Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki & Kawasaki - Listen Up, Please...

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by mtntrails, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. p0diabl0

    p0diabl0 Been here awhile

    Feb 25, 2011
    San Diego
    A lot of people just don't want the maintenance, reliability, and costs, perceived or otherwise, of a KTM.
  2. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I have been reading up on the 350 EXC, and it seems some people would take a wr250 on a long trip over the exc.
    (people that have both bikes)
    The exc seems like a killer off road, likely the best you can get.
    And yes, it sounds just like a race bike with lights.
  3. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

    Aug 10, 2006
    Carnation, WA USA
    I want a modern 450cc Adv DS, too. But I agree - it won't happen soon, at least not from Japan. So, the modern choices are:

    350 EXC-F
    500 EXC-F
    TE-610 - discontinued but still available used
    TE-630 - discontinued but still available used

    Heavier options (over 325 lbs. wet) include:
    DR-650 (old tech)
    TE-650 Terra/Strada
    KLR-650 (old tech)
    F650GS/Dakar/Sertao series (mixed tech)

    Possible future: KTM 390 Adv, as mentioned above, but not yet confirmed for production in 2014.

    Edit: I want a top-shelf suspension, too, just like the OP. That means that the price starts at $8,000 US and goes up from there (which is another reason why it will not happen - you'll always have to upgrade your stock suspension).
  4. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

    Mar 31, 2004
    Internet age, I get my parts quicker if I order them myself then when I go through the local dealer who never stocks anything. I wouldn't trust any of my local dealers to change a spark plug on my bike either.
  5. HandKPhil

    HandKPhil Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2009
    Southeast Michigan
    I've been waiting for some jerk to say something along the lines of, "Why not just buy the cleanest, lowest-mileage, 1998 or 1999 Suzuki DR350SE you can find, and you will have hit most of the criteria that people on this thread seem to be looking for?"

    So, I hereby volunteer to be that Jerk. :D

    Why not just buy the cleanest, lowest-mileage, 1998 or 1999 Suzuki DR350SE you can find, and you will have hit most of the criteria that people on this thread seem to be looking for?

    6-speed trans
    around 300lbs.
    decently strong subframe
    around 28 or so HP at the crank
    decent off-road performance for a dual-sport
    fully adjustable suspension/cartridge forks
    Jap-bike reliability and parts availability

    I just bought a '99 that had 1800 miles on it. It runs perfectly. It was clean enough to eat off of. It was well under $2500. After putting on fresh tubes, top-quality tires, changing all fluids, filters, etc., I basically have a brand new 350cc, six-speed dual sport, for well under $2800.

    Smug, self-satisfied rant over. :lol3
  6. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

    Mar 31, 2004
    I wouldn't take EITHER on a long trip.
  7. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Feb 8, 2008
    Collingwood, Ontario
    Great bike. I swapped mine for a WR250R because I wanted a lighter bike. Miss the torque of the engine, the reliability and the simplicity, but not the 65 lbs.

    I would question "cutting edge though"?
  8. Butters

    Butters Kwyjibo

    Oct 10, 2008
    Really that's pretty much the point. If Suzuki had an updated DR350 the niche would be filled. But they went with the DRZ and missed the boat for a versatile dual sport. The DRZ really needs a sixth gear to be highway capable and that was probably the biggest mistake they made with it. I don't think a wider ratio 5 speed would work because it is a bit low on power. I always found I had to pick my gears carefully - I wouldn't want even bigger jumps. From there, it's simply a logical progression to give it a bump in HP/Displacement. As far as suspension - just put something on that can be upgraded, rather than something that needs to be replaced to be improved. (and get rid of that awful seat).

    If done right, you lose nothing on the dirt end and gain A LOT on the street side. As people have said - this is not something that needs to be built from scratch and wouldn't add much to the cost for a bike that would be twice as good. That's the frustration.
  9. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    All the dual sport bikes have nasty seats, unless I missed something.

    I found a dr650 to be great until the part right before the helicopter ride.
    I might have rode home if I had been on a dr350.

    And why drop the dr350 and come out with a drz400, and not discontinue the dr650 and come up with a drz700?
    Maybe fit that drz700 with a 4 speed trans geared for trials work.
    I should not give them any idea' will be water cooled, 400 pounds, and have a really bad transmission...
  10. Lulu7404

    Lulu7404 Been here awhile

    May 16, 2009
    Just north of Big D
    While I agree that the 500EXC is "ready to race", (enduro's) it is 50 state legal. I change the 1.5 liters (same as a WR250r/x of oil about every 800 miles or 30 hours because I use it primarily off road where it gets revved out more. A rekluse auto-clutch would add .5 liter of capacity (just a bonus in my opinion)

    It has very nice WP suspension stock. It is sprung for a "fit" person of around 160-170lbs. The valving has been good enough so far, but on my short list. Fully adjustable front and rear with both high and low speed compression adjustability on the rear.

