be fixed now, should extend the pretty unreal life of the engine as compared to the "old" style.

    If you can afford the KTM and appreciate mechanical and design excellence its hard to beat. The suspension, power and weight of the DRZ along with the CV carb really put it in a different class completely.
    #19
  20. MihaiVeniamin

    MihaiVeniamin Been here awhile

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    it's true the DRZ is in another class...more like soft enduro and KTM is more like hard enduro...

    I'm still undecided and still I didn't sold my DR 650 yet.
    #20