Dirt/dual-sport/enduro motorcycle question

Skunk

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All,

I'm interested in getting a bike to ride. Used to do a lot of road racing on Ducati's but I'm not in SoCal near a bunch of racetracks anymore. I have access to a lot of ranch land and am within a day's ride of Big Bend Nat'l Park.

I'd like a bike that's road legal, off-road capable, reliable, and not too heavy to have some fun with. Kinda like what I see and hear about the Honda XR650 line, but don't have any actual experience with it.

Use would be mostly stomping around the ranch and going for weekend adventures in the Nat'l Park. May commute some, but primarily dirt riding.

What do you recommend?
 

Fig

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Does KTM even make a street legal version?
I’ve been riding street and dirt my whole life. My buddy has an XR650 (does not have signals, mirrors, street legal pkg) and it is the baddest motherfucker I’ve ever ridden. Fuck loads of power, and a powerband as wide as the Mississippi. You will not be disappointed.

I have an old XR250 set up as enduro and street legal, and it’s a fun little bike to putt around on, but nothing like the 650. It’s a beast.
 
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mrtoyz

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All,

I'm interested in getting a bike to ride. Used to do a lot of road racing on Ducati's but I'm not in SoCal near a bunch of racetracks anymore. I have access to a lot of ranch land and am within a day's ride of Big Bend Nat'l Park.

I'd like a bike that's road legal, off-road capable, reliable, and not too heavy to have some fun with. Kinda like what I see and hear about the Honda XR650 line, but don't have any actual experience with it.

Use would be mostly stomping around the ranch and going for weekend adventures in the Nat'l Park. May commute some, but primarily dirt riding.

What do you recommend?
I’d tell you the XR650 is a big heavy bike. I’d say that if you were riding more road than dirt it “could” an option. In your situation I’s say look at KTM or Yamaha WR.
Differences:
KTM’s are more expensive
KTM’s come with a wiring harness for signals (Can fairly easily be added to a Yamaha)
KTM’s have a lighter feeling front end (can feel skidish if suspension isn’t perfect)
KTM suspension can be good but needs to be fine tuned to be good (can be difficult)
KTM will be lighter
Yamaha is a more stable ride (less rider input to stay in a straight line in rough terrain)
Yamaha suspension works well for a wider variety of riders
Yamaha suspension is easier to dial in

Ride them if you can. Good luck and have fun!
 

mrtoyz

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Does KTM even make a street legal version?
I’ve been riding street and dirt my whole life. My buddy has an XR650 (does not have signals, mirrors, street legal pkg) and it is the baddest motherfucker I’ve ever ridden. Fuck loads of power, and a powerband as wide as the Mississippi. You will not be disappointed.

I have an old XR250 set up as enduro and street legal, and it’s a fun little bike to putt around on, but nothing like the 650. It’s a beast.
KTM does make a street legal version, the EXC. I’d say get an Offroad version and make it street legal if you can.
 
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Expert684

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My son just bought a Honda CRF450l, put a Yoshimura exhaust, going to put the CRF450X rear fender kit, different programer and thermostat delete kit. Knocks off like 21 lbs from the bike. He rides it to work, then we’ll swap rims and tires and ride single track.
Oh the KTMs are great!! Can’t go wrong with them!
We are just in a Honda mode, but I’m thinking KTM 300, but for woods only.
Good luck!!
 

mrtoyz

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It is a super heavy bike, but the power... ive never ridden it hard road, but I’ll bet it’s super stable.
The power from a KTM 450 or WR450 is even more aggressive than the XR650.
You can even tune bikes for more or less power with your cell phone these days. Pretty slick.
 
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Skunk

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I'd hoped the XR650 wasn't real heavy, being that it's air-cooled...

Are the water-cooled bikes well suited for low speed riding? Do they have fans or do they rely on ram air to cool?
 

Jefe's Dope

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Does KTM even make a street legal version?
I’ve been riding street and dirt my whole life. My buddy has an XR650 (does not have signals, mirrors, street legal pkg) and it is the baddest motherfucker I’ve ever ridden. Fuck loads of power, and a powerband as wide as the Mississippi. You will not be disappointed.

I have an old XR250 set up as enduro and street legal, and it’s a fun little bike to putt around on, but nothing like the 650. It’s a beast.
The one I linked is.



pho_bike_90_re.png
 
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Jefe's Dope

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I'd hoped the XR650 wasn't real heavy, being that it's air-cooled...