    As it was geared from the factory, 15/45, it would easily push 120mph (i have been over 100 with 14/48 personally, not pinned) in sixth gear. Best dual sport combo seems to be 14/48.

    There are several seat companies with quality products. I chose Seat Concepts for price, and turn around time. Come to find out they have great customer service too.

    There are several companies to choose a rear rack from. I chose to use soft Wolfman bags for my day trips but would also use them for multi-day rides I hope to have this summer.

    After market tanks are already out with 3.5 to 5 gallon choices making fuel range a non-issue.

    Many companies for headlights... advmonster, baja designs, or just upgraded bulb.

    Yes, I paid over $10k out the door, but there are used ones available for around $8k with low miles.
    WR250R new at $7k with 20 something hp and 300 lbs.
    CRF250L much cheaper but as I understand it much lesser suspension and ~320lbs... I could be off, not trying to be insulting.
    I looked at both of these bikes.
    500EXC new $10k with 52hp at about 9800 rpm at 260lbs.
    I don't spend much time at the rev limiter. The motor is incredibly smooth and linear. It can handle short shifts and lugging down.

    Will it get out from under you off road if you're not careful? YES so would a 450 and probably a 350
    Dual sporting or open road... NO especially if you have ridden a modern street bike with 100+hp recently. There are throttle cams that will tone down the initial part of the throttle response from G2.

    Would I tour Colorado with this bike... already have. Eight hours a day for a week. They were just day trips, but I never changed the oil or had to adjust the valves.. speaking of valves... haven't moved in 78 hours and 2000 miles (like I said, I ride it mostly off road). Mainly because I live in Dallas, TX not CO and people will run your ass over on a little dirt bike here.:eek1

    Anyway, my long winded .02 cents. It's as good as they say. So buy a bike available now and ride it or wait for what you REALLY want. I am looking forward to the new Honda CB500 myself and the new Duke 390. Not sure I will buy one. Got a bug in my head for a Daytona 675R... :evil
  11. ESWAT

    ESWAT n00b

    Dec 1, 2006
    I know there are politics involved, but why can't Honda and Yamaha just reach a little further and make the CR450x & the WR450 street legal? KTM can do it but they can't? And both those bikes are detuned as it is. I don't get it.
  12. duxrneet

    duxrneet Been here awhile

    Jul 20, 2009
    Melbourne, AUS
  13. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

    Aug 10, 2006
    Carnation, WA USA
    Yes. BMW 450cc 5-speed engine. Not holding my breath for US availability.
  14. zoo

    zoo Adventurer

    Dec 16, 2008
    kelowna bc canada
    None of us get this. The big 4 all make a EXC similar bike(ie wr450). How many ktm owners would have gone that way if those bikes were street able? Its a market that is proven and there. Why would they only sell these bikes to a very limited number when making them street would abviousily sell more.
    Then there are bikes like the yamaha 660xt selling world wide but here??????
    KLR 650 I was told was kawi's big seller. So a dualsport is a huge market then????
    They build a DRZ 400 to the 1990's level.
    Its not like they need to design new bikes, they already have em, just work them alittle.
    Every year a new ninja, a new motorcross and new cruizer gets built, never a street dirt bike/ dual sport.

    No, I disagree that its all about sales. Its old guys that dont dualsport nor understand it therefore see no need.
  15. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    That sounds like a great bike.
    What is the downside?
    Its got to have one...besides the price...

  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Apr 1, 2007
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    They do for certain markets - the 2012 (EFi) model WR450F comes fully street legal in Europe - with a full lighting kit and homologated exhaust etc.

    Similarly Honda in the UK have just started selling a 'homologated' CRF450X - although that is converted here, not from Japan, and it was basically implemented because Honda were getting annoyed that UK dealers were street registering bikes that didn't 'technically' conform to Euro regulations...

    I think traditionally, the Japanese manufacturers have been reluctant to sell 'street' versions of what are essentially race bikes, as they wouldn't be able to (or at least prepared to) offer the same warranty conditions as the rest of their range - the big four pride themselves on their reliability, and the current crop of 450cc engines were never designed to be slogged day in and day out on the highways?

