Can't decide: 300EXC or 400 EXC or ???

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#1
I currently race a Honda CR250 in Hare Scrambles. I need some help deciding whether to purchase a new 300EXC or 400 EXC. I have always ridden 2 Strokes and I am confident when working on them. I am leaning towards the 400 EXC but I lack experience working on 4 Strokes. I was able to demo a 400EXC in the woods for a few hours and loved it. I had less time on the 300 was was also impressed. Can anyone provide info for or against either bike (not the Honda...)

Thanks for your advice!
 

weimedog

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#2
Gona race for a while? Go four stroke. Learn them and when the eco freaks kill the two strokes, you will have an edge.

Those 400 are awesome as well....a good enough reason all by it self.
 
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#4
Bulldog, I found myself in the same situation this winter. I had a YZ400 and debated and agonized over which bike to trade it for. I was torn between the 400 MXC, the 520MXC and the 300MXC. I have extensive experience on both two and four strokes, and I actually prefer four-strokes. I almost bought the 520 MXC, had the deal in hand but balked. After thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I went for the 300.

I had a couple of reasons for choosing the 300 over the thumpers. First off, I had a very difficult time justifying the price difference. My local dealer made me a very attractive offer on the 300, and I would've paid over a thousand dollars more for either thumper. For the money, I just didn't think the thumpers would have any advantage over the 300 and in some areas, the 300 is superior, partiucularly in regard to weight. While the KTM thumpers are very light for electric-start four-strokes, they're still heavy in comparison to the 300. In regards to power output, the 300 has more power than the 400 and won't give away anything to the 520 unless you're riding in really wide-open areas.

In addition to the financial side of things, I was a little uncomfortable with the maintenance of the thumpers. Like you, I am competent and confident when it comes to rebuilding two-stroke motors and maintaining them. I can do my own top-end jobs and etc. However, I'm not as confident working on the four-strokes and I didn't want to have to take the bike in to the dealer for valve adjustments and other maintenance. Another thing that spooked me on the orange thumpers was the oil filter situation. Obviously, with the low oil capacity, very frequent oil changes are required. I started adding up the cost of new filters and oil and it seemed to me that maintaining the thumpers would be an expensive proposition. Maintenance-wise, I thought the 300 would be easier and less expensive for me.

Ultimately, I bought the 300 and I'm not disappointed. It's a wonderful motorcycle, very versatile. It has enough low-end torque to grunt around on slow trails with my wife, yet all I have to do is screw the throttle on or stab at the clutch lever and it barks like a mad dog. The motor is really nice, like having two engines in one. The suspension is too soft for me, but that's really my only complaint so far and that's something that can be readily corrected. I'm really impressed with the motor. It's unlike any two-stroke I've owned, it behaves more like a "three-stroke." It's like a hybrid.

That said, you can't go wrong with either motorcycle. I've ridden the 300, 520 and 400 and I loved all of them. If money were no concern, I'd have all three in my garage! Whichever one you decide, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Good luck with the decision, it was a very tough one for me.
 
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#5
Thanks, Bob

I have been thinking of the two EXC's also, You have sold me on the 300

Can't seem to get rid of the VOR, I may turn her into a supermotard. and go harass the street riders.:p

Bill
 
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#6
Thanks

Whew! Thanks for the replies. Dollar wise the 300 makes since. Especially with the free set of tires right now. I was sold on the 4 Stroke but your fears are the same as mine for maintenance. I raced an XR before and it was bulletproof but the valve adjustments killed me. I guess I really need to sit back and think hard on your replies. I would appreciate any new thoughts also. Has anyone heard of anything new for 2002?

Since you guys live in Joliet you might want to visit my website. I grew up in West Chicago and raced all over the midwest. Lots of pictures form Byron, Red Bud, Lake Geneva, etc. Here is the link:

http://www.motocross.com/users/mxpastandpresent/mxpp.htm

Thanks again and please keep passing your advice!
 

Strick

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#7
Bob Brooks - that is the best response/bike recommendation I have ever read. I did not have time to add anything to my '300' post earlier, but there is nothing left for me to except. You can make it a 3 1/2 stroke with the Delta II reed cage, set on the low end setting.

