2012 KTM 500 EXC as a Lightweight Dual Sport

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by harcus, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. The Walrus

    The Walrus Gone and back again.

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    :nod.....thanks, it is a very useful link....stock 2012 500 exc is also 15:45, tire sizes are correct but as noted, different tires have different aspects depending on rim width. Seems they've take a lot of info into that program. But everything being equal, there isn't a ton of difference between stock and my current 15:48. Moving to 14:48 produces more change and 13:50 provides a greater comparison. Who needs/wants a top end of 104 mph with the stock gearing on a light dirt bike? That's a real eye opener.....:eek1
  2. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    You can't just compare ratios, I think you need to ride it and feel the changes. Front sprockets are not big $.

    13/48 or 13/50 - Great for tight trails, no gaps in lower 4 gears, any lower and 1st gear would be useless for anything but walking beside it. Can run 2nd and 3rd in tight trails. 55 mph is possible, but strained. Tops out about 75 mph. I run this in the winter for trail riding. I don't run this where I'd need a license plate.

    14/48 - Can be ridden in the tightest of trails, but you need to slip the clutch in 1st and keep up your speed. Gaps between 1st and 2nd are a problem in tight trails. For open two track it is the best gearing. Cruses very relaxed at 55 mph, will do 65 mph very smoothly. Tops out at 101 banging on rev limiter. Perfect gearing for mixed dual sport.

    15/48 or 14/45 - Not useable on tight trails. Great for fast two track and gravel roads. Excellent for pavement. Best acceleration on street. Very relaxed at 65 mph. Must run 5th gear at 53 mph or below to pull smooth. Top speed is probably in 5th. This is the gearing I'd choose if touring western states or had a lot of pavement to cover.

    15/45 - stock. Only good for emissions testing. Too much clutch slip in 1st on flat ground. 6th won't pull smooth until about 63 mph.
    ADVBedouin likes this.
  3. StepOnIt

    StepOnIt Assitoner

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    I agree that the stock 15-45 sucked on my bike, could not put into 6th until past 120kmph. I have 14-50 right now (only gear previous post didn't mention) and find it great. Can ride on the highway and tight single track. Tops out around 160km or 100mph and can still pull like a tractor in the bush.
  4. Lochachi

    Lochachi Adventurer

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    I've been a trials rider for over 40 years. My adventure DS started out with a 950 Adventure, moved to a f800GS and installed a Yacugar shock and fully adjustable front fork mod. Rode the WABDR last summer and had a blast but am looking to shed more bulk. Just bought a mint 690 and was going to use that to do the UTBDR this summer. But I now have a chance to trade it on a 2013 500 with 20 hrs on it. After reading 31 pages of this thread I'm thinking of shedding another 65lbs and going for it? One of the best bikes I ever had (or at least how I remember it from almost 30 years ago) was my XT600. Rode that thing everywhere - even honeymooned on it to Vancouver Island. The 690 seems pretty sweet but it's definitely not the most nimble for the single track.
    It appears everyone is happy with the 500EXC as a DS and yes, I know everything is a compromise. Just wondering if someone can provide me with the readers digest version of all the things I should get for the bike to prep it for the UTBDR? I got a set of Wolfman rocky Moutan bags - no more tin cans for me :-)
  5. 13exc500fz1

    13exc500fz1 RIDE OR DIE

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    The biggest thing that I would say is that the bike is great single-track it's light it's fast it's nimble but it's not going to do high mileage with a minimal amount of maintenance like the 690. The 690 is a much more roadworthy bike for doing long-distance and I think that if I could I would have both. but I ride more off road than I do Street. I bought it so I can connect trails and to be able to use when I'm camping I don't use it for any sort of a-b transport it is purely for pleasure an not for transportation of any kind. Just understand going in that it's a dirt bike with a plate and suited as such


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  6. Stu

    Stu Buffo Maximus Supporter

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    I would agree that the 500 is better off-road than on hard surface streets. I definitely disagree about the maintenance. I have a friend who has almost 14,000 miles on his '13 500 EXC with zero issues. He has not even had to adjust the valves yet. All he does is change oil and fill it up. He does not bounce it off the rev limiter and this definitely helps. If you are going to do that it is a different ball game. You would need more of a race maintenance schedule. He is 72 and he says he can easily do 200 miles per day on and off road without getting tired. My own experience with both the LC4s and this FI 500 is that the 500 actually takes less maintenance and it is easier to perform than on my former LC4s. My 500 vibrates less than the LC4s but it is a higher frequency (buzzy). I cut that down with "isolastic" bushings in the handlebar clamps (a KTM hardparts item) and by putting the footpeg rubbers from an Adventure 1190 on my pegs.

    Some riders may be more tolerant of a lighter bike with racing suspension on longer trips than others. Years ago we rode British singles long distances and they were maintenance intensive and vibrated a lot. The 500, in retrospect, is a far more capable long distance bike than any of those singles (and some of the British twins as well).

