ATK 605 the perfect mid-size adventure bike?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Cycletroll, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,648
    Location:
    Crestwood, Kentucky
    I made the mistake of riding a 605 a few months ago.....now I can't find a clean one to buy. :cry I'd trade my tricked out XR600 for one in a second! :evil
    #21
  2. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,638
    Location:
    20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
    Damn, I think most of the other guys in here have traded their ATKs in on 525s. I guess it's up to me to chime in.

    My current garage includes two 1997 ATK 605s and three KTM LC4s. So I can give you an honest appraisal of both types.

    Is the ATK an adventure bike? Not a chance. The subframe is meant to keep your butt off the tire in between rough sections. It's a spindly aluminum thing that won't support any kind of real hard luggage. You'd get away with lightly packed soft bags but that's it.

    The previously mentioned fuel tank will limit you somewhat. It's not a deal-breaker for me but it does limit your range to about 100 miles in slow-going or sand.

    The early model steel swingarm has been mentioned but then the very late aluminum swingarms were rumored to be worse. One of my bikes has cracked its swingarm, the other (that was ridden harder) hasn't. Ironically, the bike with the good swingarm has a crack right on the weld at the back of the steering head (infant mortality me thinks). I don't think their welders were the best in the world and that may have contributed to the inconsistent quality we see.

    The exhausts came in two flavors: 1996-1997 and 1998-2003. The early exhaust uses a single bolt to hold the muffler up. That style will fail eventually. The good news is that you can buy the whole later exhaust and a weld-on bracket to update the older subframe. Some bikes already have it. Depending on how hard you ride, you may or may not need it.

    The problem stems from the heavy muffler being unsupported and placing all the vertical loads onto the inlet flange. It doesn't last long. If you buy an early model and catch it before the muffler fails, you could fabricate a second hanger on the muffler and prevent it from happening in the first place.

    I too chose the Rotax engine because it was aircooled and meant never being stranded with a leaking cooling system. Ironically, I got the ATK super hot while plodding up a 10K foot 4x4 trail in the Sierras last summer. The loctite let go on the belt tensioner nut. The belt came loose, skipped a few teeth on the cam and bounced an intake valve. Luckily it happend on a public road and I was able to get a AAA tow back to camp. Five miles earlier and I would have been really screwed.

    As for road riding, the ATK sucks. It's a dirt bike. The lack of a cush drive hub makes life harder on the transmission. The flex of knobbies will cushion the trans but if you go for a dual-sport tire like a Metzeler Sahara, it will hammer that poor transmission.

    The KTM 640 Adventure has a steel subframe (can handle luggage), equal suspension and more than double the fuel. They are both great bikes but the ATK is a brute of a dual sport and the 640 Adventure is an adventure bike. Even with my oversize headlight and Acerbis aux tank, the ATK is 75 pounds lighter than my KTM Adventure. There's a reason I have both. If I could only have one and I wanted an adventure bike, there's no question: I'd keep the KTM.
    #22
  3. Ignore Amos

    Ignore Amos bruised, dazed & confused

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    981
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    In my book, the expert has spoken....
    #23
  4. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,638
    Location:
    20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
    You mean the parrot has spoken. :lol3 I'm just repeating all that we've discussed in here before. :dunno

    And one only needs to look at the Ignore Amos stable to see a 640 and 950 Adventure but a 525 where there once was an ATK.
    #24
  5. Speaker

    Speaker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    888
    Location:
    N. AZ
    But alas, the ATK still bekons his heart. One day they will be together again, but not yet.. not yet.:raabia
    #25
  6. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,648
    Location:
    Crestwood, Kentucky
    Not everyone can afford a KTM.
    #26
  7. billyji

    billyji Goat Trail Green

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Coppell Texas for now
    Basically it is personal preference. This is an exotic desert bike thats street legal. If you dont mind thinking outside the box this could be a bike for you. If you want to be able to open a catalog and order panniers that could be overnighter you might want to re think it. I bought my 2001 es/ds wanting a more dirt orientated do it all dual sport. While I can run this thing through the woods in 3rd gear, I better be on top of my game. I have since bought a yz 250. So as you requested I will try to get away from personal opinion and list things i have discovered... the bike comes stock with many dollars worth of after market pieces as mentined above. one very important thing for me was the heavy duty spokes and rims. i have yet to bend a rim and I have taken some good hits ie rocks.
    This bike eats batteries unless it is a Yuasa gel cell. I went through 3 Batteries Plus gel cells in 4 months.9they claim they are just as good but after the 3rd one they said they couldnt help me anymore,of course I was done also) Finally I just went and bought the Yuasa per ATK.
    Also do not start a car and jump start the bike it will fry the electrics. you can jump the car off a battery if the vehicle isnt started per ATK.
    the seat foam for long hauls is a little on the shy side.
    parts take a week to a week and a half to get.
    air box is tight for cleaning the K&N filter
    Clutch tear down is pretty intensive
    fuel milage is about 30 mpg
    how loud the supertrapp is. I have since put a stock KTM silencer on

