KTM vs. Jap bikes

Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
265
Likes
0
#1
I'm sure you've all heard this ? before, but I was thinking of swapping my KLX300 for a 400cc thumper and the KTM E/XC is on the list. My question is what makes the KTM a better bike? I've noticed that the parts are of a higher quality, such as the bars, hydraulic clutch, etc. But is the price of the KTM 400 compared to, say, a WR worth it?

I've never had a KTM, and have never been riding with anyone that has a KTM so I'm not familiar with the brand at all. Any reliability issues (like a Husaberg)? Is the linkless rear suspension tough to get used to?

One last question...I'm a bit confused between the E/XC & M/XC models. Everything is the same on the KTM spec sheets except the Close Ratio/Wide Ratio gear boxes, and the size of the fuel tank. Wondering why the enduro model would have a smaller tank...mabey due to the various gas stops/availables? I trail ride mostly and my KLX (stock) get's almost 100 miles to a tank. The E/XC model is 1.3 gallons less than the M/XC model. Going far without having to trek it back to the truck for gas is important to me.

Anyways, I ride mostly trails with an occasional enduro, which model E or M is best suited for that type of riding?

Sorry, I'm a rookie

matt in Clovis
 

firecracker22

Sponsoring Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2000
Messages
3,217
Likes
0
#2
Well, the EXC has softer suspension and a heavier flywheel. I haven’t ridden the 4-strokes so I’m not an expert there. But as far as the orange bikes go, I am very very impressed with mine.

They use high-quality parts everywhere, the kind of thing you spend lots of money on if you were to buy a Jap bike and equivalent upgrades. Things like competition-quality chain and sprockets, wheels, brakes, handlebars, and suspension make the KTM really stand out. The stock WP suspension is great, especially for me and my low skill level—all I need to do is set the sag and play with the clickers and I’ll be good to go! Those handlebars are impressive—I launched mine into more than one tree at high rates of speed at my last hare scramble and they didn’t bend at all! You’ll find aluminum parts everywhere. The swingarm is polished and looks great. The seat covers are heavy duty and have gripper material on the top. The stock bar mounts are 4-position adjustable. The hydraulic clutch, of course, is very nice. The plastic is cool-looking too and it comes with a front fender brace.

The linkless rear suspension doesn’t bother me a bit. I had an XR200 before though so I don’t have a very wide range of experience to draw from. The KTM will really astonish you if you’ve been riding a KLX. The problem with Jap trail machines—KLXs and KDXs and XRs and so on—is that, until recently with the new DRs and WRs, they just don’t get the latest greatest goodies and upgrades every year like the motocross models do. So most trail machines are technologically years behind. Not the KTM. It will be much, much more powerful and responsive than what you’re used to.

Sounds like you’d be happiest with the EXC. Just my opinion—I love mine! I’m a two-stroke gal now, however. The price is pretty prohibitive but it’s worth it IMO, especially since you wouldn’t sell it and buy a new one every year.
 

KaTooMer

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 28, 1999
Messages
435
Likes
0
#3
After owning several Japanese bikes and switching to KTM, I would say the main difference is that the Japanese are all about refinement and the KTM's are all about cutting edge technology. For you ag guys out there, it's like the difference between John Deere and Case-IH. The last major technological breakthrough that John Deere introduced was the mold-board plow, but their products are solid as the steel they're made from. International came out with the rotary combine in the '80's (which John Deere copied), had financial problems, got bought by Case, who came up with a bitchin' power-shift transmission in the early '90's (which John Deere copied). But International and Case-IH have been bought and sold a bunch of times, unlike John Deere.

O.K., back to dirt bikes. KTM loves new technology. Upside-down forks, linkage-less shocks, hydraulic clutch, goofy looking brake rotors. It's cool stuff but in some cases can be higher maintenance. A perfect example is the linkage-less PDS shock. On the surface it would appear to be the better alternative because you don't havelinkage to grease. But the heim bearing that partly makes the linkage-less design possible is ridiculously wrong for this application. It wears out in less than a year if you don't wrap something around the lower shock pivot to keep the crap out of the bearing. Even then, I feel lucky to get a year and a half of use before having to spend $75 to replace it. I'm betting that you won't see this design on a Japanese bike for a long time, until one of them finds a different kind of bearing to use. Plus, the PDS shock has not always received stellar reviews (although I like mine just fine). The hydraulic clutch, though...why those haven't shown up on Japanese bikes is a mystery, other than they pull harder than they should.

My point is, KTM and some of the others (TM, Gas Gas, etc.) aren't afraid to go cutting edge. After all, when you're a drawf among giants, you gotta be proactive. The downside is that sometimes all the bugs haven't been worked out before the new technology is introduced. The Japanese absolutely refuse to take that risk, and maybe Cannondale becomes the cautionary tale of proactivity. However, I was very impressed with Yamaha for its 4-stroke development. That surprised me in a big way, and I wish they'd keep it up.
 

380EXCman

Sponsoring Member
Joined
Sep 15, 1999
Messages
721
Likes
0
#4
Yeah right kali.

Kinda like the Porche is really a Volkswagon. KTM bought Husaberg so they would have some R&D sluts.

You are not too far off the mark though. KTM's are Husaberg's with 3 years worth of refinement and testing. Husaberg's are the Beta version of a KTM.
 

