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Old 06-05-2012, 08:27 PM   #1
harcus OP
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Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Edge of the Wasatch
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500 EXC Full Up Dual Sportin

In October 2011 I purchased a new KTM 500 EXC. The purpose was to create a "Lightweight Dualsport" machine that would allow access into areas were a bit tight for my favorite DS ride the 990. I started a thread to document the changes I planned to make....

Now that spring has sprung & the white stuff is receding from the high country I felt it was time to do some testing. Through out the winter, mods had been made to the machine & many 1-3 day rides had been accomplished...all in the interest of science, of course. The difference was, those rides didn't exercise the bike fully loaded to truly see how it performed as a lightweight dual sport.

So, I planned a quick thru one of my favorite areas of our beautiful state...the high Uintas. This is a classic ride known by many locals but it still rates a 9 on the scale so what better place to test for a few days.

The target load for this bike using the rack & bags (that we sell) is 50-60 lbs. The 990 will easily carry 100 lbs but then again, it weighs 500ish lbs wet. After all, this bike started as 267 lbs wet originally. With the added composite bash plate, rack, fairing, 21 liter KTM tank of fuel it has been beefed up to 290 lbs. On top of that I add the goodies for the trip.

The goodies include...
1. 1 gal RotoPax of fuel on a side plate mount - I am not sure of my mileage (early numbers were 55ish) & I know there is a long way between stations up there
2. 1 gal RotoPax of water on a side plate mount - Were are camping here, we need water, don't want to waste a filter.
3. RH bag - Stove, food, etc
4. LH Bag - Clothes, tire pump, jacket, etc
5. Top rack - 20 deg sleeping bag, tent
6. LH side lower rack -Tubes & tire tools
7. RH side lower rack - Tool kit

Total = 56 lbs

Plenty for this little bike but right on target for the test. I headed out mid afternoon Sat...

This route avoids as much pavement as possible but it is unavoidable. First stop & the start of dirt, the corner of Wyoming...

Clouds over the high mountain valleys...

And a few puddles...

First stop, Bear River Station for fuel. They were closing up but I caught them. 1.48 gal / 98 miles = 66 mpg = What? Can not believe it but...

I head over Elizabeth Ridge & down the road. Imade it the West Fork of Smith's Fork river for camp that night...

The wild flowers are already poppin...

Still white up there...

The next day I continued the trek east. Heading to Hole in the Rock (the north one)...

Hoop lake is nice...

Some really nice trails here...

Time out, more later...
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Current rides - '14 KTM 1190 R Adv <2k, '07 990Adv 39k, '12 500EXC 7k, '09 GasGas 300 Raga

harcus screwed with this post 06-06-2012 at 09:34 AM
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:02 AM   #3
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Time out, more later...
Is it later yet ?

This is looking good.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:18 AM   #4
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Wickid Harcus,

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Old 06-06-2012, 09:30 PM   #5
harcus OP
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As I approached Vernal, I attempted to find a dirt route down the hill. I was at 9400 ft & Vernal is at 5500 ft. I had way points from a friend but I could not connect them to the trail so I headed down the highway. This is not bad since it is a beautiful road with many switchbacks. I soon found myself in Vernal at the Dinosaur Brewhaus where I picked up a burger & a brew. I called fellow Utard Ryman, a 690 owner & great rider. Here is Ryman in Baja...

We met up & I explained that I was looking for a route back up the hill but off pavement. Ryman said that I needed to see the Red Cloud Loop. We headed out & soon found ourselves half way up the hill on the RC loop. Unfortunately, a big black rain cloud was gathering over us. We soon found ourselves in cold rain & hail. Ryman didn't have a good rain coat & was getting wet & cold. We soon got to the turn off to Taylor mountain Ryman headed down to warm up. I followed him. I had lost interest in returning home via the North slope. I now liked the South slope better. Sorry, no rain & hail pics.

We arrived in Vernal & split up. I gassed up & headed to Whiterocks...Indian territory. I worked my over the Indian territory to Yellowstone River. My target was to spend the night at Swift Creek. Many fond memories are there & I wanted to revisit. Camp site 10 was my choice. For $4 I had the best camp in the area. Swift Creek adjoins the Uintas primitive area & is a 9 on my scale...

