WR vs EXC


28 replies to this topic
  • klxultralight

Posted January 17, 2016 - 08:37 AM

#1

I'm leaning toward a 2015 WR450 instead of a KTM 500 EXC. I'm a relatively conservative rider in his mid 40's looking for a dual sport to ride both single track woods environment and forest service roads for BDR trips that my buddies and I like to take. If I want to go KTM I have spend another 1500 at least. It seems like the obvious choice for me- go WR. High quality, reliable, plenty of power and pop for my needs. Has anyone gone through the same considerations and why did you go with a WR? Thanks.

  • Turd Ferguson Sr.

Posted January 17, 2016 - 08:51 AM

#2

Where do you live? The reason I ask is because depending on where you live you might not be able to get a plated WR. I know where I live (Nazi Germany aka California), plating a bike is next to impossible. But, if you happen to live somewhere where they allow that, congratulations.
With that being said, I can tell you that I love my WR for trails and wide open desert. I unfortunately can't speak to it as a dual sport bike. I'm sure others will chime in. I say get the WR if you can plate it. Don't buy a piece of fruit.

Edited by Ventura_Desert_Rider, January 17, 2016 - 08:57 AM.


  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 17, 2016 - 10:03 AM

#3

Not really comparable bikes, either.

 

The KTM 's are smaller, less planted, and more suited to 'woodsy' riding.

Stock suspension cannot handling anything really rough or fast.

You also have to be willing to pay $75 a pound for the weight savings........

 

The WR is larger, extremely planted, and more suited to 'SoCal' riding; kind of a cross between DAKAR and GNCC.



  • NightLite

Posted January 17, 2016 - 02:10 PM

#4

Everyone I ride with is on a KTM, a lot of 525's etc. Am the only one in the group with the 450wr, that said, we ride in Mo, Ks, and Mn. In really tight trails, woods, rocks, slow really technical stuff, they are faster on the KTM's. When we switch up bikes, am faster on the KTM's as well. If I was racing a lot, in those conditions, I'd have the KTM as well.

Now, on the more open sections, bigger hits at higher speeds, the WR is hands down the better bike. When we ride the short road sections between trails, the WR is the better bike. Anything faster then higher rpm 2nd gear and I can leave them behind. The difference between the two becomes much more noticeable from 3rd gear speeds up. Everyone I ride with on a KTM has sent their suspension off for more than spring changes, on the WR am able to find a good setup with a couple of clicks.

Having the ability to tame it down in the really slow technical areas, keeps me closer to the KTM's, when we ride faster areas, changing maps quickly and easily puts me further out in front of them. Although, one of the KTM guys has a switch on his bars that allows the selection of up to 3 different maps. Don't know a lot about that, but do know he never really changes it.

My WR hasn't given one ounce of problems, many of the guys on the KTM's haven't had any problems either, least not like what you read on some of the forums. I chose the WR because it was different then what all the guys I ride with have, couple of the KTM guys have stated they would like to go with a WR for their next bike.

Plating a bike in MN is insanely easy, 40 bucks and a forum, so that wasn't a concern, if I couldn't plate easily, I would likely have gone with a KTM.

This is all just my "opinion", rider skill will very, so the above needs a few grains of salt.. One of the guys we ride with is on a drz400 with a few mods, he leaves us all behind on anything other then a straight up drag race. Really depends on where you are going to ride, some places we ride I'd rather be on a 250, others areas would love to have an old 500 2t (well not really, but you get the idea).

20 miles on black top between trails, no question for me, the WR, roll on 4th gear wheelies makes that distance go by much faster.. :)

  • klxultralight

Posted January 17, 2016 - 03:25 PM

#5

Thanks for your time and feedback. I'm in WA where it is not too tough to plate. If you're willing to do the work yourself, 300-500 bucks.

  • Bitteeinbit

Posted January 17, 2016 - 04:26 PM

#6

Nightlite, when you're talking slow technical stuff, are we talking crawling first gear stuff, or second gear? Like first, crawling and hoping rocks, logs etc, or more of a sweeping second gear trail (10-30km/h)? I like the WR250F a LOT as it's quite powerful for a 250, yet very light feeling. However, I found the 450 to be somewhat nimble for its weight, it only felt really heavy right after riding a 250 (I've been torn between a 250 and the 450 and told the owners I'd make a decision this coming week). One good thing about the 450 is that I felt the 2nd gear would be quite versatile: I was able to ride it almost from a standstill, and if needed, it could launch me quite quickly anywhere. I don't even think I reached the top of 3rd during my test ride. The 250 is flickable and would be fun to ride both sitting and standing, but does need to be revved a lot (I don't mind this too much coming from a 2-stroke, but the long "range" of that 450s second gear is tempting).

