WR426 vs. DRZ400E vs. KTM400EXC



66 replies to this topic
  • Robert_Fox

Posted July 13, 2001 - 10:56 AM

#1

I'm very close to making a final decision about one of these bikes. I'd really like to hear some objective comparisons. First, I'll tell you what I'm looking for. I am registered for my first Dual Sport ride in September. I have quite a bit of hare scramble and trail riding experience, so if it's anything like that, I'm sure I'll like it. I haven't ridden a four stroke in a very long time, so I think that'll take getting used to again. I do remember having a rough time starting a four stroke, especially after a fall. So that is a definite concern.
I thought about legalizing my KTM300MXC, but that has turned out to be too expensive, and too much hassle. Besides, I really like the idea of riding a dual sport ride on a 4-banger.
Here's what I think about the bikes so far...
KTM: Too expensive. This bike sounds really nice, but I just can't justify an additional $2,000 over the Yamaha.
Suzuki: I'm taking a serious look at the DRZ400E because the price is so enticing. This bike seems capable. In fact, I've even considered the S model because it's street legal. I'm a little nervous about getting an offroad bike legalized. Seems like a lot of red tape. But I know the S model doesn't have the suspension of the E model.
Yamaha: I used to ride Yamahas exclusively before I got the KTM. From what I've read, the Yamaha has a little better suspension and power than the Suzuki. The one draw back may be engine starting. A friend has a YZ426 and does get frustrated from time to time (but I heard the same thing about a KTM520SX).
I didn't go into this search with any desire for electric start. It just seems like a foreign concept on a dirt bike. However, because of starting difficulties, maybe I should be considering it.
This has been a difficult decision (but a fun one!). Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. Please shed some light!

  • Desertbob

Posted July 13, 2001 - 11:40 AM

#2

Hi Robert,

I too was looking at these three models before I purchase my 00 WR400F. The KTM was very appealing but the fact that KTM discourged buyers from Dual Sporting the model dropped it from the list. The Suzuki (my brother owns one) was simpley too soft and flexi for me (I ride in the Desert a lot) was a negative but the motor was really nice and smooth. I chose the WR because I like to be aggressive in the dirt.

My thoughts.

Bob

------------------
Proud Member of Racers Under the Son (www.ruts.org)& District 37 Desert

98.5 Dodge 2500 24v Cummins 4x4
00 Yamaha WR400
99 Yamaha PW80
99 Terry Fifth Wheel
Oh Yeah...Everything is paid for!

  • Gobbler801

Posted July 13, 2001 - 12:00 PM

#3

Well, I am a WR426 owner, and I think it is the best choice. I ride the DRZ and it is a good bike. The electric start is real nice. The drawback to the DRZ, its too soft, and lacking on power compared to the WR. I avoid the KTM's just because of the price, and the price of parts. You would think they gold plate their parts or something by looking at the price! If by chance you get a Suzuki, don't get the street version. It is quite a bit diffrent than the dirt version. It has lower compression, weighs like 305 lbs, has a CV carb instead of a pumper carb. Its just way detuned. Where do you live? We get dirt bikes street legal here for pretty cheap.

  • WR_Jason

Posted July 13, 2001 - 12:03 PM

#4

You sound like you have most of the info you need. Ill just add some tid bits. I think KTM makes some dual sport bikes, but Im with you on the price, forget it! The Suzki is a nice bike, it has a great strong motor and is a good bike out of the box, but,, the S model is to detuned, it dose not use the same FCR carb, it uses a CV carb that is known for being adversly affected by hitting jumps and whoops. The FCR carb cost about $800 plus some odds and ends to make it fit and work. If you go with the DR, I would get the DRZ E model and street it. The DRZ dose not have the same power as the WR and the suspension is not even close, but fine for intermediate trail riding. It also weighs more. if you want to ride it hard in the dirt, plan to spend some coin on the suspension.
I have a WR 400, and starting it has not been an issue, in fact, I am kicking it to hard and need to lighten up on the thing.
Dont rule the KLX out either, its light and cheap.

  • YZ400Court

Posted July 13, 2001 - 03:05 PM

#5

I bought my KTM almost exclusively for the e-start. Also my YZ had blown up several times. I'd own a new YZ, but not a 98 or 99 again. BTW, no matter what anyone says, starting a YZ after a fall can be grueling, worse than any other 4 stroke I've ever ridden. Other than that they are great bikes.

