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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    The people have spoken: 500 EXC-F got the most votes. So I managed to pick up a barely used 2020 500 EXC-F with only a few hours on the clock.

    1. It's light.
    2. Has plenty of the torque I wanted.
    3. Pretty quiet - purrs at idle - not as harsh as the WRR

    After playing with it a bit - this thing sure is a paint shaker! The lower rev range vibrations in my helmet are more annoying than the noise. That's just sitting on the bike at idle not rolling. It resonates in my head. Vibration smooths down once up to speed on the road, 50-55Mph, so I know it is not tire imbalance. Handlebar vibration is tolerable (don't see a need for a damper right now), foot pegs are more noticeable.

    The most vibration comes right from the seat. Put a Seat Concepts on it but made little difference. The resonating in my head obviously is not as bad while standing but part of the point of a 500 for me was using as a swiss army knife - lightweight dual sport ADV bike.

    Flamed out on me several times but tweaking the idle speed up helped a little. Will possibly consider richening the fuel mixture down the road (O2 delete? Don't want to open it up and make it louder).

    It only has about 5hrs on the engine at this point so is it possible some of the vibes may diminish with time? Changed the oil and the screens looked pretty clean so is probably over the initial break in.

    Now I'm torn. Maybe should have gotten the "smoother" but heavier CRF450L but I have no way to try one before buying.
    #21
  2. Takataka

    Takataka Been here awhile

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    It might smooth out a bit and you might get used to it a bit or it might impress you so much in other areas that you'll consider it a small price to pay.

    I say give it a bit of time and if you get a chance to ride other options take it and see. Only you can decide where you make the compromises but I would spend a bit more time on the bike as these machines are mind blowing offroad.
    #22
  3. benzo

    benzo Been here awhile

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    Just to put your mind at ease, if you find the clutch hard to control on the 500 you'd hate the honda.
    #23
  4. goodburbon

    goodburbon Been here awhile

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    Try a different helmet.
    #24
    benzo likes this.
  5. TeamJunk

    TeamJunk Adventurer Supporter

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    Just add flex bars and some vibration handlebar dampers from Dicks racing
    And install a G2 throttle tamer on your 500
    Gearing 14/49 combo
    #25
  6. Doc Sarvis

    Doc Sarvis Advent-ia before dementia Supporter

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    Noise.
    -earplugs!
    -PMB endcap with ultra silent insert
    -I am using a Klim F5 helmet and find it a bit more quiet than others I have tried.

    Vibes
    -Rubber sub mount
    -Fasst Flexx bars
    -Fasst Flexx anti vibe inserts
    -softest grips you can find (I use ODI Rogue)
    -Abeo neoprene inserts in my Sidi Crossfire boots

    Wheels
    -balance them

    Seat
    -Seat Concepts for me but stand up as much as possible

    Honestly the boot inserts and earplugs are cheap and give you biggest bang for the buck.
    #26
    Fast1 likes this.
  7. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    and fuel map that isn't extremely lean to meet EPA requirements
    #27
  8. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Actually I don't mind the clutch on the 500 - way smoother than cables I am used to. If I keep it I will put a Midwest Mountain Engineering 2 finger lever simply for better grip on the bars with the other fingers. Had a 2 finger lever on the WRR and it was a game changer.

    Referring to the 450L instead of "smooth" I should have specified "less viby".
    #28
    benzo likes this.
  9. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    1. Already have to wear earplugs 100% of the time when riding - disposable 33dB foamies are the quietest I find. Customs did not work as well.
    2. Read some comparisons elsewhere (Tacomoto I think) still showing the unmodified stock end cap to be the quietest dB wise. Could see where deflecting the sound down may help though.
    3. Using a Scorpion EXO AT950 full face modular helmet - quieter than an open face dirt helmet already. I cannot ride above 35Mph without a full face helmet, even with earplugs, as the wind noise gets to me. Would try a Schuberth but that is a lot for a helmet that may not make much difference. It is more of the resonance vibes than sound at this point.

    The handlebars don't vibe too bad, pretty tolerable.
    Interesting on the boot soles, that may be helpful.

    It is the vibes in the seat that are the worst. My body just conducts it right up to my head.

    Appreciate the feedback!
    #29
  10. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    Are the vibes at all rpms or just a range of RPMs? Does the moto vibe when only moving or while also sitting in neutral and revving with the throttle?

    HDB hand guards are heavy and solid plus they seem to quell some bar vibes at most RPMs on my MY14. Similar to bar end weights on street bikes.


    Seems the new version 500s since MY17 with gear box, crank and case changes (less oil capacity) vibrate more than the MY14-16 years.. at least that is what I've experienced. Plus having a stock EPA compliant engine is certainly worse than a aftermarket ECU or in earlier versions the unrestricted Euro map on a OEM ECU.
    #30
  11. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    The vibes are mostly in the low to mid rev range - smooths out in the mid to higher range. The vibes are present at idle sitting, in neutral, in gear, and in motion. Seems the worst while first rolling up to speed.

    Reason I wanted a MY17+ is I learned the hard way they were quieter than MY16 and older. Briefly had a '16 350 EXC-F and even in stock form was deafening compared to a '21 I got to ride a full day - the intake reeds and exhaust on the new ones made a big difference.