Are the water-cooled bikes well suited for low speed riding? Do they have fans or do they rely on ram air to cool?
You can get fan kits for them. They run fine. Single track can be slow and hard with little airflow.
 

corey4

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Depends on what you want to do. Within the last year or so, it usually come down to the the ktm500 or the Honda 450L. To make it short and sweet, the ktm exc500 is a better dirt bike that is capable of going on the street. The 450L is a better street bike that is capable of going in the dirt. If you need a ripper in the woods get the ktm. If you need better road manners, get the 450L.
 

mrtoyz

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I'd hoped the XR650 wasn't real heavy, being that it's air-cooled...

Are the water-cooled bikes well suited for low speed riding? Do they have fans or do they rely on ram air to cool?
All performance bikes these days are water cooled. They are definitely capable of slow riding with fans. Nothing wrong with air cooled bikes at all. Just old tech.
 

mrtoyz

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As I said before ride them before you buy. It’ll save you money. You might find out you only need a 250, or something less than a 450, to do what you want. Seriously
 
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Skunk

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I'll try to throw a leg over a couple of things.

I rode big v-twins on the road course and am used to a wide torque curve, and prefer it. That's the only reason I'm kinda shying away from 250cc and leaning toward a bigger engine. I don't want something I have to spin hard to get power out of. But, I admit, I'm not a dirt bike guy and really don't know shit about their power delivery, etc. I also don't want to get something I'll "outgrow" in a year...
 

mrtoyz

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I'll try to throw a leg over a couple of things.

I rode big v-twins on the road course and am used to a wide torque curve, and prefer it. That's the only reason I'm kinda shying away from 250cc and leaning toward a bigger engine. I don't want something I have to spin hard to get power out of. But, I admit, I'm not a dirt bike guy and really don't know shit about their power delivery, etc. I also don't want to get something I'll "outgrow" in a year...
I hear you Ive done the twin thing a bit :) The “right now” torque you seek is a 4 stroke liquid cooled machine.
I say ride the 250’s and the 450’s just so you are educated. I suspect a 250 will surprise you, but do ride them all if you can. KTM even throws in a 350 that’s got great power.
If you'll be riding wide open terrain the 350/450 starts to make more sense. If it’s tight do not over look a 250.
Coming off a Duc I suspect the cult like culture and factory accessory support of KTM will feel right.
Yamaha WR’s are truly amazing tho...
 

gigamortis

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I was once a big 4 stroke fan for off road. Then when the horsepower wars heated up in the 450 class mills, constant valve clearance adjustments due to titanium intake valves ruined the just ride it and change oil aura of older 4 strokes. I switched over to a KTM 300 EXC for my first 2 stroke and haven't looked back. They are very tuneable for the style riding that you want to do. You can change the power valve opening rpm and rate of power valve opening once it opens. I put a Lectron carburetor on mine and gas mileage improved by 50% along with hardly any spooge from the exhaust pipe. Between the Lectron carb and an FMF Gnarly pipe for low end grunt, I'll never go back to a 4 stroke. The power off the bottom is more tame than a 4 stroke 450, but once up on the pipe you can run beside a 500 4 stroke no problem. The onset of getting up on the pipe with my combo is completely controllable. The light, lively handling makes the 300 feel 50lbs lighter than the 450 I had before it.
 

Bender

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The 300 exc is probably the best do all bike ever.

I had an XR650R that was a tractor! Had the power up kit and cams! It would out climb the 450s up the dunes! It topped out at 90 with stock gearing and would do 120 with a small sprocket on the rear!
 

Supersubes

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Such an easy choice. KTM. They only make the EXC (road legal)in a 500 and 350 In the US. I’d lean towards the 350 personally, but I prefer to ride in tight stuff. Both are powerful, but kind of mellow in street tune. You can pep them up easy enough as the want/need arises. An XR650 feels like a John Deere compared just about any KTM imo. There‘s absolutely no comparison in chassis or motor.

