Jump to content
Antigravity Batteries Product Giveaways - ENTER NOW! Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  

KTM525EXC purchase...Your experiences with KTM, and would you buy again?

Recommended Posts

Hey all! I first wanted to say hello, and that I appreciate your forum and contributions. I find myself in a bit of a pickle, and was hoping you could shed some light on the situation.

After a bit of prodding from friends, I finally talked myself into getting back into the dirt scene. I've spent weeks going back and forth between the WR450 and the CRF450X, and was about to buy the 450X when a buddy told me to, and I quote, "stop everything and check out the KTM 525EXC".

I will be riding mainly desert and trails here in SoCal, with the occasional trip to the hills/mountains. If anyone has some *unbiased* and objective (I know, wishfull thinking!) thoughts on where the KTM excells versus the japanese bikes, I am here with an open mind (and checkbook, it would seem). I have noticed that the KTM is a bit more expensive, but I am not one to buy solely on cost... I want the best, period (you should see the tools I've only used once...Harbor Freight has not a home in my garage!). I am about 6 foot, 185lbs and ugly as hell (that has to affect my riding somehow)... well, I guess that doesn't help, but hey, I'm laying all the cards down here, so what the heck.

The dealer started telling me about how the KTMs are built with better components from the factory, and that I wouldn't need to mod the bike too much after the sale. I like to tool when I want to, but not because I have to (or to make the bike be what it should from the start). I do not mind checking the valvetrain often, as that was second-nature in drag racing anyway, so basic PM and adjustments are not a concern. What I'm really looking for is bottom-line durability and longevity in the bike. How has the KTM parts availability changed over the past 5 years? Does the factory (and dealers) stand behind their product? Do you enjoy yours, or have any regrets? I know that in all things, people, especially perfectionists, will find fault in anything. I guess I would hope that the pros outweight the cons, and costs differences. One thing I am not looking for is a brand-bashing, but I am hoping to find some sincere comments about your experiences with the orange bikes.

Again, many thanks, and I hope to, in time, contribute as much as you all do now. Take care, Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 525 is the best machine ive ever ridden. Buy it, jet it, put on a gpr stabilizer, adjust the suspension to your liking and ride it. I ride tight single track, fire roads, high speed dez stuff, its great in all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have about 150miles on an '06 450EXC, and went through the same thought process you are (WR, CR-X, or EXC)

It's an awesome bike, and is perfect for tight single track, open desert, handles the whoops incredibly. I wouldn't choose it for a track bike, as the power band is very broad (vs. the snap of a YZ let's say).

One of the main reason's for the decision, was that I rode a 400EXC on some mountain single track, and it was phenominal. Ktm really seems to get the "specific" purpose concept better than the Japanese mfg's.

Outside of Hanguards, and Skidplate, it's right off the dealer floor. It does come out lean off the floor so negotiate some jetting into the deal.

Also, I'm about 5'11 - 195lb, and will most likely need to change the spring on the rear shock to achieve optimal set up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right, there are very few unbiased opinions, especially in this forum. Mine included.

That said, I've had a great experience with KTM and would not hesitate to buy another. Before my KTM, I rode XRs. It is correct that they come with very high quality parts and don't need many aftermarket mods. Just damper, handguards and a skidplate. The KTM motor design has proven to be very reliable. No valve issues. I'm a lousy mechanic and just do the basic maintenance. My 400exc has over 5,000 miles and is still going strong. I know of many others in the same situation with 450s and 525s. Handling and suspension are excellent.

My time on other bikes is limited so I can't make direct comparisons.

Today, all bikes must be reliable or they won't sell. KTMs place in the off road market shows they are doing a lot of things right.

R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was the money worth it? Yes, definitely.

How is the parts availability? You can get KTM parts anywhere. They are as easy to get as a Honda or Yamaha.

Do I enjoy mine? Hell yeah :banghead:

Compared to a CRF450X: The 450x rattled more than I liked. Seemed a little underpowered - maybe it just needed some adjustments or something?

