KTM 525 EXC as an Adventure Bike

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Karnage, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. John E Davies

    John E Davies Runs at Mouth Adventurer

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    Thanks, those are pretty cool pics, and the bikes don't appear damaged, but are there ANY rocks in Dakar, and did any of those pictured bikes actually go down? I can't recall seeing anything but sand and more sand in pics of the race. I've heard of bikes hitting rock ledges at speed, but they are often ledges submerged in dust.

    Sand is pretty forgiving stuff for crashing in, unless you're a rider buried in it and choking.... Also, I bet that the pit crew changes out crash damaged bodywork as soon as possible (the pic of the mechanic riding the body-less 109 bike - nice shoes BTW!), because it simply does not look good on camera, and the advertisers and sponsers don't like to see it.

    The trouble is, I fall a LOT more than those pro Dakar riders do - if I had alloy pannier tanks I could never go off pavement ;(
    #21
  2. Stu

    Stu Buffo Maximus

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    KTM offers three different wheel / hub combos on the 640. One of them will work on the 525 (I am trying to sort that out now for the 525 I will pick up in 2 weeks). Three measurements must be correct: overall width, sprocket alignment and rotor alignment. So far I have the last two but not the overall width.

    My 450 EXC as a dual sport was not blown all over the highway, could cruise comfortably at 65 and excelled off road. It also had almost no vibration. With the EE soft seat it was as comfy for me on the road as my 625 SXC but it had far, far less vibration.

    Maintenance on the 450 was minimal. No valve problems surfaced in all the years and miles. It was as reliable as any street bike but a whole lot more fun.

    I had a 950, but being a smaller and lighter guy it was just too tall (a wide seat) and the weight was too high (once it started to tip over I went). The 450 was a joy after that. (The 950 did everything the 450 did and I took it places that I should have been on the 450, not the 950, but the 950 always came through.)

    Pro Moto makes a billet alloy luggage rack for the new 525 subframe. They say you can carry quite a bit with it unless you are hammering the whoops in which case they say you should not carry more than 15 lbs.

    When I get the 525 I will post more info on how it works as a dual sport with the emphasis on off road, which is what I want.

    Stu
    #22
  3. alfaris

    alfaris MOTERO TORERO

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    This is mine, with promobillet rear rack where i install a touratech tool bag or a 5 lts tank with touratech straps depending of the stage i am gonna ride each time.
    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. MymoJoe

    MymoJoe Ride Ride Ride

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    I agree the 625 is good, but still to many vibes for bike road ks, the Husky is let down by the lack of big tanks..... Oh what to do!!
    #24
  5. Para504

    Para504 Spam, Spam, bacon & Spam!

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    +1... My 450EXC "dual sport" was ok on back roads, but I sure wouldn't want to take it on a highway! That was after the EE tall soft seat, Fastway pegs, etc. etc. Its an enduro bike, born & bred. It is what it is... For those not riding aggressively (hammering whoops, etc.), I would seriously recommend looking a DRZ. Its a better setup for a dual sport if not doing rougher enduro conditions. Also in that case, IMO, a 640 (or similar) may be just fine as well.

    I'm not saying this to piss ppl off - go invest in whatever floats your boat. The KTM RFS's are great bikes, but if your not using them to what their strengths are, why not consider a more appropriate (& potentially less costly) set up?

    As for the LC4, like everything else, its subjective. I find it to be a great dirt road / jeep trail bike, that's "ok" on road & in more technical terrain. Plenty of motor, hauls a lot of crap if you need to. Its tall (which I like), and can carry a lot of fuel. If riding technical terrain, I trim down the gas to about 3 gals & it carries the weight low (big handling difference!). Vibes are there, but are not a show stopper (8k miles on mine). That said, I also ride a 300XCW, so obviously I'm not vibe sensitive :) The vibes on either bike are much more noticable on road (same for RFS, but not as pronounced). I much prefer the LC4 to a RFS if any distance on the road is required.
    #25
  6. Mythic

    Mythic Adventurer

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    IMO it really depends on your individual definition of adventure & just how much maintenece you're willing to put up with.

