Midwest Dualsport Motorcycle Community 

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 #21251  by troy
 31 May 2018 18:10
"Why doesn't Honda give us a modern, street-legal dirt bike?!" ...Well, they finally did!

Introducing the Honda CRF450L
http://www.advpulse.com/adv-bikes/2019- ... announced/

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I was super excited to read about this until I got to the part where it costs just as much as a KTM 500 EXC. It is 34 lbs heavier than the KTM, too.

That said, I'd definitely give this bike a test ride if I were searching for my next street-legal dirt bike. For the sake of the industry, I hope the market gobbles this bike up so the manufacturers get inspired to keep serving our niche.
 #21252  by Snowman
 31 May 2018 22:38
The reason I bought the Africa Twin over KTM or BMW is the legendary reliability and ubiquitous dealer network. I’ve yet to ride with a KTM guy who isn’t telling me about the quirks of keeping them running or the pain in the ass of having basically one dealer in KC. They still love the bikes for their power and performance but Honda is...Honda. I really want to try that 450.
 #21253  by Hank Moody
 01 Jun 2018 07:57
I'm glad Honda finally made the move and heck maybe Yamaha will now make their WR450 street legal??? Adding another option is a good thing and I would consider one if I was in the market. For me having a large dealership network would not be a factor in purchasing this bike. With availability of parts online and I do most of my own wrenching, okay sometimes I have to call a friend... (Thanks Mike) I don't really need a dealer nearby.

I don't feel there are "quirks" of keeping a KTM running that would be any different than maintaining any other 4 stroke or 2 stroke. I have always been impressed with the KTM's reliability, power and top shelf components.
 #21254  by troy
 01 Jun 2018 08:20
I have a theory on the "KTMs are high-strung, hard to maintain, unreliable machines". I've been doing this "dualsport thing" for about 12 years with a decent amount of zeal. (I launched RideForum.NET on November 30, 2006.) Started with a Kawasaki KLR650, then a Suzuki DR-350, then a Husqvarna TE-450, then KTM 450 EXC, KTM 350 EXC, and now KTM 500 EXC. I also enjoy my BMW F800GS.

In my personal experience, the idea that KTMs are finicky or less reliable does not come from KTM owners. In fact, it has usually come from Suzuki DRZ400 and DR650 owners--extremely popular dualsport motorcycles that are also very trail worthy. Several of my riding buddies have proven that over the years.

My theory is based on my own riding progression--a pattern I've seen in others many times through the years. You start out as a trail noob. Are you going to buy a $8,000 - $11,000 "race-ready", barely street-legal, high-performance machine for your first trail bike? Probably NOT. You pick up a nice, used DRZ and have a blast for a couple years. As your riding skill improves, your speed in the woods naturally increases. This means you are hitting those ruts, rocks, tree roots, and log jumps harder and faster. You find yourself riding with folks with more skill than you...and for some reason, 90% of them are riding orange motorcycles. You become jealous of how easily they loft the front wheel and how their suspension soaks up the log jumps. Eventually you either drink the orange kool-aid or, because you are not one to "follow the pack", buy an equivalent Husqvarna (now owned by KTM) or a Beta.

To finish my theory, the reason a DRZ owner might perceive KTMs as breaking down more is not because the KTM is less reliable, it is because the average KTM rider has a riding style that is pretty damn aggressive on the trail. That rider is hitting the obstacles at perhaps twice the speed of the average DR650 rider enjoying a day on the trail. Shit is going to break when you push the limits! My KLR650 was super reliable on the trail, but then again, I wasn't launching it 6 feet into the air off a rock before slamming into a creek crossing then hitting a log jump at 20 MPH!

In my experience, with all my motorcyles--KTM or other, I have been extremely impressed with how reliable they are under what seems like incredible abuse.

All that said, yeah, hard to beat Honda's reliability. The extensive dealer network would matter to me in my overall purchasing decision--definitely a win for the Honda.
 #21256  by xr-nut
 01 Jun 2018 09:02
I know you've all been waiting for me to chime in on this, well, your wait is over! 8) So it is about time, Honda step up to the plate in this segment. I hope it is not too late. I, like others, am extremely excited about this bike. I will wait a year or two and let them sort it out, plus get the aftermarket time to build parts for it. One of you guys will buy a new one and decide you don't like it, I'll be waiting!!! :twisted: So, as far as the bike goes, here are my thoughts. Weight-non issue. Once the aftermarket gets some exhaust built, that will shave I bet 20# off the bike. Weight held up high. This new powerbomb header and q4/arrestor will also add power. The new exhaust will address the next glaringly wrong numbers we are seeing on the webs, the horsepower. Some site claims all of 25hp, no way. :roll: The R version is rated at 59.9, and from what Ive read, this engine is the same, minus some compression. It should easily be in the 45+ area for HP stock. A good exhaust and tuner, this thing should rip like an R bike. The gas tank is going to be an issue, but again companies like clarke should be able to put something together. More weight can be lost by getting the hard foam filler out of the swing arm and loosing the dampers in the rear wheel. From Ultimatemotorcycling: "2019 Honda CRF450L gets different ECU settings for cleaner running, a more restrictive airbox to quiet things down, various emissions-controlling doo-dads, a fan for the thermostat-controlled high-capacity radiators, a more powerful AC generator for the streetable LED lighting, a stronger lithium-ion battery, rubber-damped steel sprockets, thicker case covers to deaden noise, a dedicated box for electronics, mirrors, switchgear, DOT-legal IRC rubber, and oddly enough, urethane injected into the swingarm to make it quieter. All that adds just 14 pounds to the CRF450L—amazing." 14# is a big deal, and most these items can be "fixed"!

