Time for some off road fun on a KTM 500 Exc

Spring is here which means it is time to ride my new KTM 500 Exc.

Andy and KTM 500

Andy and KTM 500

This spring I purchased a friend’s 2012 KTM 500 Exc. Unfortunately, it has been an unnaturally wet spring. It has recently started to dry out so I was finally able to enjoy a few rides as I get myself back into riding shape.   In preparation,  today was day 69 of the P90x3 program I started back in February. I am stronger and leaner than I have been in too long to admit. I have by no means reached my goals, but I can honestly say this program has shown amazing results. I have  shed 10% of my body weight since I began the program.

However… man handling a 510cc beast through the woods and in the mountains will take your fitness to an entirely new level. Off road motorcycle riding is an entire body workout. The cool part is getting strong and in shape is purely a natural by product of doing something fun and satisfying. No funky gym locker rooms for me.

I got my 1st off road dirt bike when I was 12. That started my love of playing in the dirt on 2 wheels.

KTM 500

KTM 500

I have had many bikes over the years, but nothing that compares to the KTM 500 off road.  My BMW K1200rs is a perfectly complimentary bike to the KTM.  The Beamer is pure joy. Its incredible exhaust note and silky power delivery will keep you smiling all day.

KTM 500 Exc - 3rd Gear Wheelie

KTM 500 Exc – 3rd Gear Wheelie

However, the street legal KTM 500 dirt bike fills a void.  This is not a KLR, DR, GS or a Vstrom  Those bikes turn around before the real trails even begin or they wish they had. Weight is not your friend off road, especially as you hop a downed tree or drop into or climb out of stream beds or other natural obstacles that the KTM does not even acknowledge as threats.

A quick twist of the throttle and the bike hops over downed trees with grace and ease.

A quick twist of the throttle and the bike hops over downed trees with grace and ease.

The KTM is an amazing piece of machinery.  It’s well thought out design continually amazes me.  Weighing in  130-250+ lbs lighter than the rest of the street legal dual sport world, this bike is made for the dirt first and foremost. The KTM is for riders who want to be able to tackle what ever comes your way.  The 13 inch ground clearance combined with 13 inches of suspension travel makes this the only choice if you need a street legal bike that can do more than ride fire roads or very easy trails. It delivers sublime but controllable power that will blow you away. It eats up the trails with the torque and power only a 500 can deliver.

Due to the nature of off road tires and low air pressures, you should haul it to the trails if they are more than a few miles away. I am running a knobby front and a massive hybrid knobby/trials rear tire. What a great setup.  The hybrid tire was the easiest  tire I ever mounted.

Turbo Takeoff

Turbo Takeoff

Soon I hope to be posting about my 1st riding/camping trip into the Ozarks Mountains. We have the bikes setup with Giant Loops that can carry tents, supplies, and survival gear comfortably and safely when we head out for a few days of spectacular mountain riding and camping. The low starting weight of the KTM pays huge dividends when you are carrying gear for a few days in the wild.

Nice take off point

Nice natural ramp

Arkansas is motorcycle friendly and has all bases covered from street to dirt.  Arkansas has thousands of miles of spectacular riding both on and off road. On Hwy 123 and Hwy 16, I have gone for an hour and seen less than a dozen vehicles. If you get a chance, you must ride the Arkansas Dragon.

We got a few good days of riding in last week on both some old as well as brand new trails.  Some of the new woodland trails remind me of mountain bike trails they are so tight. Their are only a few spots where you get out of the woods and can actually let her sing a bit. This baby effortlessly pulls sweet 3rd and 4th gear wheelies. I will post a video clip soon.

Dirt biking is pure laugh out loud fun.

Exploring near the Mississippi river

Exploring near the Mississippi river

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