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Going from DRZ to 525 EXC


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Hello all

Long time no post, well I sold my beloved DRZ some time ago. Went a couple of months without a bike but I had to get back on two wheels. I have always liked the RFS motors so I bought a 2005 525 EXC which I have plated. I have only been on short rides twice but so far I'm liking it. Anyone one here done the same, your opinions or tips ?

Regards

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Your're diggin that hot slim stripper you left your loyal and loving wife for now, put sooner or latter you'll get tired of putting up with her s__t; 15 hour oil changes and valve adjustments, TWO oil filters and TWO oil screens, expensive synthetic oil, etc. Oh yeah, that 6th speed and slim waistline is very enticing, but sooner or later she's going to grenade on you - when you least expect it, somewhere far from home, and its going to cost you dearly.

You'll be begging o'le reliable wiffy to take you back...

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my klx is a smooth bike that is nice to chug around on and it has never let me down so I will probably keep it for less agressive trail riding. However I yearn for a 530 EXC. But then again I already have a street legal dirt bike so I would probably get a light 2 smoke for more agressive trail riding. to the point a few weeks ago I was at the beach having a few beers watching the kids play in the pool and got into a conversation with another dad doing the same he happen to be a DS rider as well. He said he currently had a ktm 590 supermoto converted to a dual sport and had zero problems, he had previously owned a 525 that had he bought used that had a lot of hours on it when he got it. he said it sounded ruff from day one but he found out that was their nature. When he sold the 525 it still had given zero problems after he had put many hours on it him self. He said the trick is use synthetic oil and get a magnetic drain plug, and that he though most people over did it with the oil changes. After speaking with him makes me think that the KTM is every bit as dependable as the DRZ if not more so. I went to the KTM forum a while back just to see if people were useing the forum to trouble shoot their bikes, and apparently they are out riding. I do not mean to ruffle anyones feathers but they do not talk about carb problems, jetting, lock tight fix's, manual cam chain tensioners,tripple clamps, side cover covers, suspention upgrades or water pump fixes (all of which have been done to my bike minus manual cam chain tensioner. However I understand that like the DRZ seat foam is a must.

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KTM EXC is a race bike , and need attention according to that.

Ktm's are great bikes ,but the exc needs more service than any other bike I know for keping it going.

An oil change and valve adjustment isn't too much work , but if you skip them, the engine will blow up sooner or later.

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I did the same thing. I went with a 2010 450 EXC (XC4). I love this bike. Light, nimble, great suspension, gobs of power. Normal issues. Rejet, regear, rad. braces, barkbusters, etc. I change the oil and check the valves with the same frequence as I did on the DRZ. 10 hours or slightly less on the engine and trans oil. Yeah, I know there are a lot of folks on here that go much farther between oil changes, but that's how I did it, so there really is no mythical "increase in maintainance" as far as I'm concerned.

Now I'm gonna load up my gear and head to our cabin and ride this weekend and all of next week.

Good luck with the 525, you'll love it.

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I have spent much less time wrenching on my RFS KTM than on my DRZ. Once you have the DRZ dialed with the tons of fixes then it takes about 20 min. more per oil change (because of the valve check). The KTM is just far superior off-road and better 75/25 DS, but the DRZ (E spec. the S has a long way to go) is better as a 40/60 DS IMO.

EDIT: I change the oil on the same intervals with both bikes as well.

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I have very fond memories of my DRZ, 440 kit, pipe, FCR the works. I put 63 000 km on that bike. Only problems were a fried stator and broken shift lever spring.

DSCF1614.jpg

DSCF1610.jpg

Then I rode a 525 and fell in love with the motor, gobs full of torque and the suspension rocks. I have added some goodies to it. Still feel at home on the DRZ forum :banana:

DSCF2415.jpg

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What a POS!!!!!!!!!!!!! 40K miles and you replaced the head, piston, rings, stator and springs. POS indeed!!🤣😉:eek::worthy:

From those #'s I'd guess a fair amount of street use??? If it's all off-road you got a gem.:banana:

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I made the change as well...put 12,000 miles on my DRZ S to SM conversion with all the normal mods and then some....not a problem. I am now riding a Beta 525 wich has the 2007 RFS KTM motor in it...these motors are awesome with a great powerband and silky smooth shifting 6 speed. I have yet to see any drawbacks to making the switch but I only have about 3,000 street sumo miles on it. I can do a valve check in about an hour and last check all was good...I check every 1,000 miles and if it needs adjust no shims or cam removal just 30 seconds to re-adjust each rocker and off you go. I do 400 to 500 mile oil changes and filters every other change using stainless filters to keep costs down. I am hoping to get 15,000 street miles out of this motor and feel like I will. I will do a big bore 540 when it wears out and stainless valves which makes valve adjusts less frequent so I can live with that. This thing starts perfectly (since JD Jet Kit and desmog) and has run flawlessly. Keep in mind though that the later 06 and 07 RFS motor is supposed to be the best and most sought after motor KTM has built....I have heard there are some problems with the new 530 motor like there were some fixes needed on the earlier RFS motors.

