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Commuting with the 500 EXC

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I want a dirt bike for trail riding, would also be able to save money if I started using a bike to commute to work. I live in Roseville, Ca near MPC KTM.

Work is 4mi (6.5km) away (45mph speed limit) and I come home for lunch so a total of about 4000 mi. (6400km) a year. Maybe 3500 miles if you cut out vacations and days where I don't ride in the rain.

Does it make sense to get the 500 EXC or just get a Suzuki 400DS.

i have a z400 quad that I bought so my wife could ride. The engine is the same as the 400ds and in 3 years i have just changed the oil and put gas in it and it runs awesome. That said I am fine with doing maintenance myself.

The 500 exc is 10.8k otd while the 400ds is 6.2k. Per year the each will use about the same oil/gas/and rear tires. I am assuming though with the extra power and race ready performance I will be rebuilding the KTM motor more often than the DRZ and possible other maintenance will be higher.

I am fine paying the extra to get a FI bike that has more power, less weight, better handling. If it is going to cost me an extra 500-1k a year in maintenance though that is starting to seem foolish.

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I would not ride a $11k racing dirt bike to work. Period! I tried it on a new Husky Supermoto I got for $7k OTD. I was on track to wear out the bike in 2 years. Sold it after a year with high miles on it at a major loss. With part of what $$ I had left I bought an old KZ750 street bike for $800, put 30,000 miles on it in 3 years and sold it for $1,200. AND it was twice the fun as riding a dirt bike on the street. I saved some more $$ and now commute on a FZ1 a modern in-line 4 that does not need the valves checked till 35,000 miles. It gets 45MPG and 146HP for $3,500 and is a dream to ride on the street over a dirt bike.

I could write a book on all the resons not to do it. If I were only 4 miles from work I would ride a bicycle to work.

Did I mention riding a drit bike on the street sucks? :smirk:

Edited by DrKayak

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I was in the same predicament, with the same 2 bike choices, a couple years ago. I got the KTM(530) and have had no regrets. Both will be very durable and work great for short commuting. If your just going to cruise around the trails with the wife in tow, the Suzuki might be better. If you going to do more serious trail riding/single track the KTM can't be beat.

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I would not ride a $11k racing dirt bike to work. Period! I tried it on a new Husky Supermoto I got for $7k OTD. I was on track to wear out the bike in 2 years. Sold it after a year with high miles on it at a major loss. With part of what $$ I had left I bought an old KZ750 street bike for $800, put 30,000 miles on it in 3 years and sold it for $1,200. AND it was twice the fun as riding a dirt bike on the street. I saved some more $$ and now commute on a FZ1 a modern in-line 4 that does not need the valves checked till 35,000 miles. It gets 45MPG and 146HP for $3,500 and is a dream to ride on the street over a dirt bike.

I could write a book on all the resons not to do it. If I were only 4 miles from work I would ride a bicycle to work.

Did I mention riding a drit bike on the street sucks? :smirk:

Really was hoping this wasn't the answer but what I suspected.

I have done the bike thing but there isn't enough time to ride home for lunches which sucks for the wife and kids. The gas cost is pretty low on a 50mpg bike.

Overall it will probably be cheaper then to get a used Kawi 250 street bike and ride it till it dies than pay the maintenance on a 500 exc.

I liked the DS idea because it will make it easy to go to the trails from the cabin in Tahoe/Donner area. That and my 5yr old son who has been riding since he was 3 is going to fly past me in talent pretty soon if I don't get dirt bike.

Anyone have a guestimate of how much 3500 miles a year of on-road riding would cost? (excluding gas)

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I was in the same predicament, with the same 2 bike choices, a couple years ago. I got the KTM(530) and have had no regrets. Both will be very durable and work great for short commuting. If your just going to cruise around the trails with the wife in tow, the Suzuki might be better. If you going to do more serious trail riding/single track the KTM can't be beat.

Just missed your post before posting mine above...

You seem to have the exact experience I want to learn from.

How has the cost of riding the bike been with the maintenance and tires etc?

I am fine with it not handling like a street bike on the road because I know if I had a full liter bike or even a 600 I would get myself into situations I shouldn't.