    That said, it seems Yamaha are now prepared to offer a fully homologated WR450F (not sure what the warranty period is on that compared to their regular street bikes) which other than EFi, still has the same engine it's always had... so I guess the real question is why Yamaha USA are not prepared to put the same bike (and others, such as the XT660Z Tenere) through homologation there?

    Keep lobbying!

  17. Off the grid

    Off the grid Big Meanie

    Jan 3, 2008
    That buzzing in your earhole, NorCal.

    Curious Brett, where did you get this info? Because it's stuff like this that gets my panties in a bunch.

    I've numbered your statements for reference.

    1. There is one KTM dealer about 30 miles from my house.
    Dealer support, imo, is vastly overrated. In fact, the only times I ever needed a dealer was to try to find some small wear and tear items....gaskets, oil pan bolts, etc. And then it was a 50/50 chance the dealer had it in stock. Most places can't afford to keep a ton of inventory on the shelves, so they order stuff just like we do. People that own KTMs are usually on their 3-4th offroad bike by the time they graduate to a KTM, and thus most do their own wrenching. With KTMtalks Munn racing online store, every part you need for every bike KTM makes is a few mouse clicks away. And Munn gives you 10% off for belonging to KTMtalk. I would often get my parts in 2-4 days. I would never buy a brand new enduro, so really I don't need a dealer for anything. Dealers make their $$ on accessories and clothing, most of the bikes are there to draw the customer in.

    2.They do not seem to have many bikes, and I am not sure they have any that are street legal.
    KTM has a massive line of bikes, this is a copy/paste from another thread. Bottom line is that most riders in your area (NJ Pine Barrens) ride 00-12 400-450-530 EXCs. I've seen a bunch of plated KTM 300 2-strokes in Jersey as well. General rule is, if you buy one thats already plated in NJ, it will most likely retain the plate, but do your research!! And remember, the EXC is the most "dual sport" friendly of the lineup. 2007+ came with signals, horn, etc. <07 needs a kit. I picked up an 05 EXC from a guy in NH, put a Baja Designs DS kit on it and plated it in NY easy. Also, 2000-2007 are the "RFS" bikes, in 2008 they redesigned the engine. The RFS bikes are generally regarded as bulletproof, have gobs of power and torque, and are lightweight. When I buy another DS bike, it will most likely be an 07 525 EXC. (the only RFS bike that can be plated in CA, which has very strict rules)

    Here's the list.....(deep breath)
    I would avoid earlier years myself because only the 2007 is guaranteed to be 50-state
    street legal but this might not be an issue for you, I don't know.

    I am going to copy and paste an article on RFS engine design changes below, I hope
    the mods or Dave Hopkins won't get their panties in a twist about that. I apologize for the awful formatting but I simply don't have time to correct it now. Full credit to the author is given at the end of the article. ( I did not write the article and am not claiming to have written it. If someone gets upset because I posted it here I suggest they need to consider that there are real problems in this world and this is not one of them. )

    ================================================== ===========

    Evolution of the RFS engine (ignoring chassis) :

    This goes back to Husqvarna development engineer Urban Larsson & Lars Nilsson and, Folan AB at Husqvarna, spun off when Husqvarna sold the MC division to the Italians in 1987 some of the Husqvarna engineers that did not want to move to Italy created Husaberg. That engine revolutionized dirt bikes doing well at the ISDE (abt ’91?) then purchased by KTM about 1996 primarily to get access to patents.

    2000 RFS (Racing Four Stroke) introduced,
    The KTM is all different yet much design continued.
    2000 MODELS:
    400SX was 6 speed close ratio Kstart only
    400MXC was 6 speed close ratio* E & K start
    400EXC was 6 speed wide ratio E & K start
    520 SX was 4 speed close ratio Kstart only
    520MXC was 6 speed close ratio* E & K start
    520EXC was 6 speed wide ratio E & K start
    *In US MXC is close ratio, in Europe its wide ratio
    All had a 39mm Kehein FCR carb I call “Gen I”
    DISTICTIVE ITEMS; engines case had a somewhat rough sand cast look, that improved in 03 to a slightly smoother casting, oil fill plug had a dip stick, valve springs had aluminum retainers. Spark plug was 10mm thread, that increased to 12mm in 2003, The 4 speed models had a 6 speed shift drum stopped after 4 with a roll pin (this continued thru 2005). 400 had a shorter duration cam than 520, 520 cam is known as a 5521 and has survived the full 9 years of production in almost all models.
    Clutch pack is 7 lined discs of 1.8mm, 4 intermediate discs of 1mm and 4 of 1.4mm = 22.2mm thick, all of the intermediate discs have an internal spline that matches a spline hub. The clutch basket was on a bronze bushing that had pressure oiling from the left end of the clutch shaft. In 2001 they replaced the bushing with two needle bearings, the oil supply continued for a couple years but was deleted at some point by 2003. The “locking lever” in the shift mechanism was aluminum and had a small ball bearing riveted to it. The clutch had pressure oil to it thru the clutch shaft and the bearing in the clutch pressure plate changed from ball to needle bearing. The Estart intermediate gear had several “lightening holes” drilled in it. The rod bearing had copper washers on each side (I believe this was 2000 only?)

