Trans Eurasia Trip // Bike Dilemma

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by panicproduct, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Howdy!

    I'm Chris, a 31-year old, planning my dream expedition: Riding off-asphalt from London to Vladivostok, mountaineering along the way. And, I'm trying to decide which bike to ride it on.

    A bit of background about me, for context:
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/bike-addict-turned-mountaineer-turned-bike-addict.1419214/

    // Routing //

    We'll follow the TET from London until Turkey; then avoid asphalt like the plague through Central Asia (shouldn't be too difficult to do)--venturing over 4500m/15,000' passes in the Pamirs. Riding the Open World of Mongolia; eventually going far east to the Pacific through Siberia.

    // Onto the bikes //

    Initially I was pretty set on a 2011 Husqvarna TE630. I found one in good condition, for a good price, a day's drive from home in Boulder. It would be almost a hundred pounds lighter than the Himalayan I rode on my last trip, with twice the power; and a proven (albeit niche) engine and platform.

    Then, I began to discover RTWPaul & The Rolling Hobo's affinity for 500's; it got me thinking lighter. At this point, I'm very interested in the idea of a 450/500 EXC, but would love to get some insight from the community on a few variations of these:

    2010 KTM 450 EXC
    Found one of these locally, with low mileage/very clean/some desired upgrades, for the same price as the TE630. The price is right, but wondering how well the carburateur would do with multiple passes over 4500m/15,000' and then going back down low. I have some basic maintenance skills, but rejetting carbs is beyond my area of expertise.

    2017 KTM 450 EXC SIXDAYS
    Found one of these a day's drive away, pretty low hours, Rekluse EXP 3, some other interesting mods. A bit more expensive than the 2010, but seems very reasonable considering what it is.

    2015 KTM 500 EXC
    Found a few of these in SoCal, solid day's drive. They are by far the most expensive option, but generally low hours/mileage/clean condition; and I've seen what they can do from many threads on here. If cost wasn't a consideration, I'd probably jump on one of these straightaway.

    I've read all about the 450 vs 500 debate; 500 resonates the most with how I ride. But the SIXDAYS has some nice upgrades and is cheaper than the 500s, which would make me consider it--but not sure about the lighter duty design of the 2017 being as well-suited for a RTW 4-season load. That being said, the price is right on the 2010 450, but I'm a bit hesitant going for carbureted instead of EFI (though I know that's the opposite of a lot of the thinking around here.) Finally, I know that the TE630 would be great all-around... But an extra 80 or so pounds adds up when picking a bike up over and over through technical stuff (and I'm a pretty small guy.)

    I know that no one can choose for me, but I'd love to get some insight from people with experience older vs. newer KTM, older 450 (at elevation) vs newest 450/newer 500. Or if anyone thinks that the TE630 deserves some consideration still. Cheers!
    #1
  2. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,280
    Location:
    MN and NM
    I vote strongly against the 2010 450. (I had a 2008 450 for 7 years.) It is a really fun bike to ride, but it has lots of mechanical design flaws that would probably make you miserable on a long trip. But having said that I think a few guys have done the TAT on this model.

    I now have a 2015 500 Exc. I don't use it much for multiday trips, but I believe it would be a good choice.

    I ride a KTM 690 for rides probably like yours will be. For me it works well for everything except hard mountain single track and really nasty jeep roads.
    #2
  3. El Pacifico

    El Pacifico Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,030
    Location:
    Hood River, Oregon
    A nice 2016 500 EXC that’s got the EU or AUS map, would be the ticket.

    For your trip, I’d spend the money on better condition over a six days version.

    The pre 2017 EXC’s have a larger rider triangle better suited for long days on the saddle. I also think the subframe is stronger.
    #3
    RideFreak likes this.
  4. SRG

