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Big Bore KTM, WR4fitty or GasGas4fitty?

HomeMadeSin

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#1
I want a barely (and technically not) street legal dirtbike in a bad way.  I had grand visions of streeting my CR500, but I just can't bring myself to drop $1k on the stuff to get it there.  So, if I'm buying new, it will be (1) 4stroke, (2) e-start and (3) reliable.  This will be about 1% street, 79% trail and 20% track.

I am a Honda guy to the bone, but since they seem to be 5 years behind, the Yamaha WR450 looks like a likely winner, but I've heard about issue on the taper fit/woodruff key affecting reliability.

The KTM's seem to have all the specs for big bore thumpers, but they don't seem as bullet-proof as the Jap bikes.  Plus, with that kinda coin, I could...

get the GasGas 450 with fuel injection.  I would like to go from 6,000 feet 80F to 12,000 feet 50F without dicking with jets.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
 

fatty_k

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#2
I do know of, and have seen many woodruff key failures on the 03 WR450's when I worked at a Yamaha shop. I would imagine that Yamaha fixed this problem for 04, because it was such an issue.
 
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#3
I ride with a bunch on Hondas (Cr500, CR250, XR400 and CR250's) and my KTM is the only one that has never stranded a rider. Most bikes these days are pretty solid; I think everyone ASSUMES a KTM is exotic, therefore not reliable.

Ride the bikes and see which you prefer, the WR450 and the 450EXC both very good bikes, but very different. Most riders will think one or the other is GREAT and the other is 'good': find out which is great for you. If you are looking for an alternative to the CR500 though, I'd look at the 525EXC. They aren't cheap, but look at the stock high-end components (bars, pegs, hydraulic clutch, 6-speed etc.) and you'll probably understand why.

Happy shopping!
 
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#4
IMO the WR would probably be more apt to have more of an abundance of aftermarket modifications to suit your needs. More so than the KTM or GasGas.
 

DougRoost

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#5
Originally posted by pyrofreak
IMO the WR would probably be more apt to have more of an abundance of aftermarket modifications to suit your needs. More so than the KTM or GasGas.
...and need those aftermarket mods.  A KTM 450 or 525 E/XC won't need them as they come stock with all the good stuff.  The initial price is a little more but they're actually a value once you modify a Japanese bike.  Hydraulic clutch is a really nice thing and would be even nicer on a dual sport bike. 
 
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#6
I'm a CO. rider also. I would say that the Gas Gas would have a huge motor advantage, theoretically, due to the fuel/air optimization across altitude changes. Jetting is my biggest gripe about riding in Colorado. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to ride a Gas Gas so I don’t know how well it really works. Maybe ThumperTalk might have somebody that has ridden one in CO. Finding one to purchase might be difficult.
 
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#7
Smackover motorsports could get you on a gas gas 450. you would need to talk to jim about their streetability though. they offer a super motard so my guess is it would be a good bike. I ride a gas gas and like it a lot. as for the wr450, I thought it would be the bike built for me yet after my 1st 5 min. I wouldn't have it. a super slug if its anything near tight, and please don't get aggressive b/c it aint quick. only a good motor when its allready runing. hard to start electric start. definitely not cuting edge like gas gas or ktm. If you like quality you will feel the same. the wr is mass produced, the ktm is made for the masses and the gas gas is made for the gassers. my problem would be deciding between the 525exc and the gasgas450.
oh yeah when the ktm 4st came out the said not to dual sports them bc 5th and 6th gears are made of plastic adn cannot stand the force of the asphalt.(dirt gives)
happy shopping. I would steer clear of japan.
remember me you will be thanking me later.
 

HomeMadeSin

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#8
Nordegg: I don't doubt you, but the Hondas don't have a killer rep for durability for no reason.  I'd take my 500 anywhere.  In fact, if I was stuck in the middle of the desert w/o food and water and had a choice of bikes, I'd take a XR any size over anything else.  Having said that, they simply have a fairly limited range of products, IMHO.  They don't innovate as much as they perfect.

flying W: I'm with you on the jetting issues.  I really can't understand why FI hasn't caught on more.  Cannondale may have failed, but I feel their ideas bitch-slapped the big boys.  And no, I wouldn't put FI on a mx/sx bike, but it damn sure belongs on cross country and some enduro models.

I guess I'm leaning towards the GasGas.  It has the FI, a Yamaha motor (I think), electric start, etc.  It just pisses me off how slow some companies seem to evolve (H, Y, K, S).  I'd better stop before this gets to flame status......
 

CR Swade

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#9
After owning both the 525EXC and the WR450...well how do I pu this diplomatically? THE WR IS THE WORST BIKE I HAVE EVER OWNED!! The engine feels very heavy, very four-srtokey w/ a ton of compression braking...although it does make mucho power. They do start extremely hard off of the electric start, although they boot very easy. The handling is ok, but it feels very heavy on the trail if it gets tight-an XR 400 would run circles around this barge. Wide open spaces and rough fast sections are the only place this bike seems to want to work at all, but the KTM will already have done that section, got you back in the woods with a smile on your face. The WR just feels like a dinosaur of a bike...wide, heavy, hard clutch pull, ponderous feel in the woods it was designed for. Conversely the KTM feels light, modern, revvy, starts easy, clutch is light and consistent and most everything on the bike is suited well for off road work (plus you won't find better off-road suspension)

As far as the durability issues w/ the KTM, I honestly believe KTM wanted to keep the marketing intact for the other D/S and moto-oriented street bikes. We have quite a few riders here in hte KC area that D/S their KTM RFS w/ no problems at all.

Going back to Orange this weekend, steer clear of the WR...serious it's that bad
 
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#10
HomeMade,

Don't get the idea I was dumping on Honda, as I said ALL the companies make good bikes. My previous bike was an XR250, and I liked it. Honda XRs do seem to survive for longer on zero mainainance, but that wasn't a bike you were considering.

I like the idea of fuel injection, depending on the on-board sensors. Does the Gas-Gas have a sensor for air pressure, and a mass airflow sensor? If it does that would be great for you, if it doesn't then you'll still have to program it for altitude (like a re-jet). I expect we'll see full feedback system on all the bikes in the next five years or so, and we'll learn to love them.

Good luck
 

HomeMadeSin

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#11
Thanks for the input.  The price tag and parts / hop-up add-ons for the Wr sound good, but I like the top end stuff on the KTM (I am a little worried about a stone hard seat).  I have ridden a '03 YZ450F, and it rocks (power-wise).  I just thought the Wr would be similar to that, which I could deal with.  I'm my 96 500 would feel like a lard-a$$ to some of you, although at a listed 229 lbs - she ain't heavy.

Nordegg: I wasn't thinking you were bashing on Honda per se, and your point is valid ( I'm not looking for a timid bike like the XR).  However, when I see the specs on the 625 listed on the KTM web-site showing a feeble sounding 24kW of power (33.5HP), the XR doesn't seem all that bad.  Plus, at close to 300 lbs - she needs a diet.  For example, the Husaberg 650 is about 240 lbs.

As usual, I'm probably looking for a perfect bike that doesn't exist.  Something like a "CRF650X" or the Husaberg with more KTM durability in it.  I don't want to chunk major bones to "beta test a Husaburg" as the .org site says, especially in the middle of the Rocky mountains.