    ISSUES : Water pump impeller melted, the radiator was too small. The upper cam sprocket had a “stop bolt” that came loose and caused damage, problem in fixing it is they lasted a couple years so KTM did not know they had a problem to fix for quite a while. The accelerator pump was very prone to water intrusion/corrosion etc. and at high RPM oil pressure build up would push the slave cylinder in rendering the clutch useless.

    2001 KTM
    EVOLUTION: Radiator got bigger, Valve spring retainers changed to steel. I believe there is a change in shift forks that took place in the early years but I have never had one of each type open at the same time to compare. They replaced the bushing in the clutch hub with two needle bearings which probably eliminated the need for the oiling but oiling continued at least thru 2001, maybe 2002? The main shaft of the trans got a groove cut in it for a clip that controls side movement of the clutch hub. Dip stick disappeared (mid year?)

    Only changes are a very rare limited production 540SXS with 97mm bore (in spite of what the parts book says).
    ISSUES: KTM received a bad batch of cam bearings that failed frequently and the cam sprocket “stop bolt” issue continued, debris from both often got into the crankcase and caused bigger damage (see changes in 2003).

    2002 KTM
    Cam sprocket stop bolt got a better lock nut. Cam bearings changed to a sealed bearing which fixed that problem. The water pump seal retainer was redesigned for easier service. Clutch pack is 7 lined discs of 1.8mm, 4 intermediate discs of 1mm and 4 of 1.4mm = 22.2mm thick however the design is changed in that there are steel drive sleeves between the intermediate discs and the inner hub.
    250EXC was added mid year with lower internal gear ratios used a 35mm Gen I carb longer duration cam, smaller head to fit the smaller bore.
    All other models continued.
    ISSUES They improved lock nut on the cam sprocket but some still failed.

    NOTE AMA changed the rules for 4 strokes competing with 250 two strokes from 400 to 450CC.

    2003 KTM
    A shield added that keeps errant pieces from the cam drive area from getting into the engine. Cam bearings changed to sealed type. Case gasket changed to metal shim. A small gasket was added to the clutch slave cylinder. A very small diameter clutch gasket alignment pin added. Clutch pack of 2002 continued as 7 lined discs of 1.8mm, 4 intermediate discs of 1mm and 4 of 1.4mm = 22.2mm thick. Clutch was attached to the transmission shaft with a nut rather than a cir clip. Shortly after the start of production the dreaded cam sprocket was changed to a design that eliminated the stop bolt. The short cylinder of the 450SX (below) necessitated a hole being drilled & tapped in the case for moving the chain tensioner down. This alternate hole is in all cases after 2003 regardless of model. All cylinder heads except 250 the intake port got taller, spark plug changed to 12mm. All carbs updated to FCR MX or Gen II. Some valve & valve spring changes for the SX models noted in their section below.
    250EXC carb increased from 35 to 37mm
    450 EXC/MXC replaced the 400 via a stroke increase from 64mm to 72mm, (same as the 520/525). A new valve spring was added for the EXC/MXC with white & purple markings, has inner & outer and a steel retainer. This is a good no problems piece used by abt 80% of the KTM 4strokes.

    450SX was added with big bore, short stroke, short rod, short cylinder, 4 speed trans, smaller magneto, 41mm Gen II carb, lightened crank, a forged piston with a high dome rev limiter raised from 9,800 to 10,800.
    In the cylinder head, Ti valves that initially had conical valve springs, second batch had a high tech spring with aluminum upper & lower retainers and I believe there was a change in the valve supplier? Replacement and later production valve is from Del West (top quality stuff) but they failed, (see 2006 changes). Also note the SX head had the valve spring pocket cut 1/2mm deeper for the springs. Siamesed head pipe first appeared here on SX only.
    450SXS limited production bike also offered, strange in that is has a 5 speed trans, like the 4 speed it is a 6 speed with a gear left out, a spacer in place of one gear and the drum blocked at 5th.

