For those about to rock or 32‘000km on an EXC

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mindfuel, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. mindfuel

    mindfuel timewaster

    Sep 4, 2010
    international travelling
    It took me a while to convince my dealer to sell me a KTM 530exc single 4-stroke: for a motorcycle world trip. A short experience report.

    The KTM 530EXC is a powerful competition motorcycle the moment it comes out of the box. That means that you can enjoy all the benefits this implies but also have to face the downsides of it.
    Originally the concept of the EXC is not that of a travel motorcycle. Keep that always in mind. The saddle is not a couch and the range with the standard tank not breathtaking. Additionally there’s no wind protection at all and the geometry of the frame and the steering not built for comfortable hours on highways. It gets even worse, looking at the technical side of it. With an EXC you own a motorcycle with a high performance engine. Let me tell you to point out one good thing at least, this is simply freakin hot and just thinking about how this bike reacts to the most subtle commands shoots my pulse sky high sitting in front of the computer. But the engine takes more care than a Toyota family hatchback. What does that mean exactly? Personally I’m a complete technical dummy, telling anyone who cares that I’m just the driver. Frankly I’m born with a brain but two left hands. Though I’d describe my technical knowledge about how a motorcycle and its engine work as advanced and I have a good sense for the system, telling me when it’s time to visit a motorcycle workshop. So even for beginners, there’s nothing to be afraid of. An absolute must is to check the engine oil regularly and refill it if necessary. This is due to the engines low oil capacity (extensions are available). It takes you between five seconds (check) and one minute (refill). Even I could do that. Getting the KTM recommended oil quality of 10W50 can be a real problem in many countries. My non-scientific opinion/experience/advice is to strictly follow this recommendation. But also strictly follow my second advice: before running dry just add anything you can get and change it at the next occasion. After a while - I could squeeze 300 hours out of the engine - an engine revision is necessary which is not cheap.

    If you’re not a professional rider, believe me, the motorcycles limit is way beyond yours. Dramatically spoken I don’t know how many times the EXC saved my life. Simply because its suspensions forgave my wrong choices and the torque was always enough to escape a bad situation in a stiff acceleration. On the other hand, riding an EXC requires riding with your attention focused. The slightest action on your side will have immediate consequences on the behavior of the vehicle. Above I mentioned the nearly aggressive (I love it!) response of the engine to your right hand on the gas. And because of the height and the ratio between your body weight and the weight of the EXC, balance is the secret or the key to ride this thing.

    After all, why should you ride around the world with something that is uncomfortable, needs more maintenance and more money (although it’s comparatively cheap to “big” travel bikes)? For me it was the most exciting year I’ve ever spent with a motorcycle. Never before I developed so many emotions for a piece of metal than I did for the EXC. I’ve exactly got what I was dreaming of: no limits, the ultimate liberty to go where I wanted to go with an unprecedented ease. Never before I climbed off a bike after a hard day riding that relaxed as I did with the EXC.

    Who should consider traveling with a KTM EXC? Yes, true, I feel good having done 468 hours and 32’000 kilometers in 9 months on an EXC (the first three months was riding a Royal Enfield in India). But it’s not about cock seizing. I’d feel the same pleasure if I’d have done the same trip with a vintage Vespa. Except that my dream was driving an EXC rather than a Vespa. What I want to tell you is that you really, really have to want it. If you do, the stiff saddle becomes simply a basic condition and not something you waste the tiniest thought. More general, if you’re not planning going off the paved roads with your packed bike, there are more favorable vehicles than the EXC. I’d go so far that the classic Vespa is the better choice if the “off-road” part consists of perfectly graded gravel roads. The EXC in my case gave me the chance to develop my driving skills and grow personally, to drive on tracks I never thought I was capable to do so. It was perfectly reliable and I had not a single break-down. So what can I say? I had a dream and now I have a life lasting memory.

    Short notes :
    Oil : Remarkably lower performance and felt higher abrasion with low quality engine oil.
    Gasoline : Combusts everything that burns, though performance is noticeably better with high quality gasoline. Mileage increase with higher octane rate petrol pays off the higher price!
    Consumption : Long distance average of 3.83 liter per 100 km (i.e. 61 miles per gallon).

  2. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Dec 27, 2006
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    Dam thats quite a ride on KTM single,friends who have em and have had em say 12000 miles is roughly the limit on the top end,crank goes longer,transmission has no cush drive unless you add one in the hub,so the tranny doesnt like road work stock. KTM warns of this somewhere when they sell you a bike I think.
    Thats Great you got exacktly what you wanted out of the bike and had a great trip!

    I somehow get by with my plated DRZ 400e and 650 Suzuki DR with a whole bunch of settup work,I figure the extra weight makes me stronger.
  3. Uncle-roby

    Uncle-roby Adventurer

    Nov 16, 2009
    North Italy
    Hi Mindfuel,

    I do not understand if you worked on the motor at 300 hours or if you did the whole distance (32.000 kms) on the same engine ...

    Can you explain better?

  4. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

    May 21, 2004
    It's a shame he only posted twice..this could have been a great RR
  5. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

    Oct 6, 2007
    North Georgia