My latest adventure bike is a 2007 KTM 525 EXC. Josh rides the 450 EXC. It's nice to have such similar bikes on the trail and the knowledge of two riders with experience on such similar machines. When crisis occurs it's comforting to have the buddy plan in place. Stock from factory the 525 is a very capable machine at 90+ mph in that tall 6th gear. A little tweaks here and there and it's a well over 100mph that will eat your lunch if not careful. I've spent the last two years dialing it in 1 tooth at a time and I think I got it right with a 15/48 sprocket combination....nicely cruising at 65mph and passing at 70-80mph if need be and not much more. This really lets the bike come alive on the low end and pull hard through the lower gears. 2nd-3rd wheelies are nicely done up and down the road if you dare. I couldn't be more happier with the bike for desert adventuring. I added the 3.2 IMS tank and another 1.1 on the left rear side for a total of 4.3 gal, each with their own petcock valve. This provides a safe 150-mile range.
Last Saturday was spent combing the bike over and cleaning it up good. After some serious thought I decided to bust it down and do a valve adjustment. Needless to say after 2 hour of having my kids and wife tug on the wheel for me and swapping me places 20 different times, I can now adjust the valves on the trail 'by feel.' Not an easy task by any means and requires a certain amount of 'know how' of 4-strokes, cam lobes and TDC, but it is very do-able, just not without a little trial and error. It was a good thing I did as I wasn't getting full power to the bike on the intake side with one of the valves that was not completely openning. The evening was spent mopping up the garage gas spill from the tank overflow line that dropped down when I wasn't looking. Didn't realize I was getting so high on fumes, but surely was until I figured out what was going on.
So this year brings a few bike changes:
- A new set of Pirelli Xtra's
- Hardwired jumper cable (both bikes) with an adapter cable to be used between them in the event of an emergency.
- Fuel filter for the rear side tank to keep the debris out.
- 1-tooth larger rear sprocket to slow it down a tad bit more and add back a few of those previous foot-lbs of torque on the low end.
- and hopefully some Xtra fuel bottles mounted on the bike.