New Zealand to Alaska on a KTM500exc now RTW!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Aaron.S, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Ive tried to see the allure of this business of riding a bike with an engine with a limited run time,some run longer,some run shorter.
    For most ADV riding 12" of travel isnt needed,and hard to make a skinny seated really tall bike very comfy. Even Lyndon with his full tricked 690 bored to even bigger,is stuck with rebuilds top to bottom,he rides it hard and fully expects to rebuild it,sometimes it scatters early anyway. Hes a great and creative wrench. I guess the bikes that can usually run 60 or 70,000 miles seem to make more sense but have no drama built into using them for a long trip.
  2. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    New 701's are nice.
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  3. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    Yes they are. and response to your last post.
    Remember that I went 67000k 870hrs before the first top end so for a heap of people that are using it for the BDR ,TET or a smaller country like New Zealand with lots of backcountry to explore that's going to take some time to rack up. I'm not saying it's the best choice for most to do a RTW but once you hit the dirt it's pretty hard to beat. I didn't have to do this last motor rebuild and I only did it for my piece of mind because of where I'm heading next. Had I been in the States I would of still been riding it.
    Again it might not be the bike for most but for a old school scumbag dirtbiker like me I'm going to feel pretty good about how far I took it by the time I'm done. I actually feel pretty happy with what I've pulled of so far.
    That's the beauty of having so many bikes to choose from you can pick what suits you but I still will say the BMW 1200 and anything over 1000cc (even 790cc)is a overkill for a true dualspot bike.
    My biggest pet peeve is seeing people with big bikes banging on on Instagram etc about the extreme terrain they are riding on 70/30 tires let alone been alone in the middle of nowhere. I know for sure that they wouldn't of been able to go where I have gone in some areas.
    The 701 and the 690 would of been the smarter choice for most (and probably for me)but I never have claimed to be the smartest person out there I'm just prooving it can be done on what I decided was the most fun bike for me.
    Photo added was the first ride out on my bike and you wouldn't of had as much fun that day on bigger bike. I won't show you pictures of a interstate or autobhan where I wasn't grinning as much though ha.
    IMG_20190122_154321_347.jpg
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  4. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    The 500's are really cool bikes no doubt,if a trip could be mostly all trail they would really be better then lotsa bikes.
    I guess it seems like the reality is to go around the world some/lots of roads have to be done that go on and on that are pretty smooth and not too exciting.

    Ive ridden KTM's since the late 70's and had great luck with all of them,mostly 2 strokes like the 2014 300XCW Ive got now. I rode a SC 620 Lc4 to the end of Baja and Back and about rattled my teeth and eyeballs out of my head......................but had a great time doing wheelies at every chance and had it geared way high so as to pass buddies on their beemers at times,or draft em and drive em crazy.

    I wouldnt ever want a big heavy twin for off roading or rough dirt roads,why waste the effort? Of all things Ive got onto a DR650 and have done lots of settup and continue to refine it such as it is,its comfy,likes 80mph fine,and isnt bad in dirt....... I guess I like to ride slow bikes pretty dang fast and blow by fancier bikes. Ive had a 400EXC and a 525 also,honestly Its so easy to go fast on them and destroy tires......its hard to resist.
    I headed out one morning on my SC 620 and lit it off going up a rocky gravvely road...............got to my friend's house and the rear tire was blown up,blew chunks,shredded,
    And I had just put it on the day before. Tire life has to be calculated with the throttle hand,the DR is lucky to go 2000 miles on a back tire.

    870 hours is pretty amazing on one a these 500's. Some guys like to rebuild em way earlier then needed it seems.

    Best of luck we'll be watching along!
  5. anadel

    anadel Adventurer

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    Since 2015 when I got back into ADV riding after a short medical break, I have owned a Husky Terra, F800GS, BMW Xchallenge, R1200GS watercooled, DR 650 and have decided on my ultimate bike-2018 500EXC. Apart from the 1200, which was for 2 up road riding, the rest were primarily meant for mostly dirt riding and all were capable with a few provisos. The Terra was a good idea let down by poor management, had a great engine but limited suspension and a terrible head shaking habit.