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Pretend it's flat and give it the gas.

  • Robert_Fox

Posted July 13, 2001 - 03:11 PM

#6

Thanks for your replies, guys. I ride in both Ohio and Tennessee. So I'd be glad to get the bike legalized in either state, whichever is easier.
As for the KTM, I got the same discouragement about not dual purposing the 400EXC. What is the story with that? From what I gathered, the excuse is the difference in clutch between the EXC and the LC4 street and trail bike, but I can't imagine a mechanical difference where street riding would be more abusive on a clutch than dirt riding. What is KTM's fear?
As for now, I'm very much favoring the '01 WR426. It seems like the best bang for the buck. I've got to get this over with... I'm losing too much sleep!

  • Gobbler801

Posted July 13, 2001 - 04:10 PM

#7

Just so you know, I have never had any problems statring my WR. Even after going down hard on it, it lights up pretty easy. I have seen people have problems, but I really think its just the technique they are using. For a cold start, I give it no gas, choke it, use the compression release and go about halfway through the stroke, let it back to the top, and give it a good kick. It almost always starts on the first kick. For a fall, I try the hot start2 or 3 times, if that does not work, I pull in the compression release, kick it through about 10 or 15 times, and then go through the normal starting routine. I have not had a problem with starting.

  • Chukkar

Posted July 13, 2001 - 05:17 PM

#8

Originally posted by Gobbler801:
Just so you know, I have never had any problems statring my WR. Even after going down hard on it, it lights up pretty easy. I have seen people have problems, but I really think its just the technique they are using. For a cold start, I give it no gas, choke it, use the compression release and go about halfway through the stroke, let it back to the top, and give it a good kick. It almost always starts on the first kick. For a fall, I try the hot start2 or 3 times, if that does not work, I pull in the compression release, kick it through about 10 or 15 times, and then go through the normal starting routine. I have not had a problem with starting.



  • Chukkar

Posted July 13, 2001 - 05:23 PM

#9

Two weeks ago I had a friend dump his YZF426 upside down. He did have trouble trying to restart. Then we tried an ol XR trick.
1. Roll the throttle wide open and keep it there!
2. Kickstart the bike as normal procedure. (Do not let off the throttle until it starts, usually only 2 to 3 kicks) :)
Caution, sometimes you might get a minor kickback but the procedure works.

  • dwby2kwr

Posted July 13, 2001 - 05:49 PM

#10

As you can guess by the name i have a 00 WR. I absoluely love it. My neighbor/ridding budding has the same year DRZ. THe DRZ is the most under rated bike in the world. From day one he has pretty much been able to keep up. And while the suspension is soft it is perfect for dual sport. I still love the high revving motorcross bred WR, but both bikes are great choice for what you want. As far as the hard starting, if jetted properly using the right technique it will start fairly easy even after a good hard fall.

happy shopping

p.s. also there is a lot of info on both bikes on the web site. It is a must to go through as much info as possible here once you have picked out your bike. It will save time and money on the set up.

------------------
y2k wr, airbox lid and baffle removed, 180 main, 48 pilot, 426yz er needle,
wr timing, WB E-series S-bend w/ tapered head pipe

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • carverdude

Posted July 13, 2001 - 06:12 PM

#11

I have never ridden the Suzuki so I cannot offer a fair opinion on that.
I have a '00WR and made it street legal in Ohio with a Baja Designs kit.If you buy a new one try very hard to get a normal(not dirt only) title when you purchase the bike.My dealer gave me a normal title and my experience was vey easy here in Ohio.
I have NO problems starting my bike.Whether cold,hot or after being upside down it is easy to start.
BUT YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE PROPER PROCEDURE.My buddy kicks his WR426 until his leg is wasted.But he is incapable of following directions.I can start his bike in no more than three kicks.

