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Old 07-06-2013, 12:04 AM   #1
MasterMarine OP
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Making a 500 EXC into my ultimate adventure bike

I was never planning to buy a new bike. I have ridden my old 1995 Kawasaki KLX650C for many miles and planned to do so forever. I had so much money sunk into so many mods for the bike that I never thought I would sell it. I had started to save last summer to buy a newer bike for the long rides like a KTM 530 or something similar. But I never thought I would sell the old KLX.

Dig it in its element!




Then, one day, I was riding the KLX in Odessa at the Desert 100. They put on a dual sport ride and I had gone over to have a fun day of riding on the KLX. It was fantastic. I skipped the course inside the private property (since I was due to go on another big Nevada ride in just a couple months and did not want to break anything) and headed out to run the roads. The Stumpjumpers surprised me with a nice bit of single track right off the bat. I was ripping along at my own pace, loving the ride. I had a minor wipeout in a deep silty rut but no big deal. Anyway, it was fantastic. I was loving the ride. Toward the end of the loop, there is a stop in Odessa at the brewery for lunch. I headed in and got myself a nice cool Gatorade. I decided to skip a big lunch since there was some more single track coming up and camp was just a few miles away. I headed out to my bike in the parking lot with a whole bunch of other bikes. I noticed the smell of gas. Weird. Someone must have a leaky needle. I noticed a wet streak across the bottom of my unobtanium Acerbis tank on my KLX. Uh oh. It looks like maybe my fuel valve is leaking. I looked up under there. Nope. Not coming from the valve. Not good! I decided to head directly back to camp and have a look at what was going on.

So, I loaded the bike on the trailer and drained as much fuel as possible out of the tank. Still not sure what was wrong, I headed for dinner. After some more investigation, it became obvious the tank had sprung a leak. Here is where it was coming from:






So now what was I going to do. Just a couple months to get a new tank for my bike. Did I mention that I had to be involved in a group buy back in 2007 to get Acerbis to manufacture that tank?

They are never for sale. This was no good!

I started looking for a 530. Then I ran across posts about the 500 EXC and XCW. I had seen a cool KTM 500 EXC at the D100. Once I started reading about the EXC, I knew that it was the machine I needed to buy. I started calling around for prices. Ouch! I found some good deals. Now I had to talk to my financial advisor. She was not too keen on the idea of me spending all that money. I told her about how I could sell both of my bikes and then I would not spend so much. It seemed to work. It took a while but finally she said it was ok.

So, I called the dealers back. I found out that Tyler at Experience Powersports in Moses Lake, WA could give me the best deal. This worked out well since my parents are in Moses Lake so I could do some work on the bike at their house. Tyler told me he had 2 2013 500 EXC bikes coming from the east coast right now. I told him I would be over to get one as soon as it arrived. As it worked out, Tyler was a fantastic guy to deal with. We had some minor issues but he always worked very hard to make sure everything was right.

Things got really serious now. I was scanning thru huge threads online about the 500 trying to figure out what parts to buy for it. The bike has some weaknesses so I had to buy some goodies including:
Seat Concepts Standard seat complete
Acerbis 5.3 gallon natural tank
Flatland Racing aluminum skid plate
Flatland Racing aluminum pipe guard
Enduro Engineering case saver
Highway Dirt Bike Scotts holder, upper handlebar clamp, hand guards with integral turn signals, key switch relocator plate, anti-vibration inserts, and rear LED turn signals
LED flasher
RAM mounts on handlebar clamp bolts
Scotts steering stabilizer
Baja Designs Squadron LED headlight kit
Trail Tech map switch
Complete Acerbis white plastic kit
Golan fuel filter
KTM fuel fill sock filter for the stock tank
Profill fuel fill sock filter for the Acerbis 5.3 gallon tank
Dirt Tricks 14 front and 50 rear sprocket
RK Gold X-Ring chain
Neduro's Doubletake Mirrors (off my KLX)
I also bought some spare parts including a complete fuel line set, a recall set that included more tiny fuel filters and some hose clamps, a fuel injector, the screws and plugs to block off the smog stuff and a spark plug.

Before installing the Golan filter, I took it apart to have a look inside. I found it was not assembled correctly. The filter media was in the wrong side which would lead to poor fuel flow. Here is a picture of the correct order of assembly.




And now here is how you should assemble the filter. Take the side without the o-ring




Drop in the filter media




Then the spring




And then take the side with the o-ring




And put it on. Tighten securely and install. Be sure to align the flow arrow with the direction of fuel flow.