    The less said about the F800 the better. Way too heavy, poor suspension and that show stopping problem with the upper shock bending. Mine bent after huge efforts to prevent it and my riding companion bent his on consecutive rides.It didn't do anything well.The Xchallenge was a great concept ahead of its time, good indestructible engine, class leading light weight (still not bettered), but terrible suspension, poor brakes, time consuming to work on and that pathetic 9 litre fuel tank. After much agonising between the 690 and the DR I went for the DR as I had owned 2 previously and knew everything that needed to be done ie the worst standard suspension on any modern bike i have owned, low power, poor seat, limited fuel.

    Time and again I read reports of engine problems with the older 690's ie broken rocker arms, failed rocker bearings, fuel pump problems and dodgy wiring. I followed Lyndon Poskitt's travels and even he, with his superb mechanical ability had these problems on his bike. I went the whole hog on the DR, suspension,seat, tank and converted it into a 790. By the way, if anyone is considering doing that, go for it. 54 HP at the rear wheel, easy highway/hill overtaking ability and totally non- intimidating to ride.

    As with the rest of the ADV community I had been looking forward to the "unicorn"bike ie Japanese, sub 140kg, 6 speed etc etc and was disappointed by the Honda CRF450. it will never be made, in my opinion so after more research I went for the 500 EXC, knowing what needed to be done and in particular, following this great thread. My changes were to make a rear rack/pannier frame, 15 l Acerbis tank, bigger pegs, Haan cush drive wheel, 15/47 gearing, wonderful inexpensive Parabrisas KTM 690 screen, KTMandhusky.com larger clutch cover for extra oil capacity plus their superb in-tank rebuildable fuel filter. I also rebuilt the seat and it is all day bearable.

    I have completed a 460km 2 day ride and I am delighted. No more handlebar vibey than the DR, totally non- intimidating power wise provided you are sensible, the best front dirt bike brake I have EVER experienced, good suspension and 22 km per litre compared to 17 (or less) km/litre with the 790. Yes I know it won't do 6000km between oil changes but who leaves it that long on any dirt bike. I do my DR at no more than 3000km and I can easily see 1000-1500 km intervals, especially given the easy life I give it. One final observation, all my life the biggest issue with dirt bikes has been weight. The less the better. I recently weighed my 500 with half a tank of fuel.....130kg. The DR with a bit more fuel.........190kg.

    Fully loaded my 500 weighs about the same as the unloaded dry DR. Being in the 60+ age group, the 500 is so easy to manouevre in the garage, easier to load into the ute, easy to turn on tight trails etc etc. I'm happy and can't ever see any new comparable bike in the future.
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  6. Pcq

    Pcq Been here awhile

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    This is my progression:

    BMW GS1100>KTM 640adv>Husky 610 TE>KTM 690>Husky 701

    End of July I’ll be on an adventurised 500exc for a long distance trip.

    Strong believer now in adventure enduro bikes and light packing... (500 is still a big displacement for a real off road bike).

    Looking forward to confirm your remarks !
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  7. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    That all makes perfect sense,Im 61 and ride the lightest bike I can deal with for trails.a 300......................going RTW is of course a very different thing. I like KTM's lots and if 690's held together I woulda got one,they come apart sooner or later and I dont want to deal with that. Most of 50/50 pavemento/dirt dual sporting isnt about pinning it to win it. Its about surviving the day and having a good time and trip.
    Ive learned I like simple bikes I can work on and also rarely break. 45,000 miles on my DR with 1 30.00 part being replaced,a pickup coil. + regular maintenance which is simple.
    Ive done 630 mile days on it at 75 to 85 mph,bashed it all over Death Valley. I never keep bikes all that long,going on 12 years with this one,somehow it works.
    But it aint a tight trail bike.
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  8. nzrian

    nzrian renegade master

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    Another 300xc and DR 650 owner here.
    I am seriously considering swapping the DR for a 500.
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  9. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    I get it,the new 500's are nice! For what ever reason Im keeping the DR.
    When Im at home Im thinking gee whiz I need a tricker lighter faster bike that glows orange.................but then I go ride the 650 and have a blast all day on it.
    Stock engine and exhaust and carb and airbox and it runs off and leaves anyone I ride with especially on dirt roads,never tucks the front always drifts around corners faster then it should .
    Its a pig but its my pig. And frustrates friends with new 701's horribly,701 spins the tire harder though.