BetaSMLatest017.jpg

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but sooner or later she's going to grenade on you - when you least expect it, somewhere far from home, and its going to cost you dearly.

You'll be begging o'le reliable wiffy to take you back...

That's just a bunch of bologna. I have put on over 35,000 trouble-free miles on three KTM's. Most of my riding buddies ride KTM's with RFS engines with nary a problem. The KTM RFS engine is notorious for its reliability and dependability.

Ktm's are great bikes ,but the exc needs more service than any other bike I know for keping it going.

An oil change and valve adjustment isn't too much work , but if you skip them, the engine will blow up sooner or later.

KTM's are maintenance intensive, but no more so than any modern 4 stroke and much easier than many.

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Did a 200 mile ride today, the bike runs strong. I'm about to do a valve check but it sounds like quite a job removing radiators/ coolant etc. The DRZ was slightly more comfy on the longer stretches or should I say smoother. The 525 comes alive in the technical bits. I try to avoid the 6th gear as I have been told the gear is prone to wear when just cruising. The mileage on my DRZ was 50/50, I only needed to change the shims once in the 40k miles. I replaced the piston and rings at 31 000 miles as it started to smoke slightly under acceleration.

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how many miles are people getting out of the ktm motors on average ?

This is the million dollar question....from what I have read it varies on a lot of things....some guys that ride a lot of dirt, like to rev it, with average maintenance maybe not so good....250 to 500 hours. Dirt riding with excellent maintenance and a lot of short shifting they can go 500 + hours....riding style seems to make a difference. The OEM valves are soft so it seems that that is the first thing to happen....they run out of adjustment. When replaced with quality stainless valves it is a whole different story...less frequent adjust, much longer life. It seems like after 4 or 500 hours if you do the top end you pretty much have to do the bottom or the new top will definitely outlast the bottom. They have some small issues along the way...water pump seal is common to leak but a 45 minute fix and cheap...videos on the web show the simple process, coutershaft seal can leak like any dirt bike, but other than that I think they are like a shorter lived DRZ...take the time you use to mod up your Z and turn that into maintenance and its a tie for the first 500 hours...then its a crap shoot.

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Did a 200 mile ride today, the bike runs strong. I'm about to do a valve check but it sounds like quite a job removing radiators/ coolant etc. The DRZ was slightly more comfy on the longer stretches or should I say smoother. The 525 comes alive in the technical bits. I try to avoid the 6th gear as I have been told the gear is prone to wear when just cruising. The mileage on my DRZ was 50/50, I only needed to change the shims once in the 40k miles. I replaced the piston and rings at 31 000 miles as it started to smoke slightly under acceleration.

No need to drain the radiators!

https://thumpertalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=4305217&postcount=9

I use the 1/6th turn method. It took me like 4 hrs. the first time now it takes like 20-30 min. the 8mm ratchet wrench is key!

Average for riding hard off-road is 200 hrs. for valves and 400 for the topend. I've never read or heard that the big end needs replaced at the same time and know a few folks that have rebuilt the topend on RFS at around 4-500 hrs. and that was the first valve job. Most I've heard of is 50k miles and that was road riding. I'd say overall it is slightly less than the Z I'd guess it's about 500 hrs. of strictly offroad riding for the Z.

Edited by mylsmkj
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I try to avoid the 6th gear as I have been told the gear is prone to wear when just cruising..

Don't worry about avoiding 6th gear as it is plenty robust enough for extended high speed cruising with no problem.

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I have both. I kept my DRZ after I bought the 530 EXC. I like the Z for all day dirt/pavement rides that are long and gas is scarce. I love the KTM when I want to do about 60 or 80 miles in the desert at good clip. As for the valves on the 2009 EXC: you do not need to drain the radiators and I can do them with a shim change in about an hour.

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I am a long time SUZUKI Dirt Bike rider & racer

my 1st real motorcycle was a SUZUKI

my 1st motocrosser was a SUZUKI

I ALWAYS preferred SUZUKI off road bikes for my style of riding and racing

I bought my 1st DRZ in 2006....DRZ400S

I wanted a DRZ400E......bought one in 2007

They are absolutely great bikes for their intended purposed, in my opinion,they are 1 of the 2 or 3 best dual sport bikes made

but I have always wanted a KTM RFS.....finally in 2009 I matched up my finances with a very low hour/mileage 2005 525 MXC/EXC (it kinda has been modded with a bit of both)

the torque & power of the 525 makes trail riding very easy for me

and for times when I really want to wick up the throttle, the suspension provides total control at speeds that are way above I ever intended to ride

I love that KTM......I also love the DRZ

They are different bikes, made for different purposes

both are very reliable and the maintenance on the KTM is easy and way less than the bad press people talk about

I would take the DRZ to ALASKA......but I would take the KTM most anywhere else, especially if it was mostly dirt....and more than just forest roads & back roads

....just my opinion that has been swayed by over 40 years of riding & wrenching my own rides:smirk:

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