KTM 300 EXC vs. Honda XR400- Opinions Wanted


25 replies to this topic
  • chip0704

Posted March 20, 2008 - 05:40 PM

#1

After a few months of searching and gathering info, I'm getting close to making my first dirt bike purchase. Should happen this weekend. It's down to 2:

2004 Honda XR400- $1950. All stock. Pretty clean, but it's been ridden a bit. Will need tires and sprocket/chain soon.

2000 KTM 300EXC- $2550. Going to look at it tomorrow. New everything, including rebuilt motor. New FMF pipe & silencer, Pro-Taper bars

Last chance for me to get opinions. So let's have it!

I'm 35, 6'4", 225 lbs. Long time street rider, but NO dirt experience. Looking to do trail riding, some with my 14 year old son. 4 stroke is smooth and comfortable. But the KTM has that appeal... just don't know if it will be too much for my purpose.

  • hodaphile

Posted March 20, 2008 - 05:48 PM

#2

KTM without a doubt.

  • Wrfrk

Posted March 20, 2008 - 05:55 PM

#3

If I were picking for me, I'd say KTM, but I'd not pay that much for an '00 regardless of rebuild.

  • Tom123

Posted March 20, 2008 - 06:17 PM

#4

KTM, it is a pretty high price though, probably could get a 2003 for that. The XR price sounds pretty nice though.

Though youve had street bike experience, you'll still be droppin the bike. And after you drop that XR a few times, then have to pick it up, then kick the 4 banger, you might begin to reconsider. Good bike until you drop it, but then again you can just not drop it...

  • D1k

Posted March 20, 2008 - 07:28 PM

#5

KTM 300 2 smoke is MUCH more powerfull than XR400. Although, dirt riding takes a couple of months to retrain your reflexes and muscles.(compared to street riding)

The XR is heavier, but much more forgiving than the 300.

I would say, start with the XR400 and by this time next year, you can still sell it and get all of your money back. Then you will be able to upgrade to the KTM 2 smoke or 400/450/525 4 stroke. Your body will be adjusted to the new type of riding, and you will have the benefit of maybe buying something with E-start.

  • KNugget

Posted March 20, 2008 - 07:31 PM

#6

So, just curious, what's your interest in getting a dirt bike?

I have an XR400 in the garage that I purchased as a surprise for my guy who also had no dirt experience, but had ridden street in the past.
I would also agree about the weight on the XR400. It's heavy. Try kick starting it a few times when you've dropped it and flooded. By no means do I slam XR400's as they are a solid bike and easy to maintain. So the guy loves the XR400, but does find it a bit heavy. He's a bit proud of it I think from being his first dirt bike. It's a tractor and will pull you out of anything - you can lug it w/o hardly stalling it out.
However, he's oohed and ahhed my KTM and has said that it will be the next bike he gets.

I own a KTM 250 XCF-W and have ridden both. I prefer 4 strokes personally, though the power-on of 2 strokes is appealing.

  • chip0704

Posted March 21, 2008 - 03:18 AM

#7

Good stuff guys. I agree that the KTM is overpriced, he actually had it listed for $2850 for a while, I thought it was a misprint. I would go no higher than $2200.

I'll see how it feels later today. D1k's advice sounds logical though.

As far as what my interest is in getting a dirt bike, well, it's to have some fun of course! Something I always wanted to do, but was too busy with traditional sports growing up. I've been riding street bikes for the past 12 years and will continue to (have a 2005 Triump Sprint ST and love it). Dirt bikes is something my son and I will be learning together.

  • KNugget

Posted March 21, 2008 - 04:40 AM

#8

I would also agree w/ DK; the XR is a good first option. Once you get use to the dirt you'll have a better idea of the type of riding/bike you'll want to pursue and trade up for something w/ an E-start. I did similar; came from a Honda and switched to KTM. Can't say enough good things about KTM's. I think maybe this xmas a new KTM under the tree for my guy might be in the works. :excuseme:

Good luck and enjoy!
:confused:

  • Chickenboy369

Posted March 21, 2008 - 04:43 AM

#9

Is your son just starting out or has he been riding for a while?
If you're going to riding around slow then you're going to risk fouling plugs and having a miserable day on the 300.

  • chip0704

Posted March 21, 2008 - 05:41 AM

#10

Son is just starting out, no experience. Got him a 2005 Yahama TTR-125L.

Guess it comes down to practical vs. sexy! But a sexy KTM with fouled plugs doesn't sound very appealing. haha

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  • BigIvyI

Posted March 21, 2008 - 06:20 AM

#11

I think you should find an RFS 400 or 450 thumper. Allmost as relaxing to ride as the XR, but has electric start.

The 300 will be stressful for a beginning casual rider.

