1. eNewsletter Sign Up

KTM 500 EXC-F: "Just-Right ADV light?" ... or too much maint.?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Tone615, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Chime-in here, people ...

    I have a '15 BMW GSAW & a '15 WR250r (adv. build). After riding a LOT since buying each of them, the GSAW is just too big, and the WR hasn't got the power I'd like.

    I am 47 , 5'8", 135#, 30" inseam (small), but athletic & healthy. Even after taking some ADV (large bike) rider/off-road training courses I'm still way too nervous off-road on the GSAW to have the fun I want to be having. I can wring the WR's neck and have a blast, but I'm left wanting for more now that my skills have improved a little.

    Question;
    Is the new '17 KTM 500 EXC-F's maint. intervals too frequent to make it viable for longer ADV trips (i.e., 1/3 to full TAT ride, etc.)?

    Keep in mind; I'd perform an ADV buildout the KTM EXC-F with all the ADV creature comforts needed for a middle-aged body & mind (see Adam Riemann's buildout for his movies), but I have only novice/intermediate mechanical skills.

    I love the idea of more power, MUCH lighter weight (sub 250#) and supermoto wheel options for paved back-roads with my street-only buddies.

    What say you ADV world??
    #1
  2. CRFan1

    CRFan1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    515
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    I am thinking about this too as I want to possibly dump my WR250R for a 350EXC or 500 EXC......

    I think it's doable for sure...or is a 690 Enduro R better suited to this (with a bit more weight)?
    #2
  3. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I have ridden the 690R and like it very much. Loads of advantages there for most people. But weight is a big factor, so those 60 extra pounds (690R vs 500 EXC) mean a lot when you've dropped the bike the 4th time in a day. Hahaha
    #3
    the_babaji and CRFan1 like this.
  4. Rogue_Ryder

    Rogue_Ryder

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,289
    Location:
    Pinewood Springs, Colorado
    A 350 or 500 EXC is on the short list for me, but more as a plated dirt bike for weekend rides off road. I don't think there's enough data yet to determine if the new 500's motor will hold up to a ton of miles (If it's truly redesigned, sounds like it's a bigger bore shorter stroke than current 500 but that could just be the marketing material). There's significant data to show that the current 500 has proven to be a reliable bike over the long haul. Adam Reinman is proof but that guy is pro with connections and I'm sure he had a support truck on his adventures.

    But as far as the 2017s reliability think back to 2008 when the 530 came out, that engine had some issues and was never as good as the RFS in terms of reliability which IMHO wasn't exactly a low maintenance engine (yes it is compared to a CRF450) but compared to an XR600/650 or DRZ400 it's "high maintenance", mine (525 MXC) needed a valve job and timing chain set with just a handful of seasons of trail riding (not racing or dual sporting). Point is high maintenance is relative, some people are more tolerant than others when it comes to working on their bikes. Do you want to kick back at the end of a 10hr riding day or hunt around town for a place to dispose of your used oil and filters; or worse?

    To me "light is right" but I also like lower maintenance machines, on a trip like the Trans Am trail (I haven't done it but I've ridden plenty of passes in CO which are probably the toughest sections and they're completely doable on a 650) I'd be more inclined to take a bigger bike like the 690 with a minimum amount of gear over taking a bike like the 500 and having to worry about oil changes or more involved maintenance along the way. Not to mention the 100s of miles of boring road sections, I know personally for me riding a bigger bike with big cushy seat like the XR is a lot better than on a hard narrow seat like a race bike has. It's not like you're running the Dakar rally, it's a scenic adventure ride on what are arguably all "roads" there's no gnar, and no single track. The bigger 650 class bikes are still fun to wick up on the road sections just not as fast up the more technical terrain (which is where you should be taking it easy anyway; here's a trip ending crash on one of the UT passes ). The ride is also set up so that you don't need to camp there's plenty of lodging opportunities along the way (carry emergency gear just in case; think solar blanket and cliff bars vs a big agnes and a jet boil).

