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Old 02-05-2013, 10:04 PM   #1
sonic reducer OP
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Detune My RFS or?

I have a 2003 525EXC that I have been bringing back into a usable state. It is my only bike at this time. I ended up with this machine through a craigslist horsetrading type scenario, not my first choice of bike but it was the right deal to make and who doesn't secretly want a 525exc? I should probably be on something aircooled and japanese for how I ride, but I do love the fact that the ktm is the combination of lightweight, 6sp, electric start and kick, and incredibly lively to ride. On paper and at face value the bike is awesome. I've had an xr400 and a dr650 in the past, and this bike feels like the best of both, but a little better still albeit more raw and less stable than the DR. the dr650 seemed too heavy and cumbersome and had no kick start. the XR400 was about perfect for me but had no E start and with the stock carb it was a bitch to kick sometimes.
I really love the 525 what very little I've ridden it. Here's the kicker- I think it may be just too hardcore for what I want which is a good amount of pavement, some fire road riding, wabdr/obdr type trips, 3 day weekend moto camping, and some general purpose short trips. I like the option of being fully capable of doing some singletrack here and there. something a xr600r, drz, dr350, xr400, or similar would be good at(bikes I was originally considering before the ktm fell in my lap). of course the ktm will do all these things, but with the oil change interval/capacity, crank spread, valve worries, and others have me wondering if there isn't a more practical alternative. One that would be more cost effective. being able to load it down and run a couple states away(DR650 style) without much hesitation or heartburn or a mid trip service would be a big big plus.
I thought about trying to mold the ktm into a more streetable beast. cush hub, seat, charging system, lower CR piston, 400exc cam, oil cooler, steering dampener etc. It COULD be a great bike for me given the positives it already has, which the japanese bikes that would replace it can never, or at least not easily, have. I feel like I need to make a decision to either get out now or to keep sinking money into it to make it what I want, not an easy one to make. Has anyone else been here? Should I quit being a pussy and ride the ktm til the crank looks like a taco or sell it now?
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:10 PM   #2
Off the grid
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Ride it, you will be surprised at how mellow it can be. It's all about wrist control. It's just as happy lugging along at walking speed through singletrack.

Also, the numbers you hear about oil and valves are under race conditions. Change the oil, keep the air filter clean and check the valves once in a while. Maintenance on an RFS bike is a joke because it's so easy.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:34 PM   #3
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Agree with Off the grid.........if you want to tame the bike a bit.........install a heavier flywheel or get one of those cammed throttle tubes.
Mine is a 2000 520 and is still going strong!

HP2 Sport, R1200S, R100S, KTM 640 Adventure, KTM 520 EXC/Motard, Yamaha RZ350, Hodaka 125 Wombat
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:12 AM   #4
grand poobah
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what they said..... if you're gonna sumo the thing WFO, yeah, you gotta look at some stuff.... but i would make sure it's all tuned right now, valves adjusted, and ride the thing wherever you wanna.... i will say that i put a cush hub on my 450 SMR that i turned into a dirt bike, and the cush hub is a beautiful thing... shop around, they ain't cheap, but it totally transforms the bike.... ride mine w/a cush, and you won't wanna give it back, especially on the road.... the more i mess w/them, the more i think the RFS KTM's are the best thing ever made.....
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:57 AM   #5
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Why not just ride it and enjoy it?

Explain to me again why enjoying life when I retire is more important than enjoying life now?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sonic reducer View Post
It really sounds like a DRZ400S would be a good fit for you. I've had a couple of them and they aren't a bad bike, just needs another gear in the tranny. But since you already have the 525, and I guess you got into it right, I think you should just quit being a pussy and ride the ktm til the crank looks like a taco or sell it now?
Good luck.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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I'd guess a non racer/trail plonker/street cruiser could easily get 50k miles from a RFS without ever opening the engine beyond yearly valve checks, not adjustments, checks and oil changes twice/thrice a year.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:58 AM   #8
Foot dragger
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Originally Posted by trailrider383 View Post
Why not just ride it and enjoy it?

That would be the plan,add up all the things you want to do to tame it and balance that against a possible piston/set of valves down the road a long ways.
Its not rocket science,listening to every nay-sayer on the internets would have most everybody staying home hidden in their backroom watching TV.
Some bikes around at times
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
Jimmy the Heater
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Ok my 2 cents (and it's probably not even worth that, as I've never even ridden a KTM) is to ride the damn thing.

But here is why I say that. I have ridden Japanese all my life and every single bike has required a metric butt ton of $ to make it tolerable on the trail. Suspension upgrades, Power upgrades, Swapping out controls, rims, brakes etc. All these come stock on a KTM.

You can always ride a faster bike slower, but it is much more difficult to make the slow bike fast.

Put a cush hub, progressive throttle cam, flywheel weight, and a comfy seat on it and see whats beyond the horizon.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:13 PM   #10
laramie LC4
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soft intake valves are the only chink in the stock 525 (510cc) rfs motor. take care of that, when the time comes, and replace with kibblewhites. then if you get an oil cooler, and take care of the bike, no reason it wont go for a long time. especially if your not ringing it's neck. that 6th gear makes it really nice at higher speeds if you need to ride the roads for a bit. my buddy had over 20,000 on his 525 when he sold it and he had just done the valves not to long before.


'12 LC8 990R, '02 LC4 640, '05 WR 450f (part-out), '98 XR400R, '76 KE100, '05 525 (Step-Child)
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:08 PM   #11
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just ride it
none of us is as dumb as all of us
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