ADVENTURIZING A KTM 500EXC FOR RTW RIDING – PART 2

What made it, what didn’t?

…reviews of products and gear so far.

I think A to F is a good way to go, cause most of us have been to school and we know getting an F is as bad as it gets, but obviously YMMV.

Once the bike was complete I set off on a few test rides, that turned into a few thousand miles, when I got the bike and it had this on it, 545 miles

[​IMG]

and now it has this

DSC03965.JPG

I think 6992 miles is a good amount of distance to know if you like something or not, or how it handles/ works, or any failures.

I went through this whole build thread and the list of companies and products I could find are as follows, not in any sort of order, I might group a few together but if I have anything significant to say I’ll do a post for it as a single piece, that way if you have any questions me and everybody else can talk it through

 

Clickable links to everything reviewed

  1. Tubliss
  2. Enduro engineering bash plate
  3. HDB set up
  4. Moto manufacturing ball
  5. Hinson clutch cover
  6. Trailjammer protection
  7. Hammerhead controls
  8. Rally pegs
  9. 714 grips
  10. pro moto billet side stand
  11. Samco hoses
  12. Tusk radiator cap
  13. Trail Tech fan kit
  14. Zipty fuel filter
  15. ASV levers
  16. MotoMinded
  17. Bajaworx screen
  18. GPR4 damper
  19. Rear shock spring
  20. Seat Concepts
  21. Tusk PDS bolt
  22. Globetrotting rack
  23. warp 9 wheels
  24. Dirt Tricks sprocket
  25. Motoz Tires
  26. Lezyne pump
  27. Mosko moto r80 and pico
  28. Endurastan tank bag
  29. Big Agnes bike packing tent

 

 

Tubliss review – Grade A

Will I use it for RTW? – No!

I put this first as it was the most spoken about product, views for and against using it.

I had zero issues with Tubliss as a product, I found it easy to mount, easy to use. I added 120 psi colored pressure valve caps to make life easier. A quick look to see if I could see any green in the valve cap window and I knew I was above 100psi and I was good to go, just a quick tire pressure check every 3 or 4 days if I felt it needed it.

I found traction was great being able to run low PSI in areas that before seemed a little more challenging.

I had a trifecta of problems that make me say no, and it doesn’t detract from how I like the system, for riding in the US or the western world it would stay put.

For RTW it has to go, the trifecta

  1. torn tire
  2. no inner tube
  3. failed pump

none of these is a problem with the Tubliss system but it made me realize in a hurry I could be stranded somewhere in Siberia and in a dire situation if this happened.

torn tire – this happened in Colorado, right near Ophir Pass, the tire would hold air for about 5 miles and then be 100% deflated

no inner tube – I wasn’t carrying one, why would I? For me to be carrying a tube I would then be carrying two solutions for one problem, just the extra weight and size is enough to make me say no

failed pump – when shit goes wrong it goes wrong. The threads on my Lezyne pump pulled out, so I couldn’t attach it to the bladder or tire valves. I couldn’t find anyone locally who sold a pump that would go over 100 psi

The resolution was a couple of Canadian riders (huge thanks, didn’t catch their names) followed me and had C02 canisters, and we filled the tire with air every few miles all the way to Ouray where I had a room.

Then went searching for a pump, Ouray, Telluride, and Montrose were all out, the high season I guess.

The resolution – a friend drove me 40 miles to Montrose to buy a new tire, HD tube, a new lower pressure pump, pulled the Tubliss out of the rear wheel.

if the same happened in Mirny Мирный…fooked

  • Enduro engineering bash plate

– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – No!

More on not using it later, cause I have something special to swap it with. Zero complaints, easy to mount and dismount if need be, never put it thru is paces for abuse, surprisingly, guess I lofted the front wheel enough!

HDB set up

– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes, 100% yes

The Highway Dirt Bike stuff is absolutely rock solid and it was tested a lot, I need to grab some new covers, they were abused that much

Moto manufacturing ball

– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes

A simple little item that just works, it will get moved to a different location though

Hinson clutch cover

Trailjammer protection

– Grade A
Will I use them for RTW? – Yes

I grouped these two together as they are both case protection, I never had a hit directly on the case so not really tested, but I doubt there will be a failure as both are so stout

Hammerhead Review – F

I bought 3 things from them, brake pedal, shifter, and shifter bolt.