    525 (really 510) replaced the 520 (also 510)
    525SX got the smaller magneto, lightened crank, 41mm Gen II carb, conical valve springs, lightened crank, rev limiter raised from 9,800 to 10,800 (black box ending in part #200). Rumor was that a “hotter” cam called the “806” was in this bike. Its in the parts book and often used as a hop up item but I have never seen one in a factory installation.
    540 SXS changed to 100mm x 68mm bore & stroke (very rare)
    450SX the conical valve spring was way too strong for Ti valves, the Ti did not get along with the bronze valve guides and the domed pistons dome was too wide & often hit the head. Clutch discs failed.
    525SX, Many blew up and there was a recall to go back to the generic rev limiter (9,800, part # ending in 100) aimed at keeping the engine alive. Clutch discs failed.
    All of the EXC/MXC line was quite problem free which is a good thing as production increased dramatically.

    2004 KTM
    All models got the Siamesed head pipe. Swing arm pivot got bigger, Water pump seals changed to double lip. Some of the machine work that was done to lighten the 03 SX cranks was deleted so they are not quite as light. Clutch cover gasket changed materials. The kick starter lever shortened. Clutch pack changed to 7 lined discs of 2mm, 8 intermediate discs of 1mm = 22mm thick and the pressure cover had holes drilled (attempt to eliminate the screeching when the discs become glazed).
    Rear brake master cylinder and caliper each got smaller,
    Battery on Estart models got smaller (common mod is to get a 05 battery box and go back to the bigger battery.
    SX’s in 03 got super light weight cranks and that proved to be a hand full in some off road situations, too prone to stalling. In 04 KTM did three things that addressed this problem:
    1) on the 525SX a heaver crank
    2) added a crank mass (ie more weight to the right side where the starter freewheel normally goes on the e-starts and
    3) went back to the -55 cam.

    MODELS: All of the prior years plus;
    400EXC returned same specs as the prior one but with the evolutionary changes of the 2004 product.
    450XC was added being a hybrid of 450SX engine, with 6 speed, wide ratio 1st & 2nd gears, close ratio for the upper gears and EXC valves/springs, magneto & carb, SX cylinder, rod & piston but not the light crank.
    450SMS, First venture into a factory Motard setup with full on brakes, shortened SXS suspension, Akra pipe,
    Also, to the best of my knowledge there was a bunch of SX’s left over at the end of the year and KTM made a dealer installed Motard kit available to help sell them. But remained a 4 speed.
    Apparently someone stopped rounding an edge on the holes in the rocker shafts and it resulted in two bolts on the cam cover braking. This was allegedly corrected at Motor # 04-594*69364 and VIN number till: VBKRCA 4024M371530 are concerned (I put hardened bolts in all of them!)
    All of the 450SX issues continued, also applies to the SMS.

    2005 KTM
    Evolution: Very minor, harder bolts where installed to reduce the breakage of the cam box cover bolts, only a partial fix.
    The EXC/XC/MXC flywheel was lightened. 450SX oil ring reduced from 3mm thick to 2.5mm
    Clutch pack changed to 7 lined discs of 2mm, 8 intermediate discs of 1mm = 22mm thick and the pressure cover had holes drilled (attempt to eliminate the screeching when the discs become glazed)

    MODELS: All of the prior years plus;
    450 & 525SMR models added basically SX engines with Ti valves and 6 speed close ratio transmission.
    A limited production 450SXS was made available, has a slipper clutch and I believe a hotter cam, also had a steel shim base gasket (do not believe its available).

    On the 525 EXC an “idler gear” in the Estart system commonly broke (I suspect not properly heat treated?) As far as I am concerned this was 525EXC only. Valve guide issues with Ti valves now applies to both 450SMR & 525SMR as well.

    2006 KTM
    Change in valve guides to sintered iron which works well with Ti, fixed issues that we had with Ti in 03-05 models!! Some 4 speed models the shift drum is 4 only so 6 speed conversions now require a new drum.
    Carb updated to Gen 3 on all except 560SMR (has a non removable air bell on the back).
    Starter gear improved and clutch cover machined 5.7mm deeper to make room for the improved gear. Clutch pack was made thicker making the inner hub, drive sleeves and release rod all longer. 560smr was upgraded to a ball bearing on ignition side. 560smr has all four poles on stator wound for ignition coil power versus two on a normal SX and one big one on EXC/MXC.
    Clutch pack changed to 7 lined discs of 2mm, 4 intermediate discs of 1mm and 4 of 1.4mm = 23.6mm thick. To accomdate the thincker clutch pack the clutch basket changed to deeper style, the release rod & drive sleeves made longer to accommodate.

