The neverending search: light, performance, and QUIETER? WRR vs EXC-F vs ?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by radioflyer20, Jun 29, 2021.

?

Which ADV bike to pick for lightweight, performance, and QUIET?

Poll closed Jul 13, 2021.
  1. Yamaha WR250R

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. KTM 350 EXC-F

    33.3%
  3. KTM 500 EXC-F

    44.4%
  4. Honda CRF300L

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Honda CRF450L

    16.7%
  6. Suzuki DRZ400

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Kawasaki KLX300S

    5.6%
  8. OTHER

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Due to some hearing sensitivity issues I have to ride with ear plugs 100% of the time and it still does not cut it. Being only about 130lbs I need a light bike I can pick up by myself easily. The typical 250 dual sports do not provide enough torque for my needs. With the hearing problems aftermarket pipes and engine mods are out of the question. Been there, tried that, get a different bike if stock power is not good enough...

    My riding is a mixture of 40% pavement, 50% off road, 10% "enduro". No highway riding as I cannot take the wind noise even with a full face helmet. We do everything from occasional pavement commutes, day long adventures such as the White Rim, Colorado passes, etc. Mostly trailer to riding regions and go from there but I want to do more multi-day trips, especially BDRs and possibly the CDR and TAT someday.

    Bikes owned or tried extensively in this lightweight ADV pursuit:
    KLX250S: quiet, little heavy. not enough torque. Sold it.
    CRF250L Rally with CBR300 Engine: somewhat quiet, ok torque, way too heavy. Sold it.
    WR250R: lighter still, not enough bottom end torque, still too loud/revvy for me. (Present bike)
    DR650: lots of power, moderately quiet, way too heavy, needs 6th gear. (borrowed for a summer)
    TW200: No. Just no.

    Would try a DRZ400 but need a wider ratio transmission and fuel injection is preferred so no. Would like to try a CRF 450L but hear they need a loud aftermarket exhaust and tuner to work well and are still a little heavy compared to the competition. Betas are interesting but there are absolutely no local dealers for them. None of these can be test ridden locally unless I buy one.

    Then I tried a 2021 KTM 350 EXC-F for a day. It ruined me. Crazy light, overall about as loud as my WR250R, but has much better grunt torque lower in the rev range. Based of people I have spoke with a 500 may work better for me - bottomless torque and power for the roads. Being used as a dual sport / light ADV bike and not a race bike I am not too afraid of the maintenance involved with one.

    So we picked up a 2014 350 EXC-F locally used with crazy low hours for a good price. For some reason it is significantly louder than the 2021 I tried out. The stock exhaust has good packing and is for sure better than the FMF it came with but still not quiet enough.

    Are the older EXC-Fs louder than the newer ones?
    Are the 500s much louder, if any, than the 350s?

    We cannot try any locally before purchasing.

    At this point I am about to resign to something like the new CRF300L (non-Rally) and just deal with all it's shortcomings as it is quiet, torquier than before, but still is a LRP. But the WR250R is such a good little bike... But the EXC-Fs are nearly perfect at twice the cost - would it work?

    All this trial and error is getting expensive and frustrating. I can only have one bike at a time so at this point am willing to bite the bullet to get closer to what I need.

    Figuring I am not the only one going through this. Thoughts?
    #1
  2. nacho squatcho

    nacho squatcho Been here awhile Supporter

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    The intake noise on the 13-16 EXC-F’s are what’s mostly loud. ‘17 and up sound like scooters to me.
    #2
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  3. goodburbon

    goodburbon Been here awhile

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    Your exhaust screen is likely gone. of note, a lot of people take off the stock screened super quiet 350 exhaust or just knock the screens out. If yours is missing that, You should be able to pick up a stock muffler from a 16+ with the screens intact.

    The newer intakes also have reed valves further quieting the bike. Ill admit I've never heard of trying, but that may be possible to retrofit. IMG_4049.JPG.5fbbe5cc14cee4e90c1ab2fee56f6daa.jpg
    #3
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  4. gypsymanjeff

    gypsymanjeff Adventurer

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    Tell you what I've had both bikes wr and exc plus tc and way more ..currently just recently got a 13 Beta 520rr/s and absoultly love this for every type of riding ..except maybe super hard single track where cant beat a 2 stroker..ive had all in not just 450s but 250s also riden afew 350 exc but still gotta say this Beta is really a refined KTM .so with the fact i got it for 1/4 of the cost ..under 2gs..it has been the best choice I've made ..i still have my 04 450exc but this being ALL that and WAY MORE ..can truthfully say ..seek one out..you wont be disappointed. BELIEVE ME WHEN DO YOU'LL KNOW ..IM NOT B.Sing. ON HER..I could go on and on but .. So seek n ye shall find BRO
    #4
  5. gypsymanjeff

    gypsymanjeff Adventurer

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    Opps wrong site ..sorry old schooler.new to this stuff
    #5
  6. Bungholio

    Bungholio Long timer

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    Sherco 300sef?
    #6
    LC8TY likes this.
  7. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    Want light weight, whisper quiet, and super fun? Try a KTM 300TPI, it can be made street legal in most states. I had one come past me on a 17% grade while I was on my Mtn bike, whisper quiet no typical 2-smoker noise or smoke, lots of performance.
    #7
    SmittyBlackstone and benzo like this.
  8. oryx80

    oryx80 Adventurer

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    The 2017+ EXC-F are stupid quiet in stock form... about as quiet as you can get... and performance wise, about as good as you can get...