Unfortunately, it took a long time for the bike to arrive. Most of the parts arrived before it did. When it finally did show up, I headed east. I picked it up in totally stock form and ran it. Then I de-smogged it and ran it. Then I got it mapped with the Euro map. It ran great. I was really impressed with the bike.

I tore it apart and added all the pieces I could before I ran out of time and had to try to go to sleep.

Here is how it looked when it was pretty stock. Wow. Look how clean it is!




On the way to visit the dealer. I had a really big smile when I was taking this picture!




A little later with white plastic and HDB stuff mounted.




HDB goodies




What a cool dash!




Rear blinker




Front blinker




Quality stuff




Tank comparison photos








I bought some Hitatchi connectors to wire into the stock electrical harness from Corsa Technic. They have a lot of good stuff! I wish I would have found them earlier so I could have bought the connectors for the turn signals from them too.

Here is the more or less finished product before leaving to go on our latest Nevada ride.




On the big ride, the kickstand broke off so I have replaced it with a Pro Moto Billet unit. I have not had a chance to ride the bike again yet so don’t have any thoughts on it. It is much more convenient than finding a solid fencepost to lean it up against!

The seat was awesome. I try to stand as much as possible but over 8 days and 1300 miles, I sat on it a lot and it was nice! The bike was great. Did not use any oil. Mileage ranged from 45 - 54 mpg. I loved it! It was so much easier to pick up when I dropped it!

The bike is too tall for me and I will have it lowered when it goes to see MotoPro for re-spring and re-valve. I dropped it too many times just trying to get on or off. I am considering one of those quick preload adjusters like this. Has anyone tried one?

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:15 AM   #2
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Absolutely beautiful bike, mate.

Well done, love the white....until it gets dirty.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #3
MasterMarine OP
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Thanks for the compliment. I knew the Giant Loop would totally destroy the factory graphics so went for a plastic kit. I could choose from white, black, and orange and thought the white would look better with the natural tank. I like how it has turned out with the white plastic and black frame and handguards.

Looking at that also picture reminded me of something else I need to do. The rivnut holding the horn on loosened up during the ride and the horn was rattling. I had straightened it out several times from the brush hitting it too. So I took it off. I need to relocate it.

The front fender is too weak for a fender bag with a tube in it.

Also, I bent the port side radiator up so don't plan on the tank protecting the radiators. From comparing the PMB radiator guards on another bike to the space available, it looks like they would fit with the Acerbis tank but I did not try to fit any on to be sure.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:14 PM   #4
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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MM
The Quick Preload adjuster is interesting. Do you have a part number on that?
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harcus View Post
MM
The Quick Preload adjuster is interesting. Do you have a part number on that?
It is in the KTM Hardparts book that came with the bike. Page 73. It looks like the KTM # is 772.04.905.000 for 2012 and 2013 500 EXC.

It appears it is the same part as the X-Trig unit.

I am curious about how well it would hold up to the large change in preload setting going from Trail to loaded Dual Sport riding. The plastic nut is already stuck on my shock now. I bought the KTM wrench to adjust the plastic nut and space is so tight, it is very difficult to use now that the nut is stuck. It worked great for my first adjustment.

If you see any info or comments about the X-Trig or KTM unit, let me know.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterMarine View Post
I The bike is too tall for me and I will have it lowered when it goes to see MotoPro for re-spring and re-valve. I dropped it too many times just trying to get on or off. I am considering one of those quick preload adjusters like this. Has anyone tried one?


I have one of the Xtrig adjusters, works fine but I only use it after the shock had been cleaned, as in while it is getting prepped for a ride or race in the garage after a bath from the pressure washer. I would not adjust it on the trail with sand, mud, grit, ect. on the shock body for fear of damaging the aluminium threads. BTW, this is not intended to adjust ride height it is to set sag by adjusting the amount of preload on the spring. If you adjust out enough preload to alow the rear of the bike to sit lower the shock will not be fuctioning as intended.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
MasterMarine OP
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Originally Posted by cross-country View Post
I have one of the Xtrig adjusters, works fine but I only use it after the shock had been cleaned, as in while it is getting prepped for a ride or race in the garage after a bath from the pressure washer. I would not adjust it on the trail with sand, mud, grit, ect. on the shock body for fear of damaging the aluminium threads. BTW, this is not intended to adjust ride height it is to set sag by adjusting the amount of preload on the spring. If you adjust out enough preload to alow the rear of the bike to sit lower the shock will not be fuctioning as intended.
Thanks for the input about the Xtrig.