    The rfs isn't an LC4. A LC4 isn't an LC8. They're all built for different purposes & they all have different lifespans.

    The real question you need to ask yourself is what's your purpose?

    jmo.

    BTW- could we all stop using the Paris/Dakar rally as some form of "gold standard" to judge the long term adventure "worthiness" of any particular ride? In case we don't realize it, the bikes are purpose built for the event & disposed of afterwards. Look no further then http://www.rallypanam.com/bikes.html (bikes were pictured earlier in this thread) They built a couple of '05's for the 2006, then did they pull them out of the garage for '07? NO! They built a couple of 06's, & so it goes with racing.

    Just because something can be extensively modified to work for 5000 miles, doesn't make it a great candidate for a long range/long term, adventure bike. Look at the number of rfs based bikes that didn't finish event.

    Having ranted a bit, I'd love to have a EXC for some short range fun :evil
    #26
  7. alfaris

    alfaris MOTERO TORERO

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    I agree with that.

    Dakar bikes are built and re-built each night at the vibouac. Is not a trustable endurance reference. Even in the marathon categorie you can change most of bike components every night.

    Long range or short range adventure bike could be the issue here. IMO is about the kind of terrain you are going to find on your trip.

    In my case , for Morocco, when i search a hard ride on any kind of terrain available there (sand, camel grass, stones, oueds, etc) i use de 525 that i carry to there on my 4x4. On the other hand , when i search to cover long distances following roads, country roads, tracks, "pistes", etc....., y go with the GS1200ADV.

    It is just about using the right tool for the right job.
    #27
  8. vuugti

    vuugti Pretty much...

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    Does anyone search anymore?????? :huh
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  9. mknauer

    mknauer neighbor

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    I have a 400 EXC and a 640 Adventure. I would trade both of them, in a second, for the 525 Dakar race bike (pictured in this thread) built by Charlie and his gang of 'Riff Raff'. I have dropped and abused all of my bikes and am always surprised at how well they hold up. I am the one who seems to break. Shoulders, ankles, ribs, etc. KTM makes great motorcycles that work! The key, in my opinion, is selecting the lightest and smallest displacement one in their line that works the best for your needs. I seem to spend more time on my 200 EXC than any of them. I can ride longer and faster in more difficult terrain on that bike. Of course, it has a Rekluse clutch and is easier to ride and I would never (cough, cough) take it on the road.

    The person who commented about no rocks in the Dakar needs to read or watch Charley Boorman's 'Race to Dakar'. One of the many obstacles is rocks, rocks, and more rocks.

    With this said, check out the www.rallypanam.com website and look at what was done to those bikes. Very cool. Very fast. I bet that they are fun to ride.
    #29
  10. Odysseus

    Odysseus Stoic Philosopher

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    No. :lol3 BTW, what kind of oil should I use in my..... :rofl
    #30
  11. alfaris

    alfaris MOTERO TORERO

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    So then we all agree 525 is a good starting point for a good adventure preparation. I like adventure mostly as a rough terrain adventure, not only long long distance rides.:evil :evil :evil
    [​IMG]
    #31
  12. overlandr

    overlandr Dystopist

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    $25K for the whole thing apparently!
    #32
  13. vuugti

    vuugti Pretty much...

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    I see a thread hijack in the future!:smile6
    #33
  14. Jan from Finland

    Jan from Finland Been here awhile

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    Does the Saguaro grow every desert in the US? Are all desert towns like Las Vegas? When TV/Movies/Ads show us something spectacular, it doesn’t mean the whole world is like that. Just like you said, they like to show us what looks good on camera. Actually the route looks more like this:

    Day 6

    [​IMG]

    Legend

    [​IMG]

    Day 7

    [​IMG]

    Day 8

    [​IMG]

    Day 9

    [​IMG]

    Day 10

    [​IMG]

    I wouldn’t be so sure. To my understanding most riders crash/tip over several times during the race.

    I agree this, but not entirely with your BTW comment.

    What else we could use as a “gold standard” to judge adventure bikes? Should we ride what the locals use in the Sahara: small, simple, late seventies - early eighties two-strokes like TS125s?

