A World Of Dirt...On A 500exc

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried Supporter

    Dec 20, 2009
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (The Crooked River)
    You cannot upload videos to ADV any longer Paul. You can post a link to a video hosted elsewhere.
    And Jesus H Paul. Foot infection.
    Feel ALL the way better soon mi amigo.
    Pictures are wonderful as always.
    Mofrid likes this.
  2. flying.moto

    flying.moto Earthbound Misfit, I Supporter

    Nov 22, 2007
    City of Lost Angels
    Wow, what an update!!
    We used to call those Russian antiseptic purple crystals “marganzovka” and….. some of us made very potent firecrackers out of it :lol3

    That brought back memories! :smile6

    Expect the unexpected, right?
    RTWstare and BLucare like this.
  3. cidi

    cidi cidi Supporter

    Sep 6, 2011
    Fairplay, CO
    Life in itself is an adventure, isn’t it?
    I am so sorry to hear about your friend and hope you get to spend some quality time together. Be safe, be well.
    cprbusa and mikegc like this.
  4. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Dec 23, 2012
    Denver, CO
    I really liked my 640 Adv too, enough that I bought another one. However I *love* my "adventurized" 690R, it's what KTM should've made to replace the 640...
    Pinarretta and Bob like this.
  5. SDR82

    SDR82 Adventurer

    May 16, 2016
    Possibly post video's to your youtube channel, but don't set them to public (unless you want to of course) but use the private link to publish them here on ADVrider. Just thinking out loud..

    That's a lot of bad news, your foot, your friend, hopefully you got to spend some time together.
    Luckycharms likes this.
  6. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011
    A nice surprise as I'm waiting for the ferry I get a message from @memento13 he lives in Tallin and asked if I wanted to meet for lunch when I get off the ferry.


    If you think I'm on an adventure you really need to read his ride report, he rode his 450 exc from Tallinn Estonia to Cape Town, South Africa, mostly on the TET and West Africa LINK TO HIS THREAD

    I arrive and he is waiting at the dockside, we race thru downtown Tallinn traffic and head out of town a ways, and find a quiet restaurant and chat all things travel and KTM's. Once we are full, we head onto the Estonian TET, we find a dry spot and take a few photos together



    Now as we both ride KTM exc's, or more specifically the 6 days model we get the same question as does EVERY. SINGLE. OWNER. why do you ride a KTM if they are so unreliable?

    ...and this question mostly comes from none KTM owners, and virtually always from someone who besides not owning one has no intentions of buying one, they just have an opinion!

    So I asked him if he'd mind doing a short video about reliability? Yes!...so here it is

    We said our farewells as he had to head back to the city, and he messaged me later, he rode through this heading north


    and I rode through this, headed south


    Same, Same!!!

    I ended the day satisfyingly muddly in a little cabin owned by a retired Estonian soldier, who let me hose off the bike before I unloaded


    In the morning I jump back on the TET for a little more dirt but this time it had dried up so the going was quick


    For some strange reason, I tell myself to get out of the deep woods and find fuel even though I really don't need any, I guess I looked at the map and saw a long-distance ahead to the next fuel stop...maybe.

    I'm headed to meet my buddy Crilla (the friend with cancer) in Riga, Latvia.

    I stop to take a quick photo of a heron in its next on top of a light pole which by all accounts is a sign of luck in the Baltics


    I get onto the pavement and ride maybe 500 yards and the bike dies, I roll to a stop. I have full electrical power, the bike will turn over, quickly fire once then die. I try the kickstart and the same result!

    I roll the bike across the road into the shade (I'm in the middle of nowhere) I thought about calling Romet but figure it's maybe just some dirt got in the system, I have spare fuel filters, a spare injector, and a spare fuel pump.

    I slowly take the luggage off and take the bike apart spreading it all around where I'm standing and it is pretty obvious I'm broken down. I'm not exaggerating when I say at least 20 bikes went by and not a single one stopped and only a couple waved...guess I'm on my own for this one!

    I have a kit with me to test if the fuel pump is working, a simple fuel line, a hose connector, a coupler to clip onto the tank, a plug that goes in where the pump connection does, and two leads for the battery, and it pumps fuel, and at a good pace. There is no gauge on it but it seems good volume so I decided to look for something else.

    Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 3.12.13 PM.png

    The whole time I am doing this I'm chuckling to myself about KTM reliability and the video I made yesterday and how I've shot myself in the foot again! But my fuel pump is not from KTM I upgraded it, I called my buddy in the US who obviously can't do anything, but tells me the pump has a lifetime warranty, and failures are as rare as gold chickens' teeth.

    I sit down and look for other obvious issues, as I do this a white van pulls up, at first I thought it was a local minivan bus service. A big burly man steps out and asks in perfect English, "can I help?"