Will I buy another KTM? In a heartbeat :banghead:

Required aftermarket items for a KTM (and any other bike for that matter): Skidplate, handguards, suspension, stabilizer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow... Thanks so much for your input. It seems your [not unexpected] overwhelming support of KTM tells me that they are doing something right, and from the sound of things, doing a lot of things right.

Has anyone dealt with either Bert's in Covina, or Three Brothers Racing in Murietta? I think that the big-box shop might have a better OTD price, but if the little-guy dealer (I say that with respect to the sheer volume of Bert's) will, in your opinion, make up for the difference in service after the sale, I'll move that way. You know, I have always been a major proponent of supporting the little-guy even when that costs you. I have found, though, that more and more little-guys are not offering the same levels of service and support, thereby negating the benefit of the additional cost. I'd really like to find a dealer that will either A) Sell me the bike at a higher price and be there for me as long as I own it, :banghead: Sell me the bike dirt cheap and kick me out the door, or C) Sell me the bike at a reasonable cost and be an honest shop to work with for service, etc. later on. Maybe, like many, I am asking too much.

This experience (and it has been an experience), hopefully, will leave me with the right fit of both bike and dealer. Then, maybe I can move on to what this is all for... riding for the sake of riding. Who knows, maybe we can catch a cup of coffee one of these days and head out to a nice fire-road. Again, thanks to all for your assistance and patience. Until next time, Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal experience with Bert's has been miserable. Ever since they got the new store, I feel they stopped caring for the customer. They overcharge for everything because they can. Their staff isn't knowledgeable with their products. Their parts department is unreliable. You just don't get an overall good feeling when you leave with a dirtbike.

Again, this has been my experience as well as many other people I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

right dealer means alot. That's why I bought two dirt bikes from MotoXotica. There must be more KTM dealers in SoCAl you can go to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bert's lied to me once.Never been back.I bought mine at KTM Mojave as was treated very well.They now have another shop in Landscatter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My KTM is a great bike. Will I buy another? Probably. Depends on whats out there when my xc wears out. One thing is for sure, I will not buy anything from a place like Bert's or Chapparall. I have found that the big box stores are not any cheaper OTD, they have a teaser price they throw out there and then hit you with a huge "delivery and setup". Talk to places like Mojave KTM (my fave), Z racing, All American KTM, PVK, etc.

I look for a shop thats run by riders, for riders. The big stores are sucessful retailers, but they are not good m/c shops. Buy your bike at a motorcycle shop, not a Wal-mart wannabe that happens to sell dirtbikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a 2005 525 EXC about 2 months ago. Bert's had an ad in the Cycle Trader for a good price. I called an they wouldn't guarantee the price over the phone. They said there would be additional fees but would give bottom line. I called the KTM dealer in Lancaster got the price and drove there and bought it. I've talked to others about them. My story is typical. The bike is great so far. Looks like the head & base gaskets are leaking slightly. Probably the best do all bike there is. I ride everything but the track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's hard to buy a bad bike these days. imho, the major weak spot on a stock ktm has been the suspension, and that is getting pretty competitive in 05 and 06. at any rate, many serious riders have suspension work done on any bike, and there are plenty of tuners that can make the ktm suspension ready for world class racing.

one of the best reasons to buy a ktm is ktmtalk.com. there is more complete information there from a more experienced and knowledgeable riding community than exists for any other brand to my knowledge.

so far, the big diff between ktm and other brands (besides the higher quality parts and stuff, like hydraulic clutch, real x-ring chain, fat bars, etc...) is that ktm makes real high performance off-road bikes. the japanese companies make serious mx-ers but their off-road bikes (crf-x and wr) are still piggy. just my opinion tho. all the bikes out there can be made to work very very well.

mw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one of the best reasons to buy a ktm is ktmtalk.com. there is more complete information there from a more experienced and knowledgeable riding community than exists for any other brand to my knowledge.

mw

Very good point. KTMTalk is an invaluble rescource for a new KTM owner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know you don't live up here, but if you are going up to the desert...Jawbone, Dove Springs, Cal City, then stop by KTM of Mojave or AV KTM. They are owned by the same folks. When you go to a mall-bike-store, you get to see a lot of different bikes. These two KTM stores sell KTMs only. True mom-n-pop stores, but then they really know their business. Tons of KTM related stuff. Plus it was kinda cool getting Kurt Casselli's autograph for my son during their grand opening a few months ago.