    MODELS: All of the prior years except;
    250EXC 4 stroke RFS engine bike was no longer imported to US
    450MXC discontinued
    525MXC got renamed 525XC but remained pretty much the same
    560SMR replaced the 525 SMR via a big bore short rod, short cylinder
    ISSUES: The right side main bearing in the 560 was problematic
    540SXS was added, I have never seen one but I assume basically a 525SX with a 540 kit, slipper clutch??????? Or is this a 100 x 68 engine?

    2007 KTM
    Clutch cover changed to one that the clutch can be serviced without removing the entire cover. Carb updated to Gen 3 on 41mm models, mid year the “locking lever” in the trans was changed from a ball bearing to a roller tip. Dual map ignition on some models. Nicer machined crank half's in 07.

    New cases made for Quads supplied to Polaris hold more oil and are 5 speed with reverse. Note these do not use a case gasket, lots of sealer, cases are wider so you can not interchange trans with other models.
    450SX, SXS, discontinued/replaced with RF4 engine thru the KTM line.
    Other models remained pretty much as they where in 2006

    2008 2009 KTM In the KTM line up the RFS engine is only in Quads. KTM continues to sell the RFS engine to some other manufacturers. One noted change on the quads there is a head drilled above the intake port for a motor mount and the manual compression release disappeared.

    Cylinder height combos;

    RFS model/ bore/ stroke/ base to head/ cc/ sleeve hanging out the bottom
    250EXC /75/ 56.6 /78 /250cc
    400EXC /89/ 64 /84 /398cc
    450SX,SXS,SMR,XC 95/ 63.4/ 69/ 449cc
    450EXC,MXC 89/ 72/ 84/ 448cc 25mm hanging out the bottom.
    520,525 95/ 72/ 84/ 510cc with 31mm hanging out the bottom
    540SXS 2001-2002 & 540 kit: 97/ 72/ 84/ 532cc with 31mm hanging out the bottom and coolant flows around the head bolts.
    540SXS 2003-2006: 100/ 68/ 76/ 534cc with 39mm hanging out the bottom in front & rear 7mm less on sides requires special cases or welding/machining!
    560SMR 100/ 72/ 76/ 566cc 534cc with 39mm hanging out the bottom in front & rear 7mm less on sides requires special cases or welding/machining!
    570 kit 99/72/84/ 554cc
    576 kit 97/78/84/ 576cc
    610 Crate Motor 100/ 78/ 84.5*/ 613cc534cc with 39mm hanging out the bottom in front & rear 7mm less on sides requires special cases or welding/machining!
    *(note this is because they do not use a base gasket) and 38.70mm hanging out the bottom front & rear, timing chain side - 25.15mm and clutch side - 31.15mm (if used on common 525 cases this requires some welding & machining.)

    Common hop up kit combos
    Big bore
    250EXC to 350 is 89 X 56.5
    400, to 453 is 95 X 64
    400, to 472 is 97 X 64
    400, to 483 is 99 X 64
    450SX, 450XC, 450SMR, 450SXS to 472 is 97 x 63.4mm = 472CC
    450 EXC/MXC AND 520-525 to 540 is 97 x 72
    450 EXC/MXC AND 520-525 to 570 is 99 x 72

    KTM at one time offered a 78mm stroker crank
    89 X 78 = 485cc
    95 x 78 = 553cc
    97 x 78 = 578cc
    99 x 78 = 600cc

    Note, the below engines have a short rod & short cylinder and are not commonly stroked
    450SX 2003-2006
    450 XC 2005-2007
    540 SXS in 2003 - 2006 is 100 X 68 = 534CC
    560SMR is 100mm X 72 = 565CC

    Rod Length (center to center)
    250 = 129mm
    400 = 129mm
    450SX/SMR/SXS/XC = 11_mm (114?)
    450EXC/MXC = 129mm
    520/525 = 129mm
    78mm stroker = 126mm
    540SXS (01-02) = 129mm
    540SXS (03-05) = 1__mm
    560 = 121mm

    400-525 rod spec per Travis
    Big end bearing (mm): 35x43x21.7
    Big-end bore (mm): 43.00
    Big end width (mm): 21.90
    Center to center (mm): 129.00
    Pin diameter (mm): 35.00
    Pin length (mm): 64.60
    Small end bearing (mm): Bushing
    Small-end bore (mm): 20.00
    Small-end width (mm): 21.90

    Other notes:
    450SX crank pin is smaller (abt 31.5mm)
    2000 400 had thinner crank cheeks and used a copper washer each side of the rod.
    Cam chain link is 8mm so custom stroker combos should try to maintain those increments.

