Recent Convert from YZF 426

I am now the proud owner of a 01 KTM 520 EXC. I still have my YZF 426 though.... My initial impressions are I'm impressed! The quality in engineering is superb. Power is great and smooth. I switched to the Katoom becuase I wanted a better woods weapon, and boy does it handle in the woods. It is so agile. The brakes are awsome. This bike does'nt wear me out in the woods near like the 426. The suspension does seem alittle stiff and harsher than I expected, maybe it just needs a little break-in time. The gearing seems almost perfect for woods work. I also tried a little MX for grins and it shined there also. Very easy to jump. I did have a few questions for you veteran KTMers:

1) Engine noise, it seems to clatter when idling. Is this normal?

2) Compression and rebound on fork: My adjusters seem to work the same direction as my jap bike, I thought that they were supposed to be opposite?

3) Will the front forks ever lose their harshness, is this just due to being new?

Thanks for any info you can send my way.



I came from a super trick 98 YZ 400, and love the 520 EXC. The 400 had a lot of suspension work done, and was perfect. The 520 is close after breaking it in.

Some answers.

1) Engine noise, it seems to clatter when idling. Is this normal?

Normal, the clutch is noisey.

2) Compression and rebound on fork: My adjusters seem to work the same direction as my jap bike, I thought that they were supposed to be opposite?

The shock compression is the one that is backwards.

3) Will the front forks ever lose their harshness, is this just due to being new?

They take a few rides to break in. I rode mine full soft for the first few rocky rides, now about in the middle.

Good luck with the katoom!!


Congrats on the new bike! I came from a WR400 and have the exact comments as you. Answers:

1. Clatter is normal at idle - it should go away with the clutch pulled in. Guess it is just gear lash or something as all KTM's (2 and 4 stroke) seem to do it.

2. Fork adjusters are "normal". The "odd" one is the shock compression adjuster - counter clockwise is harder, clockwise is softer. I believe the '02 bikes have that switched to "normal".

3. I weigh 165 and for woods riding I have backed the compression off quite a few clicks (don't remember how many) and then increased the rebound to keep from bouncing all over the place. Took a lot of the harshness out. I have read that switching to 2.5wt oil helps too. I am really impressed with the adjustability of the WP suspension. A couple of clicks makes very noticeable changes.

Enjoy the bike!


The shock adjuster for compression on my 02 520EXC is normal just like my WR 400 and Honda XR 650R.


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By pumpernickelBrad
      Hi Folks!

      Sorry if there are a bunch of threads already but I used the site's search function and didn't find anything so far...

      I just found a decent deal on a '14 350 EXC-F with 11k km (unknown hours). Has a few goodies including skid plate, hand guards and it's for sale for about $2k CAD less than a '16 with 6k km on it.
      The bike is in showroom condition (appearance) with no indication it has been offroad at all.

      What would be the gotchas that would make this deal realistic? I'm coming from a WR250R where the engine lasts forever, is 11k street kms high for these bikes? 
      Are there any big defects in the '14s that I haven't dug up yet?
      With no service records what things should be done, checked, etc?
    • By Brannnt
      I purchased an '06 525 EXC some time ago, and recently pulled the motor out of the frame to address some other issues. When I removed the clutch slave cylinder, I noticed an issue the previous owner neglected to tell me about during the purchase.
      It appears that at some point, the chain broke and damaged the engine case near the clutch slave cylinder (see pics, please). I have noticed that the clutch does not fully disengage (bike lurches a bit going into gear, neutral is hard to find... its worse when engine is cold) ... I did not notice any leaks around this area (mineral oil or engine oil) before or during disassembly. 
      The previous owner (or someone) repaired it with some sort of epoxy.
      Without doing my due diligence (checking clutch fluid level, bleeding) I hesitate to state that this is the cause of my clutch disengagement issue ... but pardon my ignorance here and help me out: How bad is this?  Am I looking at replacing my engine case here or is the previous owner's jerry rig good enough?

    • By Black Sox
      Just bought a new 2017 350 excf ,will be doing 98% off road ,ordered skid plate bark busters ,
      my ? Is what's the best easiest way to eliminate rear fender light assembly.I still would like to have a break light.
      xcf fender will fit so dealer says,under $50.00 👍But xcf brake light $125.00 .👎What's the best economical way of doing this?
    • By JNV
      Hi friends from Spain.
      Mi new KTM

    • By Brawg
      SO, for information sake and to power the search engines with some key words that i couldn't seem to trigger during my research...I'm posting my desmog process on my new 500exc. Being a new bike...i wanted to make sure that all of my "doings" were going to keep the short excuse for a warranty in tact. I have part numbers for the plugs, washers etc as well as what all came off of the bike. I know it's a simple process for some, not so for others and would like to give credit to the writeup for some great info.
      Long story short...i plugged the hole left from the smog pump thingy on the right side of the cylinder, the Secondary Air System (SAS), the overflow canister, and all the hoses/wires that go with. The electrical plug that was involved I simply taped up with grease in it and strapped it to the inside of the frame rail.
      After i took all of it off, it would not idle....i turned up the idle adjuster (to the left) or counter clockwise in order to increase the idle speed.
      Result!!!!!! NO popping on decal, no stalling after hard accelerating, etc. Sometimes after much creeping and low rpm riding it will load up and flame out. I plan to try a different map after i install my exhaust. I think a new map will be able to add some rev to the top end. Right now it seems kind've flat once you pull through the sweet bottom and mid ranges. The bottom end power of this bike coupled with the silky smooth clutch action makes for the easiest and best suited off road bike i've ever been on. It does what i need it to do!