Is a KTM 500 or 530 EXC dual sport bike really the right bike for my riding?

Thanks for all the advice. Especially helpful is hearing from folks that ride a DRZ and a KTM.

So the question is.... Does your DR-Z leave you wanting more?

Not really. Even though I've been riding the DRZ since the summer of 2006, it still amazes me at times compared to the two DR350s I previously had. It's the same weight, but handles different - probably because it slimmer. I can still scare myself on it once in a while.

Do you find yourself in situations where you have to pick up the bike now and then during a days outing?

If I only have to pick it up once every 3rd or 4th ride, I'm doing good. Picking it up only happens during a bad negotiation of something on a single track trail, like if I hit something that shoots me where the front wheel goes off the trail, or maybe the rear washes out and goes off trail. I've ben wanting a steering dampener for it.

Do you find yourself not going places you'd like to go but the bike seems just a wee bit to unweildy? If so a big bore EXC might be just the ticket! Otherwise stick with the DR-Z, cheap and reliable, even when abused.

Nope, not yet anyway. I've taken both 350s and the DRZ on some pretty technical stuff here in Washington - Miller Peak, Manastash Ridge, and all the trails on the south side of Manastash. I've had the 350 on a number of the less challenging trails at Gifford Picnhot Natl Forest too. Both 350s, but not the DRZ have been to Horsehead Pass, Deadman's Pass, Foggy Dew, Devil's Backbone (Lake Chelan area),

All three have been to most trails around the Upper Mad River area.

Most of the Naches stuff is a cake walk for me. Around the Liberty, WA area, Miller Peak / County Line have some scary spots, but I don't consider them too technically challenging. At first I did, but that was back in the beginning when I first started riding single track. They are definitely not beginner trails.

Any single track that is too challenging to take the DRZ on, is a trail that no matter what bike I had, I wouldn't ride on. :smirk:

I suppose I should just keep riding the DRZ and stop getting sucked in by bright shiny objects (new bikes) at the dealer!

Getting sucked in by seeing the 500 EXC and finding out the 12's are fuel injected is exactly what happened. LOL. Another part of it is money burning a hole in my pocket.

With the ktm you have more electronics,hydralic clutch,higher performance engine and other bells and whisles you dont have with the drz.So of course you are going to ride it harder and thus more maintence.But the payoff would be worth it.

I rode a drz once and it felt like a street bike compared to my ktm.Not to say they are not nice bikes but i didnt like it.

Longevity of a ktm?

I was asking myself the same question before purchasing this 2008 450 excr new.

So here is what has went wrong with this bike in 298 hours and 6,642 miles

(almost all off road)

1. A leaky petcock (I fixed it with a homemade shim)

2. New top end (2010 rings) at 164 hours (was burning oil)

still barely uses oil at 298 hours

3. Leaky countershaft seal (clean and grease)

This bike has done two 24 hour endurance races, one 12 hour endurance race and countless 6 hour races (all single bike Ironman races). I have held this bike wide open until the ignition cuts out at 88 mph.

I ride lots of woods also.


Clean Air filters when they look dirty

engine oil about every 250 miles. Dino, motorex, mobile 1, rotella, valvoline atv,

or whatever I can find laying around

trans oil about every 500 miles (wet clutch oil only)

Now I am having fun just seeing how far it will go.





Mud race 2010, Imagine the thickest nastiest mud hole you have ridden through, now

picture that mud hole 104 miles long and you bogged the motor in 2nd and 3rd gear for hours on end to get throught it. THAT WAS THIS RACE.

When the sun came up the course was littered with dead machines


You don't really need a KTM to do Horsehead, but you might as well get one or you will never know. :smirk:


I sure wish I had RollieW's luck but I think that HH guy is looking for trouble (this better not jinx that Baja trip, Steve)

I sure wish I had RollieW's luck but I think that HH guy is looking for trouble (this better not jinx that Baja trip, Steve)

hey, wasup dude, your only one more chat room away from the holy grail, ADVrider. :smirk:

Playing in the sand is going to be more fun than dragging bikes through the snow, eh.


That switchback has gotten wider over the years.

There used to be a really nasty step, just in front of where your front wheel is. Granted, it's still no cakewalk, but it's not near as bad as it used to be back in the 90s, early 2000s.

You don't really need a KTM to do Horsehead, but you might as well get one or you will never know. :smirk:


Yellow bikes can't climb horsehead.


You crack me up rollie :bonk::lol::lol

It looks like the 3 of us need to do a trip. :smirk:

Maybe I will have the only yellow bike.

Despite the maintenance, I'm loving my KTM 500 EXC.

I put several hundred highway miles on the bike, plus dirt miles...

smiles all the way

I know most the chat has been regarding the bigger bikes but I will be picking up a 2012 KTM 350 exc-f in a week or so (first bike). The plan for mine is short rides to and from class dirt roads the trails at home and maybe a trip here and there. Im also concerned about the maintance issue I do not mind taking something to the shop once and a while but im new to the whole 4 stroke thing most my engine knowledge comes from old chevys and tractors. Hope I made the right choice for getting into the sport/hobbie and for asome it seems lifestyle.

Awesome music, I see that you also enjoy the Son.

I have an 08 KTM 530 EXCR. I've put 3,800 miles on my bike and the only mechanical work I've had to have done that wasn't caused from my crowd pleasing crashes has been adjusting the valves. I had to have that done when the bike became hard to crank. If you aren't aware, you can download the owner's manual for a 530 EXC for free. Just Google "KTM 530 owner's manual". I'd suggest you do so, paying particular attention to the scheduled maintenance tables because I think it will answer a lot of your maintenance related questions. Me, I don't consider my bike a dual-sport at all. I do have it registered, tagged, and insured, but its quite obvious if you ride a 530 EXC that they're thoroughbred race bikes made to be ridden hard and fast. But, when it comes to the economics of owning one of these bikes, considering the owners manual calls for the oil to be changed every 15 hours and the piston to be replaced every 90 hours as well as check all major internal mechanical components every 90 hours, or every 45 hours if the bike is used for competition, I reserve the use of the bike to off-road use. I do take it for a short trip down the road every couple of weeks if I don't go trail riding. As for the owner's manual, does anybody follow this schedule? Probably not, especially rebuilding the engine every 90 hours, but whether we do or don't follow the schedule, I've not seen any other dual-sport bikes with maintenance schedules like this. I also have an 06 KLR-650 and you only have to change the oil on it every 3,000 miles. As others have expressed, the cost and trouble of the maintenance is well worth it when you see the difference in how much more fun this bike is over the true dual-sport bikes. No comparison. -D

I bought a 2012 500EXC yesterday.


I plan to keep the DRZ.

pictures or your lying! :thumbsup:

congrats on your new bike

I bought a 2012 500EXC yesterday.


I plan to keep the DRZ.

Awesome! Congrats on the new bikem be sure you take precautions to to protect the FI. Get a tank sock to filter the fuel going into the tank, and be sure you have the new and updated 20-micron fuel filter.

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