Two stokes are my fave though.
3F8AE2E7-4E78-4B29-A3F0-3BE2EE836C6D.jpeg
 

mrtoyz

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I was once a big 4 stroke fan for off road. Then when the horsepower wars heated up in the 450 class mills, constant valve clearance adjustments due to titanium intake valves ruined the just ride it and change oil aura of older 4 strokes. I switched over to a KTM 300 EXC for my first 2 stroke and haven't looked back. They are very tuneable for the style riding that you want to do. You can change the power valve opening rpm and rate of power valve opening once it opens. I put a Lectron carburetor on mine and gas mileage improved by 50% along with hardly any spooge from the exhaust pipe. Between the Lectron carb and an FMF Gnarly pipe for low end grunt, I'll never go back to a 4 stroke. The power off the bottom is more tame than a 4 stroke 450, but once up on the pipe you can run beside a 500 4 stroke no problem. The onset of getting up on the pipe with my combo is completely controllable. The light, lively handling makes the 300 feel 50lbs lighter than the 450 I had before it.
I’m guessin your 4stroke woes were Honda or Suzuki :cautious:
 

UpSideDown

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I have a YZ-450, and I rode the Continental Divide on a KTM 950 Adventure.

I've come to the conclusion that dual-sports suck at dual sporting and adventure bikes suck at adventuring.

Dual-sports are painful on the highway. Great on trails, but hampered by whatever gear you put on them. Dirt bikes are best enjoyed as dirt bikes.

Adventure bikes are heavy as shit. To make them acceptable in the dirt you usually need to put tires on them that suck on the highway. After the third time picking a 600-800 pound bike off your leg on a trail it gets old really fast.

If I was going to get a street legal bike again I would get a KTM. Either a 450 or 500.

If I was getting a trail bike I would get a KTM 300.

If I was getting a desert whoops bike I would get a YZ450.

KTM's are no joke to work on. Holy shit that 950 was a lot of work. I'm glad the dirtbikes have an amazing reputation.
 

DAMNKID

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If your looking for a dual sport that you can travel awhile in between trails get a ktm 500. Put a fan kit on and get the suspension worked for your weight,size and the style/type terrain you will ride the most
 

bigwatchpilot

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The good news...you have lots of options. Most of my friends fall into the KTM/Orange Fan-Boy spectrum. The bikes being made now are so over the top performance wise...pick a color and you will be smiling. I have ridden street, dual-sport, and off road. 46 and teaching my kids. I still have a BMW but it will go this year. We are all on Honda's (2020/2019) at the moment and I love EFI.

Typical stuff:
Budget
New/Used
Top speed
Riding style
Length of rides
Weight vs Power
Solo or with friends
Wrenching skill 1-10

Answer these and the right bike will stand out. ANYONE that says just buy a KTM...there the best, bla, bla, bla are the same guys that will stand around a gun shop telling guys; just buy a Glock man, buy a Glock there the best, bla, bla, bla.

Several guys I know have bought KTM and it scared the shit out of them and it was to much bike. When you narrow down the class of bike...there are great youtube comparisons with very experienced riders. I also read up on ADVrider and see who is in the area and what they are riding.

KTM-Husky-Husaberg
Honda
BMW
Yamaha
Kawasaki

Lots of options...keep us posted
 
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BufordTJustice

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Not sure this is relevant to the discussion but I was just in a similar situation looking for a bike to ride with my kids. My primary riding is on the ranch, mostly open with some technical stuff. I didn't care for the dual sport bikes I sat on at the dealers, they seemed heavy. Admittedly I didn't ride any. I originally was looking for a 250. I liked the Husky 300 te 2-stroke, the ktm 250 xcf, & the Yamaha 250 yz xf. The latter being 4-strokes. I wanted a 4-stroke because I bought my kids 4-strokes. My older boy a Yamaha ttr230, ttr 125's for the girls & a ttr110 for my youngest son. All the bikes had pluses/minuses. The ktm' was light, well balanced, great power and overall felt great with the best resale. I liked the dealer too. Came with a higher price. Loved the 300te as well. The Yamaha yz250 fx was allittle heavier, didn't feel as heavy when I rode it though. Felt wider than the ktm. Power was awesome. Loved the gearing and suspension. Ultimately i felt I'd need/want a radiator fan on the ktm to prevent or limit overheating at slow speeds. I like to ride with my younger 2, so that was a concern. In the end I stumbled on a Yamaha yz450 fx with less than 1 hr for sale near me for a CRAZY good price. I just couldn't pass up! A man bought it & it was just too much bike for him. It's a 2018 so pre-mapping control & the updates that came in 2019. I LOVE the bike! The engine braking takes alittle getting used to at slow speed. The power is great down low to mid range & it's really fast. Good for the technical stuff, a little heavier than ideal, suspension is awesome. Perfect for the open stuff, whoops, jumps, dirt track stuff. I'm getting used to it on the real slow, obstacle laden trails. Haven't had any overheating issues because of the larger rad. . Almost too much, if the majority of riding would be slow technical stuff. NO need for a 450, but it is FUN! Don't think you'll be disappointed with any of the above! Happy riding!
 