    Crank Weight
    525 SX 2003 only Pork chop style 590.30.18.300 8lbs 7.1oz
    525 SX/SMR & 560 Full Circle design shorter counter weight 590.30.18.400 9lbs 9.5oz
    450/520/525 EXC/MXC Full circle design 590.30.18.200 10lbs 3.5oz

    The 03 525 SX configuration has proved to be a hand full in some off road situations too prone to stalling. In 04 KTM did three things that addressed this problem: 1) a heaver crank 2) added a crank mass (ie more weight to the right side where the starter freewheel normally goes on the e-start models and 3) went back to the -55 cam.
    Note: the 450 SX retains the lighter crank in 04 but also gets the crank mass and -55 cam.

    By Dave Hopkins (DJH) Credits to Travis @ Thumper Racing, Glenn @ GWR Racing engines, Kevin in Yorks, Skullhat, Art Astle and Caflash Bob for their input.

    3. I think they are very expensive, and a risky buy used.
    KTMs are a bit more expensive off the showroom floor, yes. But there is a very good reason for this, they come loaded with aftermarket, quality parts. Most people run the stock can, most have Brembo brakes, SS brake lines, hydraulic clutch, WP tunable suspension, Excel rims, etc etc. Parts you would normally replace on a Japanese bike you don't need to on a KTM.
    Used? Very close in price. In fact, since like I stated most KTM riders buy their KTM after going through 2-4 other bikes first, most are very well taken care of. For example, I picked up my 05 EXC in early 09. It had 75hrs, 3400 miles, had some farkles (skidplate, barkbusters, muffler guard, 2 seats, etc) for $3250. The owner was a middle-aged guy who kept meticulous service records. It remains to this day my favorite bike ever, it broke my heart to sell it when I moved to CA. So yeah, buying used is very very smart. Ask a buddy, post in your regional forums here if a current KTM owner will go with you to check out a prospective bike and what to look for. There is also a really good "used bike checklist" in KTMtalk, I believe. Considering the light weight, bulletproof reliability, insane power on demand, top-quality parts, 6-speed dead-sexy tranny, E-start, you are getting a fucking ton of bike for your money. I actually paid more for my 03 XR650R (4k) that came with a ton of farkles, but was not nearly as good as the EXC in a lot of areas.

    4. I think parts are also very expensive, and I can not keep track of what engines hold up well, have longer service intervals, which are street legal, which ones vibrate like mad, etc.
    In my experience, the parts are nearly identical in price. There may be variations and exceptions on both ends, but it's not eyebrow-raising. With regular maintenance...properly seated/cleaned air filter, oil/filters changed depending on terrain/riding style...each model is a bit different. The 690 has the longest interval of oil changes, 6k i believe. For example, on my 05 EXC I cleaned the air filter every other ride (or every ride after exposure to Pine Barrens sugar sand) changed the oil every 500-1500 miles depending on the type of riding I did....highly technical, snotty climbs, rock gardens, etc are harsher on the oil. Heat plays a factor as well. I changed the filters (there are 2 oil filters in the 00-07 EXC, 1 on 08+, and harder to change in the 08+, have to remove the skidplate, depending on what you have.) On the RFS bikes it's 2 bolts on the bottom of the engine. Short answer? I never considered oil changes/maintenance to be an issue with my KTM, and I've never heard a KTM owner complain about it either.

    I've heard some KTM 640 owners complain about handlebar vibes, but it seems to be the occasional bike and not a problem with the model. Most vibe problems can be fixed or made very minimal. As a point of reference, my 450 EXC was awesome to ride on the road. No vibes ever, plenty of power, upright hooligan position, very roomy riding compartment, 6-speed, etc. Balancing the wheels are a must due to the rimlocks, but you would be surprised how many people do not do this.

    5. So clue me in, what in the 350cc range is legal in 50 states, and would be good for a 600 mile road trip.
    If you own a KTM that's plated in NJ and ride through PA, they will honor it as other states do when you are a "guest". I know some riders in NY that have a bike permanently registered in VT so they can ride a 2-stroke. The bike stays in NY and the registration gets mailed in to VT. Generally speaking, each state varies widely in what can be plated, you should be able to confirm what models are plateable on your states DMV web page. KTM EXCs 07+ are 50-state street legal, there is no question about it. This is partially why the the 07s are so desirable.
    I wouldn't hesitate to take any KTM on a 1000+ trip except for the 2-strokes for obvious reasons. Give the bike a good once-over beforehand, change the oil and go shred.