  • HAYESTI

Posted July 13, 2001 - 07:40 PM

#12

You can't beat the TOTAL PACKAGE of the 01 WR 426!!!! I own one and it's awesome, never had a problem starting..Better power,Better Suspension,Bigger fuel capacity, just plain more exciting!!(for me)
My riding partner has the suzook and it seems like a real good bike..KTM, probably a great bike also, too much $$ for me. Remember one thing, "TOTAL PACKAGE"..See ya!
Tim

  • tonymontana

Posted July 14, 2001 - 04:15 AM

#13

Originally posted by Robert Fox:
Thanks for your replies, guys. I ride in both Ohio and Tennessee. So I'd be glad to get the bike legalized in either state, whichever is easier.
As for the KTM, I got the same discouragement about not dual purposing the 400EXC. What is the story with that? From what I gathered, the excuse is the difference in clutch between the EXC and the LC4 street and trail bike, but I can't imagine a mechanical difference where street riding would be more abusive on a clutch than dirt riding. What is KTM's fear?
As for now, I'm very much favoring the '01 WR426. It seems like the best bang for the buck. I've got to get this over with... I'm losing too much sleep!


Robert, I had the same dilema and finally bought an 01 wr426. A KTM dealer told me that the EXC's 2 top gears are narrower than the rest of the gears, cause in the dirt they probably won't get used often as they would on the road. He sugested that it wasn't suitable for extended road riding.
My friend rides a DRZ400, which I rode before I made my decision, nice bike, but for me it wasn't in the hunt. Go for the 01 WR 426.

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Tony Montana
01 WR426

  • YamaCazi

Posted July 17, 2001 - 08:22 AM

#14

The WR hard to Start after a fall " HA" I am the KING of the UPSIDE DOWN RODEO.. :D If anyone on this planet should have a hard time starting this thumper it should be me! I don't care how many times it flips rolls or bounces like a superball...It always starts just as easy as in the driveway. There was a time when my ride got new plastic every week. :D My riding buddy "Clint" has shot putted his 426 just about as much as I have..(but he breaks bones instead of plastic) and his ride will start on the 1st kick 95% of the time and always by the second or third :D

Bonzai................... :)

  • Dan_Lorenze

Posted July 17, 2001 - 11:09 AM

#15

DW@KWR Nailed it on the DRZ, My buddy has one and I've spent countless hours on it, The thing is simply awsome!! For trail riding I would prefer it to my WR426F, it has great bottom end power that is totally usable, you can just choose a gear and stay there all day. However, I ride mostly desert and wide open stuff where I just POUND the HELL out of my bike and the suspension just begs for more, also up top the Yamaha will pull away from the Suzuki. But if you're not a very aggresive rider I say go with the Suzuki. Starting? I can always start my bike up on the first kick, if I have a dirty air filter it might take me two times max, but the Suzuki still starts with less effort. KTM? Probably the nicest bike I've ever ridden, does everything great with an e-button but they come with a bigger price and when it comes time to buy parts you'll pay way more. And I dont want to spend more time changing the oil than riding.
The WR in my own opinion is almost perfect with the exception of a couple of extra pounds and the pudgy stock tank. I've owned 2 WR's so far and I've never had a major problem whatsoever with either of them.

Good luck!

  • wayneoXCF

Posted July 17, 2001 - 12:25 PM

#16

Heres my 2 cents to really screw up your decision making, (sorry!):
The WR flat out rips. The suspension is the best stock you can get. It handles everything I can throw at it, and I ride it as aggressive as possible. The motor screams, and has more power than most people can use in a day. If you plan on lugging the bike thru the woods, XR style, than I would go w/ the Suzook. If you plan on riding somewhat conservatively for the first few months, and then upping your practice/ride time to become faster, better, etc., than I would go w/ the WR. Simply put, you will be happier once your used to the WR. You will appreciate the awesome power, and suspension. You will not be riding around getting smoked by your buddies who have WR's so you wont be shaking your head and thinking you blew it. It will make you a better, rider-period. I have no regrets whatsoever, but have purchased a YZ tank/seat for handling, comfort, etc. Do the simple, few mods, and you will be even happier with it. Starting is NO PROBLEM, EVER.
As far as the KTM goes, I was lucky enough to ride a 520EXC over the weekend, and was amazed that I was even FASTER than I am on the WR. It handled flawlessly in the woods, and I can see why everyone that can afford them, buys them. If I had to do it all over again, with $ being as big a factor, I would still go w/ the WR426. Its really the best BANG for the buck.
But that KTM really made me think......

