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Old 07-09-2010, 08:41 AM   #1
brucifer OP
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KTM 520 EXC Owners/Past Owners

What are your experiences with this bike? Reliability? Niggles?
I may be adding a 2001 to the arsenal. Tried a search but it was a no-show.
Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:15 AM   #2
LukasM
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Start reading the 525 EXC Adventure Bike thread, it's basically the same bike.

On the 01 you want to do some upgrades to the head with the later parts, otherwise you could have a nasty failure. Very solid bike otherwise, reliable, fairly light and lots of power. Aftermarket and OEM has every part you could wish for, from full on supermoto to rally bike conversion.

Also check out the RFS (that's what the engine is called) subforum on KTM Talk, it is THE go to source for info.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:25 AM   #3
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I guess this goes for any used bike but you never know what condition it's really in until you pull the top-end and check things out. Specifically how much valve life is left and how worn the rings/piston/cylinder are. Like Lukas said, there are a few updates to do on the older ones if they have not already been done but other than that they are solid reliable bikes.

For the fact that you really don't know how much life is left in the top-end, I would budget an extra $1000 for those upgrades and replacing the piston/rings and having Dave Hopkins freshen up the head with stainless steel Kibblewhite valves that will last a lifetime. Don't construe that as me saying KTMs need a shitload of expensive parts to maintain because I would say the same if you were buying an 01 Yamaha WR or any other decade-old performance-oriented 4 stroke bike for that matter.



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Old 07-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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There is no better bike or engine made.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:08 PM   #5
LukasM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off the grid
There is no better bike or engine made.
Maybe not out of the box, but I think you'd like one of these... If you look closely you'll see that it has your favorite engine!

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Old 07-09-2010, 03:04 PM   #6
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The hybrids do sound perfect! Maybe one day.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:13 PM   #7
Blakebird
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2001 520 Mxc

I was a little nervous about the first two years, the top end issues you read about on the web.
The bike was bulletproof for me, and for years after with the guy that bought it from me.


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Old 07-09-2010, 04:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucifer
What are your experiences with this bike? Reliability? Niggles?
I may be adding a 2001 to the arsenal. Tried a search but it was a no-show.
Thanks.

I bought a new EXC 520 in 2002. The 2002 model was unchanged from 2001 except for a water pump upgrade.

Fun bike, and quite reliable for a race bike. My bikes engine lasted two summers (apprx 10.000 km) before it needed a rebuild. The gearbox broke. And some crankshaft problems.


There was a problem with a bolt in the camshaft sprocket coming loose in all the RFS models until 2003 or 2004. Well known problem and fixes, you will find the details on ktmtalk and thumpertalk.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:31 PM   #9
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I owned an 03 model for a year or so, and have an 05 now LukasM pretty much had it covered right off the bat. I think it was cam bearings that were suspect on the early models (?). Great bikes, just keep the oil changed regularly. The RFS motors make great power, big grins!
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:50 PM   #10
Mickoz
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I had an 02 from 2002 to 2004 Great,reliable bike.
From memory the 2 most important fixes are the cam bearing upgrade and the primary drive nut. With the latter I think you replace the oem nut with a steel one and locktite it. When this is done it really quietens down the engine rattle at idle.


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Old 07-09-2010, 05:51 PM   #11
DRjoe
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Great bike how ever it is used and like Lukas said get on ktm talk for all the info you'll ever need.







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Old 07-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #12
brucifer OP
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Right on guys, thanks for all the great responses.
If the cam bearings and primary nut are all I have to worry about, then I'll probably get it. Chicken scratch.
I do all my own wrenching on my bikes and, in fact, tinkering on them in the quiet solitude of the garage is something I find quite relaxing.
Frequent oil changes and valve inspections are of no consequence to me.

So, how's first gear in these things? Can they tractor around at low RPM or are they not happy there?
I was pleasantly surprised to find my Husaberg 650 chugged along quite nicely at a snails pace.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:18 AM   #13
LukasM
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One of the great things about the EXC is the gearbox, it has a wide ratio stock which is perfect for dual sporting (racers often prefer something closer like the SMR, MXC, SX use, these will swap right into the cases and you can build various hybrids). This means you can gear it low enough to crawl well, yet not have to revv the piss out of it on the street. 14/50 is a good combo that works for most people.

The rather heavy crank, flywheel and e-start gears all help prevent stalling and give it awesome "chug-ability". If you want it more zippy, lighter parts are available as well (I use the -10oz Trailtech flywheel/stator combo which also gives more electrical power - 120W DC).

Make sure your carb is set up properly to avoid any bog:

http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showtopic=171578
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LukasM screwed with this post 07-10-2010 at 01:28 AM
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:03 AM   #14
brucifer OP
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Well, poop! The deal fell through.
I was gonna trade my FZ1 for it but the guy decided he was being a bit selfish and is probably going to get something his wife and daughters could enjoy as a family, like a Jeep or something. Oh well.

Thanks again Lukas. The thing that really drew me towards this particular bike is it's CA plated. Better luck next time, I guess..
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #15
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I smoked the engine in my '02 520SX in less than a year, cam bearings. It also seemed to run pretty hot compared to my other bikes, and would boil over ever time when I ran aluminium radiator guards.

Other than having to shell out $1,100 to re-build the engine after 8ish months it was a great bike.

I replaced it with an '05 Husaberg 650, which I see you also have. A much better bike in my opinion.
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