 

Would you say the 450 is much slower than your friends' 450EXCs in 2nd gear riding, or much slower in tight 1st gear stuff? I think where I'm at (judging from the 450s gearing), most of the riding would be 2nd and 3rd, with some 4th thrown in during long straight dirt roads (5th on tarmac) and fro time to time (rarely) a splash of first. Still undecided... I was leaning 250, and then lately been leaning towards the 450 a lot more. Need to pull the trigger soon as I sold my KDX and am itching to ride again!  



  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 17, 2016 - 06:42 PM

#7

6mph minimum for first gear is considered 'normal', but not really low enough depending on the terrain.



  • Andrew Puetz

Posted January 17, 2016 - 06:54 PM

#8

I actually can contribute to a topic here.  I have an "uncorked" 2012 WR 450 and my dad HAD a 2013 WR450 and HAS a 2015 KTM 500 EXC.  I have ridden both.  So has he obviously.  I am 34 and my dad is 58.  He is non aggressive and dislikes single track and enjoys an open 4 wheeler trail and forest service roads.  I on the other hand like gnarly.  So we are two totally different riders...  which makes it hard to ride together.  

 

The WR is faster, has better suspension, and is overall more of a rocket.  It feels more solid, and I felt I could ride it much harder.  When My dad got on his WR, he hated it.  It scared the shit out of him.   He has ridden a lot through the years, and has had WR's in the past.  But he is more to the part of his life where he doesn't want to be afraid of a bike. And It was too much power for him.  He didn't want me to screw with the maps much either. (he was on a fairly "mild" map anyway)

 

The KTM was a bit of a surprise to me.  There are SO many positive write ups about it.  How it is the best dual sport available and that it was such a powerful bike and could handle any type of riding well.  I felt the power delivery was... mild, and soft.  The bike never overpowered me.  it felt like it was "airy" and I say that like more air passes through the motor.  it never "Hit".  I kept waiting for more...  especially out of a 500.  I think the KTM is a well built bike, and is great looking and I fit on it pretty well.  It was refined.  But it was too refined.  But my Dad, he loves it.  But he will never push the bike.  His only complaints were tall gearing, which he fixed, and that it surges at road speeds like the tires were out of balance or something.  KTM says "It is what it is" and couldn't fix it.  For the money he paid for it I would be upset that there was an issue like that.  But I digress.  

 

Again two different riders, and two different opinions.  I wouldn't trade my WR for the 500 EXC.  And vice versa.

 

And to add insult to injury, look at the maintenance intervals. Yamaha is where its at.


Edited by Andrew Puetz, January 17, 2016 - 06:56 PM.


  • Bitteeinbit

Posted January 17, 2016 - 07:37 PM

#9

6mph minimum for first gear is considered 'normal', but not really low enough depending on the terrain.


Not sure I follow. You mean the 450's first gear does a minimum of 6mph, but anything over needs 2nd? I don't quite understand.


So Andrew, you like your 450 in the gnarly stuff? The weight doesn't bother you, nor is the power overwhelming? Have you ever ridden a 350exc or 450exc? How did those compare? Like you say, I guess your dad felt like he didn't need the hit which the wr has. I personally find the power delivery on the 450 fairly tame for slow stuff, but with a conscious wack of the throttle the bike really felt like a rocket (way more than the 250, which had pleasantly surprised me). I guess of one isn't careful one could get into trouble, but it felt manageable enough.

  • Andrew Puetz

Posted January 17, 2016 - 07:43 PM

#10

So Andrew, you like your 450 in the gnarly stuff? The weight doesn't bother you, nor is the power overwhelming? Have you ever ridden a 350exc or 450exc? How did those compare? Like you say, I guess your dad felt like he didn't need the hit which the wr has. I personally find the power delivery on the 450 fairly tame for slow stuff, but with a conscious wack of the throttle the bike really felt like a rocket (way more than the 250, which had pleasantly surprised me). I guess of one isn't careful one could get into trouble, but it felt manageable enough.