With no reason to hurry & a beautiful morning I blasted out at 1000 toward SLC. The route stays as close as possible to the Uintas. I soon came onto the turn to Hells Canyon. Hmmm...I have ever explored this canyon. No time like the present. Hang a right. Lots of trees here...

This is a nice canyon that butts up to the primitive as well. The winter has pushed a lot of trees out into the road. Luckily the forest crews have cut them back...

Nice view into the valley at the lower end...

I worked my way over to Stillwater via Rock Creek & headed up the hill to the pass to Blind Creek. The cliffs here are overwhelming. The switchbacks leave you dizzy but giggling like a school girl...

Exiting Blind Creek, I head for the West Fork of the Duchesne, drop into the heat of Heber valley & up Guardsman to a hot SL valley & home. A quick stop at the Chevron to top off. I put 3.2 gal into a 3.4 gal (13 liter) tank. Close.

Total miles for 2 days, 556...

Total fuel burned ...8 gal
Overall mileage...66.8 mpg

Ridiculous - I never expected that.

How did it ride? Very well! I had added about .4 inch of preload to the rear shock spring at home to return to the original static offset & added 4-5 clicks of compression damping in Vernal after talking with Ryman. I do think I will increase the rear spring rate tho for better flexibility in suspension adjustments.

How did the bike carry the load? Unbelievably well. No question, adding 56 lbs onto a 290 lb bike is noticeable but all that said, the agility of the bike on the trails was impressive. Ryman had drug me over several hills on single track & the bike handled well.

Could I use more power? Sure, but do I want to sacrifice fuel mileage to get it? As is, fully loaded, the bike has more power than anything in it's class. I never lacked for power so not yet.

How did the rack & panniers do? Extremely well. Nothing shook loose, no cracks, no failures, no problems.

Can I carry everything I need in (2) 22 liter panniers & the top rack? Yup, it looks like it. But I do want a chair for long rides. Maybe a soft one...

Conclusion - Is this bike & set up an acceptable light weight dual sport? Absolutely! At this point, I know of none better. I would head to Alaska on it tomorrow!

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Current rides - '14 KTM 1190 R Adv <2k, '07 990Adv 39k, '12 500EXC 7k, '09 GasGas 300 Raga
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:58 PM   #6
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Hi Harcus!

Thanks for the ride! That sleet was killer.
The bike is looking great.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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Wow, I think you came up with the perfect dual sport bike! Nicely set up and nicely traveled!
We rode through Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge up and over the mountains to Vernal, it was awesome.
"Nobody understands what you're know what I'm sayin"
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:17 PM   #8
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I love that loop. Certainly a Utard classic.

Wow, nice write up on the bike too. Impressive MPG.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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Thumb Great News

This thread is definitely relevant to my interests.
I'm glad you are having favorable results.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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just curious how big are you? would the bike handle your load plus 250 lb. rider?
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #11
harcus OP
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Originally Posted by lilrascal55 View Post
just curious how big are you? would the bike handle your load plus 250 lb. rider?
I am 175 x 6 ft 1in

I don't doubt that the bike would carry the added load (250 - 175 = 75 more lbs) but...

1. Suspension - You would want to put on the higher rate springs, front n rear. Race Tech sells upgrades for both ends. I doubt that they have exactly what you will need but it would still help

2. Performance - It will definitely suffer

In the end, you would be better off on a bigger bike that was made for the load like a 990. That bike is MADE for big loads. And, it has a slightly lower seat height.

Want Creative Adventure Products? - See

Current rides - '14 KTM 1190 R Adv <2k, '07 990Adv 39k, '12 500EXC 7k, '09 GasGas 300 Raga
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:36 AM   #12
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Very awesome, love the bits you got on there, great concept
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:12 PM   #13
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Good report and the bike looks sharp. Curious what gear raito you're running?
Guns keep society safe.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:37 AM   #14
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Location: Lost in Utardia
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Nice Write up!

Have been following your build thread since you started it and it has come along nicely. Liking the fairing and your bash plate.

Thanks for taking the time to post it all.

I know that the 500 in some flavor will be my next bike but I just can't kill my 525MCX yet and therefore justify the new purchase.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:25 PM   #15
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Nice ride Harcus. I am itching to do this loop soon - its amazing how dry it is up there this year.
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