I have 4 friends with ktm's and 5 or 6 friends that ride yamaha's and the ktm guys spend more time dealing with reliability problems. Also, how did people start comparing the wr450 to the ktm 525/530? They make a 450. The exc is pretty garbage now as a real dirty dirt bike, and I wouldn't get it unless you had a serious need to do some street riding, or if your situation required it. The xc's and xcw's are a much better designated dirt bike. That should close your price gap. They come close to the wr, but all in all just don't perform as well, even though they do look better. Bottom line, don't get a ktm four stroke. If you are going to buy a ktm, get a 300xcw-e, or the 250. You will probably have to kill someone to get one at this point, but it might be worth it. Otherwise, if you like riding more than you like wrenching, go with the wr, and buy a softer seat.
I have two friends that have bought new KTM's. Last year one friend bought the 450 exc, and the other just got his 530 exc, both street legal. The one problem that both of these bikes have faced is, jetting and gearing problems from new. If you go and try to trail ride these bikes out of the box (store), you had better have eaten your Wheaties. The battery on the 450 was pretty much toast after about 15 minutes of trail riding, or should i say stalling. It took all that the three of us had, to get that pig started each time it died. Once it was rejetted and re-geared, all was good. The 530 was pretty much the same thing, but the only way we could get it running was to bomb start it down a very long hill. The magic button was useless after about 3 minutes of trying to fire it up. I just rebuilt my '03 WR450, and when we raced up an old dirt road ('07 450exc,'08 530exc,'05 crf450x and my '03 WR450) there wasn't really any difference between the bikes in the power department. None of these bikes are perfect out of the shop, and all need a bit of love to get them to where you want them. I can't complain about what my bike will do, on or off road. Rebuild after about 9000km.
I must live on a different planet! In all of my years of riding, I have had few bikes that were really good with no mods. The WR isn't even ridable stock nor would I think about it. The KTM isn't much better out of the box that much is true. But to say that the EXC is junk and that the WR is better is just plain crazy. It must be just me but the KTM is the bike the WR should be and I have never had any real problems with my KTMs, EVER! And, KTM stands behind it's bike 100% where Yamaha
runs and hides and goes into denial when they are faced with a problem. The XC's are basically the same bike with a close ratio tranny and a few goodies. They are not that much different and now come in a wide ratio setup so it's virtually the same bike with out lights and reversible triple clamps. The 300xcw is a better bike that both of the bikes in question and not a comparison. I regeard and rejetted my WR and it's still a compromise. The KTM flat gets it done and now! My KTM pulls where my WR wishes it did! Lastly, I'm not the fastest guy on the planet but I have never been passed by anyone on a WR (on the KTM), especially going up hill where power counts the most. Maybe the WR can squeak out a few more mph in someones reality, but it can not spank the KTM in the rough when both bikes are set up properly. I'd be curious to ride any of these WR's that anyone says are better or faster than a 525/530 KTM equally un restricted. These two bikes are not even in the same ball park and should not be compared to each other. This thread is making less and less sense the more posts it gets...... I have to add that the WR is a great bike but not a KTM by any means.....