    6. With the Japanese dual sports, you have the current 250cc bikes and the dr650 all of which will be trouble free for a LOT of miles, running between $4000.00 to about $7000.00? new, the dr650 is $6500.00 new, the crf 250l is $4500.00, the klx250 is about $5000.00. The wr250 is over $7000.00 I think.
    You can't really compare any current Japanese bike with any Euro bike put out since the RFS KTMs came out. The lone exception is the WR250R, the only bike with newer tech, great suspension, E-start, 26k valve checks, etc. If they made a 450 version of the WR250R I would have taken a serious look at it, but they didn't. Simply put, KTMs are much lighter, are seriously over-engineered, put out almost double the HP, are just as reliable as similar Japanese bikes (ie 640 vs DR650, 450EXC vs DRZ400, etc) with similar maintenance intervals, come loaded with fantastic brakes, suspension, pegs, pipe, handlebar like I mentioned earlier in this fucking novel. :huh

    In closing, talk to KTM owners. Ask a lot of questions, ask a buddy with a KTM to swap rides for a bit during a group ride. I rode the exact same areas you are in for years before I moved, you have to notice that most of the riders are on orange bikes...there is a very good reason for this.

    Good luck, mate. Myself and all my riding buddies followed a similar bike evolution....started on Japanese bikes, now all are riding Euro bikes within 1-3 years.

    Quick picture reference guide:
    All models are 2005 except where stated otherwise

    990 Adventure EFI ABS

    2006 950 Super Enduro

    2007 690 LC4 Enduro

    640R Adventure

    640 LC4

    2012 500 EXC

    450 EXC (the 400-450-525 look exactly the same, only difference is stroke length...400 is a bit softer on power delivery, no big hit, very snappy, 525 lots of torque, needs good throttle control, noticeable throttle hit and tons of power in any gear)
    Pair of NY-plated 450s. Mine on the left. Buddies on the right is an 03. Note the seat height difference. Lou is 5'6", I am 6'3" and we ride the same bike. It's all about sag/suspension setup, seat type, etc.

    2012 350 EXC-F

    2-stroke 300 EXC

    2-stroke 200 EXC
  18. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

    Nov 3, 2008
    Northside Brisbane, Qld Australia
    All the jap bikes (except mx bikes) are registerable over here in Australia except for the Suzuki RMZ 450. Same for all the euro bikes as well.
    They don't seem to have warranty problems or worries as much as some euro bikes do.
  19. Sierra Thumper

    Sierra Thumper Been here awhile

    Oct 3, 2012
    I read in one of my recent issues of Sport Rider or MotorCyclist that because of the current tough economic times, the best selling motorcycle segment currently is the dual-sports.....mainly because they're cheaper and more versatile.
    I've also read that the Japanese bike makers are changing strategies to deal with the drop in sales due to the recession. Suzuki has pretty much decided to not spend any real money on new R&D, and just focus on selling current, slightly refined models.....prolly having the least to spend doesn't help lol.
    Honda's trying the budget line/single platform/multiple model method with their new 500 twin and CRF250L/CBR250R. Kawi seems to be focusing more on their streetbike line-up for the new R&D......Yamaha seems to be the only guys trying to make an actual performance 250 dual-sport for the american market..bravo to them :clap

    Overall tho it seems the Japanese have decided to turtle up, not take any real risks with the American dual-sport market, and leave it to KTM and the other high-performance makers to offer a diverse, well stacked line-up of dualsports, albiet at a premium price :rolleyes

    Oh well....I'll just pick up a nice used KTM or the like at a good price and have fun......if the Japanese don't want to seriously play in the American dual-sport market, there's others that will :wink:

    But.........if you want a damn fine street bike in any category, that hands out a serious performance ass-whippin' against its competition, is super reliable and well priced, you still can't beat the Japanese big 4 :lol3 ....................just don't mention the words " performance dualsport" to them :eek1 :rofl
  20. Sierra Thumper

    Sierra Thumper Been here awhile

    Oct 3, 2012
    Yep the DR650 is a chunk.....a solid, low-priced dependable chunk....but still a chunk. Not something I want to do any serious off-roading on :eek1 :p3rry