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4Takt

Has anybody here ridden a KTM 525?

59 posts in this topic

I have a XR650R and I basically like it alot. I sometimes wish for that power (or more) to come in a lighter, more nimble package.

Last time I rode a KTM was in 1983 (still ride an '83 Maico 490, my favorite bike ever), so I have no experience with the current crop of KTMs.

Last months MX Action mag's review of the 525 got me interested.

Have any of you guys on here actually ridden a 525 as well as a 650R?

What were your impressions?

Is it as reliable and hassle free a bike as the Honda?

4Takt

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From what I've read it's a tad more maintenance intensive. The oil changes suck. It's go the same valve/tappet setup as the XR so that's nice.

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I own both a 650 and 525. Realistically, the 525 is the best bike. The only advantage to the 650 so far is long milage comfort.

The 525 just RIPS when you are on the gas, yet is still very docile in the low rpm range. Handling is no comparison. As far as maintenance, I guess it depends on how much time you put on your bike. I don't think the KTM really takes much more than the XR. It may take slightly longer to do a complete oil change, but it's not like it's "intensive". Oil change on XR..10 minutes, KTM maybe 15.

I like both bikes, but the KTM is really the superior bike for me.

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I have ridden a modified XR 650 (uncorked w/pipe) and the KTM 525 as well as a KTM with a 540 kit. Like mentioned above, the 650’s are comfortable and the KTM is nimble and a little quicker. As far as maintenance, I can only compare my XR 600 to the KTMs and the XRs require less attention, but nothing extraordinary. The KTM 540 feels more powerful to me then the 650, or my 600, and is lighter, but nothing uncontrollable (smooth power delivery). The reason why I even mention the 540 kit is because the KTMs are easy to modify and it sounds like you are looking for some additional power. Anther advantage of the KTM is the e-start, something I really would like to have on my XR. The KTM will also require a cush hub if you plan to ride extensively on the road unlike the 650. So far the RFS seems to be pretty reliable. If you are looking for more insight, go to www.ktmtalk.com and you will find all the information you can handle regarding the KTMs.

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I was also wondering this. Is the power night and day, next to a uncorked xr650r? Anyone drag raced them? Not that i have $$ to buy one but just wondering.

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I'll bet that an uncorked XR650 would be pretty close to a KTM 525 EXC in a drag race. I went through the gears on pavement with my 525 EXC against a friend's uncorked (good running) XR650 several times and the KTM easily outpulled the Honda. The caveat is that I weigh 160 compared to 220 for my friend.

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There is no replacement for displacement IMO. The KTM may pull away but it's only due to weight. That KTM RFS motor has older technology than the XR. Due a tugging contest and see which one comes out on top. With the 14/38 gearing the KTM may pull away at first but the XR will cruise by it after 100mph.

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with such tall gearing the 650 would have the distinct advantage, its been said before and ill say it again, theres no replacement for displacement

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Have any of you guys on here actually ridden a 525 as well as a 650R?

What were your impressions?

Is it as reliable and hassle free a bike as the Honda?

4Takt

Iv'e spent quite a bit of time on my son's '02 BRP. Last fall one of my riding buddies bought a new KTM525EXC and we went to the Michigan UP for a week's worth of riding, so I had the opportunity to ride the 525. The bike absolutely rips. It is very nimble on technical trails and hauls ass in the open stuff, the only thing you have to do to the bike out of the crate is set the fork and shock clickers to your liking. To be brief though, in tight situations I would prefer the 525, when the riding opens up, I'll take the BRP. Can't tell you anything about the reliability of the 525, I'm sure you know about the BRP.

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I have to say...this "no replacement for displacement" is such BS when you compare such bikes. Compare a 250 to a 650, and you could say that.

Talking about gearing to the moon is unrealistic as well. Why? Because NOBODY rides a bike with that kind of gearing.

Let's get back to real comparisons.

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I have to say...this "no replacement for displacement" is such BS when you compare such bikes. Compare a 250 to a 650, and you could say that.

Talking about gearing to the moon is unrealistic as well. Why? Because NOBODY rides a bike with that kind of gearing.

Let's get back to real comparisons.

