Second Opinon- Here is what one of our other testers has to say:
I got a chance to ride the 50 state street legal 2012 KTM 500 EXC while on a dual sport ride out at Ocotillo Wells. California. I was real excited to ride this bike because my normal dual sport mount is a well used 2006 KTM 525 EXC with a plate. I have tried to replace my trusty old 525 a couple of times and can never find a new bike that really does everything the old one does as well.
We had already ridden about 30 miles when I got my turn on the new 500 EXC so I had a good benchmark of my old bike compared to this new machine. We were on a rocky, sandy trail that was bigger than a single track but not quite Jeep trail, riding in third and fourth gear , snaking our way down to the valley.
I was kind of shocked that the bike did not just instantly feel like utopia to me. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t at all bad it just wasn’t head and shoulders better then what I had just gotten off of.
The fuel injected motor ran flawless but it doesn’t “lug” like the old 525. If I got caught in deep sand a gear high, it seemed a little anemic pulling me out but if I was willing to pin the throttle and row the gear box it would run like a top fuel dragster corner to corner. I might be a little too critical here but dual sport riding is usually long miles of trails and roads of varying degrees of quality. Having ridden the similar 500XC-w with an aftermarket exhaust, I know that much more low end power is readily available.
A motorcycle that is easy to ride all day makes a good dual sport bike. Whereas a bike that makes you work all day makes you wish your friends hadn’t talked you into buying a dual sport.
Another thing I noticed was the bike had some vibration in the bars and the pegs that I wasn’t used to. Again, this just could just be me, due to the way I was riding the bike, but I had a hard time finding a happy place for the motor due its job and leave me alone. In all fairness, my bike (my 525) and the other 500 XC-W both had Flex-bars and this EXC still had the stock units.
The rest of the bike was beautiful. Fit. Finish and attention to detail were impeccable. KTM ergonomics fit me perfectly. Brakes were strong, chassis was neutral, suspension was plush for trail riding and stock spark arrestor exhaust note was pleasant. I am not sure exactly how much weight is added for all the street legal accessories but it certainly wasn’t noticeable even compared to my bootleg plated 525.
Overall, it was fun to ride the KTM 500 EXC. Knowing I was 100% legal in the eyes of the law is something I am almost never accustomed to.