10ring'r

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I loved my Honda(s), a '89 XR600, that I made street legal and a '94 XR650L. They both were pigs, but I put a lot of miles on both of them. Can't really find a more reliable, dependable, bike. I almost bet, with the newer, lighter, 4-strokes, on the market today, you should not have any issue, finding one that will fit your needs and price range.
The aftermarket will have anything you would need to kit that bike out, to enable it to do what you wanted to do with it. Sounds like you have experience in the biking world, so I think you have good knowledge, to begin with. Good luck with your choice!
Mac(y)
 

bab029

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May commute some, but primarily dirt riding.

What do you recommend?
You didn't specify new/used, but sounds like you want a lighter-weight bike. The new Honda CRF-450L is supposed to be the tits for a street legal dirt bike, and it's Japanese.

The KTM 500 has a strong following.
Beta and Husky have cool stuff available in the US.

THe XR650L isn't much of a Dirt bike. I've had one, and it's a fantastic all around bike. You can certainly get it done off road, and ride back home. Just doesn't sound like what you want.

I have an XR650R with a plate now. It's a whole different story than the XR650L. Good suspension, insane animal power. Last of it's kind analog-carburetor power delivery. I had to add a 12v system myself for lights and such, and it's a kick-start only, but it's a hell of a bike. Can't see selling it, especially now that I picked up a vespa dirt cheap to run around town on. The XRR literally eats rear tires like it was made to do it.

But the wheelies are worth it.


TL;DR:

Honda CRF 450L if you have the money.


ETA: Gratuitous photo of the Big Red Pig, just cause.
 

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Skunk

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I hadn't really considered new/used yet... Was more focused on identifying the right bike. I guess I would probably prefer used. After all, this is just a weekend toy and I have enough expensive hobbies already. Don't we all!

I watched that video review and like a lot of what he said about the XR650L with the exception of a few things.

It's heavy: But, the terrain I'll be riding on looks a lot like the pictures from DirtyD. Pretty open, not many real "trees" and not a ton of elevation. So, maybe not a huge detractor.
It's tall: The guy in the vid said he was 5' 10" and he wouldn't recommend the bike to anyone smaller than he. I'm 5'7" and while I look stunning in ass-less chaps I don't want to wrestle with bike that's just too damn big for me.
The front end is "flimsy?": I forget his exact verbiage, but he thought the fork on his bike was a little lacking and didn't provide very much feedback. I don't know if this is exactly applicable to dirt riding, but as a road-racer, I had a tendency to ride the front tire of the bike, so good front-end feel is something I value. Not having any real dirt experience, I'm not sure whether or not this would be an issue for me, but I thought it was an interesting observation he felt he needed to address.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. It helps. I wish there was more used stuff for sale out there. Craigslist doesn't have much to consider... But there are two XR650L's not too far off....
 
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mrtoyz

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I hadn't really considered new/used yet... Was more focused on identifying the right bike. I guess I would probably prefer used. After all, this is just a weekend toy and I have enough expensive hobbies already. Don't we all!

I watched that video review and like a lot of what he said about the XR650L with the exception of a few things.

It's heavy: But, the terrain I'll be riding on looks a lot like the pictures from DirtyD. Pretty open, not many real "trees" and not a ton of elevation. So, maybe not a huge detractor.
It's tall: The guy in the vid said he was 5' 10" and he wouldn't recommend the bike to anyone smaller than he. I'm 5'7" and while I look stunning in ass-less chaps I don't want to wrestle with bike that's just too damn big for me.
The front end is "flimsy?": I forget his exact verbiage, but he thought the fork on his bike was a little lacking and didn't provide very much feedback. I don't know if this is exactly applicable to dirt riding, but as a road-racer, I had a tendency to ride the front tire of the bike, so good front-end feel is something I value. Not having any real dirt experience, I'm not sure whether or not this would be an issue for me, but I thought it was an interesting observation he felt he needed to address.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. It helps. I wish there was more used stuff for sale out there. Craigslist doesn't have much to consider... But there are two XR650L's not too far off....
The 650L in the review had “conventional” forks. The new liquid cooled bikes have upside down forks similar in concept to your Ducati forks. Much much better design. It’s important.
As with a properly set up street bike, suspension off road is essential. IMO it’s the most important part to get right. Whatever you get make sure to have the proper springs for your weight put it. Play it with for awhile and if its not dialed in perfectly, have a revalve done. Worth every penny.
Don’t shy away from the tall bikes. All suspension can be lowered without any issues. For example my wife who’s 5’4” rides a full size 250. I lowered the suspension and got a lower seat. She rides it like a champ!
 

