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Old 11-30-2011, 07:02 AM   #1
SteveO OP
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Land of Disenchantment
Oddometer: 1,220
KTM 500 EXC - The Blockbuster

This is my first KTM bike, and I must say, it is a very nice bike. One thing I've noticed about KTM bikes in general is the way the engine feels. For years I've been riding Yamaha bikes. I've become used to the way the engines feel; smooth running and tight. Some time ago I was given an opportunity to ride a friends older model KTM 530. I was a little surprised at how the engine felt; like a lumbering diesel engine; clackaty-clack and kinda loose until you got on the throttle. I thought maybe this was just the characteristics of his bike. I was wrong.

Enter the 2012 KTM 500 EXC; This bike has the same feel as the older KTM models; diesel like loose until you get on the throttle, then it roars like a lion and jets forward. I've now become accustomed to the feel of the KTM, especially the torque of the engine....awesome.

According to KTM, this 2012 is all new with lots of changes from frame to engine.....

2012 KTM 500 EXC Street Legal

Enough is never enough for all those who are forever seeking a little bit more, KTM has created the 500 EXC. Perfectly controllable power in extravagant proportions, low weight and an unsurpassed chassis characterise an enduro of remarkable versatility: a sensational fighting machine and absolutely reliable workhorse rolled into one, the indisputable benchmark in terms of weight and rideability. At any rate, there's no way to avoid to 500 EXC on the path to the podium in the E3 class.

California Green Sticker and US EPA Off-Highway emission compliant model.

With the 500 EXC's newly developed engine, KTM engineers have created a new dimension: The power unit has been redesigned from scratch and is now more compact, lighter and more powerful than before. Reduced reciprocating weight and a balancer shaft minimise vibration.

The 500 EXC's new, improved silencer not only offers greater volume and a new design, it also reduces noise levels to the stricter standards of the future.

All ports and the combustion chamber have been redesigned in the OHC cylinder head of the 500 EXC's new engine. The new camshaft actuates four valves via lightweight rocker arms. High-quality titanium valves are used on the intake side. As before, the cylinder head cover mounted at an angle simplifies service work.

The 500 EXC's cylinder has been further developed especially for the new engine configuration. The new, 15 % lighter forged piston minimises reciprocating weight and optimises durability at high engine speeds. New, nitrided piston rings ensure highest levels of resistance to wear.

When designing the new crankshaft on the 450 EXC, KTM engineers focussed on reducing the reciprocating weight. Thanks to the new, lighter connecting rod and the new, lighter piston, they managed to achieve minimum vibration, while maximising engine-speed strength.

The 500 EXC's new engine case weighs almost 2 kg (4 lb.) less than its predecessor, although it offers better resistance to damage due to stone impact or falls. This has been achieved by using a high-strength, elastic aluminium alloy and changing from sand-casting to die-casting.

The 500 EXC's new, more compact balancer shaft not only eliminates vibration, but also serves as the drive for the water pump. This intelligent multi-functionality contributes to the compactness and low weight of the 500 EXC's new engine.

The 500 EXC's new engine is equipped with a common oil circuit for engine and transmission, and two oil pumps. A pressure pump lubricates the engine, while a suction pump draws oil from the crankcase, using it to lubricate the transmission and the clutch. At the same time and in conjunction with a steel diaphragm, negative pressure arises in the casing, which boosts the engine power.

The newly developed Keihin engine management system with electronic fuel injection ensures spontaneous responsiveness from the engine. Various engine characteristics can be activated with an optional map select switch.

The 500 EXC's newly developed clutch, with a robust steel cage and transmission-friendly back-damping, makes use of a spring washer for the first time instead of the customary conical springs, hence substantially reducing the operating force. The hydraulic actuation mechanism from Brembo® facilitates sensitive modulation of the clutch.

The completely revamped frame made from high-quality chrome-molybdenum steel is characterised by even greater lateral stiffness. Furthermore, it is even better at absorbing jolts introduced by the suspension system, whereby the simple handling and comfort of the 500 EXC have been further optimised.

The 450 EXC's new, lighter, cast aluminium swingarm accommodates the shock absorber more centrally, in order to load the swing arms more evenly. The new, 7 mm (0.28 in) longer PDS shock absorber with adjustable rebound and high/low-speed compression damping, and a new setting is installed more flatly, so providing even more progression.

The 500 EXC is equipped with the latest WP upside-down fork with wider adjustment ranges and a new setting. The sensitive responsiveness and outstanding damping of the open-cartridge fork with 48 mm (1.89 in) outer tubes are a perfect complement for the 500 EXC's simple handling and precision.

