Back in November 2011, editor Tom Webb brought home a brand-new 2012 KTM 500EXC with three miles on the odometer. I just happened to be there
when he pulled in. His first mistake was going into the house and leaving me
unattended with the new bike. Being the buddy that I am, I promptly unloaded
the machine and took it for a little ride. Thirty minutes and about 20 miles
later, I brought it back and told him it was my bike and not to screw it up. Six
months later, it was in my garage and I let him borrow it for a magazine test.
Five years later it’s still one of my favorite bikes, even though it’s starting to
show its age. All was good with my 500EXC until Tom and I took a brand-new
2016 500EXC out for a test ride/photo shoot. We swapped rides so I could try
the new bike and give feedback on any changes between model years. The
new bike was monumentally better than my 2012. The motor was livelier, the
suspension was suppler with better bottoming resistance and the bike tracked
as if it were on rails. My beloved 500 felt like a tuna boat in comparison to the
new bike. Tom asked when I had last done anything other than clean the air
filter and change the oil. The blank look on my face said it all. Right then, we
decided it was time to do a complete refresh on the KTM.
Getting a little roachy means
it’s time for some love
By John Bumgarner
While Bum’s 500EXC dual-sport machine is five years old,
with a little love and a suspension refresh, it still takes to the
hills like a race bike.