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Old 04-25-2010, 06:35 AM   #1
nevada72 OP
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My KTM 525exc experience

Edit 6-2-2010 - New or would be KTM owners - Read this 1st. Following is my new to KTM experience. It's a great bike but there are some things you need to know. I learned very quickly that there are some things that you really should change
before riding your bike even once or you'll cause damage. It's covered in more detail later in this thread and on other threads. I'll also post links after the main topics for quick fix references

Short list of things to do before you ride the bike.

Exhaust heat shield - You will melt your pants on the 1st ride without one if you wear riding pants over the boot.

License plate bracket - Your license plate will not survive your 1st ride. Modify or buy a Sicass/KTM oem retrofit.


While this is not unique to KTMs, and may not happen to you ever, let alone the 1st ride, you may want to do the cheap prevention of a case saver. Could save you a very expensive nightmare. (No, I didn't test this one)


There's a much longer list of things you need to do to make the bike "right", but at least they won't cause damage


Jetting - set too lean from factory

Uncork - trim the small diameter tube off the end piece

different sprockets - EPA concession to limit noise (??) 14/50 works great for me, but there are other nice combos. Tailor to your conditions.

canisterectomy - ditch it if you want the bike to start after it tips over. http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=195244

side stand replacement - pure crap from the factory. It will break.

Other stuff that's subjective, but I found useful on my bike


skid plate

steering stabilizer

Hand guards

big Clarke tank

EE seat

I'm sure there's plenty more. I'm still learning about this bike as I go. ADV, Thumpertalk, and KTMtalk have been fantastic resources for getting the skinny on the EXC. Know that you'll dump at least $1k into the stock bike before it's right. I know that sounds bad, but if you think about it, even the DRZ guy is pouring money into his bike to make it what he wants.


I just picked up a 2007 KTM 525exc. I have to say I'm pretty excited about it because I've always wanted one. As Lester Burnham in American Beauty said "...and now I have one. I rule! (pumps fist in the air) I'm posting up my experience to A. Show off the bike and B. Put out a KTM newbies experience for other newbies to learn from. What do I have to teach? Well, I have found that I am very quick at discovering the wrong way of doing things. So, if I can spare anyone my future mishaps, my karma might have a chance at being in balance. I'm sure I'll have some occasional successes to pass along as well. This will be an ongoing report.

Here she is in the p.o.'s man cave (which was almost as impressive as his 25 acre man trail behind his supremely impressive man estate). As you can see, the bike is almost as clean as the floor.



to be continued
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:53 AM   #2
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:14 AM   #3
WARRIORPRINCEJJ
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Nice ride...

Do what I did...Read alot, and ask a lot of questions. The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask. Let any less-than-kind responses roll off your back. Some people forget that they were not born KTM technicians.

Don't be hesitant to turn wrenches any time you get a chance.

Once you've done a lot of the above, you can share all your experiences...which is a HUGE help to new owners, and probably the greatest thing about this Site (IMHO).

It looks like you picked-up an extremely clean KaTooM. Congratulations!...Welcome, and enjoy.


.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:25 AM   #4
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Nice bike, I like the man cave too What area of the country do you ride? My cousin got a 525 that I had a chance to ride in the desert, the thing is on steriods I'd hurt myself eventually on one 'cause I'd be in the throttle all the time and it's that fast. It's dead even with my XRR on a dirt drag race up to about 85 or 90 then the 650 pulls it (a little) but the 525 is allot lighter and handles better, it's just easier to ride fast.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:32 AM   #5
nevada72 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WARRIORPRINCEJJ
Do what I did...Read alot, and ask a lot of questions. The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask. Let any less-than-kind responses roll off your back. Some people forget that they were not born KTM technicians.

Don't be hesitant to turn wrenches any time you get a chance.

Once you've done a lot of the above, you can share all your experiences...which is a HUGE help to new owners, and probably the greatest thing about this Site (IMHO).

It looks like you picked-up an extremely clean KaTooM. Congratulations!...Welcome, and enjoy.


.
Thanks!

Once I started reading about KTMs it became a bit daunting. It seems like so much maintenance. But, as I get farther into it I learned that even though there's more to do than on some other bikes, it's not all that bad. I should say that a KTM owner should be mechanically inclined (or have a fat wallet) as well as be very meticulous and regimented in his/her maintenance. That's fine because I like to tinker.