Both the shifter and the brake pedal were mounted, but somehow I forgot to use the shifter bolt and added it later.

The concise version, because it was 23 emails and phone calls long to resolve something that should have taken 5 minutes

The shifter bolt failed, it failed by snapping, this, in turn, made the shifter fall off and luckily I or someone else was injured as this thing bounced down a paved road…yes it failed on a paved road!

  • I sent an email to Hammerhead, no response – strike 1
  • sent a second email, eventually, I get a callback, a week later. – strike 2
  • I speak to the guy on the phone and tell him what happened, and I am writing THIS THREAD so readers are intrigued about the parts I use and my experiences, he asks me to write it all down, attach photos and he’ll see what he can find out, before he gets off the phone he tells me they have had multiple failures and it’s being redesigned – Strike 3

The response I get is from the owner a guy called John Clark, he says

So you see what direction this will take, it’s obvious they have minimal customer service skills!

I rewrite the email, and by now, I have bought the parts and fixed the bike, to a tune of $250, because of their bolt failing, it not only took out the bolt, but also the shifter shaft, and seal and gaskets need replacing to do the job right.

I explained as I had in two previous emails, and a phone conversation I was giving them full disclosure, not a threat, as we were now on correspondence #4, it’s obvious they have minimal customer service skills!

In further communication #6, he states this

If, and it’s a really big if he has sold 10,000 of this part then that means ONE has failed, (1/10,000 failure rate)especially when my invoice is number 2270, in conversation with another rider he tells me he had two fail in two days

a few emails later he writes

I reply – “I am out my time, labor and parts way in excess of $250 so I’d just round it DOWN to $250”

His response

followed by

25 days go by, no check received but I do get an email from him that includes the line

18 more days go by and today I receive a check for $63.61

and in response to my strongly worded email where I question the above amount, he responds with

So back to the original question about a product that failed and partial resolution took 64 days 23 emails and calls, the outstanding amount is somewhat trivial at this point, but the principle isn’t.

During all this back and forth, he constantly kept referring to warranty, and a warranty I had broken, because I had used a tiny spot of Loctite, this warranty is not on the product page, in the product packaging or in any youtube video…something I am sure he will resolve very soon, to make himself feel right! …but dated screenshots will always show different

At this point, it comes down to the value this company has in this industry, and should others spend their money with them or be warned agains them so they spend it elsewhere?

Since my back and forth with them I have searched the internet and reviews and found more than a few unhappy customers with failed product, so that line about 0.01%/ 1/10,000 failure rate I presume is just a random number he pulled out of thin air, and the real number is massively higher

To me, Hammerhead failed, and failed big time, I will never be a customer again, and urge others to find alternatives…obviously YYMV

Rally Peg review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!


714 Grips review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

…but I will be changing them out for a new set cause I have to cut them off to put some new bars on. My bars are just a little out of reach when standing, so swapping to very slightly taller ones

Pro Moto Billet side stand review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

All I can say about this is I am glad my new spring is 10mm taller cause this makes the bike sit almost upright, and that extra spring length helps it have a little lean

Samco hoses review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

I did have a hose fail, but it ironically was a stock KTM one, Samco no issues

Tusk radiator cap review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – No!