Support the small !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said earlier: "You know, I have always been a major proponent of supporting the little-guy even when that costs you. I have found, though, that more and more little-guys are not offering the same levels of service and support, thereby negating the benefit of the additional cost."

I talked to Andre at Three Brothers Racing, and he seemed like someone who would stand behind his sale. From the responses I've seen so far, it seems like KTM of Mojave is another top-notch dealer. So, will these guys support you, and make the additional cost worth it?

For comparison purposes, what would be the high/low/average for an '06 KTM 525EXC? It seems like the '05s are usually discounted about 5-10% off the brand new model. I sent out a request on KTMTalk.com (the free dealer RFQ form), and have yet to see anything back but Chip Munn in Texas for $7199 for an 06 450EXC...not the bike I asked for. Well, I'll keep you all posted on my findings. Thanks again, Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will chime in because my '02 KTM 520 EXC is the best bike I have ever ridden. I came off of a '94 XR 600. Both my brother and I had XR600s. I bought the KTM, my brother rode it once and bought one. He stopped at a dealer on the way home from our ride and put a deposit on his own '04 525 EXC. All you need to put on is a skid plate and handguards. Once you get it and ride it, you will know. A couple of friends with CRF450s want KTMs after riding mine. We are all trail riders, not track guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As I said earlier: "You know, I have always been a major proponent of supporting the little-guy even when that costs you. I have found, though, that more and more little-guys are not offering the same levels of service and support, thereby negating the benefit of the additional cost."

I talked to Andre at Three Brothers Racing, and he seemed like someone who would stand behind his sale. From the responses I've seen so far, it seems like KTM of Mojave is another top-notch dealer. So, will these guys support you, and make the additional cost worth it?

For comparison purposes, what would be the high/low/average for an '06 KTM 525EXC? It seems like the '05s are usually discounted about 5-10% off the brand new model. I sent out a request on KTMTalk.com (the free dealer RFQ form), and have yet to see anything back but Chip Munn in Texas for $7199 for an 06 450EXC...not the bike I asked for. Well, I'll keep you all posted on my findings. Thanks again, Brandon

So far KTM of Mojave has been there 100%. As far as additional costs, the price I paid for my bike was very fair. I can't be sure how it compared to Chapparell or Berts because they wont quote a price, but from the information I could get over the phone I'm pretty sure I paid LESS than I would have at the two big boxes mentioned here. It actually became a game for me, I kept calling and asking about the prices and the add on charges, trying to figure out what OTD would be. After the first call to both I decided that there was no way I was buying from either of them though. I waited about three weeks for KTM Mojave to get a bike for me, this was tough because both Berts and Chapparell had my bike in stock.

Remember when you get the out of state quotes to add in shipping, sales tax and DMV fees. And you will not have a local dealer on your side in case of a big problem.

Another thing, the set-up on my bike was the best I have ever seen. Done by a career mechanic who knew his product inside and out. Do you think the guy building the bikes at Berts knows that if he doesn't anti-seize the chain adjusters that they will get hard to adjust in a year? Does he even care?

Sorry if I'm ranting here, I've been riding for 30 years now, and have seen the rise of the "motorcycle superstore" and I don't like them at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No rants are bad rants.... I'd rather have a logical, impassioned rant than a spewing of baseless, irrelevant thought. Yours was definitely the former.

Many good points! The issues, praises and complaints raised were exactly what I was hoping for. It seems as though the mom-and-pop KTM shops you all have recommended are still real mom-and-pop types, not the "little guy who hires the [cheapest labor] and marks up their product to some ungodly margin because people support the little guy no matter what" types.