    Hesitant on an ECU as I really need to keep it quiet and am not sure if dumping too much fuel in there is a good idea if I intend to keep it "corked up". If anything I am considering an O2 sensor delete and possibly a piggy back fuel controller - mostly to help with flameouts and cool it down some.
    #31
  12. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    At 65 mph do you hear wind, exhaust or tire noise? With the tires I have on the front (GT 216AA) I hear tire noise over the other two noises at that speed.

    Does it run smooth without vibration at 65 mph? Wheels balanced?

    There were exhaust variations within the MY14-16 range. Friends 14 500 EXC was much quieter than my 14 FE501 since it was a non EPA bike. It runs fairly quiet until you get into the throttle but with easy dual sporting I'm satisfied with the low DB output. Also the aftermarket endcap with small downturned outlet isn't too bad either.

    Might consider increasing idle speed and keeping it stock for quiet if that will eliminate the flame outs.
    #32
  13. benzo

    benzo Been here awhile

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    If you are flaming out a 500 then maybe the bike is too much for you at this point? I'd be practicing slow riding around the backyard before you add extra shit or do anything to the engine.
    #33
  14. Cam

    Cam Long timer

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    Flexxbars will go a long way toward making the bike less vibby but this is a real thumper so the seat vibes are mostly here to stay. The CRF450L is more "refined" but the power delivery is up top which frankly is the wrong place for a light performance dual sport and the entire throttle is snatchy without some serious changes. Oddly if this bike has too much vibe the CRF300L might be a better choice. It will never be as light as it cousin and will never rival the power delivery but it is a pretty solid offering with power in the right spot. Once the suspension is sorted, throw on an Arrow exhaust and a lithium battery and the bike will be just under 300lbs wet I believe and for less money.
    #34
  15. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    It actually runs the smoothest at higher road speeds. It does not flame out so bad going slow "around the back yard", mostly when on the street when slowly downshifting to a stop or if I have it in gear with clutch pulled waiting to turn left somewhere - dies when I apply power. Increasing the idle speed helped.
    #35
  16. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    Yes, the CRF300L is my last resort. I had a 250 Rally with a CBR300R engine - loved that thing but was too heavy and gear ratios were all out of whack. Always thought that if they put that 286 engine in the CRF250L with better transmission ratios and a weight loss, it would be a good little dual sport with suspension work.
    #36
  17. schmik

    schmik Been here awhile

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    It’s the difference between dirt bikes and dual sports…. Vibes and comfort!

    drz400 will be more comfortable and doesn’t need a 6th gear as the OP doesn’t ride on the freeway. It’s old tech but still a better all rounder than an exc500. It’s not a great dirt bike but acceptable.

    The exc 500 is a far better dirt bike…. Far far far better. It is not a dual sport…. Comfort is not what it’s made for. As a dual sport it’s acceptable.

    KTM might be making a 390 based bike. Could be more what you are after. Much less vibes.
    #37
  18. Jim_SB

    Jim_SB Been here awhile

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    I always wear ear plugs when riding (street or dirt).

    For you the best option (giving your hearing issue) may be electric.

    The second best is going to be KTM (both light and relatively quiet, the newer bikes are quieter). I’ve had my 2021 a week; it’s quiet, light, maneuverable, etc., but I’ll still be wearing ear plugs when I ride. You may consider Honda, I did, but ultimately went with KTM because of the weight difference. Lighter is better.

    You may want to consider looking into some type of active noise canceling ear buds if you can find some that will fit into your helmet.

    FWIW I plan on leaving my KTM exhaust system stock. At 64 I know my hearing is perishable so I’m trying to do what I can to protect it. I even tried the custom made earplugs (waste of money IMHO).

    Good luck.
    #38
  19. Doc Sarvis

    Doc Sarvis Advent-ia before dementia Supporter

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    At the risk of starting a tire war...... I just took off my TKC's on my 701 and put on a set of Motoz Desert HT's. Amazing how much the new tires whine on the pavement. I am really hoping they quiet down as they wear a bit. The TKC's are pretty quiet and a very good dual sport tire. The other one that I have used that did well for dual sport was the Pirelli MT21. I prefer more dirt oriented tires on my 501 so I try to stay off the pavement as much as possible.
    #39
  20. radioflyer20

    radioflyer20 Adventurer

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    If the DRZ 400 was fuel injected and a little lighter I’d be all over it.

    I’d like to try a Zero FX but there are none around here. With all its limitations it would strictly be a fun / commuter - not practical at all for trips or anything more than a forest service two track.

    Have tried Bose noise cancelling earbuds - had horrible popping from wind noise. One time even tried an experiment fitting some Bose noise cancelling headphones into an old helmet and that still did not go well. 33dB foamies work best.

    Have heard some rumors of a 390 dual sport. If they put that motor with a wide ratio transmission in an EXCish frame, comfy seat, 3gal tank, and it weighs less than 290lbs - they’d sell a ton of them.

    Regarding the stock TKC80 tires - I too find them to be a good dual sport compromise. Quiet on pavement and ok off road but were obviously horrible in deep sand. Other than that, I’d probably choose them even if a bike did not come stock with them. Then swap to an MT21 or Shinko Fatty on the front if in sand.
    #40
    Doc Sarvis likes this.