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December 10th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #1
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so hard to decide...

sorry if this is a millionth repost...

turning 40 soon, decided to get out of 4x4s and back to 2 wheels after 15 years.

rode a lot from age 5 to 25, mostly just trail/exploring but some faster open forestry roads too...

i really like the new KTMs and Bergs. but there are still some new 2011 bergs to be had for about $3000 less then a 2012 ktm 350 so no brainer there...berg it is.

i rode a 2009 fe 450 today briefly, man was it a nice ride.

so here i am, can't decide between a 2011 fe390 or 450

i'm about 5'8" and 200lb (hopefully less as i ride more)

lot of twisty single track around here, but lot of open secondary forestry roads too

since the weights are identical, i'm leaning towaRDS the 450, or is the 390 that much better on the twisties?
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December 10th, 2011, 07:06 PM   #2
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Re: so hard to decide...

If it helps any, I'm 57 years old, 5'8", 155 lbs, and I just bought my first dirt bike - an FE570S.

Think big.
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December 10th, 2011, 09:26 PM   #3
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Re: so hard to decide...

Some things are hard to quantify - and it's hard to convince people that the 390 handles better than the 570 when people note the very slight weight difference. But they are very different bikes. It's the same reason that the GSXR 750 was always a better track bike than the 1000 even though they were nearly identical; it's where that weight is located. The rotating mass and centrifugal force are that much less. Even the 450 vs 390 is illuminating. If I lived in an area where I could use the extra power, I'd love the 570. But where we ride, it's rocky, rooty, muddy, steep and gnarly. I rarely have my 390 pinned, and only for a couple of seconds if I do. I'm rarely above third gear, and usually in first and second. For me, the 390 is the best bike.

There was a great post fairly recently from someone who rode all three back to back at a demo day. See if you can track it down.
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December 11th, 2011, 01:39 AM   #4
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Re: so hard to decide...

Best for you would be to try them both as all you get here are opinions that differ because of different riding styles, areas we ride in and so on.

I havent tried the 450 but I would like to say that I think the 390 is a bit too weak. It was an extremely nice bike in tricky tight enduro, but compared to the 450 i dont know. Anyway, for my riding it was to weak in some areas.

If I, like Garrison, would mostly ride in tight trails and technical enduro I would probably go for the 390 too. There it is fantastic. If you like to go for a ride on some nice roads or faster tracks it might be too weak for your taste.
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December 11th, 2011, 02:57 AM   #5
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Re: so hard to decide...

As others allready mentioned depends on what terrain your riding in,here in my region in the netherlands we ride in very soft sandy terrain and narrow flat paths trough the woods,3 months ago searched with my off road companion for new bikes , both around 100 kg same length 194 cm ,we tested a 390 and a 570,iff you are a top rider i believe that in difficult situations you can be faster with a 390,he bought a 390 and i a 570,in my opinion a stupid dissision,sad for him but he never had any chance with his 390, and he tried all kind off thing,several suspension changes and steer positions but never had the good feeling,to prevent him from suicide i let him try my bike and it was clear that this would also fit him better,pull the throttle and it lifts and goes like a controlable rocket,he took another exit and changed his 390 for a te 300 and i must say it fitts him en bike runs very good and he is back on his speed
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December 11th, 2011, 04:20 AM   #6
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Re: so hard to decide...

From your choice of 2 I'd go with the 450. You'll be amazed how the bigger bikes can handle the tight stuff, plus you have the extra power of the extra cc's when you need/want it. I bought a 570 and it's light years ahead of the XR650 I had (stolen) previously.As has already been said the 390 may handle better in expert hands even though the kerb weight of all 3 bikes is roughly the same but for me personally the extra lowdown grunt of the bigger engine far outweighs any percieved handling advantage of the smaller bike. Enjoy choosing and riding!
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December 11th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #7
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Re: so hard to decide...

Originally Posted by Garrison
Some things are hard to quantify - and it's hard to convince people that the 390 handles better than the 570 when people note the very slight weight difference. But they are very different bikes. It's the same reason that the GSXR 750 was always a better track bike than the 1000 even though they were nearly identical; it's where that weight is located. The rotating mass and centrifugal force are that much less. Even the 450 vs 390 is illuminating. If I lived in an area where I could use the extra power, I'd love the 570. But where we ride, it's rocky, rooty, muddy, steep and gnarly. I rarely have my 390 pinned, and only for a couple of seconds if I do. I'm rarely above third gear, and usually in first and second. For me, the 390 is the best bike.

There was a great post fairly recently from someone who rode all three back to back at a demo day. See if you can track it down.
couldnt agree with you more........(about the street bikes too).....i just replaced my TE510 with a 390.......at 57, even though ive been riding all my life, i was looking for something more manageable and less fatiquing......the 390 feels more like a 250 but has more than enough power for the kind of riding we do, that is tight, tough single track. I don't think you could go wrong with either the 390 or 450......maybe if you were going to ride more dual sport or desert would i consider the 570.......
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December 11th, 2011, 06:49 AM   #8
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Re: so hard to decide...

A factor not previously discussed is altitude. If you do your riding in the high country of Colorado, Arizona, etc., you might consider a larger displacement than you might need at sea level.
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December 11th, 2011, 11:12 AM   #9
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Re: so hard to decide...

Where are you located Canuck? If you're near Calgary we can go for a ride and you can try my 390. We might gave to wait a while for this snow to melt though!

You certainly won't go wrong with any of the bikes. I would really love to own a 570 and live in a place where I could use that power! We trailered to Tucson for some winter riding a couple of years back, and the more open terrain was just a blast!
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December 11th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #10
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Re: so hard to decide...

thanks for all the replys,,,i think i'm going to the 450.

im in victoria BC, so most of my riding will be <1000' above sea level, but that is a very good point!

I will also be doing trips to places Moab UT (was down there in apr. on a 4x4 trip) and the dunes in Oregon look like fun to play on.

last bike i had was early 90's XR250 with White Brothers stuff all through it, liked the bike, but a pig compared to todays' stuff.

only down side for the 450 is insurance since i am going to plate it for technical reasons. the insurance rates go up sinificatly over 400cc, but i still think the longer stroke will suit be better.

i sat on a 570, tempting...but quite a bit more money and the 450 has plenty of snap for me, and it was on the mildest map setting.
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