    Here's what I think is too much gear:
    [​IMG]
    and Goldilocks:
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. ztrab

    ztrab Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,211
    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    I've ridden my 1200 GS, 1200 HP2 Enduro, 690 R and 650 XR up and down the Baja peninsula. There is a proportional differential in comfort,handling and service interval to weight ratio. In simple terms, the less weight, the higher the fun /service factor. This year I built up a stock Husky 501 FE to replace my chubby, albeit very capable and maintenance free 690. While the 690 weighs in with all the goodies at around 320 - add fuel, panniers and fill them, it begins to impinge on the fun side. I will be sacrificing the smooth motor on any long stretches of asphalt, mitigated by slowing it down to 60-65 but in all other aspects, I expect the 250lb + naked 501 will be a blast, only slightly heavier in its Baja trim(+4,1 gal tank vs 2.2 oem and a set of GL Mohave bags with a Rouge top bag). I usually run 1800 miles on my Baja trips, so I'll bring enough oil to do a change midway - yeah a pain but not fatal, 1.5 quarts. I could probably baby it with the state of synthetic oils, but I'll do a dump and fill (using SS oil filter). Adding a wind deflector and using a slightly better saddle than the SC on my 690, I'm thinking I'll be pretty comfy on any long hauls. Ripping through the Window Rock trail, through the silt beds, Calamajue wash, some bits of the Nichole's trail, it's going to be like cheating as compared to the HP2 or 690

    As a compromise bike, the 690 was hard to beat but it was also too easy to pack too much shit on it then suffer in the whoops at a brisk pace. I am looking forward to pounding it, less 60 + lbs on the 501. This always a tough choice. I'd take my 525 EXC with Kibble White valves (valve adj intervals like an XR) but the fuel mileage on the EFI motors is so much better, so it stays home for my regular trail rides of 120 ish a day. As the poster above demonstrated so vividly, the more weight you carry, the easier it is to pitch it over a cliff.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Bitingdog

    Bitingdog That's not my dog

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    13,631
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C. rainforest
    Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the 500/501 aren't 250 lbs (at least not in any sort of rideable condition)

    My 2015 Husqvarna fe350s was pushing 280 lbs with aluminum skidplate, bark busters, rad cages, steel rear sprocket, and full of gas + oil + coolant. If you compare dry weight of a ktm to the wet weight of a Whizzelberry WhiRRRped, you'll be disappointed
    #6
    RAZR, MotoFlicka, cyclopathic and 2 others like this.
  7. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,189
    Location:
    New Mexico
    For that kind of riding the maint interval can certainly be stretched and worked around.

    A couple questions not mentioned in your post:
    1) Will you be carrying camping gear?
    2) Will you be riding with others, and on what type of bike would they be riding?
    3) If the rebuild interval is plenty long for any individual trip, but would need to be done every few years, do you mind that?

    Keep in mind nobody has any firsthand experience with the 2017 500 yet.
    #7
  8. dyno_dave

    dyno_dave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Davisburg, MI
    I've ridden my 2009 KTM 400 on the CDR with one oil change in Breckenridge, CO. No support vehicle and rode 2700 miles. The next year I rode the TAT from Salida, CO to Port Orford, OR and back with one oil change. That trip was just over 4000 miles. I used 1/10 the oil my partner used in his KLR.

    I did re-ring the bike after the 2nd trip.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
    #8
    Dao1 likes this.
  9. ztrab

    ztrab Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,211
    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    I used the mfg dry estimate which is usually within a few lbs. The 690 is listed at 310. So sure, once you put your bark busters, a steel rear sprocket (the CC are already steel),larger tank, skid plate, even the plastic I use adds a ounces, upgraded headligh, and in the case of my 690, steel pannier racks, it all adds up, so your aren't busting any bubbles :-) but you are correct they end up heavier than you might think. That said, the mfg estimate dry weight (actually they usually include all fluids except gas), the difference between my 15 - 501 and my 09 690 was about 60 lbs. I pretty much added the same stuff to both bike, less the 3 lbs of steel rack/panniers, so I'm comfortable saying the 501 is 60 lbs lighter. The 2017 is claiming 240 vs 250, pretty significant reduction.

    #9
    Bitingdog likes this.
  10. ztrab

    ztrab Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,211
    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    1.No camping gear just a space blanket and bivy bag for those unintended overnighters if I can't ride it out- hence the 4700 lumen BD headlight :-)
    2.No support and yeah, I'll be with minimum of one other rider, maybe a few more in Baja. I always carry my inReach SE and do ride trails at home,alone, often.
    3.I do not mind doing the top end when it starts to loose power. The 15 valve train seem to wear pretty slow, still in spec on third rear tire. I have 2 RFS motors, wore the oem valves out at 130 & 150 hours, replaced with Kibble Whites, they haven't moved in 3 K, bottom ends are lasting 25-30 K. Did the pistons at the same interval and expect I will do a piston soon on my regular ride after 3 k of pretty brisk riding.