Supersubes

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The good news...you have lots of options. Most of my friends fall into the KTM/Orange Fan-Boy spectrum. The bikes being made now are so over the top performance wise...pick a color and you will be smiling. I have ridden street, dual-sport, and off road. 46 and teaching my kids. I still have a BMW but it will go this year. We are all on Honda's (2020/2019) at the moment and I love EFI.

Typical stuff:
Budget
New/Used
Top speed
Riding style
Length of rides
Weight vs Power
Solo or with friends
Wrenching skill 1-10

Answer these and the right bike will stand out. ANYONE that says just buy a KTM...there the best, bla, bla, bla are the same guys that will stand around a gun shop telling guys; just buy a Glock man, buy a Glock there the best, bla, bla, bla.

Several guys I know have bought KTM and it scared the shit out of them and it was to much bike. When you narrow down the class of bike...there are great youtube comparisons with very experienced riders. I also read up on ADVrider and see who is in the area and what they are riding.

KTM-Husky-Husaberg
Honda
BMW
Yamaha
Kawasaki

Lots of options...keep us posted
Everyone always wants to buy the bigger motor, or the SX model. Not sure what model ktms your friends ditched, but would you agree they probably coulda gotten the smaller motor, or maybe a different series(XC/XC-W vs SX etc). I’ve got a friend that just bought a 500XCF-w. Average sized guy, mostly a street rider with some dirt experience. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll get him out riding once, and that will be that last time. I told him a 350 would be the fastest thing he ever rode (truth, and he agreed), and he bought the 500 anyway. Dumb!

Just like when a newb shows up here and say he wants the lapua mag to start out with because it will do everything from zero to 2k yards. Equally dumb, and the hide reacts to it quickly.

In my super bike racing days, the same thing occurred. Everyone wanted the gixxer 1k(early 2000’s)Give it the race prep, add some power, race it a few times and throw a for sale sign on it. They would have gone faster on a 600, and kept it.

So much ego with dudes and motos.

On a side note, the 300 TPI I just got is a total pussycat. Mellow as can be. Too mellow maybe. I can ride it all day though. My 2012 300 was snappier.

Op, I should have mentioned in my first post the KTm OR the Husky. Minor differences, but same dna and quality.
 

Alpine 338

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Rode 2-strokes Yamahas most my life, last bike I had was a KTM 450 EXC. It was a bear to restle in the technical single track that I like. Sold it, mostly because of my carpel tunnel problems. If I ever get another bike, it will be an XC-W.

Im 5-8, and feel the EXC was a little to tall for me, and the gearing was tall also. If I would have kept it, I would have lowered the suspension, and dropped a tooth on the front sprocket.
 

Superjet

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A KTM will be lightyears ahead of anything Japanese for offroad riding out of the box. They truly are setup better and you just get the feeling that the guys that designed them actually rode them when performing maintenance. I'd recommend trying to find some dual sports or enduros in your area, you'll meet some great people.
 

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jbuck88

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Everyone always wants to buy the bigger motor, or the SX model. Not sure what model ktms your friends ditched, but would you agree they probably coulda gotten the smaller motor, or maybe a different series(XC/XC-W vs SX etc). I’ve got a friend that just bought a 500XCF-w. Average sized guy, mostly a street rider with some dirt experience. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll get him out riding once, and that will be that last time. I told him a 350 would be the fastest thing he ever rode (truth, and he agreed), and he bought the 500 anyway. Dumb!

Just like when a newb shows up here and say he wants the lapua mag to start out with because it will do everything from zero to 2k yards. Equally dumb, and the hide reacts to it quickly.

In my super bike racing days, the same thing occurred. Everyone wanted the gixxer 1k(early 2000’s)Give it the race prep, add some power, race it a few times and throw a for sale sign on it. They would have gone faster on a 600, and kept it.

So much ego with dudes and motos.

On a side note, the 300 TPI I just got is a total pussycat. Mellow as can be. Too mellow maybe. I can ride it all day though. My 2012 300 was snappier.