    I explain the situation as I keep looking, never taking a second to look at his van in more detail. "I'm a KTM race mechanic, do you mind if I see if I can spot anything?"

    The look on my face must have been priceless, as I get up a young guy is standing there and introduces himself and is the son of the mechanic.

    The big guy stands up, "it's a four-stroke, I only work on two-strokes, sorry!"

    Well shit, so close, but he continues. "we can put your bike in the van, we are headed to collect my son's bike he was just racing in the European Junior Championships in Greece and it was shipped back to a race track a few hours away. Let me make a call because the Estonian Motocross team is based from there and the team mechanic might be able to help...let me make a call."

    You know when you are just sitting there completely dumbfounded how these things happen, and you sit there nodding.

    "yes he's there, he said he'll work on your bike, let's load it up."


    ...and this is why people tell you when you break down it's when the adventure starts.

    We start driving east towards a place called Adrenaline Arena and that's when I remember Crilla. He just got off a ferry from Sweden that landed in Ventspils, Latvia.

    I give him a call and tell him what's happened and our two-day ride around Latvia now includes a side trip to the Adrenaline Arena in Estonia!!!

    Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 2.17.12 PM.png

    After nearly two hours of driving, including quite a few miles on dirt roads we arrive, I was expecting a tiny little place, am I surprised as we pull through the trees.


    My bike is unloaded, his son's bike is loaded, he tells me "these guys are really nice they will look after you, sorry but we have to go, we have a long drive home!"


    One guy speaks a little English, the other guy, the mechanic, none. They were told by the father and son the issue. They smile and say no problem, relax! ...and they start pulling the bike part in the parking lot.

    The first idea was as we know the fuel pump is pushing out pressure, let's check the coil, plug, and plug wires. The plug looks a little used and I have a spare so we change that. Give it try and nothing.

    Do the old grounding trick of the spark plug to the frame to check for spark and it's there so that's not the issue.

    A BMW sedan pulls up, a young guy gets out, and he speaks fluent English, he introduces himself as Karel, shakes my hand, and asks how he can help? I explain what has happened so far and he has an immediate solution. He goes to the car and brings back a small KTM gas tank he had just filled up while they were working on a bike of his.

    We place it on the frame plug in the gas line and pump connection and my bike fires right up. So everything points to the fuel pump, the problem is the team mechanics tools are still on their way back from Greece, but he tells Karel, maybe the issue is the pump or the filter inside the housing?

    We roll the bike into the workshop, drain the fuel from my tank, change the in-tank filter, and it's dirty so seems like the obvious culpret, refill the tank with fuel, fire it up and then it dies!!!

    Drain the fuel again and look closer at the fuel pump, and a connection had come off!


    Simple right, add a new connector or solder it on but I don't have the connector or a soldering iron I don't have one, but all of their's are on the truck coming back from Greece!

    Karel says he knows a guy about ten minutes away, he grabs the pump jumps in the car, and heads off, telling me "call your buddy and tell him to wait at the border I think you'll be riding in 20 minutes!!!"

    I have a look around this massive complex designed specifically for indoor motocross practice and races. While I'm doing this I call Crilla and as suggested tell him to wait at the Latvia side of the border. (remember COVID, and border issues are in play)

    Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 2.42.34 PM.png

    Karel gets back, and the mechanic gets to work putting my bike back together, normally I hate anyone touching my bike but in this case, as it's the team mechanic I agree :lol3

    We put it in, fill the tank with fuel again, and nothing...I call Crilla and tell him to cross the border!

    So now what next, we grab the other KTM tank just make sure it still works with that and we haven't bumped anything with all this off and on and made it worse, still good, it fires right up.

    We all look at each other and say fuel pump, even though we have no way of testing its pressure because the pressure testing equipment is on the way back from....you know where!

    So we hook up the other tank, add my tester line to it and we all make a visual reference, squirting gas across the workshop. At this point, the team manager walks in wondering what we are doing.

    Everything is explained, so we show him the pressure from the other tank, now four of us have a visual, we then hook mine up and test again, definitely not as strong...its the pump.

    I say great, cause I have a spare!

    The team manager stops me and tells me to keep the spare because they are out of stock at KTM right now, he knows because he just bought the last one, and turns and points. "it's a spare for the champs bike, but we have others."

    The young guy who has been running around for me and been my translator is none other than the European MX Open Champion Karel Kutsar :fpalm:eek2

    He laughs, yes take mine, you're doing something way more interesting with your bike, I just ride in circles!!!

    The team manager heads off to his house and tells us he'll be back in about 30 minutes or so.

    When he returns, once again we fill the tank put it all together put it on my bike, look at each other, and smile. I'm just about to hit the button and a BMW rolls into the parking lot, it's Crilla. He jumps off his bike declaring he is bringing Swedish luck via Latvia. :hmmmmm

    I hit the button and the bike fires up.