    SRG Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,760
    Location:
    Central Va.
    If you are looking as far back as '10 - 570 Husaberg's are the snizzle.
    #4
  5. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Good to know about the 2010 450, exactly the perspective that I was looking for; appreciate your other insights as well. I considered a 690/701 for a long time, then discovered the TE610 and thought, "hey, great 'budget version' of those" but now am looking at 500's which throws budget out the window :lol3
    #5
  6. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,871
    Location:
    Out in the NM Dez somewhere
    The 450s are more dirtbike like in their power delivery, not so much it rules them out but the 500 is definitely more of a cruiser. IMO the 14~16 are the best of that series for DS although the difference between those years and the earlier 2013 model is minimal. The newer 500s are really nice machines with better suspension but KTM being always on the lookout to save weight reduced the subframe and put in a wonky 5th gear in the exc models, they are better dirt bikes though that isn't necessarily what you're searching for. None of that is a show stopper but if you're looking at the 500s for distance riding I think the earlier versions fit that better. Starting in 2013 they used a 195W stator, as a weight savings in 2018 they dropped the stator output to 165W which can be a consideration depending on what you plan to run off it. If that's the bike you want to ride I don't think you'll go wrong with a 450 or 500 from 2013 to current, there's just a few things I think is better on some models over others.
    #6
    timeOday and wbbnm like this.
  7. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,575
    Location:
    Lost in the Sahara
    All depends how much mountain climbing gear you are going to carry there is a thread on here where the guys did it with DR650's in America and by the time they got reasonably far south in South America the frames were pretty cracked this is where the alloy subframes may not stand up to the beating all good bike choices and will eat up the TET but will they last the distance Rolling Hobo and RTWPaul AronS amd Memento13 is keeping their luggage to a minimum
    Real world riders
    Aaron.S
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/new-zealand-rtw-and-back-on-a-ktm500exc.1181912/
    memento13
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/tallinn-to-cape-town-on-a-ktm-450.1385387/

    The climbers thread
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/the-pan-american-trail.1221585/
    #7
  8. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,280
    Location:
    MN and NM
    I went a couple of rides with a guy who had a pre KTM Husky. I was not impressed to say the least. Many parts looked cheaply made. The gear shift lever was just a piece of bent metal.
    #8
  9. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Really great insight on the 2014-2016 models, exactly the perspective I was looking for. Much appreciated.
    #9
  10. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    I know (of) those guys through a mutual friend and followed along with their journey on the 'gram. Wild stuff. I would definitely be skewing towards an ultralight/minimalist kit; and adjusting any objectives that I tackle accordingly. Pretty sure I can put together a full mtn kit for 3-4kg. Definitely important considerations.
    #10
  11. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    THIS has me intrigued :clap
    #11
  12. El Pacifico

    El Pacifico Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,030
    Location:
    Hood River, Oregon
    At the end of your trip, are you flying yourself and the bike back to London?

    And,

    Do you happen to have US/UK citizenship? If so, an option is that you buy a bike in the UK. Not sure what the used bike market is over there, just a thought.
    #12
  13. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Plan afterward is to take the TSR from Vladivostok back west; then ride the rest-the-way back into Europe/UK/Wherever.

    I am a US citizen, but actually bought my Himalayan in London over the summer--all things considered, it was relatively hassle free (almost as easy as buying a vehicle in New Zealand.) That being said, US has a bigger market; I'd like the chance to shake it out, and then ship it over. Once in UK though, the friends who I am doing the trip with have a barn/shop we can work out of for any last-minute adjustments.
    #13
    El Pacifico likes this.
  14. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,926
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #14
  15. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    I just don't want to ride a 350+ pound bike--but even with climbing/3.5 season, I'm quite confident that I can pack light enough to be suitable for an enduro bike. All of my gear is ultralight; my approach to climbing/camping is minimalist; and I've been refining my approach to outdoor endeavors professionally for six years. Talking, soloing easy/moderate routes most people rack up for; 50 mile "hikes" that people spend four days on in 18 hours, etc. I think that if I applied an approach that was anything less to this trip, I would be constantly wishing that I had.
    #15
    Gedrog likes this.
  16. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,926
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I hope you can post some updates and photos from on your trip, it sounds like it should be fantastic.

    PS I have a 2016 500EXC and like RideFreak said above I would put nothing above it for real dual sport capability. I have or do also own a couple other bikes mentioned (Italian Husky, FE570) and love(d) them but the 500 wins for being well-rounded, without any serious flaws, and huge aftermarket. I would carry a spare fuel pump, injector, and filters for any FI bike though. Also personally I wouldn't choose any 8+ year old or high mile bike to set off on a trip like that.

    Buy @rtwpaul 's bike:
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/adventurizing-a-ktm-500exc-for-rtw-riding.1369978/
    #16
    wbbnm likes this.
  17. panicproduct

    panicproduct n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    I'll be sure to, cheers!
    #17
  18. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,575
    Location:
    Lost in the Sahara
    Whaaaat is the bike for sale again !!!!?
    #18
  19. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,926
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Not that I know of.
    I just remember the thread, the bike being built up, then the trip not happening, I thought he had just put it into storage.
    Also, the 2016 6-days is my favorite-looking dirtbike of all time!
    #19