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I live in a very rural area, and for blitzing around country roads or occasional commuting to work the 530 is great (3k on the clock now).I would not want to sit in traffic or drone down the freeway on it.The stock tires will last about a week, less if you run them on the road. Dunlop 606's are a good compromise and hold up well. Once the wheels are balanced (static is fine) the street ride improves dramatically. The 500 will probably require some set up. A fan is an absolute must, and may come stock on the new bikes. As for maintenance, regular oil changes every 5-10 hours. This may be a negative, but it really only takes 10 minutes or so.

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I live in a very rural area, and for blitzing around country roads or occasional commuting to work the 530 is great (3k on the clock now).I would not want to sit in traffic or drone down the freeway on it.The stock tires will last about a week, less if you run them on the road. Dunlop 606's are a good compromise and hold up well. Once the wheels are balanced (static is fine) the street ride improves dramatically. The 500 will probably require some set up. A fan is an absolute must, and may come stock on the new bikes. As for maintenance, regular oil changes every 5-10 hours. This may be a negative, but it really only takes 10 minutes or so.

I consider oil changes par for the course. I wouldn't be sitting in traffic but I would be on the road for 3.5k miles a year. Even with the Dunlop 606's that is ~4 rear tires a year. As amazing as the bike is I am not sure it is better than a craigslist 250 street bike and a 250 trail bike like the Honda 250x or something (not really sure since I haven't looked into these).

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"I can ride it to work and save gas" scam. Usually just a ploy to get wife to sign off on new toy. Good Luck with that!

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"I can ride it to work and save gas" scam. Usually just a ploy to get wife to sign off on new toy. Good Luck with that!

So it seems, the only real way that works is with a $1200 Ninja 250r. The math just doesn't add up ever on a 11k bike.

The only question now is even if I just wanted the bike would it be smart to drive it to work at 3.5k miles a year?

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It all depends on how hard that $11k was to come by and being OK with worn down tires when you do ride dirt. I know guys that can aford a new KTM once a year and treat it like it's disposable. Not me, I like buying 2-3 year old bikes that never got riden for 1/2 what they sold for new. Then maintaining them as best I can.

There's tons of fun bikes, street and dual-sport that would be better than a Ninja 250. It's all about riding not which bike. I had a ton of fun on an old XL350 before my KTM. Don't think the most expensive bike is the most fun, this is only true once you are an expert level rider.

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Buy a used EXC and with the money you save buy a cheap used street bike or even scooter.

Bruce

But a used EXC isn't as cool as the new FI 350/500. Really I am buying a dirt bike and hoping it doesn't cost me more money to use it to commute than it does to keep it maintained.

I consider the choice to be better than getting a 8k dirt bike and a 1.5k street bike since I will have a g dirt bike that I can use on-road to get to trails.

Financially though it makes no sense. The cheapest would be to get a used road bike that I pedal to work but honestly after looking at everything I don't see many situations where buying a dirt bike is a smart financial move. Especially one for 10k.

Edited by Iberian

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How about buying a new or used dirt bike that you ride to work once a week or whenever you have one of those glorious days for riding?

Commuting pounds the crap out of everything including cars. Why would you want to do that with your beautiful new KTM or whatever you buy?

The other concern that is how are you going to secure the dirt bike?. Do these bikes have a keyed ignition module? What other types of built in security do you have? Do you have to put on/ take off additional locks cables several times each day? If so, where will you store these? Can it be parked in the shade and covered, or does the sun/weather beat on it every day? Can you keep and eye on it while working so someone doesnt come along and throw it in the back of a truck (locks and all)?

I dont ride on the street, but If I did, it would only be for pleasure riding only under ideal conditions. I see people do so many stupid things in cars while driving to work each day. I can only imagine that commuting on a bike is just asking to be injured, maimed or killed from other peoples carelessness (and no....it shouldnt be that way but when people are commuting the same route each day they just zone out and dont pay attention - especially with motorcycles where they look right through you since you are not a car/truck).

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No way would I commute on an EXC. It's a full offroad bike that you can ride on the road when necessary, it's not a road bike. Listen to the other guys. I vote for something with airbags for commuting!

If you can only afford one vehicle, you can't really afford a new EXC. Wait until you have more cash.

Oh, and I'm also a former DRZ400 owner, but I wouldn't consider that a good/safe road bike either. Use the right tool for the job.

