Austrian manufacturer KTM has created a niche for itself in the market, with its superb offerings for the street, the racetrack and the dirt trail within a short period of time. However, the company has been at the forefront of dirt bike design and development. The company has had an astounding wins for 16 consecutive years at the gruelling Dakar Desert Rally, from 2001 to 2016. The KTM 500 EXC-F has created quite a stir in the market with the latest iteration of its most powerful dirt bike, being created not just for enthusiasts, but also for those who love to take their vehicles outside the streets and racetracks.
From the outset, the KTM 500 EXC-F looks just like its predecessors, with minimal variations from the previous model. There is a distinct orange hue surrounding the whole bike, in line with the KTM branding. In addition, there are changes to the look of the rear and front lamps, with the rear lamps sporting a brand new LED cluster, while the front lamps come with easy removable panels, allowing it to be muddied for the trail, without the need for external tools. The rear fender also sports a grab-bar, aiding those who love to show off stunts with their dirt bikes. The fuel tank now comes with an additional fuel sensor and a vertical fuel line connector, protecting it from damage against the rough and tumble nature of trail-biking. The seat is flatter, with a decrease in height, ensuring more comfort, while the foot pegs are protected with no-dirt padding, while does not increase performance, can surely improve handling and comfort on the trail.
The new KTM 500 EXC-F has a brand new engine, capable of cranking out a massive 63hp. While 63 horsepower is minimal in sports bikes, for a dirt bike, it gives a huge dose of power for those tricky jumps, as well as providing superior speed on straight lanes. The chassis is lighter by 5 kilos, which aids in handling, making the KTM nimble enough to be hauled from the top of the mountains. The 6-speed transmission with custom gear ratios increase the reliability of the bike, for a large variety of uses – stunt jumps, dirt trails, trick jumps, as well as performing like a beast on the tarmac.
The new KTM 500 EXC-F comes with an all-new traction control system, another addition to the dirt bike range. Traction control for such a powerful beast becomes necessary since the bike is prone to doing wheelies when being pushed to its capacity. The central console also gets a makeover, with KTM leading the pack for an all-LED digital display system that not only displays the RPM and the speed, but also has a lap timer and a stopwatch function built-in. The lock-on grips on the handlebars make it easier to install custom aftermarket grips, with no hassle of messing around with quick glue. KTM has done away with the kick start, reducing the weight of the bike even further. With modern cars doing away with start-cranks, and the super-lightweight 495g lithium-ion battery, the kick start would have become a burden to the motorbike.
For stopping power, the new KTM 500 EXC-F features all-Brembo braking system; both on the front and the rear wheels. Italian brake-manufacturers Brembo has worked in conjunction with KTM on this particular model to provide it with custom-made brake calipers, increasing the stopping power by a mile.
If you are an off-road junkie, who loves the adrenaline rush of rushing down mountain slopes, or delivering the perfect stunt jumps, this mean machine is perfect for you. The bike will be hitting the European and British markets soon, and KTM has a rock-solid reputation of being one of the best after-sales service providers in the motorcycle division across the country.