Make Model



2002 - 06


Four stroke, single cylinder. SOHC, 4 valves


625 cc / 38.1 cu in

Bore x Stroke 101 x 78 mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled


Keihin FCR MX-41 carburetor




Kick & electric

Max Power

24 kW / 32.2 hp@ 6000 rpm

Max Torque

45 Nm / 4.6 kgf-m / 33.2 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm


5 Speed

Final Drive


Front Suspension

48mm WP upside-down fork

Front Wheel Travel

295 mm / 11.6 in

Rear Suspension

WP monoshock

Rear Wheel Travel

320 mm / 12.6 in

Front Brakes

Single 260 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre

90/90 - 21

Rear Tyre

140/80 - 18

Dry Weight

143 kg / 315 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

12 L / 3.2 US gal / 2.6 Imp gal

KTM 625 versus 450 versus 300

Many riders looking for a new bike are pointing their search engines at three models, a 450 four-stroke, a big bore four-stroke, or a two-stroke. Is there a big difference between a 450 and a big bore four-stroke, and can a modern 300cc two-stroke keep up? We rode all day through floods, earthquakes and lousy food to find the good, the bad and the ugly.

(Story: Dr Dan from Motorcycle Trader mag)

This whole idea was Rob Moss's fault.

We were having a beer in the cubbyhouse one Sunday arvo when Rob mentioned he was due for a new bike but didn't know what the next one would be. Rob's current mount is a KTM640 but he was open to the idea that a new big bore four-stroke, or even a 300cc two-stroke, might be a good move. Dr Dan chimed in with his opinions - he's prowling the dealerships himself - and before we knew it we had an idea for another comparo.

The way we figure it, a lot of blokes looking for a new bike are probably in the same predicament. New models seem to be coming out all the time, and they're all brilliant, but which way do you jump? And what about the two-stroke thing? Two-strokes are coming back into fashion, because they're cheaper to buy and the average rider can work on them, so maybe we should chuck a ring-a-ding into the mix just for good measure.

That's pretty much how this comparo came together. It's not really a shootout. We're not trying to find out which bike is best but what the various characteristics of these bikes are, and how they might appeal to different riders. And by the way, that we used KTMs for this story is insignificant. We have terrific relations with KTM, and they were good enough to supply all the bikes we needed, so we took advantage of test bike manager Dave Woodward's good nature and hauled away the models we needed. Our thanks go to KTM for their help in putting this feature together.


The 625SXC is physically the biggest of the three. It's taller, wider and heavier and shorter riders have to contend with this. The power is broad and strong, and we mean strong! It revs harder than the old 640 but not as hard as the 300 or the 450. This bike is the king of torque, but in true four-stroke style it's easy power to control, and if you want the 625 to be a brute it's just a matter of dialling in more throttle.

The sheer size of the 625 means you have to be physical when you tip it into the turns, something our smallest rider struggled with, while the two bigger riders found it easy. The ergos are not MX; there's a steep climb to the front of the bike and you can't stay there without pushing up from the pegs. No-one is going to say they're cramped on this big bore, but if you're under 180cm (6 ft) tall you'll struggle to reach the ground.

Suspension was on the soft side but it was the only bike that the heavier riders didn't say needed a heavier spring. It did wallow a bit in the rough stuff, and off erosion drains, but it handled predictably.

We reckon the standard gearing was ludicrously tall. We pulled 140kph at three quarter throttle in fifth so who knows what it would max out? The gearing is just not suitable for the style of riding we do, which is what we consider average weekend stuff. That said, Peter Martin threw this thing around like a toy, so if you're built right, and you ride like Pete, you'll be okay.

The brakes are good, and they have to be on a bike that weighs this much, although the rear lacked feel. You have to brake early on these big bikes. The rear brake had a folding lever that would fold - and stay folded. It's easy enough to fix with a bit of filing but it's annoying, and potentially painful when you go for the rear brake and can't find it.

The biggest drawback with this big bore thumper is the size of the fuel tank, a piddling nine Litres , so coupled with the big engine it doesn't give you much range. We hit reserve at the 75km mark, and believe us when we tell you, you don't want to push s big bike like this.

All riders agreed this would be the best tourer of the three but not the best trail bike. A big guy can throw the 625 through tight stuff and then really enjoy the more open stuff, but for most of us, the 450 or 300 two-stroke is a much better trail bike.