 

 

I have not ridden a 350 or 450 KTM but I suspect they are a bit more comparable.  The WR DOES get heavy. I bought a YZ250X this fall and the weight difference amazed me. But the weight on the 450 is an asset sometimes IMO.  Its planted, it gets great traction, and all around solid.  Don't get me wrong, I have sworn at it several times trying to pull it out of a bad spot.  But its a great bike.  I will be upgrading to the YZ450FX in 12 months or so as I feel like that will be my next step.  This year I may put a 52 tooth in the rear of the WR to help out in the gnarly.



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  • Bitteeinbit

Posted January 17, 2016 - 08:08 PM

#11

Thanks. I have to say that even though it was a badly maintained bike bought for dirt cheap, I loved my kdx 200 after having a crappy bike before that (146kg and 200cc....). Light and nimble, but on winding sandy trails I'm sure the 450 would feel better. Hill climbs as well. Many people I've spoken to here say they're exhausting to ride and lack traction (too much wheel spin), but is suspect that may be bad clutch control on their part. Only time I felt loss of traction during my test ride was when I cracked the throttle almost fully (2nd gear) going through some very loose gravel. Seat on the kdx is hard to beat though. Do you use the YZ for mx or trail riding? Which bike do you prefer? If you could only have one bike and had to choose yz250 or wr450, which would you pick? Maps first appeared in the 2012 450s right? Such a great tool...

  • NightLite

Posted January 17, 2016 - 09:24 PM

#12

Puetz hits it right on the head. Never has there been a time when the KTM went somewhere the WR didn't or couldn't.

The WR with the right mapping hits like a freight train, when I've been on the 450/500 KTM's there have been several times I was left wondering where the power was in the motor.. Being they where my buddies bikes, I wasn't going to wind it to the limiter, but always walked away wonder where the 'hit' was.

This lack of a hard hit on the KTM made it great for the first gear, low rpm second gear highly technical sections, never worried the bike was going to get away from you. This it made me faster in those sections because I wasn't scared of an accidental whisky throttle.. Lol.. I believe the KTM will turn the front tire sharper then the WR as well, nimble is a good word.

You do that to my uncorked WR with the FMF header, q4 silencer, comp ecu, and removed throttle stop and watch the hell out, it will bite you.

True story, 3rd ride on my WR, one of my best friends eats, sleeps, drinks 2t bikes, loves taking the mx bike, making a ton of changes, then woods riding it. He raced mx for years, did well and he's really fast, all the time.. Anyway, 3rd ride for me, am comfortable on the bike, but still nervous. We are riding northern Mn, the trail is wide enough to drive a truck down, large river rocks (avg. 1ft diameter, round and smooth ), in between is slick muck, it's raining so everything is wet. We come around a corner into an up hill section, left side of trail is the best route, fast 2t buddy in front, takes off like rocket, I desire to join but screw up the bottom part, end up on right side of trail because of an excessive throttle jab, this is all large rocks without a good line through. I find am to fast for my comfort, and going over all the rocks, bike is stable and controllable, rather then get out of it to get back to the left side, I jab the throttle again (on purpose this time), finish the section extremely happy about the whole thing, hard right corner at the end here and 2t friend slows way up and looks back thinking he left everyone way behind.. I damn near ran him over, had he not quickly reacted and goosed out of the way.. We where both extremely surprised at how fast and well the WR handled that section. I rode a 250 2t for years and know that bike wouldn't have stayed planted and I'd have probably gone down doing the same thing.

Would I trade my WR for any KTM? Not even if hell froze over.. I like the power, speed, stability, and the blue color... ;)

Lastly, one friend on a KTM rode it, he had a 450 something before his 500 KTM. He put a different throttle cam in it, said it hit too hard.. Sold that bike because he couldn't get beyond it, got the 500, he's in love and won't ever ride the WR again, said reminds him of the old bike..

IMHO, the KTM will never get away from you power wise, you will out run chassis and suspension at higher speeds, without spending lots of money on suspension, even then.. Eh... WR will very easily get away from you in low speed technical areas, but chassis and suspension will handle everything you throw at it. Just need to really have good throttle control.