    I ask what I owe them and after about four hours of back and forth, trying loads of different things they tell me nothing, the mechanic was just happy to help.

    I can have the new pump for the race teams price of $250 which I'm happy to pay cause I had researched the price of a new one in case I needed Crilla to find one along the way and the cheapest I could find was $500

    We grab a quick photo before I pack up and Crilla and I go in search of well-deserved beer and somewhere to sleep, they all decline to join us sadly...but if you look closely the mechanic is in the back and he's Graham Javis' doppelganger or was I with Jarvis for the afternoon and he just never said a word!!!

    Sparrowhawk, Mofrid, Mr Head and 58 others like this.
  7. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

    Feb 16, 2004
    Texas Hill Country
    What an AMAZING stroke of....luck? Pretty cool adventure, right there. Carry on.
    adventurebound9517 likes this.
  8. anadel

    anadel Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2006
    Sydney Inner West
    Wonderful story in many ways. As a 500 owner its great to see how this problem can be investigated and the equipment that you can carry. I always carry a spare fuel pump as they are small and relatively cheap. As Paul so wryly noted, the level of ignorance of non KTM500 owners is incredible and will never go away. I am coming to like that situation as we don't want these bikes to be any more popular than they are and increase the 2nd hand prices more. One question for the brains trust re a trailside fuel pump change, can it be done without draining the entire contents of the tank? I guessed that if you drain a fair bit of fuel you could stand the tank on its front edge and remove the pump but it can mean dumping the fuel on the ground if you have no empty fuel bladder or someone's tank to put it in. What do you do?
    BLucare likes this.
  9. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Aug 21, 2016
    CANADA-100 ft N of International Falls, MN

    Boggles the mind how something like that could happen? Coincidence or fate.
    Probably why none of the other bikes stopped. They knew the experts would show up.:muutt
    RTWstare likes this.
  10. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows Supporter

    Jan 24, 2008
    Base of Mt Princeton
    Freaking awesome adventure there Paul. You meet the nicest people on a...... KTM?
    RTWstare likes this.
  11. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Mar 16, 2007
    Arkansas near Oklahoma
    Just Effin Wow!
    RTWstare likes this.
  12. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, MICN Supporter

    Jul 26, 2004
    Concord, CA
    Trail. Magic.

    I love to read stories like this. Good people are everywhere in this world. Posts like this renew my faith in humanity.

  13. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

    Feb 7, 2011
    flip the tank upside down, pinch off the gas cap breather with a zip tip and rock it over with the fuel sitting just below the two bolts that hold the fuel pump in whatever that is on your particular tank, and the hole where you'll pull the pump out from is the most fuel you can have left.

    The rest is excess and has to be gotten rid of accordingly, that's actually the hard part, the fuel pump swap is a five-minute or less ordeal unless you go for every other option like I did first!!!

    in hindsight carry two small things to check, and my buddy Mike at Tacomoto.co sells and makes them both.THIS and THIS, I only had the first one :baldy
  14. anadel

    anadel Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2006
    Sydney Inner West
    Thanks Paul. I like the idea of the hose and connector and that electrical lead and they are pretty easy to make. As for the pressure tester i made my own after watching someone showing their tester on youtube. I had a spare connector so I bought the other connector and a cheap efi pressure testing kit from ebay. This is very entertaining and valuable info for we 500 tragics. Now what is the chance of that sort of assistance EVER happening if you were in a car. Although it was disappointing that all those bikes passed you when you were broken down.
    BLucare, rtwpaul and River Rat like this.
  15. Samanjo

    Samanjo Long timer

    Jan 2, 2016
    South Africa
    This once again proofs that there are good people everywhere.
    Good luck to your friend with his illness (I will say a prayer for him)
  16. TheNetworker

    TheNetworker Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Mar 12, 2014
    Germany, Lower Saxony
    Moin Paul,

    This was a great story about helpful bikerhood - thanks for sharing.
    You must have quite a good deposite on your karma-account to get this refund :-)

    Well played by fate.
  17. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    May 14, 2006
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Love it!
  18. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

    Sep 5, 2011
    Out There Somewhere
    AND.... this. Total strangers doing their utmost- at no bidding from you, to help out. Even better when the "strangers" are the EU Motocross champ and his team of mechanics!
    Faith in people/humanity restored. Again.
    Couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.
    Fucking fantastic story, Paul!
  19. TripleThreat719

    TripleThreat719 Track Addict ADV Wannabe

    Mar 21, 2009
    Trafalgar, Indiana
    There needs to be an "I couldn't LOVE this more!" button... What an awesome story and stroke of World Traveler's Luck...

    Another memory of a lifetime...