  • Canadian K

Posted March 21, 2008 - 08:31 AM

#12

I vote for the 2000 KTM 300EXC, It is my all time favorite bike.
It is well suited for a bigger rider. It has a ton of power at full throttle and will also run nice at low RPM's if geared, tuned and jetted correctly. The power band has a lot of bottom end so you can ride using half throttle, or less. Be very cautious with full throttle as it will hit hard and may get you into trouble, if you're not careful (tip - experience this thrill in wide open areas, at first).
In my experience the 300EXC was never prone to fouling spark plugs, even at low RPM's. I use Amsoil synthetic premix oil at 50-1.
I have used the 300EXC to lead many trail rides with various skilled riders (slow to fast) and my 300 never fouled a plug. I would just put a new plug in at the start of each season and ride. A very reliable bike that is much lighter and better handling than any 4 stroke.
FYI - I now ride the 07 450EXC street legal and I love it (especially after I upgraded the gearing, jetting & exhaust). It was an easy transition from 300 2tto 450 4t, once I got used to the thumpers engine braking.
Good luck!

  • Ttoks

Posted March 21, 2008 - 01:21 PM

#13

another vote for the 300, modern bikes won't foul plugs at any RPM if you jet them correctly, we lug our kx 500 around like it's got a hemi in it, nver on the pipe (it's dads woods weapon...), and the 300 are very nice bikes to ride, gonna be a lot easier to start then the 400, lighter, better suspention, all round a better bike.

  • chip0704

Posted March 21, 2008 - 02:54 PM

#14

Thanks again for the responses. I test rode the 300EXC today and I don't think it's the bike for me. Granted it was very cold and this was just a short ride up and down the street, but I was not comfortable riding it, especially in first gear. Given the price and comfort factor, I think I'm going with the XR400 as my first bike. Yes it's heavier and I'll have to deal with starting issues, but I plan to get it tomorrow!

  • D1k

Posted March 21, 2008 - 03:24 PM

#15

Congrats Chip,

You won't regret it !!

Marc

  • El Monstro negro

Posted March 22, 2008 - 09:02 AM

#16

After a few months of searching and gathering info, I'm getting close to making my first dirt bike purchase. Should happen this weekend. It's down to 2:

2004 Honda XR400- $1950. All stock. Pretty clean, but it's been ridden a bit. Will need tires and sprocket/chain soon.

2000 KTM 300EXC- $2550. Going to look at it tomorrow. New everything, including rebuilt motor. New FMF pipe & silencer, Pro-Taper bars

Last chance for me to get opinions. So let's have it!

I'm 35, 6'4", 225 lbs. Long time street rider, but NO dirt experience. Looking to do trail riding, some with my 14 year old son. 4 stroke is smooth and comfortable. But the KTM has that appeal... just don't know if it will be too much for my purpose.



ktm ktmktm ktm
ktm ktmktm ktm
ktm ktmktm ktm

  • rick 625

Posted March 22, 2008 - 08:14 PM

#17

The xr 400 is a good bike would ride it any were. Still have one in garage but ride a 06 exc 450 now. about starting after fall pull in compression release kick through about 10 times then top dead center and two or three kicks and it will fire. top dead center is when kick starter gets firm then left up you will fell two clicks then kick should fire, good luck with new bike and have fun in the dirt.


Rick

  • MaxisDad

Posted March 22, 2008 - 09:16 PM

#18

Thanks again for the responses. I test rode the 300EXC today and I don't think it's the bike for me. Granted it was very cold and this was just a short ride up and down the street, but I was not comfortable riding it, especially in first gear. Given the price and comfort factor, I think I'm going with the XR400 as my first bike. Yes it's heavier and I'll have to deal with starting issues, but I plan to get it tomorrow!


Good choice. I am a KTM fan, of course, but the KTM 300 is a lot of bike for someone that isn't experienced and wants to putt around with his son who is learning to ride. I prefer the KTM 400, 450 or 525 4-strokes, I'm getting old and slow, but they are very forgiving:ride: . You can go as slow as you want or just twist and go as fast as you want, have the 525. IMHO the KTM 300 2-strokers are a bit to handle.

  • 1nstr

Posted March 24, 2008 - 12:53 AM

#19

Chip, I have a suggestion....Get the XR400, its a fair price and probably one of the greatest all around thumpers....Parts are plentiful and cheep, and many aftermarket goodies available. I just gave away my XR400 to a friend who will take good care of it and is a great riding buddy. Why did I give it away? Well, depending on your age and condition, that bike will get you into areas that you would have a hard time dragging it out of if you need to. You absolutely have to know how to restart that bugger if it falls over (hot) and starts spewing fuel. An earlier poster was correct about starting it, that 400starts to feel like a "XR900" or more when continually kick'n it over. You will learn its tricks and fall in love with it as most do.

My Ktm is instant start and is the nicest bike have owned. One day I am sure you will own one....

  • bandit99

Posted March 24, 2008 - 03:15 PM

#20

My first bike was a XR400 and I don't think there is a better bike to learn on. I am in my 8th year of riding and now have a Ktm 380EXC. A 300 would have been a lot of bike for me when I first started.





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