Op, I should have mentioned in my first post the KTm OR the Husky. Minor differences, but same dna and quality.
A lot of truth. I rode a little growing up and had a YFZ R1, so when it was time to stop borrowing and buy my first dirt bike I jumped straight to the CRF450x. It was a big mistake. I was left looking like a fool more times then I could count. I got rid of it after a while and rode a 250x which I should have bought to start.
 
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Superjet

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Everyone always wants to buy the bigger motor, or the SX model. Not sure what model ktms your friends ditched, but would you agree they probably coulda gotten the smaller motor, or maybe a different series(XC/XC-W vs SX etc). I’ve got a friend that just bought a 500XCF-w. Average sized guy, mostly a street rider with some dirt experience. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll get him out riding once, and that will be that last time. I told him a 350 would be the fastest thing he ever rode (truth, and he agreed), and he bought the 500 anyway. Dumb!

Just like when a newb shows up here and say he wants the lapua mag to start out with because it will do everything from zero to 2k yards. Equally dumb, and the hide reacts to it quickly.

In my super bike racing days, the same thing occurred. Everyone wanted the gixxer 1k(early 2000’s)Give it the race prep, add some power, race it a few times and throw a for sale sign on it. They would have gone faster on a 600, and kept it.

So much ego with dudes and motos.

On a side note, the 300 TPI I just got is a total pussycat. Mellow as can be. Too mellow maybe. I can ride it all day though. My 2012 300 was snappier.

Op, I should have mentioned in my first post the KTm OR the Husky. Minor differences, but same dna and quality.
This is spot on! Smooth is fast.
 

Supersubes

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Sep 6, 2006
4,637
3,230
219
Rural Nevada
A lot of truth. I rode a little growing up and had a YFZ R1, so when it was time to stop borrowing and buy my first dirt bike I jumped straight to the CRF450x. It was a big mistake. I was left looking like a fool more times then I could count. I got rid of it after a while and rode a 250x which I should have bought to start.
I did basically the same thing, except it was a 94’ CR 500. Got it for a steal. Man that thing beat me up at Glen Helen. I could put in 4-5 good laps on it, and I was done. Sold it for a brand new 98 YZ 125. I felt unstoppable on that thing. What a great bike that was! I know they still make them, but if I was doing track again, I’d do the Ktm 150 lol. Fanboy, I know.
 

corey4

Sergeant
Belligerents
Feb 11, 2012
1,189
129
169
40
pittsburgh pa
OP, you mentioned about riding the front and liking front end feedback. I'm the same way with sport bikes. I was always told I was a "trail braking mother fucker". I'm used to driving into a turn on the front brake while dragging hard parts. The few times I've been off road (and I mean few, like twice) there wasn't much front end feed back. It was kinda scary lol. But that's what I'm used to looking for. You need to get used to rear end feedback and using the rear brake.

I have a Honda 450L that I never should bought. On the street, I was diving into turns like I usually do then I remembered I had knobbies with probably less than half the surface area of a sport bike tire contact patch. So I backed off a bit. The first real attempt off road I tried a hill climb, that fucker spit me off sideways and i separated my shoulder again for the seventh time.

I plan on getting supermoto setup for it soon.

Full disclosure...I have zero fucking dirt skills.
 

Skunk

Violating Rights
Belligerents
Nov 24, 2003
347
249
49
Rolling Green
Corey4,

Sounds like you and I have very similar riding technique. Won't be any "backing it in" on the dirt!

I imagine myself using this bike, whatever I end up with, as a sort of gas-powered horse. I just wanna cruise around in the dirt and back country. Go on a hunting trip with my AI on my back...go camping...whatever. There will be some "hell raising" but not racing and jumping and shit like that. If I wanna go fast, I'll go baja my Raptor or take my buddy's Maule up and shave the tops of the mesquite off!
 

jbuck88

Full Member
Belligerents
Oct 25, 2010
894
373
69
37
Port Angeles, WA
I forgot to mention I'm watching Craigslist right now for either a KTM 690 or XR650L. I am leaning towards the KTM, but the best deal, not necessarily the cheapest one will probably play a big part in my decision. I would mostly be riding logging roads and possibly a little highway.
 