I am not planning to use it to adjust the ride height. I was planning to use it to adjust the preload from the light trail riding setting to the totally packed dual sport setting. The suspension tuner will take care of the ride height with some of his magic while he is re-springing and re-valving the shock. Apparently it is necessary to tear the shock apart to install the Xtrig as well so if I decide to get one, it will be put on then.

MasterMarine screwed with this post 07-10-2013 at 11:11 AM Reason: spelling.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:47 PM   #9
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You may want to take a look at all the wiring behind the headlight. At 2 hours some of mine started to wear through and would cut power to fuel pump when turned 12 degrees left of center. Ktm sure cheaped out on wiring/connectors....really pitiful.

Did you buy it from the Moses lake dealership? I was about to drive up there to get one of the two they had before finding one in Hillsboro.

I've been pleased with the MagicMod throttle body adjustment, works well with megabomb and Q exhaust. Waiting for noloss to make more of their throttle bodies as I've read some nice reviews on them. First bike I've had that I may leave the suspension valving oem, so far with proper springs and a bit of adjustment it works pretty well.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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I did get my bike in Moses Lake at Experience Powersports. Tyler treated me very well. We had a bit of a snafu with the Acerbis tank (actually a couple of snafus) and he handled them extraordinarily. I have been very happy to deal with someone who is interested in taking care of his customers in a fair manner. Derek in the partsroom there is great too.

The bike was only at the dealership for a few hours before I drove over and picked it up. It was an exciting day for sure. I never purchased a new bike before so was really pumped. Plus I had a box of goodies at home that had accumulated before the bike arrived. As soon as he let me know it was there, I asked to get off work early and headed over to pick it up.

I am not going to do anymore to try to get more horsepower from the bike. From my past experience as a mechanic, I have found that fooling with fuel systems, ignition, exhaust and making mechanical engine mods just lead to a shorter life span and a finicky powerplant. I am not going to race this bike and it has plenty of muscle for me for trail riding and dual sport riding. I will concentrate on improving the handling, suspension and other characteristics related to improving the usability and durability of the bike for me. I am all about making it a more solid platform for going way out into the middle of nowhere without worrying about it dying on me.

I got my Pro Moto Billet kick stand mounted up and it looks fantastic. It seems strong. The bike is up to 1826 miles and 58.1 hours. Did an oil change, air filter cleaning, etc. Oil screens had hardly anything on them. Still running the Honda GN-4. I am just about out of it so will probably change to something synthetic at the next oil change.

Put back on the Giant Loop and loaded it up. Heading out to do the Grip Twister Olympic Peninsula Loop on Wednesday night.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:53 PM   #11
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thats a really cool set up. beautiful bike!

just wondering if ktm has made these motors dependable enough to take on something like a ride from alaska to argentina? im not trying to be an asshole or anything. just wondering if you feel like the motor is as durable as your old bike ?


im considering picking up a ktm

thanks!
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:36 PM   #12
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My old bike (a 1995 Kawasaki KLX650C) came to me as a chassis with a box of engine parts. The cylinder head was damaged because the camshafts had low oil flow and had galled the bearing surfaces where the cam turned. The exhaust cam was the worst. There were no bearings. The cams rode right in the aluminum head in a bore that had been line-bored thru the head and camshaft retainer. I had it fixed by Jerry Leighton. I think that was at about 2500 miles on the Odometer. He just put some lapping compound in the holes and turned the cams into the holes. He told me it would run for a long time. I was very skeptical but had no other options as this issue is actually somewhat common for the KLX650 and I could not find another head. It did last a long time. Around 12000 miles before I finally swapped out the head. Anyway, the KTM has nice needle bearings on the camshaft. It has roller rockers. It holds almost as much oil as my KLX did (1.6L vs 1.8L). It is possible to clean the screen on the KTM (it actually has 2 plus an oil filter). On the KLX you had to split the case to get to the screens. I am sure the KTM has some part of the engine which will turn out to be a problem. It always happens.