Is it heavy in weight? Yes compared to my old 2t bikes, do I notice it, only when I pick it up off the ground.. Lol. Switching between it and a KTM 500, couldn't really say, maybe a bit.. If I was racing a lot, I'd be on a KTM, for just riding and having fun with friends, WR all day, every day.

250's are nice to, in many areas faster then the 450.. But when things open up, I'd never trade the 450. If I could afford to have several dirt bikes, there would also be a 250 in the stable.. But for now the wife says one for dirt, one for the road, any more and will likely need a new wife as well;)

Edited by NightLite, January 17, 2016 - 09:33 PM.


  • Krannie McKranface

Posted January 18, 2016 - 06:26 AM

#13

Not sure I follow. You mean the 450's first gear does a minimum of 6mph, but anything over needs 2nd? I don't quite understand.


So Andrew, you like your 450 in the gnarly stuff? The weight doesn't bother you, nor is the power overwhelming? Have you ever ridden a 350exc or 450exc? How did those compare? Like you say, I guess your dad felt like he didn't need the hit which the wr has. I personally find the power delivery on the 450 fairly tame for slow stuff, but with a conscious wack of the throttle the bike really felt like a rocket (way more than the 250, which had pleasantly surprised me). I guess of one isn't careful one could get into trouble, but it felt manageable enough.

 

You are using the terms 'crawling' without any tangible information.

 

The gearing alone determines the minimum speed the bike will move in gear, on flat ground.

There is a 'minimum' mph the bike will run in first gear, clutch out, no throttle, on flat ground, before stalling.

When you gear it down, that mph number drops.

 

To get a bike to crawl WITH CONTROL you don't want it geared too low, or you can't use the clutch to improve control and traction.

Throttle response will be to abrupt, and you will continually back off the throttle to slow down, which is bad for control.

You don't want it too high or you are always on the clutch to prevent stalling.

You want it so modulating the clutch is done for improved control.

 

So, you figure out what mph/rpm you are comfortable in when you 'crawl', and gear the bike so your minimum mph is right at that speed, so you can still use the clutch when you slow down to do more technical manuvers.

 

Trails riders are at about 2mph in first

Enduro riders about 6mph

Dual sport about 12 mph

MX bikes are even higher mph in first gear.

 

What gearing it takes can be done using math (gearing commander.com) or experience (copying someone elses gearing that you like) or experimentation.



  • Dualsportwr450

Posted January 18, 2016 - 07:59 AM

#14

I came off Wr 450s that were played to the husky, although I've ridden yamahas for my entire life I chose to get w husky 500, the power is awesome and totally usable, the eight difference is night and day. I can toss that husky around like a two stroke. The Wr is a fine machine. I just wish they had a 6sp and a 500.

  • OUTERLIMITS

Posted January 18, 2016 - 11:55 AM

#15

A good way to think about the WR is that it is plenty workable in the tight and gnarly, you just need some throttle control, which is not that difficult.  But when you get to 3rd gear and up, it is just super fun.  The suspension is good everywhere.  Too much is made about weight.  Less weight is good of course, but if you ride rocks, the WR is like butter there, whether going fast or super slow.



  • Bitteeinbit

Posted January 18, 2016 - 07:36 PM

#16

You are using the terms 'crawling' without any tangible information.

 

The gearing alone determines the minimum speed the bike will move in gear, on flat ground.

There is a 'minimum' mph the bike will run in first gear, clutch out, no throttle, on flat ground, before stalling.

When you gear it down, that mph number drops.

 

To get a bike to crawl WITH CONTROL you don't want it geared too low, or you can't use the clutch to improve control and traction.

Throttle response will be to abrupt, and you will continually back off the throttle to slow down, which is bad for control.

You don't want it too high or you are always on the clutch to prevent stalling.

You want it so modulating the clutch is done for improved control.

 

So, you figure out what mph/rpm you are comfortable in when you 'crawl', and gear the bike so your minimum mph is right at that speed, so you can still use the clutch when you slow down to do more technical manuvers.

 

Trails riders are at about 2mph in first

Enduro riders about 6mph

Dual sport about 12 mph

MX bikes are even higher mph in first gear.

 

What gearing it takes can be done using math (gearing commander.com) or experience (copying someone elses gearing that you like) or experimentation.