The glowing KTM in your avatar works wonders. Where's your comparison or did you just bring your big spoon to stir the pot?...At any rate. I have to agree with you to some extent. But when you're talking RAW power the 650R can't be beat. Here's the lowdown on bonestock bikes:

XR650R-Best reliability-when you're 70 miles from the truck this counts. It's got loads of torque. It's damn heavy but at speed this is not an issue. Parts are easy to come by and relatively cheap. Good following on TT and other sites for info. Suspension is old school and only needs a re-spring/valve to smooth it out.

KTM525-It's LIGHT and has tons of power. Although those two things can hurt a bike. When you're talking 50+miles of singletrack the XR can hurt your body. When I rode a 520, same thing really, it was unstable at speed as it was so light and powerful. The frontend darted around alot on me like a two stroke, major deflection. A stabilizer would fix this. The stock suspension was somewhat stiff and the forks needed a revalve. The bike is plagued with what every KTM is, bad turning. Although it was a champ on the straights soaking up the whoops and other large obstacles. Brakes were very touchy, some like that, I didn't.

The maintenance sucks on both bikes when it needs to be performed. But isn't like you have to do it each week. The KTM's oil changing procedure just sucks a tad more. Keep that chain aligned or you'll be eating hubs like crazy on the KTM.

I really don't think you can go wrong with either bike. My nod would go to the XR for highspeed long rides and I would give the KTM the nod for tight technical trails.

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The glowing KTM in your avatar works wonders. Where's your comparison or did you just bring your big spoon to stir the pot?...

I was the 3rd person to respond to this thread.....that is where my comparison is Mr. Smartypants.

Is my avatar better now? Since I own both, I'm still good. Of course I could also use a Yamaha , Maico, Suzuki , or Harley avatar as well.

Since I have no allegence to any particular brand/bike, I'de say I'm fairly qualified to make an un-biased comparison.

Both my 650 and 525 are modified to make them the best they can be. Both have susp. mods, dampers, all the good gaurds, etc. The 650 is the better looooong distance bike, the KTM is better everywhere else.

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I own them both. Most of what has been said about the KTM being fast and nimble is very true. It is still a heavy bike but when it's upright you would not know it. The KTM requires valve adjustments twice as often as the big XR650R and they take 2 times as long to do. Oil changes when done right are also a lot faster on the bit XR650R.

The KTM is just as dependable as the big XR except that it does not have the longevity of the XR. You will be putting a new top end on the KTM anywhere from 5000 to 6000 miles if not sooner. The valves will cup and it will need the head reworked. Good time to go to the 540 kit.

The XR650R will just go and go and go. In the tight stuff it is slower unless you are a very big and very strong man. In the open stuff it flat out hauls and can do it all day long. Not that the 525 won't haul all day long cause it will. But not with the comfort of the XR.

I prefer my 525 for certain desert scenarios with lots of twisting and winding through the sage. It definitely is my woods bike of choice most of the time. Not anything bad to say about it when it comes to performance and agility.

If I am just out putting and enjoying the scenery in the woods not trying to keep up with anyone, the XR is a fun woods bike. It will do anything, tons of torque. But now days I basically ride it in the wide open type stuff. Thats because I have 4 bikes which gives me my selection depending on what I am doing.

If I only had one bike the KTM525 would definitely be in the running.

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You might want to check the results for the Dakar race (5500 miles) and see how many 525's raced and finished, as opposed to XR650's.

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You might want to check the results for the Dakar race (5500 miles) and see how many 525's raced and finished, as opposed to XR650's.

Neither one of those bikes doing Dakar is stock. I can't imagine the KTM525 in Dakar without doing something about the oil capacity of the bike. It is a great bike and certainly could be competitive but most of the KTMs at Dakar are 950s and 640s. A completely different motor than the 525. Never the less I am interested in the answer to your question too. I can guarantee you that I would not buy one that had just done 5500 miles unless I could pick it up cheap and then throw a lot of money at it.

An XR650R is just broke in at 5000 miles.

The fellow who started this thread isn't going to ride Dakar (I don't think) so the 525 could still be the bike he is looking for. There are a lot of factors that come into play when someone is choosing possibly their only dirt bike. I don't think you could go wrong on a 525 but there are times when the XR650R might be a better choice for some people. As much as people talk it down, it is not a bad bike.

I do believe the 525 is the easier to ride of the two. But they are both great bikes.

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