    YMMV
    #10
    jimmex likes this.
  11. dhally

    dhally Hammerhead Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,458
    Location:
    Kennewick, WA
    I feel the OP's question... After riding an XR400, KLX650C1, 640ADV, and a Tiger800ABS, I got the WRR because of it's light weight and smooth motor. On the paved sections, and even smooth gravel, I sometimes think a bigger bike would be nice. But there is no way an enduro race bike is going to be better than the WRR on the highway. Until HonKawSuzYam comes out with a 400-500 dualsport, the WRR is pretty much the nadir of dualsportness.!
    #11
    GearDrivenCam, Cypress, NSFW and 2 others like this.
  12. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Wow! You guys are great! I checked out for a a couple hours and got lost in online research of the 500 EXC-F vs. 690 Enduro R.

    The 690R is basically (=/-) the same weight as my current '15 WRR (even with addl' ADV gear) with similar maint. intervals. Maybe the better thing to do is spend the time it would take to change the 500 EXC's oil, valve clearances & etc. in the gym/garage instead and get a little stronger.

    I had such a blast on the 500 EXC during test rides at an event in Oct. It was very exciting to ride it, and compare it to the 250 and 350 in the same line. Obviously still on that "high" form the test rides. But, thank you guys for chiming in and sharing your experiences!
    #12
    TCSVN likes this.
  13. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    To answer your questions:
    1. I'll be carrying minimal camping gear
    2. Likely riding solo, but willing (even hoping) to join a group or multiple groups throughout the multi-day trips I'd like to take.
    3. The rebuild intervals is a trade-off. Whether I'm willing to do it is at the heart of the issue, really.
    #13
  14. Bitingdog

    Bitingdog That's not my dog

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    13,631
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C. rainforest
    Dude, go get yourself a 500exc or fe501s. The maintenance requirements are totally blown out of proportion by clowns & haters who think that KTM's are elitist toys.
    The 500exc isn't much worse than a 690 on the highway. The 500exc is dramatically better off-road. Larger fuel tanks are way cheaper for the 500 too.

    I would suggest getting a cush hub rear wheel if you're going to do a lot of street miles
    #14
    ztrab, MOTO DUDE, RAZR and 4 others like this.
  15. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,189
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Even with the cush bumpers that it has in the clutch?
    #15
  16. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  17. jackbyo

    jackbyo @sunnysideup_mc

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Oddometer:
    405
    Location:
    Sydney
    Its discussed here all the time, but 500exc maintenance intervals are based off racing conditions, and 690 for dual sport.

    If you ride the 500 the way the 690 is intended to be ridden, the maintenance requirements will be a lot closer to that. If you're riding like Colton Haaker then stick to the manual.

    FWIW, the oil in my drz400 is pitch black after 1000kms. The xr400 was even worse. Plenty of FE/EXC riders on this forum show very reasonable oil with longer rides than that, and valves that dont budge for thousands and thousands of miles

    que the haters
    #17
    RAZR, Allucaneat and Bitingdog like this.
  18. Tone615

    Tone615 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Hahahaha :rofl
    #18
  19. danptobin

    danptobin Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    718
    Location:
    orange county,NY
    If your gonna carry gear for long distances get a rack that reinforces the subframe. The subframe will develop cracks where the bottom connects to the main frame if you catty a weeks worth of stuff on a long ride unnsuppoerted. Maintanance really isn't that much more then most other bikes. The 690 is expensive to add the extra tank to but the 350/500 you can get a 5.3 gallon acerbic for less then $400
    #19
    cyclopathic likes this.
  20. CanadianX

    CanadianX Don’t leave a steaming pile for others.

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,681
    Location:
    New Brunswick
    Well you're not the first to ask this question. Many hand wringing threads about should I ...would it ...is it...what about... and so on and many responses which talk about the pro/con of such a decision. Ultimately if you can tell me the winning lotto numbers for next week you'd also be able to answer the question with some finality. I sympathize though as one of those hand wringing threads is mine from 2yrs ago. Here's what I came up with - decide early on to just ride the 500 wherever and whenever without worrying about what might happen. You'll tire of thinking about using it up long before you actually wear out any significant parts. I traded my 690 for the 500 as I wanted a more off road oriented bike and the 500 delivers. Maintenance isn't very demanding, a 15min oil change and 5 min air filter change. Periodically I confirm the valves haven't moved and that's about it. I'll ride it everywhere on anything from single track woods to highway if thats required to get to the dirt.

    If the 500 spins your sprockets then go for it, if it doesn't fit your particular riding areas and style it won't be hard to sell it.

    Edit: Here's a link to a post I put up for my first 4 day trip and what I packed.
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/2012-ktm-500-exc.682150/page-652#post-30159903
    #20
    lonsomecrow and Roktman like this.