Wow, that website is awesome. If I understand, this gives the slowest speed in each gear at various RPMs, correct? 14-50 is standard, and I've heard anywhere from 12-53 to 14-48 (might help reduce throttle burps at slow speed). Even stock, the 2nd gear apparently goes from 6kmh to 60...  Interesting to see the speed fluctuating, though sometimes going higher is better for tight woods. I haven't ridden a 450 (or 250) enough to know, but I know I had a spare 14T (vs 13 stock) front sprocket for my KDX. Made 2nd gear way more versatile as otherwise I'd too foten find myself in that awkward full on 2nd, but too low in third trail speed... Come to think of it, that's what I like riding most and the 450 might be alright for that. I only find myself in slow 2nd gear stuff (8-10km/h or less) rarely. 



  • YamaLink

Posted January 19, 2016 - 02:58 PM

#17

Two of my buddies are same age, riding style/needs as the OP's description, and both came down to the same finalists. They both went WR based on reliability and price. Many in my area ride the 500exc, and I thought about getting one, but the price difference wasn't worth it to me. It's a great bike for the right rider and terrain obviously.



  • JVP

Posted January 21, 2016 - 06:33 AM

#18

I own both the WR450 and a 500EXC.  I live CA and I did manage to plate the WR after an exhausting 6 trips to the DMV.  Granted my WR is an 04.  However, with those considerations, I will tell you this.  I love all of my bikes, just like I love all my kids but for different reasons.

 

The KTM is the Rolls Royce of Dual Sport Motorcycles.  It is refined and agile.  The frame geometry is more like a Motocross bike, therefore it is better in tight woods and single track trails. It is fairly comfortable to ride for long distances and it turns easier in heavy sand washes and on the pavement.  I don't like the right side of the gas tank.  It sticks out a little because they had to make room for the evaporator canister they tucked behind it.  The bike has great engine braking and the front brake actually works compared to the WR's front brake.  The suspension is a little harsh at times.  However, it is completely stock.  I like the FI feel of the throttle.  It is by far the most expensive bike I have ever owned, but overhaul I think it was well worth it.

 

The WR is the solid Ford Pick up of off road motorcycles.  It is the most reliable bike I have ever owned.  I have over 20K miles on the bike and the motor has not been touched other than the valve being adjusted, oil changes, new clutch.  I did a compression check on it not long ago and the top end is still good.  That being said, I have had a few electrical problems.  Had to replace the Starter, the battery a few times and the Starter Relay.   As far as the ride, it is a great open desert bike.  The suspension is plush(I did have it upgraded) and it is a very comfortable bike to ride for long distances.  The power band is more roll on than the snappy FI of the KTM, but I find the bike responsive enough in every gear.  Having only five gears as oppose to six has never been an issue.  WR has a great gear ratio that the extra gear is not needed.  The bike does some short coming.  It has a crappy front brake.  A little mushy compared to my KTM or my Honda.  The bike is harder to turn on the street and on heavy sand washes.  In fact, it does turn well at all in the sand.  The WR feels heavier even though it weighs about the same as the KTM.  I think the WR is far more rugged than the KTM and it has held up to abuse I have put it through. 

 

I purchased both bikes new and the WR was about 2/3 the cost of the KTM even in today's dollars.  I plated the WR after I bought the KTM.  To be honest, if I was able to plate the WR before I bought the KTM, I would have missed out on owning one of the best bikes ever made.



  • stevethe

Posted January 21, 2016 - 07:10 AM

#19

I'm leaning toward a 2015 WR450 instead of a KTM 500 EXC. I'm a relatively conservative rider in his mid 40's looking for a dual sport to ride both single track woods environment and forest service roads for BDR trips that my buddies and I like to take. If I want to go KTM I have spend another 1500 at least. It seems like the obvious choice for me- go WR. High quality, reliable, plenty of power and pop for my needs. Has anyone gone through the same considerations and why did you go with a WR? Thanks.

 

You really should consider a 2016 WR450. I have ridden a near new EXC and my impressions are they are good bikes it had good bottom end but the top wasn't great. It was also very soft suspended which was very good going at slow speed however when you went fast it got pretty squirrely. The 2016 WR450 is a really fun bike at all speeds. Great bottom end very nimble and precise handling. You point it and it does whats asked.

One issue is you need to get the WR plated the EXC comes with a plate.



  • KennyMc

Posted January 21, 2016 - 10:26 AM

#20

If looking at price, there is a cost to CA plate the WR.






 
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