My KTM 525exc experience

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by nevada72, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    Edit 6-2-2010 - New or would be KTM owners - Read this 1st. Following is my new to KTM experience. It's a great bike but there are some things you need to know. I learned very quickly that there are some things that you really should change
    before riding your bike even once or you'll cause damage. It's covered in more detail later in this thread and on other threads. I'll also post links after the main topics for quick fix references

    Short list of things to do before you ride the bike.

    Exhaust heat shield - You will melt your pants on the 1st ride without one if you wear riding pants over the boot.

    License plate bracket - Your license plate will not survive your 1st ride. Modify or buy a Sicass/KTM oem retrofit.


    While this is not unique to KTMs, and may not happen to you ever, let alone the 1st ride, you may want to do the cheap prevention of a case saver. Could save you a very expensive nightmare. (No, I didn't test this one)


    There's a much longer list of things you need to do to make the bike "right", but at least they won't cause damage


    Jetting - set too lean from factory

    Uncork - trim the small diameter tube off the end piece

    different sprockets - EPA concession to limit noise (??) 14/50 works great for me, but there are other nice combos. Tailor to your conditions.

    canisterectomy - ditch it if you want the bike to start after it tips over. http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=195244

    side stand replacement - pure crap from the factory. It will break.

    Other stuff that's subjective, but I found useful on my bike


    skid plate

    steering stabilizer

    Hand guards

    big Clarke tank

    EE seat

    I'm sure there's plenty more. I'm still learning about this bike as I go. ADV, Thumpertalk, and KTMtalk have been fantastic resources for getting the skinny on the EXC. Know that you'll dump at least $1k into the stock bike before it's right. I know that sounds bad, but if you think about it, even the DRZ guy is pouring money into his bike to make it what he wants.


    I just picked up a 2007 KTM 525exc. I have to say I'm pretty excited about it because I've always wanted one. As Lester Burnham in American Beauty said "...and now I have one. I rule! (pumps fist in the air) I'm posting up my experience to A. Show off the bike and B. Put out a KTM newbies experience for other newbies to learn from. What do I have to teach? Well, I have found that I am very quick at discovering the wrong way of doing things. So, if I can spare anyone my future mishaps, my karma might have a chance at being in balance. I'm sure I'll have some occasional successes to pass along as well. This will be an ongoing report.

    Here she is in the p.o.'s man cave (which was almost as impressive as his 25 acre man trail behind his supremely impressive man estate). As you can see, the bike is almost as clean as the floor. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    to be continued
    #1
  2. Gunslinger1

    Gunslinger1 GIVE'R

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    :thumb
    #2
  3. WARRIORPRINCEJJ

    WARRIORPRINCEJJ Crazy, on a ship of fools...

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    Do what I did...Read alot, and ask a lot of questions. The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask. Let any less-than-kind responses roll off your back. Some people forget that they were not born KTM technicians.

    Don't be hesitant to turn wrenches any time you get a chance.

    Once you've done a lot of the above, you can share all your experiences...which is a HUGE help to new owners, and probably the greatest thing about this Site (IMHO).

    It looks like you picked-up an extremely clean KaTooM. Congratulations!...Welcome, and enjoy.


    .
    #3
  4. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Nice bike, I like the man cave too :D What area of the country do you ride? My cousin got a 525 that I had a chance to ride in the desert, the thing is on steriods :lol3 I'd hurt myself eventually on one 'cause I'd be in the throttle all the time and it's that fast. It's dead even with my XRR on a dirt drag race up to about 85 or 90 then the 650 pulls it (a little) but the 525 is allot lighter and handles better, it's just easier to ride fast.
    #4
  5. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    Thanks!

    Once I started reading about KTMs it became a bit daunting. It seems like so much maintenance. But, as I get farther into it I learned that even though there's more to do than on some other bikes, it's not all that bad. I should say that a KTM owner should be mechanically inclined (or have a fat wallet) as well as be very meticulous and regimented in his/her maintenance. That's fine because I like to tinker.

    As a matter of fact, the last few days I've been doing just that - tinkering. As I would with any used bike, I am going through it top to bottom to make sure it's good to go. First was a very thorough scrubbing. It was clean when I got it, but I took it apart and scrubbed it down to prep for valve adjustments and so on. Today I'm repacking the swing arm pivot and head set.

    I'll do my best to learn the right answer from knowledgeable folks (I've lurked over at KTMtalk for a year and read as much as I could before buying) before posting up here, but please correct me when I am in error, if not for me, but for those who read down the road.

