Reliability: KTM vs Honda vs Yamaha vs others

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Riccardo1989, May 7, 2012.

  1. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    Hi guys,
    i'm new here in this forum, i read your topics lots of times from Italy! I signed 'cos i found this forum very interesting with fantastic photos and well specified topics!
    I own a DR350 MY 94 and it carries me around since 2007 in off and on road, now i would like like to change it with a more specialistic thumper and i'm thinking on KTM exc 450-525, Yamaha Wr 450, Honda 450X and Husaberg 550.
    In your opinion which is the most suitable for going off-road and sometimes make some transfers on the tarmac?
    Which of them requires less maintenance?
    Thanks to all!
    #1
  2. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    The Yamaha. Dead reliable and no valve bull shit.
    #2
  3. wiggywildwildwest

    wiggywildwildwest cranky bugger

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    all these bikes are high performance and high maintenance. find one which feels comfortable. see if any of your mates have one or see if you can test ride at a bike shop. only you know what you want.

    having seen a pile of these engines with blown bigends and receding inlet valves, i beg to differ.
    #3
  4. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    I asked you 'cos some say that Honda need a piston change after half of milesage with respect to ktm...i've always thought that japanese motorbikes were more reliable. Anyway as soon as possible i try them to look for the best feeling!
    #4
  5. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    If you want reliable and still high performance with a wide ratio 6 speed, the KTM 450/525 with the RFS engine is hard to beat. Get a 2004-2007 model, all the issues are sorted on those.

    They are higher maintenance than a DR but it's mostly 15 min. oil changes (every 15-20 hours or about 1000-1500kms in dual sport use). The stock intake valves are also a bit soft but if they wear out after a few hundred hours replace them with aftermarket stainless valves and you will get many years of service out of them.

    The later years of the WR450F are also decent but due to much closer gearbox ratios they will never be as good as the KTMs as dual sport bikes.
    #5
  6. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    The KTM RFS engine is the lightest, highest HP and most reliable engine made in the 400-525CC category. It's not even comparable. The tranny is equally good.
    #6
  7. G600

    G600 Been here awhile

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    All the bikes you specify are race bikes and therefore not low maintenance. In my experience the old KTM RFS bikes are pretty reliable FOR A RACE BIKE.

    If you want a low maintenance off-road bike go for a Honda XR4, Suzuki DRZ400, Suzuki DR650 or similar.
    #7
  8. tattewell

    tattewell Mad Poser

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    As a trail bike I am very pleased with my 04 KTM 450 exc. That said, all the brands have something to offer, and my biggest deciding factor would probably be dealer support. Find the local guy around you that stands behind the product and you will probably be miles ahead in owner satisfaction.:norton
    #8
  9. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    WR450F 07+
    KTM 450/525


    Ride both and pick yer color. The only naysayers are the ones who dont own one. I found a better deal on a WR.. So I went wih blue.
    #9
  10. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    are there any differences in rideability and maintenance between KTM 450 and 525?
    #10
  11. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    525 feels heavier due to gyro. Actual weight is about the same. Maint same, although more pain on oil changes and valves need to be checked more compared to WR, but WR uses bucket/shim on valves. WR valves usually never move though. 525 has lots of torque, 110mph+ fun.

    I'd say KTM 525 is better for high speed riding, 450ktm + WR is better for slow tight ST. All are totally reliable
    #11
  12. cross-country

    cross-country .

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    No, not much difference. You could say that the 450 crank would last longer because it is carrying less mass with the same size bearings as a 525, but you could also say a 525 doesnt' have to turn RPM's to make power, so it will last longer.

    In the end, buying a used bike, your reliability is going to be a factor of the condition you bought it in and the condition you keep it in. Anyone that tells you that one brand is less likely to break down than the other or is faster/lighter/stonger/cooler probably just owns the bike they are hyping and doing it only to boost their own ego.

    Choose a bike that you can go and personaly look at and ride. Choose one that has a transmision that fits your riding style and area.
    #12
  13. tdrrally

    tdrrally Long timer

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    buy a dr,xr,xt,ect and build it up for a great trail bike
    (a crf is not a replacement for an xr)

    you will be money ahead
    (no matter what bike you get you will need to make it yours)

    if you plan to race that is a new issue

    but always get what makes you happy:D
    #13
  14. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    Been there, tried that. XR650L is too heavy and big for real trails, I dont care what anyone says. I can get it up some nasty stuff, but man is it tiring
    [​IMG]

    That said, the XR400 makes a greattrail and DS bike if you dont mind kicking it

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    I know that XRs are great bike, if i used it more on tarmac than offroad i would buy an XR650, but if i sell my DR 350, i'll prefer a more rencent bike...
    #15
  16. olec

    olec Rookie

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    Get a late RFS engine! I've had two of them (525 and 400) and they're close to bulletproof. Up here many guys are still using them for gravel machines and it's amazing how many hours / kilometers they have on them. 200+ hours w/o replacing the piston is not abnormal. Just keep an eye on the valves now and then, change the oil and filters regularly with good brand, and you're good to go. Lot's of aftermarket parts and even several rally parts for this bike if that is your interest (like many variations of gastanks etc).

    If you do road duty, to connect the fun parts, get the 525. It can do those paved sections and even highway duty much easier than the smaller ones. If your main interst is a light woods bike that can survive some roads, get the 400 (or 450). The 400 is a smaller bore long stroke, and basically the same engine as the bigger ones. If your woods time is just for fun and not so 'serious', get the 525. The extra gyro isn't a big deal if you can take a break now and then. For racing, you'll notice the less gyro on the 400 and you can hold on to race pace for longer periods.

    I had two friends with WRF's. They're good bikes, but both of them got some problems with the transmission after like 50-60 hours. Had to replace some bent 'things' in there. Else than that, I know they were happy with them.

    PS: If you find a Beta bike (not the very latest years), they licensed using the RFS engine in that bike. Then you can get some kind of newer bike with the same bulletproof engine in it.
    #16
  17. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    agreed. BTDT on a DRZ400s myself.

    it's *a lot* of work on tight, technical trails. just too heavy. i can get it to go pretty much whereever, but it really tires me out compared to riding a lighter bike.

    the DRZ is a great trail bike for more open, laid back, less technical trails, though. and it is an awesome dual sport bike. but tight technical stuff is much more fun on a lighter bike.

    i have a buddy who has an XR600R he dual sported. he's tried it on some technical stuff. it's also too heavy to be as much fun on those types of trails as some of his other bikes, so it pretty much just sees commuter duty.

    i have another buddy with an XR400. that is a pretty decent trail bike even on the technical stuff. still heavier than ideal, but not bad at all.

    if you are planning to ride technical stuff at all, my recommendation is to stay away from anything heavier than an XR400. (something like a KTM 450 exc would be really good for a dual sport bike you want to take on tight, technical trails.)
    #17
  18. elsalvadorklr

    elsalvadorklr southern xr rider

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    this is the most reliable bike EVER

    its called a HONSUZYAMKTMATI, I like how that sounds

    I threw in the ducati to end it nicely

    sorry for the lame joke:rofl
    #18
  19. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    thanks for all your answers, as i'm reading, it seems that Ktm "wins" on the others...the only problem is that here in Italy for a MY 2004 i pay 2500 euro, while with same amount of money i can find others brands of MY 2007-2008, like husaberg for example, but maybe this one is less reliable...
    #19
  20. Riccardo1989

    Riccardo1989 Adventurer

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    hi guys,
    i got a WR-F 450 MY 2005! I love it, i just would like to know which final ratio you use, 'cos my 13-50 is very short!
    Bye
    #20