    Stu
  7. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    You need to discover the world of the Rekluse clutch....clutch slipping? A Rekluse changes your whole perspective on gearing. You could already have the EXP3 for the price of all those chains and sprockets..... And, if you run 13-14 T CS sprockets you had better be looking at a TM Designworks chain guide/slider system. That angle is very hard on swingarm pressure at slider and kills chains fast.
  8. nmtrialsguy

    nmtrialsguy Been here awhile

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    The other comment about the 500 being primarily a dirt bike are spot on. I have only 23 yrs. trials experience, but this bike is just plain incredible. They are hard to find used for a reason...most owners love them. To me it approaches the nimble-ness of a modern trials bike with way more suspension travel and addictive power. Jump on the trade. Although, if, like someone else said your primary use would be more on road, then keep the 690. I would like to have a 690, but will not give up my 500 as I believe it can really do anything. I do not care much for road travel, just use them to get me to dirt as needed. Nice dilemma! Good luck!
  9. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    You are right on! That comment was my experience before Rekluse. I can run the 14/48 every where if I want. And it is much smoother on the pavement.
    lonsomecrow likes this.
  10. Stu

    Stu Buffo Maximus Supporter

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    Zuber,

    You are spot on in my experience. I can ride my 500 with 15/48 everywhere around here (no mountains in Kansas) with it. When I need to check the valves I just re-set the external adjuster to essentially lock the Rekluse. It takes all of 10 seconds with a hex key in one hand and a beer in the other. Garage multitasking.

    The valves still have not moved from new factory settings!

    Stu
  11. wsmc831

    wsmc831 Been here awhile

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    ..and throw on a lhrb and it's even better. Sure wish they made a recluse for the 690's.
  12. Skullsplitter

    Skullsplitter Adventurer

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    Another new 500..1st bike of this kind and chose it over wr250r which I had been thinking hard about. Picked it up today and have only rode the neighborhood when I got home. Good lord this thing feels fast! My other bike is a tenere. I think they will compliment each other pretty good.

    Can't get picture to load..but you know what she looks like.
  13. 13exc500fz1

    13exc500fz1 RIDE OR DIE

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    Bad ass bike huh


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  14. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    I wish I could contribute 500-specific suggestions. I follow this thread because I want one really bad but am still on my old school LC4E (a great middleweight DS bike). I rode the southern third of the UBDR last week up to I-70 with a buddy on his 690, including the dreaded "experts only" Lockhart stretch. None of the riding is difficult on a lighter bike so it will be cake on your 500. There are lots of sharp rocks so keep your tire pressure higher than normal for riding in the dirt carrying your load.

    You won't need anything special for the trip beyond a way to carry your gear and a bunch of water. I used a GiantLoop Coyote and my buddy the Wolfman Rollies mixed with Kriegas to carry tents/bags/pads/stove/etc.. We both used the 10L (2 1/2 gal) MSR Dromedary strapped on top for water. That's an extra 10 kg (22 pounds) on the subframe with a lot of bouncing over rocks.

    Days are long so a seat you can sit on for 8-10 hours would be good. In the southern part you'll want an early start to beat the heat and there is no real incentive to stop until it cools off near sunset. Fuel capacity for 140 miles was plenty for the part we rode.

    I assume you've read the bits on cush hubs and have come to some conclusion.

    Have a good triip. It's amazing country.
  15. PA Slammer

    PA Slammer I hate titles...

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    When are you doing the UTBDR? We're heading for the UTBDR south looped over to the COBDR north the last week of Aug and first week of Sep. I'll be on my 350EXC loaded up.
  16. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Ive ridden a 500EXC,being as nimble as a Trials bike did not come to mind. Nice bike though.
  17. CordR

    CordR Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hey Lochachi,

    I did most of the UTBDR last year on my 690 while my riding partner was on his 500. Obviously the 690 is more than capable, but my buddy is a better rider and out of the gates he started 65 lbs lighter than me (assuming our luggage is aprox the same). He had no issues with his 500 (well, at least nothing that was 'trip ending') and we covered all of the same terrain.

    After completing that trip, I came home and have been debating the 350 or 500 ever since, but I will be listing my 690 soon. I was envious of the lighter weight, the better suspension and to me, it's a simpler machine to work on. The 690 is a great bike and it will cover anything from day to day DS all the way up to RTW (it would be my choice for RTW). But in terms of being realistic, I'm not going RTW anytime soon and trips from 2 days to 2 weeks will likely be my max. I'm pretty convinced that the 500 will be my machine of the future, so if you can get a 500 for a trade, I'd seriously consider it.

    I'm primarily listing my 690 due to financial reasons. If I was more flush with cash, I would personally be taking that deal.....but that's just me. Good luck with your choice and we're in the same hood, so maybe I'll see you around.


    C
  18. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    Lockhart is pretty easy, the UTBDR thing is relative, it's targeted at BMW riders, on the 500 it'd be pure fun.
  19. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    It's funny. I had gotten used to the black diamond trails in the Gifford Pinchot NF and Wenatchee NF and was wondering what Lockhart was going to dish out as an "expert only" route. We stopped and scouted once on a blind drop but found it was nothing. Beautiful country but not difficult riding.

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  20. Jettn Jim

    Jettn Jim This is Liv'n!!!

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    Got my rack from Harcus at RTE/Globetrottin and it looks to be just what I need.

    As soon as I get some new sprockets and a chain on this thing I'll load it up a bit and do some testing.