    Thanks!:freaky
    #5
  6. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    Thanks!:D

    I ride in the Midwest. My range is NW Arkansas up to Upper Michigan and the mitten as well. I live in SE WI, but not much dirt riding right by me. I have to travel 3 hours minimum to get to the good stuff. And good stuff there is! Well worth the short drive.

    The XRR is a GREAT bike. The two bikes are often compared and I had a hard time choosing between the two. I chose the KTM for the reasons you mention which fit my particular needs as well as the "magic button". But, I know I would have been just as happy with the XRR.
    #6
  7. Skowinski

    Skowinski Eukaryote

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    Very nice KTM, congrats, you will love it, especially the POWER! :D

    Check out ktmtalk.com, it is a great resource for information, I've been using it for years. :wink:
    #7
  8. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    Thanks! My initial ride left me impressed with it's power and tractability in the tight stuff. That was in it's basically stock form too. I've just uncorked the muffler, done the canisterectomy (http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=195244), and a 48 tooth rear (45 stock) is on it's way. The JD jet kit was done by the p.o.. That's just a start.

    I've been a KTMtalk member for over a year now. Like ADV it's a fantastic resource but obviously focused on KTM. I will link specifics, such as uncorking, much of it from KTMtalk. Thumper Talk is another great resource. As great as those two resources are, I call ADV "home". :D

    Here's where I'm at today-

    [​IMG]

    It's not the ultimate mancave like the one the 525 is used to, but it's heated, has other bikes hanging around, and has Patsy Cline on the Boom box. :D

    As it sits, the swing arm is off for repacking. What impresses me most about the KTM so far is how easy it is to work on. The design makes so much sense. It's a pleasure to wrench on.
    #8
  9. Off the grid

    Off the grid Unsmooth Operator

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    That buzzing in your earhole, NorCal.
    I was going to mention that. I find my KTM is the easiest bike to work on I have ever had, and I have huge paws. Everything just makes sense.

    I came off an XRR as well, and let me tell you....you couldn't have made a better choice going with an 07 RFS engine KTM.

    Keep us posted, and don't forget the higher psi rad cap, engine ice, rad guards and tuggers!

    /subscribed

    :lurk
    #9
  10. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    I have the Engine Ice on deck for when I put the radiators back on. I haven't heard about the high psi cap yet - I'll start reading. The guards and tugger are on the list, but I don't have them yet. I'm hoping the plastic KTM guards will protect them somewhat.

    The swingarm service is done. It took longer than I expected only because I went a bit overboard on cleaning. My neighbors think I'm nuts because I'm out in the rain washing things.:lol3

    [​IMG]

    Here are the bearings packed in new grease to give the uninitiated a view of what's what. Be careful when removing the swing arm - those needle bearings will spill out all over the place if they are dry. Mine were not. In fact the grease looked okay, but the timing was right. By the end of the summer it would have been bad. Wasn't worth a "before" pic though.

    [​IMG]

    Back together

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow the headset. :puke1 Not looking forward to that for some reason.
    #10
  11. r00t4rd3d

    r00t4rd3d ADV Rider

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    Cool project.

    :lurk
    #11
  12. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    Today all I did was a valve adjustment. I have one bathroom remodel to wrap up and another one to begin. Every time I head out to the garage the missus is doing one of these > :ddog so I gotta play nice before it turns to this > :dog

    which leads to this > :pain which in turn, results in an immediate cessation of this > :crash (yes, there are other smilies that apply too), but on the brighter side leaves a whole lot more time for this > :ricky. Maybe I'm on to something.....


    Anyway, the valve adjustment went w/o a hitch. Like the rest of the bike, easy as pie to do. The most time consuming part is taking the radiators off, which involves draining, refilling, and bleeding of the cooling system. Does anyone really do all that every 15 hours? Makes that $300 upgrade by DJH of KTMTalk to Kibblewhite oversized valves (50 hours between adjustments) that much more attractive. Speaking of DJH, he had excellent advice on adjusting valves > just rotate the engine until both cam lobes are up, and adjust (.005). Sounds too simple doesn't it? No TDC. No crank locking bolts. No straws in plug holes. Nada. It gets better. Instead of using a feeler gauge, screw the adjuster in until it stops Then back off 1/6th of a turn. Sounds really hokey, but apparently it's an old Husaberg factory method. Without going too far into it, one sixth of a turn equals .020 mm or .005 (roughly) which is perfect. I tried it and damned if it didn't check out when I put the feeler gauge in there. I'll never do it another way!