    Things I like
    the handle bars mounts are rubber mounted for vibration.
    the cockpit is spacous and the bars are perfect for standing up
    I mounted a spare 1 gallon tank on the rear fender along with a wolfman soft bag and with the huge aluminum flat support it worked great. I went as far as the xr 650 l with the 4 something gallontanks.
    with the wheel base no steering stabalizer is needed. straight line hold one
    I adjusted the sag and my suspension was perfect.
    Lee at atk has diagnosed things over the phone he knows these bikes inside and out
    http://www.atkusa.com forum
    also search google/yahoo and the old forum will pop up with good info example (605 fuel range)
    the electric start.
    the huge oil capacity
    the long narrow feel
    i have a bolt on kick stand
    the pull and strength of the engine
    the possiblities of building the engine
    i just went to cooper canyon and back on it.
    price and simplicity

    [​IMG]
    #27
  8. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,638
    Location:
    20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
    I agree on most of your points but...

    I've found that the pegs are too far forward and the stock bars are too low to comfortably stand for long periods. It's okay for an attack crouch but you're holding yourself up with your arms--it's not a natural 'standing' position.

    On a properly setup peg/bar relationship I understand that you should be able to go from seated to standing without your hands on the bars. I can't. I need to pull myself up with the bars or lean forward to balance before I try to stand. Of course that peg relationship makes it a great sitting bike--it's all about trade-offs. Do you have the stock bars or taller ones?

    The other is handling in the sand. It's still a bit heavy on the front end and I think the forward placement of the pegs exacerbates the problem. I find myself fighting the ATK in places where my friend's 525 just gets up and planes. That peg placement also makes it hard to loft the front wheel in places where the 525 will respond with just a flick of the throttle.

    And that was a good catch on the wheels. The wheels are one of the best things on the bike--they're insanely built. I've whacked things out in the desert that should have bent the heck out of them but they took it in stride.
    #28
  9. billyji

    billyji Goat Trail Green

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Coppell Texas for now
    #29
  10. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    Great info guys! This is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to know. That Cervantes guy really knows his stuff!
    I have been trying to convince myself that I could have only one more motorcycle to cover everything I want to do but we all know how compromises are. I guess maybe I should consider getting a 640A and a light dirt bike.
    While I'm on the subject of dirtbikes, my medical training officer has a 2003 WR450F he said he'd sell me for $3400-Renthall bars, WR and YZ exhausts, meticulously maintained and only on it's second tire. Whatdaya think? that and a 640 would complete the stable (and would neccessitate shitloads of overtime on my part:cry )

    The ATK sounds like a great bike but I guess not really ideal for multiday trips and/or frequent pavement hops. Seems as though I may suffer an Orange Infection in spite of my resistance:D
    #30
  11. billyji

    billyji Goat Trail Green

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Coppell Texas for now
    I have a couple friends who have dual sported the 450 wr FYI. One thing to watch and ask about is the key way in the starter system on the 2003. If it hasnt been upgraded and lets loose you will have a mess. As you can tell I dont know the exact upgrade but someone else doesnt chime in i will ask my buddy for you. as for price that is a supply and demand thing I dont get into.
    I guess you need to ask yourself do you want a dirt orientated or a street orientated dual sport. I spent 1200 miles,8 days and ascended 90,000 feet, 2 weeks ago driving to cooper canyon and back. 300+ miles each way on the slab. The slabs across the desert was boring. Did i switch from cheek to cheek yes. Did I love the bike when I start riding in snow,ice and gravel roads that were really more like 15 foot wide single track in Arkansas and Oklahoma. You bet i did. sit back,wick that throttle and roll. Oh, will I truck my bike to Creel next time. Probably !! LOL
    Enjoy whatever you decide !!!!
    Mike Green
    #31
  12. Flatulator

    Flatulator Banned

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    733
    from the standpoint of reliability and quality - I would choose the venerable XR600 over an ATK/Rotax 605

    motor performance ? - the same

    suspension/handling ? - XR600

    stock parts/dealers ? - XR600

    aftermarket parts ? - motor the same - chassis ? - XR600

    street legality ? - the XR600 didn't come legal - but can be made str legal in most states with ease

    neither are ideal for the street
    #32
  13. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    Yeah I'm aware of the Woodruf key on the stator shaft. The bike I'm looking at has been updated.

