This bike showed up with its owner at one of our forays in the high desert following a “winter storm watch,” which is California
lingo for a cloudy day. The bike actually appears only marginally modified, though the green-sticker-legal steed was fit with an
Arizona license plate. Its owner, Dave Simon, rides it to work, and
since he had fit the bike with some of his ideas, he wanted us to
give it a whirl. We had a brand-new Husqvarna FE501 under our
supervision and took the two for a spin. The motors should have
had very similar characteristics, but they were worlds apart. Our
Husky was smooth and rideable down low with a good mid and
decent top—pretty much a tasty vanilla powerband designed to
make the off-roader giggle. Dave’s bike was quiet. The power started early, but it built super hard and exploded through the middle.
Up top, it yanked like a factory motocrosser. It left us gasping. It
was wicked fast but would throttle down and chug quite nicely. To
be honest, it’s probably too much for the casual trail rider, but get
some big butt in the saddle who likes to hill-climb and this sucker is
a great white shark wrapped in Nemo’s trousers.
Because Dave is vertically challenged and has issues with the
seat height on the KTM, this machine was fit with suspension
mods that lowered it. The gearing, handguards and other items
were tailored to his needs. Here’s a look at the mods, Dave’s
thoughts on the whys and hows, and some
feedback from the cheap seats.
Mr. Wizard’s 500XC-W looks
tame. Lowered for the short-inseam crowd, the Best Dual
Sport Bikes machine is quiet
and monumentally powerful!