Need help deciding KTM or Honda


Well-known member
Haven't their been quite a few ktm 500exc-f RTW trips. I have seen a few of the ktm 500's set up for light adventure traveling. One thing i have recently found with the ktm 500 exc-f is vibration issues. Felt in the foot pegs and handlebars. Anyone have any issues with that on your ktm 500 or how is the vibration factor on the honda 450l? Hell I ride my 07 KTM 250xcf-w on the street and never was like, damn this thing vibrates i need to sell it. Yes it vibrates and my front wheel will hop a little but its a woods bike. It belongs in the woods not on the street. So i cant imagine a 2020 ktm 500 exc-f wouldn't be much smoother then my 07 250.
I can't speak to the KTMs.

If you haven't looked yet, you'll probably find more responses about any bike on the forum.


I have 50 hours on my 2020 Husky 501. I don’t have any really issues with vibration or the seat comfort. I’ve ridden several 100 plus mile days without issue. The bike eats up everything from single track to country roads.


Keep your ktm and get a very low maintenance dual sport. A DRZ400 would do the trails you've described plus multi-day trips. And the only maintenance is oil and filter changes so no need for a dealer.


Viking with a Hammer
A Dr. Zed is a cock roach compared to the two bikes listed.

But it's like the little tractor that could. Despite being obviously cheap everywhere, my DRZ keeps up with nicer bikes fine. Rides smoother and easier most of the time as well. It's my toss it about, ugly campground bike.

But if I could trade it for a 450l, I would in a heartbeat. The DRZ suspension and most of the engine is cheaper to run long term. It's carb and petcock, are way overpriced though. The fuel system is a bit touchy.

I'd go Honda. Service intervals suck, but at least it's reliable.


Beach Bum
KTM makes great motorcycles.
They don't have very good dealer support and take more to maintain than most bikes.
You already have one so you know.
Honda makes great motorcycles.
Their dealer support is great and have decent service intervals.
If you want to ride, not worry about the bike so much, get a Honda.
Bingo!!! What :rolleyes: he said!

I have owned multiple orange bikes and I like them for what they are but I'll keep those purchases to two-strokes going forward. I also considered a Husky 501 when I was shopping for my new big bore thumper and after considering the dealer network aspect, parts, price, and overall reliability reputation I went with the 450L in the end.

I've had it for over a year now and it's reserved for weekend dual sport trips and out of state enduro rides so I am still under 3,000 miles but 85% or more of those are completely off-road. No maintenance or reliability issues and I wouldn't hesitate to take her around the world tomorrow with proper dual sport rubber and some slightly larger saddle bags.

I have started extending my oil change intervals past the recommended 600 miles. I got great feedback on the 800 mile interval analysis so I have decided to push it to 1,000 miles this time and I'll see what Blackstone has to say about it at that time. Should the results come back as I expect I might try 1,200 miles next but I am ok with sticking to 1,000 mile OCI's from here on should the oil life and content not look as good as I like on the 1,200 mile analysis. I use standard Honda GN4 dino oil and Honda o-rings and filters which I change every time. I can change the oil for $10 using factory supplies, that's cheap.

When comparing the KTM 500/Husky 501 to the 450L you'll get better stock suspension, better on road ride, better lights, and a lower purchase price with the 450L. Aftermarket still favors the Austrian bikes but the aftermarket is quickly catching up with the 450L and it's only been around for less than two years. With the newer counter balanced KTM's I think they are equally as smooth as the Honda, and both the KTM and Husky will make slightly more power out of the box, albeit only 1-2 HP more if you use a Vortex ECU and exhaust on the 450L, which I highly recommend.

In closing I don't think you can go wrong either way, they are both great bikes with their own array of perks and qualities both good and bad. So pick one based on your local dealer network, if that matters to you (in this day and age you can get anything online in a few days), or buy based off of price or even by which one you think looks better. Best of luck with your decision and be sure to start a build thread once you do bring one home, this portion of the forum needs more traffic.


The 500 KTM can be just as smooth as other counter balanced singles. KTM just doesn't balance the wheels from new, so do that and it's great.
The 500/501 Engine has proven to be very strong. The valves never need adjusting if you keep after the air filter. Oil changes are easy and can be stretched out if it's ridden on two track or highway.
All other maintenance is the same as the Honda. Part prices on the KTM's can be cheaper because of the similarities between the models. The Honda part are very unique.
If you want lighter weight, more power and better suspension, KTM's the only answer. If you never work on your own bike, get the Honda.