Originally Posted by Stu
The 525 does have its virtues that could be strengthened. It is robust, simple and durable. With protective skid plate, etc. it would be hard to harm it. It is so light compared to the competition that handling it for miles in deep sand or muddy tracks in Siberia would be much easier. The reliability could be extended with a thicker base gasket, a cush rear hub, an HT oil cooler, etc. You would be limited in what you could carry even with the ProMoto rack and Dirt Bagz mounted to that rack. You could overcome some of the mileage problems with the JR jetting and the 6.6 gallon Acerbis tank. It would be a whole lot more fun than the competition as well. If you are mechanically adept it should do just fine. If they can do the Dakar on them with every mile being pushed to the limit the 525 should be able to do a RTW trip.
Hmm... the problem is that - at the moment - I'm not mechanically adept. Although with I guess, 14 months before I plan to leave, I have the time to learn :)
I'm purposely taking an offroad bike rather than a DS bike like my F650GS BECAUSE it means I can't take too much crap - just the essentials.
It really is a choice between the 525 or the XR400 - once you get off of decent roads, your bigger displacement bikes are just heavier and sucking more fuel than the smaller bikes (therefore less range) - you'll still only be able to travel at the speed at which conditions allow, which I expect to be averaging 55 kph. Power is great for cruising on a highway, but the extra power and weight just work against you when your are stuck in some sand or mud.
Bearing that in mind, sacraficing ponies for longevity is no problem at all, the same goes for fuel consumption.
The dakar is different though - the bikes get serviced and if necessary, rebuilt, every night at the bivouac. I don't intend to doing that - and I'm not going to have much luggage allowance for spares either.
I agree it would be more fun than the competition... which is what this is all about, after all... otherwise I'd just use a R1200GS and stick mainly to asphalted roads the whole way round ;)
I have a trip from UK to Norway and back planned in about 6 weeks. I'm going to use that as a dry run for whatever bike I take RTW, it's about a 3000 mile round trip (I guess thats 10 days). I could take the 525 on this, with some minor modifications... I will be mostly in developed countries, so if things go bang, I should be able to get it repaired... hmmm....
Have you guys heard of ANYONE using a non-adventure series KTM (EXC,SXC,MXC) for any kind of long distance prolonged riding?