KTM's 450EXC was the unanimous winner in DBT's recent 450 shootout so it came as no surprise that all three testers liked it. There's no one attribute of this 450 you'd single out. As an overall package it's an outstanding motorcycle. Power is broad and smooth, starting with a healthy bottom-end that develops into a strong midrange and finishes off in a good useable top-end. This ability to develop usable power everywhere in the rev range is typical of the bet 450s and enables you to get maximum 'thrust' in all situations. This is not a killer engine but it's a good strong engine in a user-friendly format that allows you to hold maximum corner speed and get on the gas early.

Suspension was on the soft side so we adjusted the clickers to stiffen it up. The two bigger testers are in the 100kg-plus range and found the standard shock spring too soft. We wound up the spring preload to compensate, sort of, but this is an issue bigger riders have to contend with on most stock 450s, because every manufacturer reckons every rider weighs 80kg.

The ergos are very different to the 625's, as you'd expect. The 450 is slim and sitting up front comes naturally. The layout is good, everything is right where it should be, and no-one complained about being cramped, not even 190cm tall Rob. The 450 feels light and is easy to tip into turns. And it's easy to live with. As Rob Moss said "It's a bike that's hard to fault" - although one of our testers thought the seat too hard. Picky bastards aren't we.

The 300EXC and 450EXC feel similar but they have different chassis, and although the suspension externals are similar, inside they differ considerably. Right off the bat, the advantage the 300 has over the four-strokes is that it weighs in at nearly 11kg lighter so it's even easier to tip into corners than a 450. Switchbacks are a real hoot on the 300; the word 'effortless' comes to mind. The light weight does have an effect that some people consider a drawback though: it's more easily deflected over rough terrain than a heavier bike. This isn't to say the 300 is unsteady, far from it, but this 'twitchiness' is noticeable when you ride the 450 and then the 300. The two-stroke is more a young man's bike and a lot more physical to ride than your average thumper. If you want one of these, get fit first.

The other noticeable advantage the lighter bike has is in braking. With less mass, it pulls up quicker. It was amazing how much later you could leave the braking on the two-stroke. If you like scaring your mates by diving passed them under brakes, this is the bike for you.

But what about the two-stroke zap? It's still there. This two-stroke engine is amazingly flexible, it's strong off the bottom, has a good mid-range, but it's the top-end that really sizzles. In a direct comparison with the 450, the 300 is not as strong off the bottom but much better up top, as you'd expect, in fact this thing is hell-fast with terrific straight line speed. We had several drag races with a much heavier rider on the 300 and it still blitzed the 450.

The other point to consider in this discussion is that the 300 is the only bike of the three not to have electric start. For a big-bore two stroke it's very easy to start, but nothing is easy to start when your perched halfway up the widow-maker, trying to stop the bike sliding back down the hill. A small point perhaps, but one that's an important issue for some.

Overall, the consensus was that the two-stroke was a very good trail bike, but one that would require a more experienced and fitter rider to get the most out it.


"I don't mind the 300cc two-stroke, in fact I've owned one, but I reckon it's a young man's bike because it's more physical to ride than a 450 or a 625 four-stroke. The 625 LC4 feels faster than my 640, I think it revs a bit harder and it certainly tips into turns a lot easier. If I was buying a bike purely for trail riding, though, I reckon I'd go for a 450. It feels light and manoeuvrable, it's fast enough and it's just such a nice size to ride."

"I agree with Rob. For my money the 625 is a better all-round bike for trail and adventure riding, to the Cape and that sort of thing, but for trail riding I'd take the 450. I felt quite comfortable on the big bore but it's more physical to throw around when you're in tight stuff, even if you're a good rider. I liked riding the two-stroke but it's definitely not a bike for a novice. It's light, turns sharp and isn't a bad wheelie machine either, but you could get into awful trouble on that bike if you didn't know what you were doing. Basically, I reckon the 450 is the pick of the bunch, but not if you're doing real long distance stuff.

"For me the 625 was just too much bike. I weigh in at 80kg and I felt like the big bore was taking me for the ride. It was just too big for me to muscle through the corners and consequently I was slow. But I had a ball on the two-stroke. It was light, nimble and could pull up on a five cent piece. Easy to tip into turns, it was king of the tight stuff, and surprisingly smooth, and it still had that legendary two-stroke zap. However, as an overall package for trail-riding I'd take the 450. It's just a smidgeon behind the 300 in terms of agility, and the engine is silky smooth but still with enough oomph to get the heart racing. What swings my vote, though, is electric start. It's a small difference so it shows how close I think these two are."

Source BikePoint