Holy wall of text batmat, for those with adhd, here is the tldr version: super excited kickass new bike in my color!! :-D
 #21257  by xr-nut
 01 Jun 2018 09:06
troy wrote:
01 Jun 2018 08:20
I have a theory on the "KTMs are high-strung, hard to maintain, unreliable machines". I've been doing this "dualsport thing" for about 12 years with a decent amount of zeal.

In my experience, with all my motorcyles--KTM or other, I have been extremely impressed with how reliable they are under what seems like incredible abuse.

All that said, yeah, hard to beat Honda's reliability. The extensive dealer network would matter to me in my overall purchasing decision--definitely a win for the Honda.
I have been reading all I can on this new Honda. Nearly every forum has members bashing ktm for reliability issues? Ive been riding them since 09, and have 2-3 in the shed all the time. We have had ZERO issues with any of them. ZERO. Granted, we ride them mildly and never ever abuse them. I just don't see it. Sure the late 2000's had some 4-stroke issues but I think ktm took care of them in a first rate manner.

I agree with your line of thought Troy. Edit: Along with your theory, I think the KTM lineup as a whole, are engineered to be more aggressive, better RACE machines. Of course they're going to get beat on, thats what they are built for. With that beating comes maintenance. Which is entirely different from "breakdowns".
 #21300  by Snowman
 18 Jun 2018 21:56
troy wrote:
01 Jun 2018 08:20
To finish my theory, the reason a DRZ owner might perceive KTMs as breaking down more is not because the KTM is less reliable, it is because the average KTM rider has a riding style that is pretty damn aggressive on the trail. That rider is hitting the obstacles at perhaps twice the speed of the average DR650 rider enjoying a day on the trail. Shit is going to break when you push the limits! My KLR650 was super reliable on the trail, but then again, I wasn't launching it 6 feet into the air off a rock before slamming into a creek crossing then hitting a log jump at 20 MPH!
There is a lot of orange on the podiums in YouTube videos and they aren’t exactly pampering those machines.
 #21314  by Scott_B
 22 Jun 2018 15:15
troy wrote:
01 Jun 2018 08:20
I have a theory on the "KTMs are high-strung, hard to maintain, unreliable machines". I've been doing this "dualsport thing" for about 12 years with a decent amount of zeal. (I launched RideForum.NET on November 30, 2006.) Started with a Kawasaki KLR650, then a Suzuki DR-350, then a Husqvarna TE-450, then KTM 450 EXC, KTM 350 EXC, and now KTM 500 EXC. I also enjoy my BMW F800GS.

In my personal experience, the idea that KTMs are finicky or less reliable does not come from KTM owners. In fact, it has usually come from Suzuki DRZ400 and DR650 owners--extremely popular dualsport motorcycles that are also very trail worthy. Several of my riding buddies have proven that over the years.

My theory is based on my own riding progression--a pattern I've seen in others many times through the years. You start out as a trail noob. Are you going to buy a $8,000 - $11,000 "race-ready", barely street-legal, high-performance machine for your first trail bike? Probably NOT. You pick up a nice, used DRZ and have a blast for a couple years. As your riding skill improves, your speed in the woods naturally increases. This means you are hitting those ruts, rocks, tree roots, and log jumps harder and faster. You find yourself riding with folks with more skill than you...and for some reason, 90% of them are riding orange motorcycles. You become jealous of how easily they loft the front wheel and how their suspension soaks up the log jumps. Eventually you either drink the orange kool-aid or, because you are not one to "follow the pack", buy an equivalent Husqvarna (now owned by KTM) or a Beta.

To finish my theory, the reason a DRZ owner might perceive KTMs as breaking down more is not because the KTM is less reliable, it is because the average KTM rider has a riding style that is pretty damn aggressive on the trail. That rider is hitting the obstacles at perhaps twice the speed of the average DR650 rider enjoying a day on the trail. Shit is going to break when you push the limits! My KLR650 was super reliable on the trail, but then again, I wasn't launching it 6 feet into the air off a rock before slamming into a creek crossing then hitting a log jump at 20 MPH!

In my experience, with all my motorcyles--KTM or other, I have been extremely impressed with how reliable they are under what seems like incredible abuse.

All that said, yeah, hard to beat Honda's reliability. The extensive dealer network would matter to me in my overall purchasing decision--definitely a win for the Honda.
Having recently completed my DRZ > Husky > KTM journey, I have to say Troy's theories are spot-on, at least as they apply to me. Although it could have been him playing mind games with me way back on our 2nd or 3rd ride together at Mulberry. "You'll end up riding a KTM", he said. I laughed at the time, thinking I'd never need anything lighter or more performance minded than my trusty DRZ.
 #21315  by Creekside
 25 Jun 2018 11:23
I saw the first article with "25 hp", and thought, heck, how can they claim this is modern tech? Just get a used XR for a few bucks and spend the money on trips to Ark & Colorado. Then I saw the edits and this was bumped up to 45. That's cool. I got a 'blue' ktm but I do like the competition and variety. It makes the price come down hopefully and the quality go up, and next time around we got more options than an EXC-F & FE.