  • bluttman

Posted July 17, 2001 - 01:37 PM

#17

Originally posted by tonymontana:
Robert, I had the same dilema and finally bought an 01 wr426. A KTM dealer told me that the EXC's 2 top gears are narrower than the rest of the gears, cause in the dirt they probably won't get used often as they would on the road. He sugested that it wasn't suitable for extended road riding.
My friend rides a DRZ400, which I rode before I made my decision, nice bike, but for me it wasn't in the hunt. Go for the 01 WR 426.


Also much smaller oil volume

[This message has been edited by bluttman (edited 07-17-2001).]

  • cueball

Posted July 17, 2001 - 02:34 PM

#18

I've got a 99 WR, and love it but....I'll be buying a 520 next.

Everybody here has valid comments, I've considered all three of these carefully myself. The three guys I've seen riding DRZ's have proven that the bike works great, but all said that it's a little soft & heavy.

The WR is awesome, no E and a little top-heavy. My WR is 18lbs heavier than my buddies 400EXC (using his scale :))

I've always heard that the KTM parts were more money, but so far some of his replacements have been more $$ than Yam, some less. Maybe it's just been the particular stuff he's bought, but I'm wondering if KTM's parts pricing has come down since the 'old days'.

As to cost of KTM, by the time I added the tank, seat, flywheel weight, pipe, and handlebars in....it's just not that much more.

I think rider skill-level & type of riding are the most important considerations here. All three bikes will do the job.

But I'd recommend you buy my WR400 so I can get the 520 :D. It's a Canadian model with the right VIN number, serviced to death since new, and all the right toys already installed. I'll personally deliver it to Moab in October!!!

Cue

  • LC4Ryan2

Posted July 17, 2001 - 03:31 PM

#19

Everyone has really good responses here except for the price misconception on KTM parts. There was a time not long ago before the RFS bikes, that parts were not as expensive as they were hard to come by. Original equipment parts are too much for all makes of bikes these days. I have buddies with Yamahas, Hondas ect. All of us are getting screwed but the dealers have to stay in business too. Parts are big business, just look at a car dealership for example. I have bought many OE parts for my KTM having owned it for over a year now,and I cant say we KTM owners pay more on average for a part that is comparable on a japanese bike. The exception is oil filters though. My older LC4 oil filters ARE expensive from KTM.

You are gonna pay more for a KTM because it comes with higher quality parts than Japanese bikes. Aluminum subframes on all models (not just motocross bikes), Tapered aluminum bars, hydraulic clutches, Brembo brakes, braided stainless oil and brake lines, aluminum silencers/mufflers just to name a few parts.

In the end, you may spend more money putting these parts on Japanese bike than you would buying the new KTM in the first place. KTM's do cost more, but then they are more race ready out of the box.

------------------
1995 EXC 400
AMA Dist 37

  • Mike_in_Roseville

Posted July 17, 2001 - 07:20 PM

#20

My 2 cents. I started on a KLX 300 when I got back into riding. nice trail bike, but lacking in a lot of areas. Stepped up to the WR 400 1998 model and simply loved the power and everything that it provided. With Seat mods, tank (IMS), bars pipe etc I had put some bank into it. Great bike all in all. Problem was I had was bad knees and starting the beast from time to time was a real bear. Had the knee surgery and decided that I wanted something easier. Cop out maybe but decided to try the KTM 400 exc. I was impressed. Lighter, E start, not as abrupt power but great all the same. Didn't need to spend a fortune on after market products since it comes fully loaded. By the time you add up all you do to the WR, you are sitting on a KTM. I have not put any mods on the KTM and don't intend to. IT is great as is. Parts are not that expensive, in fact I have found some parts actually cheaper. For instance the oil filters. On the KTM I can get both filters for less than $10 bucks (combined). WR filters were averaging about $12. Seek and ye shall find. E start is amazing, especially on the side of hill, up hill get off, whatever. Cop out? No just smart. While friends are gasping for air, I am developing carpel tunnel on the thumb. Both are great bikes, it becomes a preferance thing in the end. IF the ease of an E start remains and the quality of the bike remains, that is where I will purchase my next bike. We are not getting any younger and color does not matter.

see ya

Mike

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2001 KTM 400 exc. No upgrades, comes out of the box ready to ride.




 
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