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2020 KTM 500 XCF-W

cynicwanderer

Well-Known Member
anyone looking at this bike ? impressions for BITD/SCORE ? seems like it's just like the EXC, but without the turn signals/horns and green sticker (but still locked) ECU. how would you compare it to the new CRF450X ? granted both are too new to really know how reliable they will be over time, although the Honda has been out for over a year now and seems to do well.

I'm still riding a RFS, which is super reliable, but I'm tired of dealing with carburetors/jetting and am entertaining the idea of getting a new fuel injected bike to race BITD/SCORE with. As a reference, I can race a whole BITD season with my RFS, with only tire/oil changes and maybe a valve clearance check and wheel bearings and water pump seals... need to change those often.

I'm not super competitive, so a 450XC-F or CRF450RX is overkill for me and seem more of a maintenance queen because of the higher strung motors and all. I'm hesitant to get a more complex bike (I'm thinking trail side repairs) especially without kick start. how hard is it to get fuel injection dialed in on these bikes with the Vortex ECU ? any reservation on the new 500XCF-W ?
 
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Dustino81

Well-Known Member
Hard to beat the reliability of the RFS, great motor . However I feel these new FI are relatively low maintenance as well but that also depends on how hard you race them . The new 500 XCF-W looks like a killer desert bike , big Stator already, Pankl transmissions etc. I have not messed with the Vortex stuff , but I’m very happy with my ECU re-flash from Blais Racing on my 450 . Yes there is a drawback to no kickstart , however one way I have mitigated a potential dead battery situation is to carry a micro-start jump back (small, very lightweight)
 

BajaboundMoto

Well-Known Member
As a reference, I can race a whole BITD season with my RFS, with only tire/oil changes and maybe a valve clearance check and wheel bearings and water pump seals... need to change those often.
I'm not super competitive, so a 450XC-F or CRF450RX is overkill for me and seem more of a maintenance queen because of the higher strung motors and all. I'm hesitant to get a more complex bike (I'm thinking trail side repairs) especially without kick start
That all being said...
IMO the old carb'd 450X is dynomite. Totally bulletproof, super well known, super easy to make into a perfect race bike, super easy to have 1 standard jetting spec or a minor change if going from sea level Baja to VtoR.
Justin Morgan and team could still win on a carb'd X, Justin could still win on one of my rental racer carb'd X's (he's raced our bikes a few times).

Also, Justin has been doing his best to destroy his FI-X practice bike, but he can't. He's got over 300 hours of hard riding on it with only periodic valve adj checks, oil and air filter maintenance. The other day he was shaking his head at the bike with an expression on his face like he can't believe the abuse it takes and is still perfect.
 

mikefrick

Member
Different bike, but I’ve got a 2017 350xcf. 2 Baja 1000’s, pre ran another Baja 1000, 2 desert 100’s (WA desert race) and countless hours punishing it on brutal Washington single track. Fuel injection is unbelievably crisp. Only oil changes and air filters. Valves still in spec. Original battery, no kickstarter. I’d say that’s pretty reliable. 🤷‍♂️
 

Dustino81

Well-Known Member
Different bike, but I’ve got a 2017 350xcf. 2 Baja 1000’s, pre ran another Baja 1000, 2 desert 100’s (WA desert race) and countless hours punishing it on brutal Washington single track. Fuel injection is unbelievably crisp. Only oil changes and air filters. Valves still in spec. Original battery, no kickstarter. I’d say that’s pretty reliable. 🤷‍♂️
Original top end still, how many hours you got on it ? Been nothing but happy with my 450SXF , 220 hours on it 👍
 

Fourstroker

Well-Known Member
Nice bike. I'm just curious about the differences between the XCF-W and EXC-F.
EXC-F has all the CARB required restrictions and a different ECU map. So it has less go. Also slightly different gearing. And no lights, horns, keyed ignition on the XCF-W. And street legal tires on the EXC-F
 

cynicwanderer

Well-Known Member
That all being said...
IMO the old carb'd 450X is dynomite. Totally bulletproof, super well known, super easy to make into a perfect race bike, super easy to have 1 standard jetting spec or a minor change if going from sea level Baja to VtoR.
Justin Morgan and team could still win on a carb'd X, Justin could still win on one of my rental racer carb'd X's (he's raced our bikes a few times).

Also, Justin has been doing his best to destroy his FI-X practice bike, but he can't. He's got over 300 hours of hard riding on it with only periodic valve adj checks, oil and air filter maintenance. The other day he was shaking his head at the bike with an expression on his face like he can't believe the abuse it takes and is still perfect.
so do you think not having a kickstarter is a potential issue on the new bikes for longer races ? I have both e-start and kickstart on my current bike (525exc) and there are many times when I was glad to have kickstart when the whimpy (mostly the battery) e-start dies. i.e. it's almost impossible to bump start a bike in silt. also, I suspect it's even harder to bump start a FI bike in the first place, since it needs to have a min. voltage before the ECU will even startup, at least that is what my experience is so far with FI so far.

honestly the main reasons I'm even considering a new bike, is parts availability. the RFS bikes are getting up there in age and there a few engine components that are starting to get harder to find.
also, there is less and less after market stuff/support for them as they discontinue parts. I will probably keep riding my bike until it's too uneconomical to race prep/rebuild things on it.

the carb crf450x is nice since it's only been a couple of years since they stopped making them, so parts are still available and like you said there is plenty of support/knowledge on how to setup those bikes.

the jetting thing is an inconvenience more than anything for me. I'm experimenting with a Lectron carb on my RFS bike... maybe the optimum solution would be a carb crf450x build with a Lectron, if it turns out they are reliable and work well in race conditions.
 

Doug.

Active Member

Don't waste your time or money with a Lectron on a 450X. It's not as good and not even needed, the FCR is a great carb especially once put together by someone like JCR Speed Shop. They did my jetting and modified the accelerator pump and I have never had to adjust anything, racing at sea level or up to almost 6k feet. One of the things I like most about my '09 X is how dialed the carb is. It runs better than any fuel injected bike I've ever owned.
 
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