As a matter of fact, the last few days I've been doing just that - tinkering. As I would with any used bike, I am going through it top to bottom to make sure it's good to go. First was a very thorough scrubbing. It was clean when I got it, but I took it apart and scrubbed it down to prep for valve adjustments and so on. Today I'm repacking the swing arm pivot and head set.

I'll do my best to learn the right answer from knowledgeable folks (I've lurked over at KTMtalk for a year and read as much as I could before buying) before posting up here, but please correct me when I am in error, if not for me, but for those who read down the road.

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideFreak
Nice bike, I like the man cave too What area of the country do you ride? My cousin got a 525 that I had a chance to ride in the desert, the thing is on steriods I'd hurt myself eventually on one 'cause I'd be in the throttle all the time and it's that fast. It's dead even with my XRR on a dirt drag race up to about 85 or 90 then the 650 pulls it (a little) but the 525 is allot lighter and handles better, it's just easier to ride fast.
Thanks!

I ride in the Midwest. My range is NW Arkansas up to Upper Michigan and the mitten as well. I live in SE WI, but not much dirt riding right by me. I have to travel 3 hours minimum to get to the good stuff. And good stuff there is! Well worth the short drive.

The XRR is a GREAT bike. The two bikes are often compared and I had a hard time choosing between the two. I chose the KTM for the reasons you mention which fit my particular needs as well as the "magic button". But, I know I would have been just as happy with the XRR.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:07 AM   #7
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Very nice KTM, congrats, you will love it, especially the POWER!

Check out ktmtalk.com, it is a great resource for information, I've been using it for years.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skowinski
Very nice KTM, congrats, you will love it, especially the POWER!

Check out ktmtalk.com, it is a great resource for information, I've been using it for years.
Thanks! My initial ride left me impressed with it's power and tractability in the tight stuff. That was in it's basically stock form too. I've just uncorked the muffler, done the canisterectomy (http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=195244), and a 48 tooth rear (45 stock) is on it's way. The JD jet kit was done by the p.o.. That's just a start.

I've been a KTMtalk member for over a year now. Like ADV it's a fantastic resource but obviously focused on KTM. I will link specifics, such as uncorking, much of it from KTMtalk. Thumper Talk is another great resource. As great as those two resources are, I call ADV "home".

Here's where I'm at today-



It's not the ultimate mancave like the one the 525 is used to, but it's heated, has other bikes hanging around, and has Patsy Cline on the Boom box.

As it sits, the swing arm is off for repacking. What impresses me most about the KTM so far is how easy it is to work on. The design makes so much sense. It's a pleasure to wrench on.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevada72
Thanks! My initial ride left me impressed with it's power and tractability in the tight stuff. That was in it's basically stock form too. I've already uncorked the muffler, done the canisterectomy, and a 48 tooth rear (45 stock) is on it's way. The JD jet kit was done by the p.o.. That's just a start.

I've been a KTMtalk member for over a year now. Like ADV it's a fantastic resource but obviously focused on KTM. I will link specifics, such as uncorking, much of it from KTMtalk. Thumper Talk is another great resource. As great as those two resources are, I call ADV "home".

Here's where I'm at today-



It's not the ultimate mancave like the one the 525 is used to, but it's heated, has other bikes hanging around, and has Patsy Cline on the Boom box.

As it sits, the swing arm is off for repacking. What impresses me most about the KTM so far is how easy it is to work on. The design makes so much sense. It's a pleasure to wrench on.
I was going to mention that. I find my KTM is the easiest bike to work on I have ever had, and I have huge paws. Everything just makes sense.

I came off an XRR as well, and let me tell you....you couldn't have made a better choice going with an 07 RFS engine KTM.

Keep us posted, and don't forget the higher psi rad cap, engine ice, rad guards and tuggers!

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Old 04-25-2010, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off the grid
Keep us posted, and don't forget the higher psi rad cap, engine ice, rad guards and tuggers!

/subscribed

I have the Engine Ice on deck for when I put the radiators back on. I haven't heard about the high psi cap yet - I'll start reading. The guards and tugger are on the list, but I don't have them yet. I'm hoping the plastic KTM guards will protect them somewhat.

