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Old 01-22-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
rtwpaul OP
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what is the BEST street legal KTM besides the 990/950 or 690?

hopefully the title brought you here for some discussion? i would like to call on the huge knowledge base is all the KTM rider (current or former) inmates on this site

a little background on me and why i ask this question...

i am part way thru a round the world ride (see my signature for the RR) on my Yamaha XT660Z tenere, it is a great bike but it is the heaviest in its class (189 KG's) and next up is New Zealand, Australia, the Far East, Russia, Mongolia, some parts of Africa, i have a lot of off road coming up by choice and i would like a more suitable bike, the XT is realistically a 80% + on road bike

So i am looking change my ride, initially i am looking for:

- light weight
- good fuel capacity or option to buy a bigger tank, 6 gallons +/-
- historically reliable
- minimal service intervals, values, oil changes etc
- minimal electrics to reduce 'middle of nowhere issues'
- i am not real interested in speed, rarely i will exceed 60 mph, but good power all the same, power to weight ratio

so initially i was looking at either a Yamaha WR250R or a Suzuki DRZ400, but the problem is once i make it worthy of the ride i will have more dollars into it than a KTM that would come with a good selection of products from the factory

my first thought was a 530 EXC-R, i found a 2008 with 2200 miles a few upgrades, excellent condition etc.

After doing some research i find out that valve clearance checks need to be done every 15 hours or so, oil changes at a similar time and a very small oil tank

SO...the KTM range so huge it is very difficult to wade thru all the options, but of course on their website they is no details on reliability, required mods, adjustments to make it the bike it is supposed to be etc.

If you are honest am i looking at wrong brand? i think not, but if you think there is a better option out there let me know
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:38 PM   #2
Nowwhat
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Wrong brand if you want a thumper....

The 690 is a great bike and I have thousands of miles on one....but it can be touchy with all of its electronics...so Fail
the 525-530 bikes (any flavor) have to little oil for your needs although the valves DO NOT need to be checked every 15...Fail

The 990 is Heavy...I love the LC8's...but you are at 500lbs with the 990 or 950 Adv plus FI.....Fail

The 950 SE is 450lbs....Carb'd...so maybe
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
mousitsas
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I would look no further than a DRZ-S. There is very little you need to do on it, mainly a 3x3 mod and a larger tank. It is as modern as it takes to have fun on it and as 'old' as it needs in order to be reliable. Alternatively, a DR650 for more road work.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousitsas View Post
I would look no further than a DRZ-S. There is very little you need to do on it, mainly a 3x3 mod and a larger tank. It is as modern as it takes to have fun on it and as 'old' as it needs in order to be reliable. Alternatively, a DR650 for more road work.
Or XR 650
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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Dare I say it but a KLR with about $800 worth of suspension modifications would be great for you.

Tires and suspension would help your off-road needs.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
It'sNotTheBike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post

So i am looking change my ride, initially i am looking for:

- light weight
- good fuel capacity or option to buy a bigger tank, 6 gallons +/-
- historically reliable
- minimal service intervals, values, oil changes etc
- minimal electrics to reduce 'middle of nowhere issues'
- i am not real interested in speed, rarely i will exceed 60 mph, but good power all the same, power to weight ratio

so initially i was looking at either a Yamaha WR250R or a Suzuki DRZ400, but the problem is once i make it worthy of the ride i will have more dollars into it than a KTM that would come with a good selection of products from the factory

SO...the KTM range so huge it is very difficult to wade thru all the options, but of course on their website they is no details on reliability, required mods, adjustments to make it the bike it is supposed to be etc.

If you are honest am i looking at wrong brand? i think not, but if you think there is a better option out there let me know


A KTM 640 Adventure would get the job done. It is probably the best
bike available for the mission you describe. I have owned one, so
I am recommending this bike based on personal experience. You can
also look at the experiences of BMWKTMBill on this website. He has ridden a
640 Adventure literally all over the world. A 640 is a reliable bike but even
so it needs to be maintained properly, which mostly means oil and air filter
maintenance and valve checks, along with the usual stuff any bike requires
( chain maintenance etc.). The 640 Adventure weighs around 350 pounds with oil
in it but without fuel, but of course it will weigh more when you add your gear and
fuel. You could expect the bike with gear and fuel to weigh at least 400 pounds
if not slightly more ( so you would be close to the weight you now have ! ). To end
up with a bike which weighs significantly less than 400 pounds ( 181 kg ) will require
a very light bike to start with and also extreme discipline regarding the gear you carry
and more importantly the gear you do NOT carry.



