WR426 VS. KTM 400EXC

19 replies to this topic
  • J.T.

Posted April 23, 2002 - 05:37 PM


OK, lets hear it from the Yamaha crowd. I'm having a hard time deciding between these two awsome bikes. I'm 6'3" 215lbs. Like to ride fairly aggresive on trails,forest,sand dunes, and everything else in between. I'm also not to impressed about the Hot and cold starting procedures on the WR. Are the 2002 models any better ?? The KTM sure sounds like a sweet bike. What do we all think about this ????

  • Wicked_Crash

Posted April 23, 2002 - 05:58 PM


I just got my WR426 about two months ago and I don't think I would trade it for any other bike. The EXC400 seems to be an awesome bike though, a buddy of mine is thinking of buying one. I haven't ridden the EXC so I couldn't tell you the power difference between it and the WR. My bike usually starts on the first or second kick hot or cold, so I don't think that should be an issue. I think they are both great bikes but the KTM is about $1200 more than the WR. If seat height is an issue, the KTM is about 3" shorter. Toss a coin and RIDE ON!

  • Pac_NW_rider

Posted April 23, 2002 - 06:08 PM


I have ridden a 2000 400 EXC KTM and I felt that it vibrated more and certainly had less power.
The KTM EXC is an excellent bike, yes. But the engine and suspension are not at the same level as the Yamaha 5 valve. I believe that the reason Yamaha does not yet have the electric start implemented is because of the high compression, more powerful 5 valve engine. It is simply very difficult to turn over the first 6 months of riding. I have a 2000 WR400 and I haven't had to kick it more than twice in the past year.

Run the good gas, keep the valves adjusted and enjoy the real thing!


Posted April 23, 2002 - 07:41 PM


I am lucky enough to have both. Well, I have the KTM520EXC and a 00WR400F. I am 6' 220+ without gear. I know, a little too fat! :D To be perfectly honest, I don't know what all this fuss is about the WR's not starting hot or cold!? Once you get your jetting set and it doesn't have to be spot on perfect the WR just shreds. It is a great all around bike. Mine starts first time everytime! The KTM is a high bred race bike. If you do not use copious quantities of locktight on every nut and bolt on the thing it will literally start falling apart as you ride it! Next, you better make sure you have an inch pound torque wrench handy. If you even slightly over tighten anything you are looking at stripped threads. Of course, using proper torque settings on any of these bikes is important. But for some strange reason it just seems like the KTM has way more screws than the Yamaha. Maybe, its because they all tend to fall off more! :D Now, don't misunderstand me. The KTM is a good bike. I really like mine. But, my Yamaha never leaked oil a day in its life. The KTM on the other hand was leaking almost right out of the box. Loose bolts again. Easily fixed. But geez, for the price I paid for the darn thing you would think that shouldn't happen. Then, I added a larger capacity Clark tank. I had to remove the pet cock to put it on the new tank. In order to do that I had to remove the knob. Well, it was next to impossible to get the knob back on without it leaking. I finally wound up using JB weld to fix it! :) (of course there is more to that story.) Now, lets talk about suspension. The WR suspension was damn near perfect right out of the box. Of course, a little tweaking is necessary for any bike depending on the rider, rider weight, type of riding et cetera. The KTM WP suspension is way too soft. The KTM does have the magic button. That is cool. But, you can get that on a DRZE or maybe a 03 Yamaha. If you shop around you can get killer deals on a WR right now. Be prepared to pay way more for the KTM. The KTM uses two oil filters and has two screen filters to be cleaned at regular intervals. The Yamaha has one filter and one tube screen. The KTM does not come with any kind of skid plate. At least the Yamaha has front case guards and a small skid plate. Anyway, on and on and on. I am in no hurry to sell my WR. Isn't that strange when I have an 02KTM520EXC sitting right next to it? Maybe the color blue is more soothing than orange? :D

  • SoCalWR426

Posted April 23, 2002 - 07:43 PM


Not that I'm opinionated or anything!
But your giveaway was aggresive riding. The KTM is a great play casual riding bike.(Yes I know there's some really hot sh~t KTM drivers out there) The Yamaha is much more comfortable when it's hammerin and slamin. The WR is also able to do tight and twisty, although I think the KTM might have a slight advantage here. Nobody I know has any trouble starting their YZ/WR when jetted correctly. I am really starting to believe that this rumor is from 2-smoke riders not familar with different technique in starting a 4stroke vs 2stroke.. Just my 02's worth.