The thing that concerns me most about the 500EXC is the fuel injection. I like carburetors and using gravity and other physical principals to get the fuel and air mixed. It is easier to fix these things in the field. I remember when I first started working on outboards and stern drives that there were techs who were all concerned about CDI ignition systems. They wanted to keep the points. Later in my career, those same guys were all worried about FI. Then Direct Injection came along and they were really unhappy. Now I am one of those guys. Anyway, I saw a lot of fuel pumps on sterndrives fail after being run out of fuel just one time. It did not necessarily happen right then but that fuel pump's days were numbered. I had one customer who kept a spare fuel pump in his glove box for his Cobalt. I spent a lot of Saturdays standing on my head in his engine compartment replacing the fuel pump since he could not pay attention to the fuel gauge! The fuel pump is lubricated and cooled by the fuel running thru it. You know how things that are spinning fast like to be cool and have their bearings lubricated. Take that away and uh oh! I have read about several fuel pump failures on Ride Reports here on ADVRider. It seems likely that a motorcycle would be run out of gas at some point. I am also concerned by the injector and dirty fuel. Every fuel injection system I have worked on in the past had a water separating fuel filter in the system. Some of the marine systems even have an alarm to tell you when it is full. No water separator on this bike. The holes in the end of the injector are way way smaller than any carburetor jet. They are much easier to plug or even just alter which could lead to them leaking or a lean condition neither of which is good. I have the Golan filter added to mine. I have a fuel fill sock filter in my fuel tank. I pulled the fuel tank off the bike and rinsed it out before it was ever started to remove any debris that may have been in there. I have extras of the tiny filters in my tool bag. I also have a spare injector and fuel line set in my tool bag. And spare fuses. At some point, I will have an extra fuel pump too. And a fuel pump relay. All this stuff to replace gravity and Bernoulli's principle.

Currently I am interested in trail riding and self supported long dual sport rides. I am trying to be a minimalist but I still have not got there yet. I am not planning to do any transcontinental rides. If I was, I would have to really think about if I wanted to take the KTM. I have not read any RR where someone has taken a small bike like this on a perpetual trip. I am sure it would be possible but I have not considered if it would be a good idea yet. If you were only going to ride on dirt roads, then it would probably be ok. If you are planning to ride a bunch of highways, then there are better choices. Another limiting factor maybe how much you can haul on the bike. In the trans continental RRs I have read, the riders normally carry a ton of stuff. Lots of stuff I would never consider like a laptop. I am not sure how much you could pile on the subframe of the 500EXC.

You never know until you try.

All that said, it is a bad ass machine. I rode it down to West Seattle from Everett on Saturday. I was grinning big time when I pulled out of my driveway and lofted the front wheel effortlessly thru the first few gears. It was almost an accident. I then rode about 20 miles down I-5. No problems in traffic (other than my wheels need to be balanced!). Then another few miles thru busy citry streets. Same thing going back home. Had to fill up with fuel before getting back on I5. I had 220 miles on my "5.3" gallon tank. It took 4.8 gallons to fill it up.

I love it!
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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I noticed I do not have a picture of the Baja Designs Squadron LED headlight in this thread so I thought I would add one. Here it is:

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Old 09-09-2013, 09:30 PM   #14
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I also purchased a cool little rack from Globetrottin. It is the Mini Top Rack. I asked harcus if he could add on some passenger footpegs like he has on the larger rack so I can take my son for a ride and some attachment points for my Giant Loop Coyote to tie on to. He did and now he has that version for sale too. The rack weighs very little and was easy to install.

I have taken my son for a couple rides with the rack on and he loved it. I also used the rack to haul an extra set of 3-12v batteries for his OSET when we went trail riding. It worked great.

I test fit my GL on it and it looks like it will work out ok. I liked how the GL worked on my bike in Nevada this summer and riding around the Olympics without the rack but I had some trouble with keeping the rear strap attached. It also tended to kind of sag over to one side because of the extra width of the exhaust on the starboard side. You can see how the back of my seat is flexed up from the GL being under it.

Here it is. Try not to pay attention to the messy shop.





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Old 02-08-2014, 01:12 PM   #15
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Awesome bike setup! I'm so glad to see like minded people on t
Here! I also have a 2012 500exc, dessmogged, fmf power parts exhaust, just got the asrebis 20L tank natural, double take mirrors, sicass taillight section, giant loop coyote and fandango tank bags ordered, Fastways bush guards and steering stabilizer 5 and I would like to get the seat concepts seat kit just haven't yet. I'm new to kTm bikes but so far I'm loving them! I plan to explore Saskatchewan this summer which will mean a lot of hours on grid roads. im just wondering what kind of distance trips are you guys doing on your 500's??
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