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Old 03-31-2014, 02:21 PM   #1
KenDog47 OP
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: Lake Champlain, Vermont
Oddometer: 2
KTM wiring ? for 'bucket list' off-road hopeful

My recent ad on Craigslist pretty much sums up how I ended up posting here...

"I'm a 66 year old guy who went searching for a dual sport motorcycle last fall and bought a 2009 DRZ 400 S from the original owner. He had put only 1,350 miles on it (buying it in 2010) and had taken great care of it, never using it off road. Geared for back road rather than highway riding, it was in excellent shape with new tires, new battery and a gel seat. I put 600 miles on it on Vermont back roads doing foliage rides last fall, after getting my motorcycle endorsement active again after 40 years. This winter I came across an offer-you-can't-refuse on a 2013 KTM 250 XCF-W and decided to take my 'bucket list' program in a more off road riding direction."

Since getting the bike a month ago I have been hard at it to research and add items (brake light, plate light, etc.) in order to pass Vermont inspection so I can link trails once I've transported my bike to a general riding area. I don't intend to use the bike as a dual sport other than to satisfy the requirement that any vehicle using Vermont roads at all must be registered.

I have sofar been underwhelmed by the information available about my 2013 250 XCF-W. I bought the KTM Service Manual CD and was moderately dissapointed in that document. It seemed more like an expanded Owners Manual and did not provide overview basics on such things as whether the electrical wiring system was AC or DC and what the 'ground' wire color was in the wiring harness. Online, I tracked down that the ground wire was "brown" and I'm still waiting to hear back from KTM Customer Services 'tech staff' about the basic operations of the electrical lighting system. In spite of clearly stating that I was NOT trying to make my XCF-W into a dual sport, my mention of wanting to add a brake and license plate light was met with a response like I was trying to put legs on a snake (make the XCF-W plate-worthy).

I've sorted out my brake light switch (Enduro Engineering) but after installed a cool little surface mounted LED for the license plate light (which worked great when I tried it just using the 12v battery), it hit me that it may not be a DC system and the LED clearly said for 12v only).

Anyway, my hope is to learn things here. My first loves have been kiteboarding and kitesurfing, ice play (Nordic skate & iceboard sailing), and whitewater and sea kayak paddling but I'm fired up to revisit my trail riding years in Michigan during my early 20's.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:57 PM   #2
wbedient's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: North Central Washington
Oddometer: 1,183

I am new to KTMs as well and I was also disapointed in the factory service manual for my 2008 690 Enduro.

If you can't find the info you're looking for on ADVrider then you might try a KTM specific forum like or

Good luck!

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Old 03-31-2014, 04:11 PM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: West By God Virginia
Oddometer: 2,212
KTM head and tail light stock run AC off a swap state lighting coil.
The power going to the rectifier goes to the battery to charge it and work the Starter, trip computer. You can the lighting to dc but you'll need a different stator and reg/rec. I'd just run it as is if you don't need a really good headlight.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:08 PM   #4
KenDog47 OP
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: Lake Champlain, Vermont
Oddometer: 2
Thanks for your info JTucker. I'm trying to get barely street legal and a plate light is one of the things I need... I've connected the brakelight switch to the existing tail light harness so that should be OK using the existing tail light bulb, but I was just trying to add on a license plate light. A surface mounted LED was sparse and just perfect. Back to the drawing board... sure wouldn't want to go to the expense of changing things over just for a license plate light.

Is there any reason that I couldn't run a switched line to the license plate light directly from the battery? I would assume that the current that charges the battery is 12v DC. If so then why couldn't I wire directly off the battery. I have a fused pig tail with + & - terminal connectors for 12v trickle charging. I'm thinking I could interupt the positive line with a switch and splice the license plate negative (ground) into the pig tail negative (ground) line. Am I correct in assuming that anything directly connected to the battery is getting 12v DC? If so, then that should let me independently use the surface mount license plate LED light I installed. It draws like nothing so it would be no big thing if it were accidently switched on.

Any idea why KTM doesn't just use 12v DC for lighting? Is this common on other brands of motorcycles? Do you know if they do the same thing with the KTM dual sport EXC models?

KenDog47 screwed with this post 04-01-2014 at 04:26 PM
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