I took this off before I had ridden anywhere, I read about a bunch of failures and a bunch of happy riders, I don’t think it’s fair to downgrade the part if it hasn’t had a fail or I haven’t had any customer service issues to save you guys the headache later. I just didn’t want to be a member of the former group in some remote location

Trail Tech fan kit
– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

I have it set to turn on 5 degrees cooler than stock and double-checked the LED readout to see it was doing it for what it was set for, and it does, 100% of the time. Never had any issues with anything close to overheating, and that riding some slow technical sections, in crazy hot (110 degrees) temps and sometimes combined

Zipty fuel filter
– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

Checked it at oil changes and it filters as expected, easy to use, easy to clean. It did pick up a few small fragments and stop them from going any further

ASV levers
– Grade B
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

They work great, I prefer shorty levers. The reason for the B grade is the clutch side, the machined pocket the clutch push rod that goes into the master cylinder is either machined too deep, or the KTM stock pushrod is too short. (I have now switched this out for a Warp9 clutch lever that works perfectly)

I checked this against another couple of bikes and all the pushrods were the same length of protrusion. This means the ASV machining is wrong. (or is it just mine) This, in turn, makes the clutch lever rattle, not an issue as I ride the majority of time with 1 or 2 fingers on the clutch lever, but when I don’t is very obvious and eventually, I think will cause failure due to the vibration.

MotoMinded
– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

Love everything MotoMinded, great products, and great people to deal with

Bajaworx screen
– Grade C
Will I use it for RTW? – No!

Somewhat disappointed in Bajaworx on this one. As this is specifically designed for the KTM, and the KTM is an offroad bike I would have expected it to be a little more sturdy.

  • Screen thickness needs to be a little thicker IMO, there is a lot of flex at higher speeds and vibration.
  • The screen directed all the air (when I was seated) right under my helmet (I’m 6’1″) and with the air came bugs. I tried spacing it in different ways but it never improved the airflow too much, a small lip on the top would alleviate some this I think, obviously on this YMMV depending on your height and seat position
  • The screen comes with two small black support brackets, made in plastic and bent with what appears to be from heat, from the factory. As soon as I saw these I wondered how long they would last. Answer about 500 miles and one broke. The same bracket in Aluminum would be a better idea

GPR4 damper
– Grade B
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

  • Does it work, yes
  • Does it weep a little oil, yes
  • Is this normal, yes…according to GPR, I’d rather it didn’t

Rear shock spring
– Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

I just didn’t have $1000-$1500 spare to spend on suspension, I made a judgment call on the spring rate from Slavens Racing and all feels good to me, so far
…and yes I do know what Malcolm Smith said – “if you have $100 to spend on a motorcycle spend $99 on suspension”…sorry, Malcolm

Seat Concepts review – Grade B
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

This is strange for me to give them a B, I have used SC on XR’s, Wr’s, DR’s and on my last KTM that I rode RTW, but this one is just not as good, I think as an XL seat it should be about 1 – 1 1/2″ wider, and because of this (for me), it seems like I’m sitting on the frame rails somewhat. I may have gotten a softer foam?
I have been to see their operation and interviewed Lendon, so more than familiar with how their seats are made. Right now no real choice but to go with what I have, guess it’ll make me stand up more, which is a good thing

***Seat Concepts resolved the foam issue and made me a new seat, revised grade A+

PDS bolt review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

A quick and simple way to grease up an area without dismantling it as often as normal

Globetrottin’ review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes and no!

Huh! Well my original idea was a slightly different GT rack but I couldn’t get it in time, so I went with this one, then as ADVrider is, and word somehow got around, an inmate found this out and had the one I wanted and sent it to me. The new one has a loop on it instead of two struts. Adds about 1/2lb in weight but gives me a better option for a couple of extra items I need to add and a new location to use that I didn’t have before. Once I do the final set up I’ll show you

Warp 9 Elite Wheels review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

On the COBDR I hit an exposed cattle guard that was hiding in the shadows and exposed about 6-8inches at about 40mph. The hot was so hard I was worried I might have fractured my wrists, once I knew I was ok then the next thought is, shit…busted front rim.

Nothing, not even a very minor ding. I am positive if I had the stock rims on I would have taco’d it without a doubt, and for the record, I was running low pressures as I was in the sand

Dirt Tricks Sprockets review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!

