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2012 500EXC vrs. DRZ400S dual sport comparison

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I currently own two 2009 Suzuki DRZ400S's. One for me and one for my son.

The 2012 500EXC looks very good and I'm considering switching to orange but I have a few questions.

If I went orange, I would need to set up the 500EXC with the following:

1. 4.0 gallon fuel tank (I need at least 200 mile fuel range)

2. Soft side side bags

3. Wide Seat (Corbin works for me)

Before buying the second DRZ for my son, I had a chance to ride a dual sported 2004 KTM 525EXC that was set up with a 4 gallon fuel tank, Corbin Seat and Dirt Bagz side bags. My son and I spent a whole winter of riding both the DRZ and 525 in a variety of dual sport situations and I found I was less tired at the end of an 8 hour riding day on the DRZ even though it was 40 lbs heavier and didn't perform as well off road.

I know the two bikes are very different and the KTM has much better performance off road. This is what I'm interested in learning from current owners of the 2012 KTM 500 or 350 EXC's.

1. Reliability to date. Any known issues and fixes

2. Is there a 4 or 4.5 gallon fuel tank available yet

3. What side panniers are you using

4. How well is the fuel injection working at different altitudes

5. What mods if any are necessary for it to run well

Here is where I ride:

1. Spangler Hills in the Mojave Desert: Mostly trails

2. Death Valley: Usually 3 day rides

3. 1,000 mile 3 day dual sport rides that include:

a. 300 miles pavement

b. 500 miles of dirt roads

c. 200 miles of single track with 4x4 sections and technical trails

The DRZ has done good enough in all these situations but the KTM would do much better on the technical trails and that is where I primarily ride from Thanksgiving to early March.

My biggest concern about the KTM is how it would hold up riding multiple hundreds of miles on the pavement which I have to do when on long 1,000 mile multiday dual sport rides.

I know the 2012 KTM EXC's have not been out that long, but I'm very interested in how they are holding up so far. I usually don't like to buy a bike the first year it comes out so the factory has time to fix any problems.

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