    Tomorrow - header wrap and some reassembly. Hopefully the brown truck shows up with some stuff so I can get this thing back together!
    #12
  13. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    No need to drain the radiators, either. I just loosen them and push them back out of the way to get to the exhaust valves- the hoses flex enough, so no worries there. I use a bungie to hold them out of the way. easy peasy. :D
    #13
  14. nevada72

    nevada72 Klaatu barada nikto

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    That would save a LOT of time, not to mention Engine Ice. :D Thanks for the tip!
    #14
  15. Off the grid

    Off the grid Unsmooth Operator

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    That buzzing in your earhole, NorCal.
    Also you will be doing the intakes 3x as much as the exhausts. And no, no one does them every 15hrs. :lol3 From what I recall my valves have never moved.

    The "screw-turn" method is tried and true. (pretty sure that's not the name of it, but sue me)

    Make sure you get a can guard for the header/can interface and a shark fin for the rear rotor.

    Looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    Remember if you sign up for KTMtalk you get 10% off their store.
    #15
  16. XTC

    XTC Taz

    Joined:
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    Here's my 05. Great Adv bikes. I currently have a Pirelli MT60 110/90x17 on the front Supermoto rim and a Mitas E09 140/80x17 (pic shows mitas E07 but took that off and fitted it to my GS) on the rear supermoto rim for the road based rides here in NZ.

    [​IMG]

    And the dirt wheels for the Adventure trail stuff

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. emulzhn

    emulzhn free from crutches

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    love the 17's... how's handling compared to usual 21/ 18 combo
    #17
  18. wakewop

    wakewop Hucker

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    welcome to team orange!!!
    Few things that you should put on your shopping list.. If you are going to be doing tight trails, slow riding, get the 1.8 bar radiator cap. Also you may want to look into the ktm fan kit if you are still overheating and spewing out the radiator overflow. All depends on the riding you do and having correct jetting. The KTM rfs likes to go at least 15mph to keep from boiling over.
    Looks like you read DJH's info over on KTM talk. He is the master and knows his stuff. If you are planning on keeping this bike and riding a lot, do not hesitate to have him to the kibblewhite valves and his other magic to the head. He is a master and you can't get it done localy or even yourself for cheaper.. Even with the shipping.
    Make sure to read over at ktmtalk about the using the sightglass when filling with oil. The engine takes 1.2 liters of oil. No more. Sometimes the sightglass will barely show the oil when that is added. Some people use the sightglass to tell when it is full. It will lie to you and you will overfill and cause problems.. 1.2 liters and stop. Engine ice is nice, but I have currently switched to a 50/50 mix of Sierra antifreeze and water. I am getting the same results as the engine ice at a fraction of the cost. It was recomended by KTM talk members in the know.
    Great job on servicing that swingarm pivot!! Its a much looked over item, and when it gets worn and rusted its a pain in the butt to get the bearings out and replaced. Those suckers seize in there like you would not believe. I know. I bought my KTM used and they had never been serviced in 5 years. Took me 2 days just to get the swingarm bolt out.
    Last tip I can remember to give is set the suspension up for your weight.!
    Very important for the ktm. Set your sag correct or the bike will not perform well. There is a ton of info on this on ktmtalk.
    Great purchase and will be fun to read about your experiences.. I have rebuilt my 450's engine head to toe by myself, have my suspension revalved, sprung and sag set for my weight and style.
    Best bike ever!!
    #18
  19. Off the grid

    Off the grid Unsmooth Operator

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    Great advice....is that 1.2 with or without a filter change? How much for just the oil change?

    (I use the sight glass method)
    #19
  20. XTC

    XTC Taz

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    530
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    Is great on the road with the 17's. I use the 17" rear for all road and light trail adv rides and only fit the 18" for trail riding or rides where 80% is off road. The 17" has the cush drive so makes the highway miles smoother and the big disc on the 17" front makes hauling her down from 100 mph a breeze. The 17" front will push a little on the gravel at speed but you just get your weight more forward and steer with the rear. Very good combo on the twisty tarsealed back roads. The 110/90x17 Pirelli MT60 that I run on the front is a rear tyre that comes as standard on a honda NXR125 which some of the Farm dealers over here are selling to farmers, The farmers want more aggressive tyres for farm use so you can pick these up new for NZD $10 - 15. Great value IMO. Have found the sand can build up on the rear rim and due to it's width it can cause the wheel to become unbalanced. Stop and scrape it off and all is well again. I have installed an overflow catch bottle on the radiator that hides in the airbox. Have never had any overheating issues....
    Andy.



    [​IMG]
    #20