Supersubes

This is Sniper’s Hide, not the Benchrest Boutique!
Belligerents
Sep 6, 2006
4,637
3,230
219
Rural Nevada
OP, you mentioned about riding the front and liking front end feedback. I'm the same way with sport bikes. I was always told I was a "trail braking mother fucker". I'm used to driving into a turn on the front brake while dragging hard parts. The few times I've been off road (and I mean few, like twice) there wasn't much front end feed back. It was kinda scary lol. But that's what I'm used to looking for. You need to get used to rear end feedback and using the rear brake.

I have a Honda 450L that I never should bought. On the street, I was diving into turns like I usually do then I remembered I had knobbies with probably less than half the surface area of a sport bike tire contact patch. So I backed off a bit. The first real attempt off road I tried a hill climb, that fucker spit me off sideways and i separated my shoulder again for the seventh time.

I plan on getting supermoto setup for it soon.

Full disclosure...I have zero fucking dirt skills.
It usually doesn't come naturally to go from street to dirt. That’s why many of a greatest road racers were dirt trackers of some sort first, and then transitioned to road racing. Seen a lot of street/track riders struggle in the dirt. All the principles are basically the same though. The front brake still does all your stopping, big weight transfers, etc. The big difference is the wildly varying surfaces, which all have their own traction limits. Use of the clutch is another one. You feed power with it almost all the time, not with the throttle. Just learn to ride your L, maybe even take a class, it’ll be worth it. At the very least it’ll be useful get away from
People. You know, social distancing and all.
 

mrtoyz

Armchair Commando
Belligerents
Jul 11, 2009
705
199
49
Western WA
A KTM will be lightyears ahead of anything Japanese for offroad riding out of the box. They truly are setup better and you just get the feeling that the guys that designed them actually rode them when performing maintenance. I'd recommend trying to find some dual sports or enduros in your area, you'll meet some great people.
Dude if you really believe the KTM’s are light year better than the Japanese brands, all of them, you really need to get out of the box you’re in. Absolute statements like that are ignorant and not helpful. There are ALWAYS pluses and minuses. Different strokes for different folks (pun intended)
 

MotorOilMcCall

Mandalorian
Hessian
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2014
236
208
49
Buffalo
If you're riding dirt logging roads (some double track I would assume), single track, and very little roads, and don't plan on straying much from home (no overnighting), I would be in the 450-500 range, not bigger. I had a Husky TE510 for a few years. It was about as much fun as you could have with your clothes on, so long as you didn't fill those pants with excrement from twisting the throttle too much at the wrong time (I was a decent rider back in the day, would ride regularly with AMA Amateur qualified guys and have no trouble keeping up).

I honestly regretted adding the power-up kit. It was just too much in the woods (double track and more improved logging roads couldn't even justify that much power). I wanted a little more than stock (around 50hp), but the power up kit pushed it closer to 70hp, and that was just ludicrous).

If it's your first time on the dirt, I would strongly recommend going with a smaller, lighter bike to start (a 250F is a great way to start, and more than enough for most). I'm getting the itch for another bike being in quarantine, and if I was looking for a woods bike, legal to ride to the trail, I'd be looking at a WR250.

After having a wide array of bikes, ATVs, Jet Ski's, Sleds, etc., there are higher performance brands than Yamaha, but I haven't found any as reliable and low maintenance. The Husky was fantastic, don't get me wrong, but it required a lot of upkeep (and as an engineer, I really like working on stuff, but I'd rather ride than wrench).

Even if I was looking at another ADV bike (had a couple, Triumph, Buell, BMW), I think I'd be looking at the Africa Twin over the KTM. I realize I'm not a magazine editor, and don't have those skills or needs. The Honda is good on road, good off road, and reliable as hell... The KTM's are better than they've ever been in terms of reliability, and are hands down the best off road machines out there, but at a cost of reliability and lots of maintenance (though that new 790 intrigues me).

XR650 always struck me as a desert bike. I've ridden one, but just on road. It's a BIG bike (and I'm 6'1). Not something I could see riding single track in the woods, at least not having much fun...
The KTM690 is on like a giant, heavy, dirt bike, though more nimble than the Honda (ridden the 690 Enduro a handful of times). It's an awesome bike, but again, too big for single track, or woods riding. Logging roads, it would be a hoot!

There really aren't many bad bikes out there, and you'll enjoy any of them. Just decide how much you want to wrench, and how much you want to spend on parts, and how good a rider you really are (can you appreciate a WP suspension over a Showa?). Also, it never hurts to learn, and dump, a cheaper bike first, then graduate up to a premium bike.
 
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