  • Taffy

Posted April 23, 2002 - 08:18 PM


i've only ridden my fully modified '99 WR and a std '00. the KTM was a 400 '01.

the KTM riding position is lower, the bike is lighter and the bike comes ready to race.

the yam on the other hand has a far more powerful engine and better sussies. with the $1200 in hand and any fettling you want you can make the WR a far better bike.

so which is it going to be?

if i was to race east coast, woods etc i'd get the KTM still you can't beat that button in a pile of shyte and flicking around roots and crap.

if i was riding BAJA type stuff or trailing or casual street i wouldn't look beyond the yam.

some of these blokes are taking TWO KICKS to get their bikes running. NOW can you see where that rumour started!


  • Mark_UK

Posted April 23, 2002 - 10:11 PM


i had the same dilema at the start of this year.
do i hang onto my yamaha or go get a KTM.

at present the KTM isnt a good enough bike to get me to sell what i have.

My yamaha starts in 1 or 2 kicks from cold and id say 1st kick once its been running a while.
id like an electric button only cus some of the races over here.
can be very muddy and hard work, and after 2 or 3 hours of that,, moving your right thumb is a lot easier then moving your right leg

come june though i can see me placing an order for a new bike,,, be it yamaha, KTM ,honda or husaberg,,,, maybe even a husky

  • Mark_UK

Posted April 23, 2002 - 11:26 PM


another thing is the yamaha does feel a bit top heavy at times [ slow going etc ]

ktm is lighter and carrys the wieght down low.

im just hoping the 2003 yamaha's loose some wieght to compete with honda.
and offer an electric start on the WR but not at the expense of the kickstart

  • Mike_in_Silicon_valley

Posted April 24, 2002 - 02:58 AM


Let me apologize firstly for my friend Paulie. He's starting to get a little long in the the tooth and I think Dementia is starting to take hold......... :D . Seriously though, and I'm not trying to start a color riot here, but in my experience I have found the KTM's to be far superior. Yes the stock suspension on my bike sucked but a revalve will take care of that. And the seat, let's just say that the comparisons to Norwegian spruce are correct. Beyond that everything's a positive.

That being said, you could probably get one hell of a deal on a WR right now if $$ is a primary concern.

I think for a guy your size you need the KTM 520. Before you consider it though you must first measure the circumference of your testicles and add these numbers together. If this number is smaller than the diameter of your cranium you will be denied service at the KTM dealer....


  • J.T.

Posted April 24, 2002 - 02:57 PM


Thanks you all for your input. This definately helps me sort some things out. Your right about the rock hard KTM seat. My biggest fear of the Yamaha (starting) is slowly disappearing. I've been sitting on both the bikes quite a bit and they definately have a different feel to them. How I only wish I could take them for a spin. The KTM looks so impressive to me yet the Yamaha feels better so far. This could change at any given time. This is going to drive me insane!!!!!! Thanks Guys

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  • fastmonstr

Posted April 24, 2002 - 03:19 PM


I was able to start mine today wearing Teva sandals on the first kick.

There is no way I could do that with my XR400.

  • wayneoXCF

Posted April 24, 2002 - 04:28 PM


Ditto here. I can start my WR with sandals on with 2 kicks. All that "cant start it" BS must come from a 2 smoker! I have riden a few 520's and all I can say is that the bike handles a bit better than the WR, and the power is all there. But for the extra cash, I dont want to be doing revalves and crap. That thing should be race ready out of the box, and it isnt for a 200 plus dude. Anyway, Im sold on my WR since day 1.

  • Scott_in_KC

Posted April 25, 2002 - 02:02 AM


The 400 & 426 is not a fair comparison, the 520 power-wise is closer to the WR. If you were racing, mainly racing woods, the 400 with some work would save you some energy, deliver smoother power and perhaps win you more races. Since this is an all around play bike (and if sand EVER comes into play) you'll want the 426 or 520.

To me the biggest seat of the pants difference is how the bikes feel in loose corners, slick conditions and long climbs. The 426 and it's extra weight just feels more planted. Some of this is the suspension, some the steering angle (as far as I know). The KTM begs for a steering damper.

The 426 engine is just a brute. You can do as many or as few mods as you wish and get all the power you could ever truly use. The suspension is hands-down better. A YZ style seat/tank is an absolute must for turning!! So plan on that cost right away. Used YZ tanks are $50 (larger Clarke tanks $150?), SDG seat $79...WAYYYY less than a revalve.