Edited by TriPower

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How about buying a new or used dirt bike that you ride to work once a week or whenever you have one of those glorious days for riding?

Commuting pounds the crap out of everything including cars. Why would you want to do that with your beautiful new KTM or whatever you buy?

The other concern that is how are you going to secure the dirt bike?. Do these bikes have a keyed ignition module? What other types of built in security do you have? Do you have to put on/ take off additional locks cables several times each day? If so, where will you store these? Can it be parked in the shade and covered, or does the sun/weather beat on it every day? Can you keep and eye on it while working so someone doesnt come along and throw it in the back of a truck (locks and all)?

I dont ride on the street, but If I did, it would only be for pleasure riding only under ideal conditions. I see people do so many stupid things in cars while driving to work each day. I can only imagine that commuting on a bike is just asking to be injured, maimed or killed from other peoples carelessness (and no....it shouldnt be that way but when people are commuting the same route each day they just zone out and dont pay attention - especially with motorcycles where they look right through you since you are not a car/truck).

The security of the bike at work isn't a problem, I work at Klove/Air1 so I am not worried about someone taking the bike and we have a covered area to park it.

Riding on the street is more dangerous but given the specifics of my commute I feel the risk isn't that bad.

As for getting another dirt bike I am not sure I would want something other than the 500 EXC. Our family cabin is near a bunch of trails in Tahoe and it will be very nice to have a fully capable dirt bike that is plated.

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do you have any other vehicle you take to work?

cuz i wouldnt want to rely on a bike i beat on sunday to get me to work on monday.

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Hey....Im all for buying a great trail bike that is plated and allows you to connect from trail to trail via paved roads here and there. Just wouldnt beat on it with a daily commute.

You said 11K for the KTM 500EXC...must be a lot of fees, freight and sale tax out there in California.

You might also look at the Husaberg 570S....mainly a blue KTM, 70 degree motor, and seemingly cheaper than the new KTM with a bit more displacement and fuel injected in 2011 (1 year before the KTM).

A quick look at cycle trader showed this one in CA (yeah So Cal):

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2011-HUSABERG-FE570S-99250936 - $8500

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2011-HUSABERG-FE570-S-97320163 - $7600 but is in WV...would need to pay freight etc

Some of the midwestern dealers are selling the KTM 500 EXC for what I am guessing is about $1K off the MSRP. Maybe you can use as leverage...or maybe shipping is only $400-$500 to CA

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2012-Ktm-500-EXC-100990957 - $8700

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2012-Ktm-500-EXC-101905569 - $8700

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2012-Ktm-500-EXC-101230439 - $8850

Can get better pricing on the 2011 450EXC which should have plenty of power for trail riding you are talking about:

http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2011-Ktm-450-EXC-98733294 - $8000

p.s. read up about some of the issues with KTM, Husaberg, Husky with regard to fuel injection. A lot of great things about it, but there are some issues still be sorted through and you need to be diligent about fuel cleanliness and mitigating the ethanol enhanced fuels. To my understanding the 2011 KTM 450 EXC is still carbureted (but I am not at all certain).

disclaimer/bias: I just bought a used 2010 Husaberg FE 450 in December. Last KTM I owned was in the 80's. No objection to them, just cant find the right condition/price combination for my comfort about here in Colorado.

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Well I don't get the cool thing, just like to ride.

Absolutely nothing wrong with a 2007 450/525 EXC and a sub $1000 commuter bike (or car) with enough left over for a nice vacation.

Bruce

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I have a Jeep and my 94 Accord and my wife has her Land Rover if I need an extra vehicle. If it is raining or I am tired whatever I can always take another vehicle.

Several of you are saying that it is worth paying the extra $50 in gas a month to drive in a car vs riding a dirt bike(albeit street legal) to work for 4 miles@ 45mph?

Basically I would save 600 a year in gas. I would lose about 400 in tires and 25 an oil change which drops me down to 8 oil changes for the year before the 200 runs out. In the end with wear on the valves and engine it is probably a loss to drive the bike to work.

Not suprising but cars are better for commuting....

Now I have to decide if I want to pay the 10k otd for a bike or get a used bike for way less.

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4 mile commute? Yeah I would get a 500, I ride my 450 on the street all the time

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