Patman

Pantless Wonder
Joined
Dec 26, 1999
Messages
19,774
Likes
0
#5
My question is what makes the KTM a better bike?
The fact that you'll get to hang out here with all the kewl kids ;)


Oh, BTW, a 1999+ KTM Thumper is a Husaberg
Not exactly, the KTM's seem to actually run.:p
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2000
Messages
36
Likes
0
#6
I have a 01 400 exc and a buddy has a 01 400 mxc,they have the same suspension and flywheel weight. the mxc has a close ratio tranny and it is hard to gear it down far enough for really tight woods riding, if you are a very fast tight woods rider it wont be a problem. the mxc tank holds around 3.7 gallons and the exc only holds 2.4 or 2.5,the mxc tank is pretty narrow at the back so it is not too bad, I prefer the exc tank because I move pretty far up sometimes. the mxc doesnt have lights or odometer. Both are great for anyone from shane watts to a beginner and are fun to plonk on or race.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2001
Messages
254
Likes
0
#7
Firstly, I would say that as far as cost goes, you have it backwards. I've owned/raced both Jap and Euro bikes over the years (Suz, Kaw, Yam, Hon, TM, GasGas, KTM, Husky, and Husaberg). The Euro bikes (such as KTM, etc.) are cheaper than the Jap equivalent. The Jap bikes should (need to?) be modified to be equal to the Euro steeds. It is easy to drop $600 in add-on's and conversion parts to a Jap bike. For the most part, with a Euro bike you just set sag, add fuel, go ride. I can tell you that my TM is the most durable and easiest to maintain bike yet (low maintenance requirements = low cost). On the flip side, a detailed Honda CR or WRF is as good as anything out there.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2001
Messages
367
Likes
0
#8
The main fundamental difference that I see between KTM and the Jap bikes is that KTM builds serious off-road motorcycles that can be raced competitively in off-road type races right out of the crate. The Japanese have a tendency to build two kinds of dirt bikes: full-on motocross race bikes and trail/playbikes. You can take a Japanese playbike and race it, but that requires of a lot of hop-up parts and money. The same goes for the motocrossers. A CR250 or any other late-model Jap motocrosser is very competitive at a local motocross, but in order to be really serious in the off-road world, the bikes typically require modifications such as the flywheel weight and suspension revalving. With KTM"s MXC and EXC product line, they've already done all that preparation for you. The bike comes out of the crate with contemporary off-road tuned suspension, smooth off-road style power, and nimble handling and ergonomics. And of course, that's without factoring in the higher quality handlebars, chain, hydraulic clutch and other components.

For me, the decision was an easy one. I chose KTM because frankly, the Japanese don't sell a serious off-the-shelf off-road motorcycle with the exception of the new Yamaha WR series. I didn't want another motocrosser, and I didn't want a trail bike. I wanted a motorcycle that I could use for hare scrambles, GNCC's, trail riding and some motocross racing. KTM seemed the way to go for me and I haven't been disappointed.

After stepping off your KLX, I guarantee you will be suitably impressed with the 400 Katoom. In regards to the MXC vs. EXC comparison, there's not much difference. The suspension is exactly the same. There is a common misconception that the MXC has stiffer suspension. It doesn't. The only difference is that the EXC has the wider ratio transmission and lights. On the thumper models, the EXC also has the smaller fuel tank. On the 400, that probably isn't such a big issue. However, I have a riding pal who rides a 520 EXC and his fuel range isn't very impressive. For the 520 version, I would recommend the bigger tank. The 400 doesn't seem to suck as much fuel though and you may be fine with the EXC tank.

Good luck with your purchase, whichever way you go.
 
Joined
May 4, 2001
Messages
44
Likes
0
#9
The KLX300 is a very solid, well made bike. The problem is that it's not finished. I think the factory carb is the same one they put on the KLR250. They should just sell the bike without the carb, and let you buy seperately the carb kit and the little chunk of tin-foil to put under the gas tank to make it fit.

I was looking at getting a KLX300, but the store owner even told me "well, they're good for the woods" - as in - underpowered so you don't hit a tree.

The KTM is a rocket from the factory. But, if the Kaw is still in good shape, you may want to look into the mods.
 

ktmboy

Subscriber
Joined
Apr 1, 2001
Messages
2,474
Likes
0
#10
KTMs' are green sticker up to '97, and there are a few newer ones that snuck by because of their odd vin # system.:)
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
265
Likes
0
#11
Now I'm totally bummed out...no green stickers for KTM 4 strokes? Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does. I thought the whole green sticker thing was aimed at 2 strokes. Just goes to show you can't give em' an inch, they'll take a foot.

Okay, so I was thinking...I could keep the KLX & juice it for the green sticker for a future KTM, or buy out of state & get an out of state green sticker? Hummmm?????:think

I try to be the best productive citizen I can, but California is going off the deep end. Not issuing green stickers to certain bikes is just the beginning. Just like the gun grabbers it's a stepping stone to complete banning...still working on the wife about why we should move to another state.

matt in Clovis
 

ktmboy

Subscriber
Joined
Apr 1, 2001
Messages
2,474
Likes
0
#12
There was an earlier thread (a few weeks ago) about green stickers that you may want to check out, as it had some good ideas about getting around the red sticker. Another thing you could consider is a dual-sport kit that would make the bike barely street legal-the only things it would need then are a spark arrestor and an adventure pass sticker. I believe they run about $30.00 a year.
 

Jaybird

Apprentice Goon
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
6,452
Likes
0
Location
Charlestown, IN
#13
KTM vs Jap??
No question that orange is far better looking than green, blue, red, or yellow!

No personal offence, and at the risk of being hard flamed....let me say that California pukes me!
Maybe all the good folk will come to thier senses and move, that would leave lots of room for environmentalist whackos to move in. One big parade! Electric cars and Grey Davis leading the pack! oppsss...no electricity.
 

380EXCman

Sponsoring Member
Joined
Sep 15, 1999
Messages
721
Likes
0
#14
Are you crazy......

Jaybird you need to come to your senses. We don't want any of those Californians to move! Just stay right where you are.... And uh yes the rest of the country is as screwed up as you....Really..... Trust me.......