1) burning oil right now. Like clockwork supposedly on these 08-11 engines, right at 80-90 hours.
Stock rings are a crappy design. http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=462748&st=0
There are also 3-4 other things. They're pretty well documented on KTM talk. Once they're addressed this engine is as solid as the RFS but better performing in opinion.
2) goal is a solid bike that last for several years with no issues, that handles awesome/I love it every time I ride it. I can deal with it now or can deal with it later. No reason not to deal with it now.
3) Its definitely hands down up there with the nicest and best performing bike I've ever ridden. Therefore I'm psyched to keep it.
I've ridden and ridden with EFI bikes and while its nice, its definitely not a game changer in my opinion so I don't think I'll be tempted to get a new bike. Not a lot I can gain from ditching this bike and getting a 12 & later KTM in the future. Even the RFS bike exceeds my capabilities, but I can definitely a difference in the '08 & later of course. '10 and later (they dropped frame another 10mm from the head tube) are nearly identical to the current 500s and 450s.
4) Therefore with a goal of a 3 year bike I feel like I picked a good candidate. A lot of this (getting back to basics) is because my goal/interest in adventure riding
. This means 2500 miles a year on average, and 90 hours is only 2-3 trips for me.
I don't want to be dicking around with burning oil or potentially blow up my engine somewhere because all of a sudden it started burning oil again.
Therefore I'm OK with putting in the money to fix it and do it right because I think its worth it. Particularly if I ride it for a bunch of years. This is also why I'm putting in time to get the rust off frame and powdercoated (bike was stored outside), etc, also get the wiring completely dialed with the street legal conversion. No crappy chinese wiring.
5) DHJ has a bunch of upgrades and mild mods to the 08-11 that make it completely solid. Some folks call it his 10,000+ mile engine. Fixes the oil pump transfer and leak issues. Merges the chambers. Tensioner. Can also bore the empty 300cc chamber in the middle of the engine for added oil capacity, which is also nice, if I want to do this. Only $100 for him to do this.
6) Only complaint is a little loss of high end on this bike. Might be rings again but the carb mod adds a little high end, and maybe some head work. Then I feel like I have the perfect engine.
The ultimate for durability is Thumper Racing sleeves (same as in your 525, I was talking to Doug about it a couple days ago) that are some high nickel aluminum that are even more durable than stock. The 518 would be sleeved, 450 would stay stock.
518 would be nice for the desert. Only time I would regret it is on some of the technical climbs on Fano's loop a little less power is nice and the 450 feels nicer... Also remember I'm 6'5 240 lbs... That extra power, particularly with another 30 lbs of gear, is nice at times... Folks day the short stroke 518 feels/handles better than the long stroke 510 engine. Sort of like a corvette engine versus a diesel both with the same HP.
It's all semantics, but just mentioning...