How can you use sprockets for 7000 miles and they still look new, brand new…Dirt Tricks, simple as that

 

MotoZ tires review – Grade A

Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!
I used a few variations of MotoZ over the years but especially like the new 21″ fatty

Lezyne pump review – Grade B
Will I use it for RTW? – Not sure!
I had the 160psi pump specifically because of the Tubliss, so no Tubliss no real need for a pump with this high PSI, looking for alternatives, maybe the Stomp Pump

Mosko moto R80 v2.0 review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – No!
Cause I’ll be using Version 3.0 more better, photos coming soon, I have it already but it’s not officially released once I get the OK I will let you guys see it, and it is great. I wondered how they could make the R80 better and they have. I never fully pack the R80 but the new set up will allow me to reduce the overall size and volume to suit me…its different to anything out there

Mosko Moto Pico tank bag review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – No!
This is perfectly sized for day and week or so rides where minimal gear is needed and you just want a couple right in front of you, and not to get in your way. I carried my camera with a pancake lens on it, and it fit perfectly. The problem was I constantly wanted a bigger lens and it wouldn’t fit

Endurastan tank bag review – Grade B
Will I use it for RTW? – No!
This was bigger than the Pico, so much so I could fit the camera with a bigger lens in it, the problem is the zip and the weaker material. It was a PITA to open and close, a few days riding and the zip would jam. Rub a little candle wax on it and it was good for a few days, but then started to stick, and required two hands to do a zip-up. I missed so many cool photos because of the zip!

Big Agnes bike packing tent, review – Grade A
Will I use it for RTW? – Yes!
Is it expensive, yes, is it good, yes, does it pack small, no it packs tiny!
How good is it, so good that I got home and sold my $1200 Hilleberg, yeah its that good. Very quick and easy to set up, loads of room for me and gear, might even go as far and say the best tent I’ve ever owned for motorcycle travel

 

bike shots.jpg

The final build…and time-lapse video
One year ago I knew what the bike would look like this morning when I rolled it into the daylight.
7000 miles of test rides let me know what was good and what wasn’t. What needed to be upgraded or changed or added.
A full rally set up was always on the cards and @motominded came through with an amazing Dakar tested set up for the 2016 model…not easy to find but now a great option for this bike
Of course, the bike needs to ‘look right’ @attackgraphics @rmatvmc knocked it out of the park with a full custom graphic set that I’d had in my head for a year.
Any questions about the build just ask???
.
.
There are a lot of companies that made this build possible
Huge thanks to:

@moskomoto
@klimmotorcycle
@motoztires
@motozhq
@bigagnes_
@motominded
@dirttricks
@ridetrailtech
@tacomoto.co
@senabluetooth
@warp9_racing
@cacycleworks
@bulletproofdesigns
@atlasthrottlelock
.
*****************
.
#ktmrtw #motorcycle #motorbike #ktmusa #ktm_official #makeeveryridecount #atlasthrottlelock #makelifearide #instamoto #instamotogallery #500exc #6days #adv #advrider #advriderofficial #dualsport #enduro #rtwmoto #overland #solorider #ReadyToRace #upshift_online #adventurebikerider #advmoto

****Make sure you subscribe to the YouTube Channel as I’ll be adding more videos as this ride happens

if you guys are interested MotoTrek just released a video with me and the KTM, going through all the details…luggage will be the next video.

 

…and if you want to see the packing list, that’s here

 

The finished article ready to go with new Motominded rally fairing and RMATV/ Attack Graphics

 

4 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Thank you for a very informative post! I was thinking about trying Hammerhead now I will not! I was on a ride with a few friends last year to the KTM rally in Breck and my have passed you on the group ride. You guys were going up Georgia Pass and we were coming down. Unfortunately that was the extent of our interaction.

    Question on the wheels. I am using tubliss now and I am exploring options to seal the rim and make it tubless for ease of repairs with a plug and carry a tube if a tear or other failure happens. If you were replacing the wheels what kept you from getting a tubless setup and/or a cush-drive hub also?

    Thanks!

    Like

    • generally, tubeless rims don’t work that well for pure off-road riding on an MX/ enduro style bike, as you’ll notice there are virtually zero companies that offer this. My rear is a cush-hub, it was one of the first things I added

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your awesome knowledge and experience.Please advise the make and supplier of your bash plate and combined tool box.

    Like

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