Practically unbeatable in terms of weight and stability, the new wheels have CNC-machined hubs, Excel rims, zinc/nickel-coated spokes and aluminium nipples. They reduce the unsprung and gyroscopic masses, hence bolstering the simple handling of the 500 EXC.

The 500 EXC's new bodywork with the very slim seat and spoiler lines, plus excellent contact points, perfects the bike's ergonomics, making handling even simpler and more precise. The longer rear fender protects the rider even more effectively from swirled up stones.


Design1-cylinder 4-stroke engine, water-cooled
Displacement510.4 cm³ (31.147 cu in)
Bore95 mm (3.74 in)
Stroke72 mm (2.83 in)
StarterElectric starter/kick starter
Engine lubricationPressure circulation lubrication with two rotary pumps
Primary transmission32:76
Final drive15:45
CoolingWater, permanent circulation of coolant by water pump
ClutchMultidisc clutch in oil bath / hydraulically activated
IgnitionContactless controlled fully electronic ignition with digital ignition adjustment, type Kokusan

FrameCentral tube frame made of chrome molybdenum steel tubing
ForkWP Suspension Up Side Down 4860 MXMA PA
Shock absorberWP Suspension PDS 5018 DCC
Suspension travel Front300 mm (11.81 in)
Suspension travel Rear335 mm (13.19 in)
Brake systemDisc brakes, brake calipers on floating bearings
Brake discs - diameter Front260 mm (10.24 in)
Brake discs - diameter Rear220 mm (8.66 in)
Chain5/8 x 1/4"
Steering head angle63.5°
Wheelbase1,482±10 mm (58.35±0.39 in)
Ground clearance unloaded345 mm (13.58 in)
Seat height unloaded970 mm (38.19 in)
Total fuel tank capacity, approx.8.5 l (2.25 US gal)
Super unleaded (ROZ 95/RON 95/PON 91)
Weight without fuel, approx.113.5 kg (250.2 lb.)

I've read that the "6-Days version" has black wheels. My bike came with black wheels, but no stickers indicating 6-days.... Either way, its a great bike.

I've performed the 1hr service and checked the valves (easy to do); they were right in spec.

This past Thanksgiving my brother and I did a ride in the Yuma area. Taking it easy on the throttle, I was able to rein in 100 miles before the gas light came on.

So far, I'm very happy with the bike.

I've read quite a bit about the Gas Filter getting clogged up, and preventing the proper flow of fuel. I've attempted to mitigate this issue by taking a few extra steps.

I've flushed out the gas tank several times before actually running the engine for an extended period of time. I've also picked up a Splitsream Fuel Filter for the KTM tanks:

This unit is a tight fit, but does work for these KTM tanks. It does slow the fill-up process, but at least I know my fuel is being filtered before it gets into the tank......

Speaking of the Fuel Tank, these locking gas caps can be difficult to remove. Harcus has addressed this in previous threads, show how the cap can be modified:


Harcus has also taken the time to produce some pictures of how he has "De-smogged" his KTM:


Overall, this is a really great bike that I believe will definitely be a Blockbuster for KTM.....
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:14 AM   #2
Dirty Old Man
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Lost & Found again in the Great Basin
Oddometer: 921
CRAP Stevo
hope you dont ride that next KOTW

nice bike glad you are happy. did you keep the wr?
Ride the DEZ
05 FE 550 Husaberg plated
08 FE 650 Husaberg plated
01 DR Frankenbike 650
76 CB750
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:18 AM   #3
Green Chile Guru
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Albuquerque NM
Oddometer: 1,610
Very nice bike.

Bring it on down to Albq, I can show you some good stuff out here. We were up in Buckman last Sunday.
You need to hook up on one of our rides.
Current rides:
2014 YZ250F 05 KTM300EXC 07KTM450EXC
04 GasGas 280, finally, my perfect stable.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:25 AM   #4
SteveO OP
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Land of Disenchantment
Oddometer: 1,220
Ohhh YEAH, Bob, I'm ready now for the KOTW!!!!


The WR was sold to a guy in the Falkland Islands. He is going to use it to follow the Dakar......

Dirtdad, Indeed, I need to hook up with you guys and get a ride in......
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:06 PM   #5
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Skagit County
Oddometer: 300
question on valve check

So i have never checked valves on a bike before and with that being said i dont want to screw up. i watched the video that steve posted up on You TUbe. however i must be blind because i did not see which valve was what and where exactly to put the feeler guage at. its going to pour down rain tomorrow and i am going to use that time to look inside and check them. does anyone have any close up pics of this bikes valves with some description on where to check with the feelers?

here is a pic i found on line if someone wants to input some arrows if they would or just show an actual pic of the bikes valves.

it would be much apreciated. i know a few guys i can take the bike over and do it but thought i would try and take a look at it first before i go for some help.
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