I really look forward to further topics here in the forum. I can tell that there are many intelligent, grounded people here who really care about that which they speak (and ride). Many thanks, and take care. -Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In June '05, I bought an '05 525 EXC from Fun-Mart in Moline, IL. I paid $6850 delivered in Washington State. They were a no hassle dealership with an incredible price. My closest dealer was 2 hrs away, couldn't get more/was out of....all EXC's and didn't believe me about the price. You will love the 525.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:ride: Best bike I've ever owned. But it does have it's weak spots. I'm on my 3rd kickstand! :p

It's light & flickable. Best tight single track model out there. Desert?......get the 525. You'll blow by anything but a 650r.........& that's a tank! They don't call it the BRP for nuthin'. :applause:

Good Luck. :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By TheLastByte
      Looking for something a little lighter and faster to supplement my xr650l and I think this bike might fit the bill. I'm hoping there are some owners here who can give me some insight into the typical experience with this bike. The question I'm most concerned about is how many hours these engines last before needing a rebuild with normal trail riding? Also, how do they handle in technical terrain? How about on the road? 
       
      The machine I'm looking at has about 75 hours and 1,500 miles on it, all stock other than a lectron carb, and comes with some dualsport lighting not installed. The current owner's asking price seems pretty high at $4500, but he seems to be a communicative, eager seller, which is practically unheard of in Upstate NY where the vast majority of dirtbikes on Craigslist are owned (or "owned") by rednecks trying to flip them. I'm willing to pay a little more than market value for this reason.
       
      Thanks for any input! 
    • By Chad Harlan
      Hi all,
      I got a set of the Axis passenger pegs to fit my 14' 500 exc. The bike does have the alloy sub-frame, but I'm curious if anyone has used this set up with success without destroying the sub-frame or their wife/gf? 
       
      Short trips like errands and rides out to the coast for hiking. 10-15 miles on the longer rides, and likely 0 miles on the highway, as she is not super stoked about riding. But our job kinda doesn't allow multiple vehicles. Yachties. Also shopping a sumo set up at the moment too. 
       
      Thanks folks!!
    • By Bryan Bosch
      Recently,I took a trip out to Colorado for some R&R on a family vacation. I brought my riding gear and had planned on renting a bike, but I was too late and at least what I looked at, there was no availability for my timeline. Bummer, since I'd not ridden the rockies in over 4 years, something pretty special when you live in flatlanderville (Florida)! 
      But, behind the scenes, a couple of TT'ers were at work! Through TT, we recently hired a fine, young gentleman to head up our advertising sales team,( @Freemotion ) and he pulled some strings with a local who had a well equipped  KTM 450XC-W that is his back-up machine. His new love is a 2019 KTM 300 TPI and it was gorgeous!
      So, a HUGE thanks to @Freemotion for greasing the skids in getting me a skoot and to @G 9.5 for generously lending out his bike to basically a stranger. The weather was great, so was the company, and the riding was epic as far as I'm concerned. I'm still a bit humbled by the generosity, so I wanted to share a story that I bet isn't as uncommon among the riding community as one might imagine.
      Dirt bike people rock! 🤘


    • By JacksonDRZbeast
      Hello TT peeps. I currently have an 11' Ktm 450 exc which i am converting to sumo. Still on the fence about getting cush drive rims or standard rims. Not too much info on what cush drive does for wheelies. I know its smoother on the tranny and chain but will it make much of a difference with slower wheelies/stunting? I had a DRZ with standard rims and slower wheelies were very choppy and almost impossible to control smoothly. Any advice/tips/help will be much appreciated. 
      Also.... will 5" rims be pushing it for chain rub? Should i just stick with 4.25"?
    • By scott72
      Hi, I was wandering if anybody has recently bought or sold a 2014 or 2015 500 exc?  I'm trying to get an idea as to what they worth presently.  Thanks for any help.
×