    Old XR's are surely cool bikes!
    #33
  14. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    If you mean you want to travel on one, I don't know. I would prefer not to deal with parts availability for something like that. As a woods bike, the ATK 605 is awesome though. Low hanging branches suck because it's a really tall bike. The engine is fantastic. I can come to a stop and take off again without using the clutch, and without the engine bogging. Awesome low end, super controllable, it's like riding an automatic on slow technical stuff. The engine's really well made (it doesn't use or need a head gasket, for instance) but I don't know what it'd take to make the bike travel. I think of it as a very big enduro bike. The one I rode would definitely need major regearing to take down the highway. It probably doesn't have a cush drive either. You could make up a seat and attach some fuel cells and regear it with a cush drive wheel, and no doubt it'd do it, I'm just not sure it'd really be the best choice for that. Great bike though.
    #34
  15. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,105
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    Not in my experience. The 605 is a much more impressive engine. I like the XR600 a bit better overall offroad, but I'm not that good and it's just easier to ride chassis-wise for me. But the 605's engine, in terms of control and power, is pretty awesome, I think it smokes the XR's.
    #35
  16. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,727
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I bought a new 605DS/ES in 1995----------I've owned at least 35 dirt bikes--most came from my racing years---it's the only one I hated. I wouldn't admit it to anyone for a year as I was emabarrassed I paid $7,200 for it. I had no real mechanical issues with it except it would foul a plug about every other time I tried to start it cold.

    I could never come to grips with the handling and especially the rear shock----no amount of adjustment made it right. I hated riding it and would sometimes hand it over to my son who was always with me--and take his bike--as I had bought both of them and he didn't have much to say on the matter. :D I'd rather ride his old clapped out DR350.

    The only way I could get rid of it was trade it off for a nice Ducati sport bike-----nobody would buy it.

    I had that bike back when I was still an aggressive and good rider. At 55 I'm still fair-just not real aggressive.

    Anyway--I have a 2006 610 Husky now--------I'm not going into all the technical details of how the Husky is better in every way (for me) (maybe not you---but for me)----I'd be typing for an hour.

    The Husky makes a great offroad adventure bike-----as it has plenty of electrical power----a 4.3 tank will be in my shop in a week---all the superb components the ATK has---enough meat and strenght to the frame to carry a rear rack and some dirt Bagz ala a KTM adventure.

    Super smooth motor with a 6 speed which gives a very relaxed 70mph cruising speed.

    Plenty of oil for the big trip. I only changed the oil once on a 3,600 mile offroad trip on the trans am trail with it to the Oregon coast.

    It only has electric start--but has a hole I assume could be fitted with a kickstarter.

    A lot of ATK lovers have replied here. They seem to like it just fine.

    I'm just saying it didn't work for me.
    #36
  17. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to asphalt!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,252
    Location:
    Kalifornia
    What you need to do is DS the ATK 700cc 2 stroke!

    Now that would be an interesting ride! :eek1
    #37
  18. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    Mark, I've read many of your posts on the Husky. The Te-610 sounds like a great bike. The problem is I know I'm gonna like the way a 640 KTM or a TE-610 rides; I've just been fantasizing about a tech air-cooled motor with great suspension. The DR650 has always been a consideration, just so much to do to make the suspension better.:cry I guess someday I'll have to build my own.
    Underststandably, most DS development is in water-cooled engines.
    I'm not really afraid to work on/maintain a finicky bike like the KTM, I'd just rather have something I know I could stretch a service interval on and not have a top end failure. I have seen reports of people riding the LC4 engine a long ways with penty of abuse thrown. Ah well, it will probably just depend on which bike I find a good deal on first TE610/KTM640. These really seem to be the only performance mid-sized dual sports with elec. start that don't require massive amounts of modding.

    Anybody here own/owned both the newer Husqvarna and a KTM lc4? Comparisons?
    #38
  19. billyji

    billyji Goat Trail Green

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Coppell Texas for now
    #39
  20. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,727
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I have been reading you guys ride report intently---really been enjoying it---and yes the Husky breakdown got my attention. It's the only instance I've heard of this happening. Really weird that this happened when he plugged in the GPS as the ignition system and the 12-volt battery system are totally seperate on that bike---as it will run without a battery like a real dirt bike. Surely he didn't have it miswired into his ignition system.
    Thanks Billy !!!!
    #40