    (I also like that it smooths out at 80 to 85mph and will go that way all day if desired,not many singles do that)
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  10. DesertRatliff

    DesertRatliff Tinker Tinker Ride Ride

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    I hope Aaron doesn't mind the chatter while he's traveling back to the bike.

    If I could only have two bikes in the garage to cover 99.5% of my needs, that garage would include a plated 300 smoker and a cheaper, highly modded Japanese DS like a DR with good suspension; A light plated trail bike and a travel bike that didn't weigh a quarter ton.

    My garage is confined to one bike, though, and for that, my 500 covers a lot of bases.
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  11. climberevan

    climberevan planning the next journey

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    I have used my RFS 525 for enduro travel quite a bit, but always felt like I was killing it when I had to ride on the highway for any distance. Never having to say "That trail looks too hard" is very nice, though. Still, despite the current trend, I think for most people going that light isn't the best choice. For it to work one must be committed to a very light packing regimen as well, and reconcile oneself that major servicing will likely be required midway through longer trips.

    I still have the Beta and use it for rugged multi day trips, but for more mellow trips i now have a Husky TE630. It is pretty much a dirtbike with a heavier, more durable, and smoother motor. It also has the best gearbox I've ever used, with a dreamy wide spread that allows rock crawling and 80mph to both be comfortable. If the 690/701 had a real wide ratio gearbox it would be very tempting.

    I definitely feel the ~40# extra compared with a 500, but only in the toughest conditions (and when I'm trying to get it onto a stand for wheel changes). If they took a 500 and added 20# to the motor they could make it far, far more durable and make many of us happy, but the current pursuit of lowest possible weight shows that they are going in the opposite direction. We're a niche within a niche market.
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  12. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

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    I think the 690 adventure and 350 in my car hole is right along those lines. I love the 4t trail bike and the 690 kitted is a blast and still under 400. If I could only have one it would be the 500 tho, and if I was legitimately goiing to do what aaron has done it would also be the 500, even before this killer ride report. There’s not a more versatile bike that doesn’t sacrifice performance imho.
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  13. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    Guess it's my turn to get a say in this thread ha 20190511_105148.jpg
    Oh it's that fly out day again!
    I did manage to do something useful with my time as I finally got around to replying to advroad.com with some answers to a bunch of questions they had sent me months ago and I believe the article should be out in a couple weeks. I'll post a link when done.
    I also wrote a little article for remotemoto.com and again once out I'll post a link.
    About to head to the airport and it looks like I'll have to take two bags as on the way here I joined them together to make one but that won't work this time with extra gear. Hopefully they won't have a issue how I've packed it
  14. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Effin’ awesome @Aaron.S! I love the bag packed in the middle of the tire, brilliant :thumb :thumb

    Can’t wait to see some photos of the bike going back together, and I’m looking forward to reading those articles :-):-)

    Safe flight and here’s to no issues on the ground :beer
  15. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    .

    Attached Files:

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  16. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    Cheers!!!
  17. nzrian

    nzrian renegade master

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    Traveling with style, I like it.
    Bet you got some looks at the airport terminal. :brow
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  18. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Aaron is more patient then most for sure.
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  19. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    Along with my boots strapped to my little backpack yep. They made me go shrink wrap it for 10 quid but I added the boots on the side and was happy to be able to get that done at the airport.
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  20. Aaron.S

    Aaron.S Been here awhile

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    Ha you just maybe the fist person in my life that has said that!
    I'll take it and run with it.
    Kinda chuffed.