My bike is almost 3 years old (when the '02's are released), and I will not get rid of it to get another. I wouldn't mind having a couple more like you mentioned, but no way a replacement.

The other great thing is, everyone that rides it likes it. So, it's not just me.:cool:

The maintenance issues on the 4-strokes are to be strongly considered. They take a lot of attention and money. The maintenance is very time consuming, when compared to the 300.

Thanks Bob, for reselling me on my bike!!
 

Magellan

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#8
I'm surprised at the concern over maintenance on a four stroke. Valve adjustments aren't typically that difficult and don't need to be done often. Other than that, what else is there that is different?

Mag
 
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#10
"You don't have a RFS either Strick!"

One valve adjustment in 6 months, same spark plug, oil and filters every 3 to 4 rides(which once you KNOW how, only takes 10 mins), no mixing fuels either, other than these, it's the same.

Benifits, longer engine life, longer fuel range, engine braking, reduced drive train wear, including clutch and electric BLOODY start!
 
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#11
KTM400EXC#232,

How long have you had your 400? Do you race or trail ride it most? If you have raced it how have you found the minimal weight differnce under muddy conditions? Have you gone to the stainless steel oil filters? What has your maintenance experience been on the 400? I have talked with other 400 owners and the only problem reported is a leaky water pump seal in 2 years. Any follow-up on your history on your 400 would be really helpful.

Thanks again to everyone that has responded to this topic! It is really helpful as I sway back and forth on the 2-Stroke/4-Stroke fence.
 

GWO

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#12
I owned both (a 00' 300exc and a '01 400exc) until a month ago. I just sold the 400. Why? Because I race tight woods and I'm faster on the 300. I could certainly feel the weight difference and I believe my riding style didn't agree with the four-stroke. If your riding style is like mine, you would certainly like the 300 better.

The 300 is easier to maintain than the 400 (this is a fact). But if I would have liked the 400 better, I would have done the maintenance.

I'm not sure that the 400 would have longer engine lifle. You don't spend the RPM's on a 300 like you do with other two-strokes.

GWO
 

Strick

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#13
Hey electric start, have you adjusted the valves yet? I know you say one valve adjustment in 6 months, but did YOU do it? The manual say 15 hrs for valve adjustments.

I am not slamming the 400, and I would love to own the 400SX.

No way can you convince me that the maintenance is lower on an RFS. So let's just agree to disagree.
 

weimedog

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#14
So which is really cheaper to maintain? A racing Four Stroke or a racing two stroke? Any one really keep track of cost? On a per ride basis it doesn't really change much so far with me.

So far what I have seen is:

with my 1998 Husky WR360 per LONG weekend ride:

10 gallons fuel + Bel Ray pre mix+ trans Oil + bit of filter oil.

Vs. my 2001 VOR

8 Gallons fuel + trans Oil + bit of filter oil

My four stroke gets better milage than my old Husky WR360 did. Its either that or I don't have to wail on it as much. Don't know which all I know is I am using less fue.

I have NO idea about long term wear and tear on clutches and chain, etc.

I DO know my four stroke is eating the rear tire alive. Does this indicate chains will die fast as well? But my Two stroke used to eat front tires fast....think this may be a wash.

I don't fan the clutch on the four stroke. Did on the two stroke but it never wore out in the two years I had it.

I freshened up the top end on the Husky..preventive..it didn't need it at all. Of course I didn't know that until it was all apart. Actually the only thing I had to replace more often than I expected was fork seals on the Husky. Every three month's they were beat.

So....has any one really done the math? So far its too close to call for me as I anticipate cheaper operating cost on the four stroke but that to be offset by higher replacement/rebuild costs when the time comes to do a crank or a top end.
 
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#15
Hi!!! Don't worry about valves adjustment...it's a 30 min job,real easy, i adjusted mine at 3hrs and checked them twice since (30 hrs )and didn't have to touch them again ...oil change takes 10 min
As to say wich one is fastest in tight woods (300 or 400 ) i believe it depends on condition ....As for the electric starter ....you stalled the engine on a tricky single track on the side of a hill,kickstarter is on the uphill side ...don't worry..push the small button and roost on !!! :D IMO Go RFS !!! :cool: