17' Kawi or KTM 450 'smaller/nimbler' feeling?

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7/5/2017 11:27 AM

I was hoping I'd luck out and come across a few who have ridden both and have some feedback regarding the two. I'm coming off a lifetime of 250 2 strokers and hoping the transition will be as seemless as possible. I'm very sensitive to light & nimble handling/flickability of a bike, granted these 450's are much heavier than what I'm coming off of - which is the reason I'm looking for the bike that has that smaller, lighter, and most manueverable feel to it. I believe I read somebody say that the Kawi feels longer than other bikes, which would steer me away from it, but that could be a botched memory. Any feedback would be appreciated! I'm also still in debate in regards to buying new vs playing the Craigslist lottery, leaning towards buying new but some Craigslist listings do look promising at times.

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7/5/2017 11:30 AM

Lighter feeling...flickable?

Go get the KTM.

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I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

7/5/2017 12:07 PM

the KTM is going to be the most "2 stroke like" however the kawi will likely be 1-2k cheaper.

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7/5/2017 12:07 PM

Going from a 250 2T is going to be significant. Motor will feel electric smooth. Very nice. However, engine inertia is tremendous, do not let off over a jump. In my opinion, the 4-strokes are like a Cadillac where the 2-strokes feel more like a small sports car. Of course you can go fast on the 4t, but it is about being smooth and not making sudden changes.

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7/5/2017 12:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/5/2017 1:08 PM

The KTM not only feels lighter and more flickable, it is physically lighter by a large margin. The '17 KTM does everything right. I fell in love when I spent some time on it. I almost bought one last month, but I couldn't justify the money. I could nearly buy two clean 16 YZ450s or KX450s for the $9000 the new SXF costs. The KX450 is a good bike. It does nothing great, but everything very well. The 16 I rode had a full FMF 4.1 and it was a nice handling, quick bike.

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7/5/2017 12:58 PM

Both great bikes, stock the ktm is way better Imo, throw in the price difference, the kawy can be as good or better.

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7/5/2017 12:59 PM

Ktm's are down to $7500 for a '17 around here....

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

7/5/2017 1:05 PM

I have ridden both bikes, I would say the KTM

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

7/5/2017 1:05 PM

PRM31 wrote:

Going from a 250 2T is going to be significant. Motor will feel electric smooth. Very nice. However, engine inertia is tremendous, do not let off over a jump. In my opinion, the 4-strokes are like a Cadillac where the 2-strokes feel more like a small sports car. Of course you can go fast on the 4t, but it is about being smooth and not making sudden changes.

This.
Of course, I might add that the Cadillac we're talking about is carrying 25 cinder blocks in the trunk, has a JATO rocket strapped to the roof, has a crappy boom box sound system which is stuck on 11, and wants to throw you through the windshield every time you even consider remembering what it was like to lift off the throttle. laughing

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Braaapin' aint easy.

7/5/2017 1:07 PM

BobPA wrote:

Ktm's are down to $7500 for a '17 around here....

I couldn't find a 16.5 or 17 with the AER48s for less than $8,500 from Atlanta to Lexington last month... ermm

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7/5/2017 1:48 PM

Oh, and to be clear, the words 'flickable' or 'nimble' will most assuredly not be words used to describe either if you're used to a 2T.

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7/5/2017 3:24 PM

BobPA wrote:

Ktm's are down to $7500 for a '17 around here....

twotwosix wrote:

I couldn't find a 16.5 or 17 with the AER48s for less than $8,500 from Atlanta to Lexington last month... ermm

The rebates started a week or so ago, saw them advertised on craigslist around here

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

7/5/2017 3:46 PM

Thanks for the responses guys. I guess the transition from 2T to 4T in general is going to be a much bigger difference than between these two models particularly. While flickable and nimble may not exactly be words that describe a 4T, that's where I'm looking for the model that could get in those words' ballpark the closest. I was hoping that the 18's rolling out pretty soon will put a nice price slash on the leftover 17's. I'm in SoCal, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

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7/5/2017 7:14 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/5/2017 7:19 PM

"Summer Super Savings Sale! 2017 Husqvarna models have been drastically marked down. ** While supplies last. Call us at 816-478-9393 for pricing."

Donnell's Motorcycles in Independence, Missouri


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I don't trust any "Joined Date" later than 2012

7/5/2017 8:07 PM

2016+ KTM 350 is the closest thing to a 250 2stroke. Very nimble and fast.

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7/6/2017 12:43 AM

Honda ! , the numbers say its heavier on paper but its lighter on track than a ktm , cant speak for the 17 kawi but i had a 13 and its a boat by comparison .

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7/6/2017 12:48 AM

I feel like ive heard the Suzuki 450 is the best handling stock bike out there. With no rip your arms off power. I have a couple friends with them in various years. I feel an rmz450 or ktm/husq 350/450 would be your ideal choice. You could probably grab rmzs for cheap

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7/6/2017 5:49 AM

Dizzy714 wrote:

Thanks for the responses guys. I guess the transition from 2T to 4T in general is going to be a much bigger difference than between these two models particularly. While flickable and nimble may not exactly be words that describe a 4T, that's where I'm looking for the model that could get in those words' ballpark the closest. I was hoping that the 18's rolling out pretty soon will put a nice price slash on the leftover 17's. I'm in SoCal, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

Have you considered a new 250 2smoke? The 2017 ktm is gnarly and way more composed than years past. It is a smooth bike and almost zero vibration compared to the previous generation.

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7/6/2017 6:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/6/2017 6:26 AM

hyler199 wrote:

I feel like ive heard the Suzuki 450 is the best handling stock bike out there. With no rip your arms off power. I have a couple friends with them in various years. I feel an rmz450 or ktm/husq 350/450 would be your ideal choice. You could probably grab rmzs for cheap

X2,great deals on the rmz,do.suspension ,pipe and remap or vortex. Bike will rip.

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7/6/2017 6:40 AM

I race a 2017 KTM 450XC-F. A fantastic feeling bike that can be flicked around with relative ease. I rode RM and KX 450's before settling on the KTM and I would put them in this order for me personally: 1. KTM 2. Kawasaki 3. Suzuki.

The Kawasaki is good and I actually really liked it, but for my style of riding (off road) I didn't care for the forks and it needed a few changes to make it the best it could be for offroad. The KTM is like butter off the bottom end and then just pulls hard through the mid. The bike needed nothing except a skid plate and radiator braces/guards. After that, it was perfect for me. The AER forks, once broken in, have been pretty solid. Much better than the old 4CS.

I also rode a buddy's KX450F with cone valve forks and the trax shock that was setup for the national enduros. It was really solid. The motor was very similar to that of the KTM, but the suspension was killer. The only thing it was missing was the electric start. I also didn't care for the big top heavy tank. With it full of gas you could definitely feel a difference.

Nothing much to say for the Suzuki. It was pretty much stock and was OK. Nothing to write home about, but it was fine. The power wasn't exciting, but it was fairly smooth. The suspension was 'meh'. It would have been better if i set it up for myself, but usually at 170lbs, I don't even have to set the sag as it's usually right in the ballpark stock.

In the end, you can get killer deals on the Kawasaki and Suzuki. I would have been thinking about a Kawasaki, but a shop helped me out on a deal for a KTM that I wasn't about to pass up.

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7/6/2017 10:01 AM

Why even bother with a 450? The 250F engines are so good now and handling is vastly superior to a 450. Can always do some basic engine and ignition mods to step it up even more without making it a time bomb.

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7/6/2017 10:02 AM

BobPA wrote:

Ktm's are down to $7500 for a '17 around here....

You must have some large dealers around your area.

My local dealer once told me that they will never sell a KTM for less than MSRP because they are only allocated a select number of bikes from KTM and they know they will sell that many so they have no reason to give out any deals.

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Race Bike: 2018 KTM 350SXF

Other Bikes: 1985 CR80R, 1990 CR250R, 1998 PW80, Specialized Fuse Comp 29.

Sold: 2016 YZ250F, 2012 CRF250R

7/6/2017 11:05 AM

JB 19 wrote:

2016+ KTM 350 is the closest thing to a 250 2stroke. Very nimble and fast.

This is the truth. I've ridden or owned all of them. Ktm vs kx in lightness isn't even fair for the kx. 350 is very close in feeling to a 250 smoker.

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7/6/2017 12:37 PM

I've thought about the 350, just feared the more aggressive riding on the motor would harness the longevity.

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7/6/2017 12:51 PM

Dizzy714 wrote:

I've thought about the 350, just feared the more aggressive riding on the motor would harness the longevity.

I think it comes down to riding preference. If you like to rev a bit more then go for the 350. If you like the grunt and short shifting, get a 450. I'm not a fan of revving out 4-strokes so the 450 was perfect. They both felt exactly the same for the 17's as far as weight goes.

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7/6/2017 1:11 PM

hyler199 wrote:

I feel like ive heard the Suzuki 450 is the best handling stock bike out there. With no rip your arms off power. I have a couple friends with them in various years. I feel an rmz450 or ktm/husq 350/450 would be your ideal choice. You could probably grab rmzs for cheap

mxb2 wrote:

X2,great deals on the rmz,do.suspension ,pipe and remap or vortex. Bike will rip.

this applies to just about any bike not just the RMZ

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

7/6/2017 1:12 PM

hyler199 wrote:

I feel like ive heard the Suzuki 450 is the best handling stock bike out there. With no rip your arms off power. I have a couple friends with them in various years. I feel an rmz450 or ktm/husq 350/450 would be your ideal choice. You could probably grab rmzs for cheap

mxb2 wrote:

X2,great deals on the rmz,do.suspension ,pipe and remap or vortex. Bike will rip.

kiwifan wrote:

this applies to just about any bike not just the RMZ

X2.

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7/6/2017 1:13 PM

MyersAvionics wrote:

I race a 2017 KTM 450XC-F. A fantastic feeling bike that can be flicked around with relative ease. I rode RM and KX 450's before settling on the KTM and I would put them in this order for me personally: 1. KTM 2. Kawasaki 3. Suzuki.

The Kawasaki is good and I actually really liked it, but for my style of riding (off road) I didn't care for the forks and it needed a few changes to make it the best it could be for offroad. The KTM is like butter off the bottom end and then just pulls hard through the mid. The bike needed nothing except a skid plate and radiator braces/guards. After that, it was perfect for me. The AER forks, once broken in, have been pretty solid. Much better than the old 4CS.

I also rode a buddy's KX450F with cone valve forks and the trax shock that was setup for the national enduros. It was really solid. The motor was very similar to that of the KTM, but the suspension was killer. The only thing it was missing was the electric start. I also didn't care for the big top heavy tank. With it full of gas you could definitely feel a difference.

Nothing much to say for the Suzuki. It was pretty much stock and was OK. Nothing to write home about, but it was fine. The power wasn't exciting, but it was fairly smooth. The suspension was 'meh'. It would have been better if i set it up for myself, but usually at 170lbs, I don't even have to set the sag as it's usually right in the ballpark stock.

In the end, you can get killer deals on the Kawasaki and Suzuki. I would have been thinking about a Kawasaki, but a shop helped me out on a deal for a KTM that I wasn't about to pass up.

the KXF motor similar to the KTM???? I raced a 17 KXF and rode a couple of KTM's, to me the KTM is a lot stronger

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

7/6/2017 1:20 PM

kiwifan wrote:

the KXF motor similar to the KTM???? I raced a 17 KXF and rode a couple of KTM's, to me the KTM is a lot stronger

This wasn't a completely stock Kawasaki. I actually thought the stock Kawasaki hit too hard off the bottom, whereas the KTM was much more linear off the bottom. Midrange, I think the KTM is similar in map 1 w/TC on. On Map-2 it pulls quite a bit harder through the mid.

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7/6/2017 1:24 PM

Havent ridden the Kawi, but everything feels clumsy if youre a Honda guy.
Had a 450sxf -16 last year, its much bigger than the Honda, and it felt really heavy in the air

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