If you want less weight than a 640, a KTM 525 EXC with the RFS engine and
an HT Racing oil cooler would work, if you start with an engine which is in
excellent condition. Acerbis sells a fuel tank which holds in excess of six gallons,
and these bikes have successfully done long trips though they were not designed
to do so. The RFS engine bikes are extremely reliable provided they are well maintained.
Also they will start with a battery which is nearly dead, which is something not all bikes
will do. The 690 Enduro with a dead battery is a bike which is stuck waiting for help.


The alloy subframe on the RFS engine KTM bikes won't carry heavy loads without
possible failure, but if you get your gear down to 40 pounds or less you'd
probably be ok for a while. I still own an RFS engine EXC and I doubt
I will ever sell it because it is one of the best bikes KTM ever made.


All the new KTMs come with fuel injection and this is without question an added
reliability risk. I own a KTM 690 Enduro but I would be leery of recommending a 690
for a long adventure trip though the 690 has done such trips. The 690 is a great
bike and is very fun to ride as well as being lighter than most other non-racing
big-bore singles, but ignoring the complexity of its systems might be something
you end up regretting on a long trip. However, more than one "inmate" on this
site has used a 690 Enduro for a round the world trip so it can be done. I think
the key is to go into such a trip being aware of the special needs the bike has
and plan accordingly. You will for example need to carry along spare fuel filters
and change them during the trip.


A 950 Super Enduro is carbureted ( but DOES have an electric fuel pump ) but
is a poor choice for your trip because these are heavy ( 205 kg. ) bikes. And
they are mechanically complex, with a valve adjustment procedure which is
not something you can do in a parking lot in a few minutes. Also the 950 uses
a LOT of fuel even when ridden conservatively, so you end up with more weight
in fuel alone. It is an awesome bike and probably more fun than any other bike I have owned
( I do own one ) but is the wrong bike for your trip given your desire to ride a lighter bike.
A 950 Super Enduro can be a real bastard to pick up if you are alone, and you might find
yourself waiting for help to come along if the bike falls in a bad spot.


If you want the KTM goodness, and make no mistake there is a lot of
goodness in a KTM which does not come stock in most other bikes
( suspension, brakes, power, etc. ) and with your criteria in mind, it comes
down to three KTM models :


1) 640 Adventure

2) 640 Enduro

3) 525 or 450 EXC with RFS engine ( the last ones sold new in 2007 and only
a 2007 is street legal without question in the United States, though this may not
be an issue on your trip ). I prefer the RFS engine to all the racing 4 stroke singles
made after the RFS by KTM, because I think it is a more reliable engine and it
has been around long enough that there are no "surprises" left. So I'd buy an RFS
bike rather than a 530 or 500 EXC etc.


If it were me I'd probably go on an extreme "minimalist gear" weight reduction program
and buy a 525 EXC and an HT racing oil cooler ( greater oil capacity would give you
semi-reasonable oil change intervals ) and a cush drive rear wheel and a
Safari supertanker fuel tank and go enjoy the trip. If time and budget permitted I'd have
the cylinder head "renewed" and Kibblewhite valves installed. The toughness of the Kibblewhite
valves changes the valve adjustment situation significantly, and one of the good things
about the RFS engine is that the valve adjustments are done via screw and locknut so you
don't need to carry a bunch of shims. Of course people are going to tell you you cannot do such a trip
on an RFS engine bike. Well, such trips have in fact been done on an RFS engine bike so you
might want to make up your own mind on whether the bike cannot do this, because it can.


Super light camping gear has come a long way and if you take only what you really
need and leave the rest behind ( no tables or chairs, for example, and maybe a bivy
sack instead of a full tent, that sort of thing ) you can get your gear weight down quite
a lot and probably end up with a pile of gear that can be carried by an RFS subframe
without regular subframe failures.


