'16 KTM 500 EXC in the great state of Michigan

Kobrah

New member
Greetings everyone, first post on this forum. I just recently purchased a 2016 KTM 500 EXC to do some adventure/recreational riding with. I have owned a wide variety of bikes in the past (zuki DR650, Buell 1125CR, Aprilia Tuono V4R, Etc.) and used to pit pat around on dirtbikes as a kid, but never really got into any kind of adventure style riding until recently. I have done a fair amount of offroad traveling and expeditions via 4x4's and was always tempted to get into the 2-wheel side of offroading and finally pulled the trigger!

KTM 2.jpg

So anyway, I thought I would commence my first post with my very first trip on the bike that occurred this past weekend near Mio, Michigan and what I thought about the KTM.

I'm originally from Pennsylvania, and just moved to Michigan early this year. I was amazed at the opportunity to ride in Michigan compared to PA, you almost feel like a criminal finding places to ride in PA whereas Michigan kindly maps out most of the trails for you and encourages riding in all variations. ATV, UTV, snowmobile, you name it! They have trails designated specifically for motorcycles as well that 4 wheeled vehicles are not allowed on. This trip, we just did about 70 miles of general ORV trails to test out the bike. My buddy that made the drive up from PA to join me was riding a classic '82 YZ250 2-stroke that he actually ended up purchasing from me and hauling home, so he was in test mode too.

We headed out on Saturday morning to Mio from Northville which was about a 2.5 hour super easy drive. We quickly found a spot to camp in the Huron-Manistee forest on the west side of M-33 and got to riding.

Kyles JK1.jpg

*The KTM had literally 40 miles on it before this trip, i rode it back and forth to work twice to show it off a bit. I'll note that while it is of course street legal, its not very street friendly. Me, I dont mind that too much because I'm young and dumb and think its just an awesome bike to ride around :) But if anyone is looking at this bike for a lot of road riding, it will need some basic modifications to be SEMI-comfortable. New seat and new tires at a minimum. Also, I believe the suspension is only tunable up to around 190 pounds, so you may require a new rear shock too to get the most out of the ride. It's also pretty tall, and they do have seat options out there to lower the height a bit.

First impression of the KTM in the dirt....WOW! Power for days. Its very very well suited on the trail, and definitely not a beginner bike. It doesn't feel heavy or awkward, its feels like riding a dirtbike for the most part. As mentioned before, it does feel a bit tall though, im about 6'2 and I was fine, but I would imagine anyone really under 6' may want to look at a lowered seat. The terrain was pretty level, a few short hill climbs but nothing crazy. Mostly was a loomy sort of sandy terrain that was really difficult to ride it at some spots, I had 2 bails because of it that I remember. Going into some of those corners with loose sand like that its tough at first, you pretty much have to lay on the throttle a bit more than you normally would which hurts your brain a bit at first....less traction, bike wobbly, more throttle? okay! We ran an average speed of 29 MPH on these trails and I had the bike in 2nd gear virtually all of the time. The gearing was....a little off, but 2nd gear worked for these trails generally pretty well.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Kyles KTM.jpg

All in all in was a great trip, no real hiccups. The bike performed better than I could have imagined. I can tell you that I will be making two immediate purchases for it: a steering stabilizer and and barkbusters. The bike felt a little light in the front end, mostly because of the type of terrain im sure. But I feel that it would be nice to have an adjustable steering stabilizer to level that out a bit. And the barkbusters because....well, why not? :) Thats about all I have for now, I always get in the moment and forget to take more pictures! Ill sift through my GoPro footage and maybe post some videos of the ride up here.


Kyle
 
Great choice in bike I also just picked up a 16 500EXC I've had it just about a month. As for the adjustment it can be adjusted up to 209# rider.
 

Kobrah

New member
Great choice in bike I also just picked up a 16 500EXC I've had it just about a month. As for the adjustment it can be adjusted up to 209# rider.
Ah yes, your probably right....I was just going off the top of my head which isn't very reliable sometimes :)
 

mscuiletti

Observer
I'm a bit envious of your decision. I recently moved from a little sporty hatchback to a more capable 4x4, which I love, but then replaced the missing sport facter with a CB550 project. Lately I wish I had gone with a dual sport or something to take camping. Looks so much fun. What part of Michigan did you move to?
 

deeve

Observer
I have a '15 500EXC that I took on a weeklong tour around the west with my son on his DR650. The bike is awesome! I have the big tank, a steering stabilizer and a few other mods to make it adventure light-worthy. The bike just rocks. You will enjoy it!
 

Kobrah

New member
Great looking bike. I like the hitch setup. what is the brand?
Believe it or not, this hitch hauler came from harbor freight when I was in a pinch and needed one THAT DAY. I probably drove to a dozen different places but harbor freight was the only place that had one available. And quite frankly I love the thing. It's simple, no hassle, a bit heavier than you would think but its stable and i've never worried about having my bike back there.
 

agelessGIANT

Observer
I see you have a spare mounted to the back of your Jeep...Did you need to add an extender to the receiver to fit the bike on the carrier without hitting the tire?
 

Kobrah

New member
I see you have a spare mounted to the back of your Jeep...Did you need to add an extender to the receiver to fit the bike on the carrier without hitting the tire?
Yes, it required a hitch extender, I think the one I have is 10 or 12 inches. It is a 35x12.50 size spare on the back.

I was really slightly worried upon using it for the first time that it would create too much play in the hitch carrier for my liking, but I made sure to tighten the positioning clamp that came with the carrier down nice and tight and have the bike firmly strapped to the carrier and it's actually quite nice. You definitely get some twisting and a little bit of lateral sway, but I've tested it pretty thoroughly and I have plenty of confidence in it....although I still double check the straps and all whenever I stop for gas. I do want to eventually get one of those center mounted reclining style carriers though, man are those things nice!!!!
 

agelessGIANT

Observer
Thank you for the reply. I have been hesitant about running the bike that far away from the receiver but if its properly secured it seems it should be okay...
Are you talking about the MX Hauler that attaches to the pegs and hydraulically lifts the bike?
 

Kobrah

New member
Thank you for the reply. I have been hesitant about running the bike that far away from the receiver but if its properly secured it seems it should be okay...
Are you talking about the MX Hauler that attaches to the pegs and hydraulically lifts the bike?
Yes, that's exactly it.
 
Hey, I have the exact same set up (JKU on 35's, 16 500 exc, HF Hitch Hauler). I just moved from NYC to CO and just got back into riding dirt too. Kind of weird actually.

Anyway, where did you get the hitch extension? I took off my rear bumper a long time ago so I have the exposed frame. Lately, I have been tying up my peg out of the way and strapping the inside fork of the KTM to the frame of the Jeep and strapping the outside fork down to the hitch hauler itself. The tank shroud does rest against the spare tire but the setup seems to be rock solid. No sway or anything and I did about 1 mile of offroading before I unloaded the bike to go ride.

I'm trying to figure out which setup will be better in the long run.

Still trying to re-learn how to ride dirt but this bike is pretty amazing.
 
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