    The Dakar bikes feed our imagination. The rally doesn’t guarantee the long term worthiness, but if you can race the bike 8000 km/5000 miles, it should stay together in my use much longer. That’s especially true for frame, suspension, fairing and almost all other components than engine.

    True, but you should realize that it’s just the normal maintenance interval for a modern race bike (like EXC). Personally I wouldn’t like to do that so often, but if you do the maintenance, you should be able to use the EXC as an adventure bike. At least, for a weekend adventures.


    Couldn’t be more true. [​IMG]
    #34
  15. s4awd

    s4awd Anywhere but here.

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    #35
  16. Mythic

    Mythic Adventurer

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    oh are you serious?! :eek1 A purpose built Dakar machine has no more in common to a new EXC that you might buy, than a Chevy at the dealership has in common with whoever/whatever won the most recent NASCAR race.

    I've no intention of Hi-jacking this thread further than it's gone so I'll briefly address the items you mentioned:

    The frame? Hmm... nope-sorry. Stock EXC's don't come with billet headtubes, frame overlays, reinforcements or the gussets welded in. Hmm..just not much in common with what you can buy out of the showroom aside from the basic building block it's based on. Take a close look next time you see a bike/photo stripped naked.

    Suspension? Opps-nope. Complete aftermarket items. Nothing in common with what you can get outta the showroom. (custom machined billet goodies inside those pretty aftermarket legs too)

    Fairing? A fairing? Hmm, no. EXC's don't have fairings... Must be aftermarket (Mecca) - oh dear.

    All other components? Oh shoot- vast majority is all aftermarket again! Dangit!! Rims, hubs, spokes, seats, tanks, pipes, plumbing, electrical, Ti nuts & bolts. Geez, KTM just doesn't sell that stuff.

    Engine? Oh lets see... hmmm well the cases, the cylnder, and the head castings are KTM. The crank-no, the piston-no, the valves - no, the clutch -no, The tranny! that must be the durable factory part you're talking about! Oh, no custom re-geared units. (& with a smattering of billet thrown in - just like KTM sells you right?)

    Huh, I guess those Dakar bikes really are just like what you can buy from the dealer aren't they? AND since those PURPOSE BUILT Dakar bikes stand up so well, that EXC must be able to take anything you can dish out. Especially after you drop the same $15-20K to make it just like a Dakar bike.:rofl

    Sorry for the smart-a** reply,

    We'd all be better off if we learned about what's really being raced (in any race) before we make the erroneous conclusion that it's the same thing sitting in the showroom. They're not. Typically, aside from the basic design all they've got in common are the gas tank stickers.
    #36
  17. Odysseus

    Odysseus Stoic Philosopher

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    Of the 250 motorcycles entered in the 2007 Dakar Rally a grand total of 8 were factory KTM 690 Rallys. There was a whole lot of bikes that you and I can buy crossing the finish line on January 21st. :deal
    #37
  18. alfaris

    alfaris MOTERO TORERO

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    So then, to find out if a 525 is a good adventure bike, we should first stablish the differences between adventure riding and DAKAR riding:huh .
    #38
  19. John E Davies

    John E Davies Runs at Mouth Adventurer

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    The BIG difference is large amounts of cash (relative to your typical casual owner/ enthusiast) and team support out in the boonies for when you break down. Oh yeah, and the insanely higher speed factor at Dakar.

    If I had both of those first two items I would ride a Dakar bike too, but it isn't on my list for a bike I can live with on a daily basis, within my limited budget. No way will I ever ride at Dakar speeds, since I want to die in bed as an old man ;)
    #39
  20. alpiv

    alpiv Sr. nOOb

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    Has anyone considered calling the US KTM reps?

    Yes, they want to sell machines, yet I believe they will give you the skinny on this topic and tell you that you should not rely on the KTM EXC transmissions and motors for long distance trips with out multiple and frequent maintenance intervals..

    At least that was told to me by a qualified KTM shop owner and their mechanics (they have more to gain by lying then anyone).

    Just an idea.



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    #40