Sorry for the excessively long post :-)


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It'sNotTheBike screwed with this post 01-22-2013 at 04:02 PM
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:50 PM   #7
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If you trip over a plated 625 SXC it is pretty much the same as the 640 Enduro. It has upside down forks rather than the 50mm Extremes, doesn't have the spin on oil filter and uses an enduro computer rather than a speedo and idiot lights. Basically the same bike but it is a few pounds lighter.

That said, my E is the best motorcycle I have ever owned. Period. This one I keep until it is thrashed into useless bits.

But if I had the a ton of money burning a hole in my pocket an EXC 500 would be in my garage next to it in a heartbeat.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:22 PM   #8
It'sNotTheBike
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If you trip over a plated 625 SXC it is pretty much the same as the 640 Enduro. It has upside down forks rather than the 50mm Extremes, doesn't have the spin on oil filter and uses an enduro computer rather than a speedo and idiot lights. Basically the same bike but it is a few pounds lighter.


I agree that if he can find one

( which might not be easy because owners tend to keep them )

a 625 would be a great choice for the OP.


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Old 01-22-2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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KTM RFS motor is a beautiful thing!.... valve adjustments ain't all that, and i've driven a bunch of miles on my '06 450 SMR, checked the valves a few times and they never moved, so.... but the earlier ti valve motors had problems w/incorrect valve guides for the ti valves... and for your kinda trip, i'd wanna get the wide ratio gearbox rather than the close ratio one that i have... the 64x95mm 450 motor is hard to beat, FCR carbs are really simple.... get the bike sprung correctly for the weight you're gonna carry, and go light.... would be a fun trip.....

though that colebatch guy seems to do pretty good w/that X-Challenge, but it looks like you gotta do alot of suspension work, and it still ain't a 250 lb. bike.... the KTM's have pretty wicked suspension outta the box, just gotta get it sprung right.... and cush hubs are really sweet, would never do what you're talking about w/out one, would not be good on the motor.... you'd have to do some significant work on a RFS KTM to do what you wanna, but it would be a seriously fun bike....my $.03.....
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
rtwpaul OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowwhat View Post
Wrong brand if you want a thumper....

The 690 is a great bike and I have thousands of miles on one....but it can be touchy with all of its electronics...so Fail
the 525-530 bikes (any flavor) have to little oil for your needs although the valves DO NOT need to be checked every 15...Fail

The 990 is Heavy...I love the LC8's...but you are at 500lbs with the 990 or 950 Adv plus FI.....Fail

The 950 SE is 450lbs....Carb'd...so maybe
so from you it sounds like you are directing me back to Japan?
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #11
rtwpaul OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousitsas View Post
I would look no further than a DRZ-S. There is very little you need to do on it, mainly a 3x3 mod and a larger tank. It is as modern as it takes to have fun on it and as 'old' as it needs in order to be reliable. Alternatively, a DR650 for more road work.
i have it all documented for the DRZ, but the upgrade list is about $4000 deep, which makes it way over priced in comparison to a KTM, which is why i asked the KTM question
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by charlie264 View Post
Or XR 650
but reliability is a question and the subframe is made from the smallest OD material i have ever seen, so a a lot of frame mods would need to be done IMHO for it to go where i wanted it to, but it is a very simple bike which s also good
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by beergut View Post
Dare I say it but a KLR with about $800 worth of suspension modifications would be great for you.

Tires and suspension would help your off-road needs.
My XT is a way better machine than any KLR will ever be no matter how much money i would throw at it, but even then it is mainly a street bike that can do a small amount of off road riding
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post
i have it all documented for the DRZ, but the upgrade list is about $4000 deep, which makes it way over priced in comparison to a KTM, which is why i asked the KTM question

If what you want is KTM performance, it is best to buy a KTM rather than trying to
convert a DRZ into a "pseudo-KTM" which will always fall short compared to the
real KTM anyway, no matter what you do to modify it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post
My XT is a way better machine than any KLR will ever be no matter how much money i would throw at it, but even then it is mainly a street bike that can do a small amount of off road riding


Your original stated requirements ( a lighter weight bike ) put the ( ponderously heavy ) KLR
out of contention from the outset.


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