  • dp400

Posted April 25, 2002 - 04:54 PM


I can start my KTM 400 NAKED! With my tongue. :) I,ve ridden both WR 400 and 426s and they are both very good bikes. I had NO problem starting them on one or two kicks but I never layed them over (dumped) one and then had to start it. I loved the suspension! Plush but firm. My 400 is faster than my buddies WR400 but not quite as fast as another buddies uncorked 426. You can get TONS more performance from the 400 (KTM) with a pipe and jetting - just like the WR. I think the KTM has a GREAT fit and finish and is just easier to ride hard longer.


Posted April 25, 2002 - 05:22 PM


In my previous post I was complaining quite a bit about the KTM. And, I stand by everything I said. But, it is a very good bike. It just has a lot of quirks IMO. I also agree with Mikey that a 200+ pound guy should probably get the 520 or a 450 kit for the 400. I also have noticed that I can ride the KTM much harder for a longer period of time in the woods. Since I have it and its paid for I plan to make it my project bike. I'll get the suspension work done better tires and so on. I was just trying to give honest feed back. A lot of people say that the KTM is ready to race right out of the box. To that I reply, for whom? Certainly not a fat guy like me! :D One size does not fit all. Not even on the KTM. We all get excited about our bikes and want to talk about them. I'm excited about my KTM. I'm looking forward to getting it tricked out. But, when I walk into the garage and see oil rings around the front forks on the KTM with only about a dozen rides on it and then look over at my WR and see not a spot of oil anywhere I can't help but wonder what Yamaha is going to do in 03? :D
Call me crazy. But, I know what I like! :)

[ April 25, 2002: Message edited by: PMAUST ]

  • Kermit

Posted April 25, 2002 - 07:51 PM


Just to throw this in...there is a 450 kit for the KTM I believe it is around $400-500 It is the May issue of Dirt Rider. I did have a Wr 400 which was street legal and could "naked sandle" start it. I loved that bike, I could smoke my freind on his 520 it is all rider anyway...I am looking for a new bike as well. I wondered by the Honda shop today...very nice, the Honda fits me WAY better than the Wr...I am waiting until the '03 Yamaha before I make up my mind. We should know by June what is up. I was looking at the Husabergs too...the dealer is 2 hours away...getting parts would be an issue...as in the Honda/Yamaha dealer is 5 minutes. There is always going back to the two-strokes...HELL! I don't know what I want either.

  • Mark_UK

Posted April 25, 2002 - 09:57 PM


lets face it,,,
starting the wr/yz is a non issue....

unless ur 2 hours into an enduro and u just dropped it , then have to start the stuburn ba$%£&d ,,on the wrong side of a slippy muddy hill when the very last of your energy has just been used sucking the last drop of water from ur camalpak,,,,,,,,,,,, then u will wish you had the KTM

ps,,, i recently saw a guy start his xr400 while sat down next to the bike,,,,, with his hand

  • CHris_PArks

Posted April 26, 2002 - 07:16 AM


i have ridden both, ktm sucks for tall riders. yamaha is not much better, but with taller seat, taller bars and lowered foot pegs the thing rocks.

  • J.T.

Posted April 26, 2002 - 02:52 PM


I also was checking out the new Honda . It is very nice also. I think it is just a little too new for me. I'd have to give it awhile. That really surprises me about Pmausts' 520 leaking oil that bad. Hum? You Guys are really selling me on the WR426. It does fit me quite well and it is a good value also. Not that it is cheap or anything. It's from $5900.-$6200. here in OR. Do you think the stock jets would work just fine from sea level to 4000 ft. This is going to be my riding range ?

  • James_Dean

Posted April 26, 2002 - 08:22 PM


I've had both the '00 WR400 and now the '02 400EXC. The WR was great as long as the trails were more open or riding fire roads. I liked the WR400 power more than the 400EXC, but doesn't compare to the 520. The 520 would be the perfect sand riding machine. The layout feels more open on the EXC to me.

You may be able to find a nice used WR400/426 in the low $4000 range if you shop around. KTM's will be more scarce and higher priced because they came out later. Keep in mind there is a list of things to set up on the WR that will probably already be done on a used bike. (throttle stop, YZ cam timing, YZ seat/ IMS tank, quiet & less restrictive muffler)


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