    Get the 500 (2017+) and forget about it. You won't need to open her up to make extra ponnies, plus the engine rev lower and is proven more durable that the 350 & 250 (SOHC vs DOHC)...

    First gen are more open from factory, but louder and also heavier....
    #8
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  9. novaks47

    novaks47 Adventurer

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    With weight being such a concern, you can take the japanese bikes right off the list. None of them are much lighter, if at all, than your WR. I too had a WR, and didn't like it, even after tons of mods. Heavy, and top heavy at that. Zero torque. Not fun at all! I now have a Husqvarna TE150i. Not really a fair comparison, as it's not a dual sport, but better in every way. It's quiet, I can easily pick it up, has so much more torque and low end grunt than the WR ever had, and is much easier to ride off-road. My father has a TE250i, and it is noticeably louder, just enough so that it's one of the several reasons I'm glad I chose the 150 instead.

    My vote is for any of the KTM's or Husqys, both 2T and 4T, whichever you prefer. Honestly, I don't think they'll be as quiet as any of the jap dual sports(especially the Hondas), but they'll be close, and won't have the annoying metallic tone that bikes like the WR have. For me, tone was just as important as overall loudness. For example, I had a TW200, and the tone of the exhaust would resonate in my helmet, and drive me nuts. I find the KTM/Husqy exhausts though slightly louder, to not be annoying in the slightest. With earplugs, I can't really hear my TE unless I'm way up in the rev range, and even then it's very tolerable, as there's zero bass. Typically, the wind noise over my helmet is the primary noise.
    #9
  10. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish Riding to disappear.

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    I understand that the KTM 350 4 stroke freeride wasn't released in the US. Made since 2013 using the same 350 as the exc enduro bikes albeit detuned and with longer service intervals. The bike has stock dual exhausts which made it super quiet.
    Have a listen to it on YouTube videos.
    Found one for you to start with.

    Mentioning this as a custom exhaust/exhausts could be the way to go on your existing 350.
    #10
    Rogue_Ryder likes this.
  11. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Pulled the stock exhaust of the '14 350 apart - it is all there including arrestor. Retrofitting for reeds would be interesting, would consider that if all else fails.
    #11
  12. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    This seems to match other feedback I have received in person. For a new(er) bike I was leaning 500 anyway partly for the more resilient SOHC.

    I have had a (refundable) deposit down for a 2022 500 EXC-F, just waiting for it to come in to see how loud it is before I commit. Would obviously prefer a newer used one with low hours leaving more $$ for ADVing it but they are hard to come across around here.

    Regarding two strokes that some have mentioned - I rode 2 stroke quads back in my youth and cannot imagine I could get along living with a 2 stroke as my only motorcycle due to the higher pitch revs. We don't do 2-stroke dirt bike singletrack around here so I'd not be able to try one of the newer injected models unless I bought one...

    And I totally agree on the "metallic" rev tune of the WR250R - it is totally annoying for me as well.

    Interesting on the Freestyle dual exhaust but I'd be hesitant to dump a bunch of money at a custom pipe system and still find it to be unsuitable.

    Thanks for the suggestions thus far - from a long time lurker and first time poster I appreciate the feedback.
    #12
  13. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish Riding to disappear.

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    Have you taken your 350 to a motorcycle exhaust specialist? That would be my next step. Posted up the Freeride vid to show you how quiet that 350 could be made but a good exhaust guy could surely make your bike a lot quieter with a single pipe. Sounds like (see what I did there?) you want to change bikes anyway, good luck on your quest.
    #13
  14. Cam

    Cam Long timer

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    I love the KTM 350 and 500 EXC bikes but when it comes to a more compliant less vibey quiet-ish ride, the Honda CRF450 is a real winner. It is lighter than your WR and it nearly has the kick of the KTMs. The Honda is more mid-to-top range compared to the KTMs kick in the balls right out of first. I think you will be hard pressed to find a bike wet under 300lbs with the grunt of the Honda that is still reasonably well mannered. The exhaust on the Honda is crazy heavy but that definitely quiets it down a fair bit.
    #14
  15. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Today I was able to listen to a CRF450L, sit on it, but not ride it. It was quiet but still obviously feels about as heavy as the WRR.

    Also was able to very briefly ride a newer KTM 500 - beautiful power curve vs. the 350s and way quieter. I may be sold on it if one could be obtained.

    Between the two, the 450L seems like it would be too revvy and the 500 more torquey.

    Between a long range tank, seat, bike protection, Rekluse clutch, any of these will be getting up to ~$2k in stuff to adventurize.

    Out the door new:
    CRF450L: ~$11,400
    500 EXC-F: ~$12,900 to $13,500

    Obviously a lightly used one is more economical but do not show up often right now, I have already missed out on what few show up as they go FAST.

    Where would you put your money?
    #15
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  16. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

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    Have you tried an electric bike? Zero makes some interesting models.
    #16
  17. Bullseye45

    Bullseye45 Adventurer

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    No idea if you can even get them in the US or plate them, but KTM makes an electric bike that should be all but whisper quite. Gas tends to make things loud.
    KTM FREERIDE E-XC 2022

    Cameo by Ryno (Ryan Hughes)..
    #17
  18. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Oh for sure the electric bikes are interesting - it is just hard to charge a battery 50+ miles from the nearest outlet when the range is barely that or less. If I had endless money a Zero FX would be on the short list for a daily commuter and evening fun bike. But at 12,000+ feet in Colorado or in the middle of nowhere Idaho - no power outlets.
    #18
  19. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    2021+ 500exc FTW
    #19
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  20. Cam

    Cam Long timer

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    KTM unless the plan is to pile on highway miles.

    #20