The swingarm service is done. It took longer than I expected only because I went a bit overboard on cleaning. My neighbors think I'm nuts because I'm out in the rain washing things.



Here are the bearings packed in new grease to give the uninitiated a view of what's what. Be careful when removing the swing arm - those needle bearings will spill out all over the place if they are dry. Mine were not. In fact the grease looked okay, but the timing was right. By the end of the summer it would have been bad. Wasn't worth a "before" pic though.



Back together



Tomorrow the headset. Not looking forward to that for some reason.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:35 PM   #11
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Cool project.

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Old 04-26-2010, 07:58 PM   #12
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Today all I did was a valve adjustment. I have one bathroom remodel to wrap up and another one to begin. Every time I head out to the garage the missus is doing one of these > so I gotta play nice before it turns to this >

which leads to this > which in turn, results in an immediate cessation of this > (yes, there are other smilies that apply too), but on the brighter side leaves a whole lot more time for this > . Maybe I'm on to something.....


Anyway, the valve adjustment went w/o a hitch. Like the rest of the bike, easy as pie to do. The most time consuming part is taking the radiators off, which involves draining, refilling, and bleeding of the cooling system. Does anyone really do all that every 15 hours? Makes that $300 upgrade by DJH of KTMTalk to Kibblewhite oversized valves (50 hours between adjustments) that much more attractive. Speaking of DJH, he had excellent advice on adjusting valves > just rotate the engine until both cam lobes are up, and adjust (.005). Sounds too simple doesn't it? No TDC. No crank locking bolts. No straws in plug holes. Nada. It gets better. Instead of using a feeler gauge, screw the adjuster in until it stops Then back off 1/6th of a turn. Sounds really hokey, but apparently it's an old Husaberg factory method. Without going too far into it, one sixth of a turn equals .020 mm or .005 (roughly) which is perfect. I tried it and damned if it didn't check out when I put the feeler gauge in there. I'll never do it another way!

Tomorrow - header wrap and some reassembly. Hopefully the brown truck shows up with some stuff so I can get this thing back together!
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevada72
Today all I did was a valve adjustment. I have one bathroom remodel to wrap up and another one to begin. Every time I head out to the garage the missus is doing one of these > so I gotta play nice before it turns to this >

which leads to this > which in turn, results in an immediate cessation of this > (yes, there are other smilies that apply too), but on the brighter side leaves a whole lot more time for this > . Maybe I'm on to something.....


Anyway, the valve adjustment went w/o a hitch. Like the rest of the bike, easy as pie to do. The most time consuming part is taking the radiators off, which involves draining, refilling, and bleeding of the cooling system. Does anyone really do all that every 15 hours? Makes that $300 upgrade by DJH of KTMTalk to Kibblewhite oversized valves (50 hours between adjustments) that much more attractive. Speaking of DJH, he had excellent advice on adjusting valves > just rotate the engine until both cam lobes are up, and adjust (.005). Sounds too simple doesn't it? No TDC. No crank locking bolts. No straws in plug holes. Nada. It gets better. Instead of using a feeler gauge, screw the adjuster in until it stops Then back off 1/6th of a turn. Sounds really hokey, but apparently it's an old Husaberg factory method. Without going too far into it, one sixth of a turn equals .020 mm or .005 (roughly) which is perfect. I tried it and damned if it didn't check out when I put the feeler gauge in there. I'll never do it another way!

Tomorrow - header wrap and some reassembly. Hopefully the brown truck shows up with some stuff so I can get this thing back together!

No need to drain the radiators, either. I just loosen them and push them back out of the way to get to the exhaust valves- the hoses flex enough, so no worries there. I use a bungie to hold them out of the way. easy peasy.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:42 PM   #14
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No need to drain the radiators, either. I just loosen them and push them back out of the way to get to the exhaust valves- the hoses flex enough, so no worries there. I use a bungie to hold them out of the way. easy peasy.
That would save a LOT of time, not to mention Engine Ice. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:03 PM   #15
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Also you will be doing the intakes 3x as much as the exhausts. And no, no one does them every 15hrs. From what I recall my valves have never moved.

The "screw-turn" method is tried and true. (pretty sure that's not the name of it, but sue me)

Make sure you get a can guard for the header/can interface and a shark fin for the rear rotor.

Looks like this:


Remember if you sign up for KTMtalk you get 10% off their store.
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