Athletics and Recreation

Ultimate Off-Road Adventure Bike – rtwPaul’s Heavily Modded KTM 500 EXC – Six Days / World-Ready

Ultimate Off-Road Adventure Bike – rtwPaul’s Heavily Modded KTM 500 EXC – Six Days / World-Ready


this is my KTM 500 EXC. this is the
motorcycle that’s going to take me around the world for next four to five
years I’m going to show you today all the modifications I made why I made them
and why I consider it to be the ultimate motorcycle for me for where I want to
ride how I want to ride in any country in the world welcome to MOTOTREK! I’m Paul, you
might know me as round-the-world Paul or rtw Paul I’m just about to leave take my
KTM put it on a plane flight to England from there I’m gonna ride the bike from
England across the Siberia I’m gonna divert a little bit go through the
stands go through the Mongolia and be on the road for years but this year that’s
the where the tough riding is gonna be and for that the bike is built specifically.
I am purposely trying to hit as much dirt as possible I really don’t want to
be on the pavement at all so the bike is built specifically for
that nice lightweight bike with good fuel range that will help me go to
places that are remote, that most motorcycle riders which just wouldn’t
even consider going to. I started doing adventure motorcycling about nine years
ago I’ve done lots of trips been around the world a few times over the last nine
years I’ve used numerous bikes XT 660’s XR 650 R’s DR650 is WR250 even rode big
bikes – Super Ténéré… they just didn’t feel right this bike
feels right to where I want to take it the difference between this bike and
those… it’s just a pure motorcycle. it’s a race bike it wants to go it wants
to have fun and it was how fun I want to have fun it’s light it’s easy to ride
easy to work on there’s nothing about this bike that I don’t like I’ve taken
what I consider some of the good points from all the other bikes I’ve ridden and
they’re on this bike so this makes it for me the ultimate motorcycle how I
want a motorcycle to be. so why this bike why 2016 500 EXC? Why not a 450 or a 690? 2012 to
2016 there’s a few little variances that make this a better travel bike I can get
a bigger gas tank so I have a longer fuel range there’s a strongest subframe
it has more oil capacity because the bike has been out longer aftermarket
support and parts on the shelf in numerous countries around the world… more
accessible so there’s a stronger reason to use this bike even though it is not a
2020 it makes it actually a better motorcycle for the kind of travel that I
want to do first thing I wanted to get for the bike
was a big tank this is a 5.3 gallon gives me a lot more range and I don’t
need to go looking for gas stations every five minutes I want to be
comfortable I’m riding I’m riding distances I’ve done over 400,000
kilometers in the last nine years so I’m tall I’m almost six foot to the
handlebars on the stock bike are just not in the right position for me I like the
bars to be a little bit higher I like the flare of the bars to be a
little bit different so that’s one of the things that I look to change
straight away once I know that’s right I need to be sitting comfortably I need a
good seat. The stock seat doesn’t work for long-distance travel
I need a wider seat better foam and in my case because I ride off-road one that
has good grip that holds me on the bike stock pegs on this type of bike because
it is a race bike a small to make them more comfortable these are more than
double the size of stock peg they still come from KTM but these are rally pegs
so they’re great for standing all day long and there will be days when I’ll be
riding and all I will be doing just standing up suspension is another thing
you need to look at this is the Six Days version not the standard EXC so there’s
a few upgrades but even so I upgraded the springs and the valving on the forks
and on the shock the bike originally wasn’t set up for this bigger tank which
adds weight for the luggage which adds weight and me I’m bigger I’m bigger than
the average rider wheels that come on the bike stock of good but I’m going to
remote places so I want to add some strength, it adds a little bit of weight but
I primarily I want to add strength these WARP 9 ELITE rims are a stronger version
and extra heavy duty spokes and a unique feature is stainless nipples a lot of
motocross bikes come with aluminum nipples so this actually adds strength
to the wheel as well I also add a larger brake rotor
I add a supermoto rotor reason being I’m carrying additional weight so I need
additional stopping power and I’ve put this on almost every single bike that I
built and it saved literally my life more than a few times it’s a cheap
upgrade but it’s 100% worth it. tires… I look for
or a mix between durability longevity and grip these are from a company called
MOTO-Z, it’s a new tire called a Fatty and it does all those things and
life on this tire is probably in excess of 5,000 miles 8,000 kilometers I didn’t
grow up riding motocross so I like not having the wind blowing in my face so I
have a rally screen it’s attached to a rally Tower which made by a company
called MOTO MINDED. this you’ve probably seen on Dakar bikes it deflects a lot
not everything but a lot of the wind and it just helps you ride and not get as
tired if you’re riding long days integrated into it is navigation I have
two sets of navigation one from Trail Tech and one from Garmin there’s a reason
for different versions the reason is one may fail one may fail because it loses
power one may fail because it loses a satellite signal I use one primarily as
a dash and I use the other one for navigation I have the Garmin set up if
I’m standing a lot at an angle that I can look down and I can see the screen
perfectly the rest of the time all I’m using I’m using this for basically for
speed for standard things that you would expect to see in a dashboard but this is
a race bike it doesn’t have a dashboard so therefore this is now my dashboard
the lighting on a stock bike as most people know is is not the best so I have
a double headlight setup and this puts out about five or six times more than
the stock setup would I know don’t ride at night but if you do get
caught riding at night it’s nice to be able to see where you’re going and this
as an upgrade is huge this turns night into day.
Handlebar set up… none of this is stock. I have hand guards protection in integrated hand guards they have
mirrors so if I’m writing on the road I have a mirror if I’m off the road I can
put them out of the way so they won’t get broken upgraded grips upgraded levers this is a chain oiler… a little rotation creates pressure forces drips
of oil down to the chain upgraded handlebars here is a voltmeter and
integrated into it 2 USBs so I can run a cable into my
bag and if I need to charge my camera I can do that spoke about the GPS already
steering stabilizer risers to lift the bars up a little bit
cable guides I need to protect the bike because I
ride off-road I’m gonna drop the bike my hands are protected
these are ridiculously strong hand guards radiator and need protection on
that so nothing coming in can puncture the radiator the exhaust this is carbon
fiber so protect the exhaust the bash plate to protect the underneath of the
motorcycle if I drop the motorcycle the hand guards will work but if something
hits the motor this is a billet cover stronger than stock on the rear end the
rear brake rotor a little bit of protection there and the caliper as well
needs to be protected brake snake is about $3 worth of parts from a hardware
store it’s just a little bit of added protection just to stop your brake lever
getting bent outwards by any brush that might go behind there. if I fall and drop the
bike I don’t need to worry about it I can just pick it up and carry on because
I know I’m covered this bike has a kick starter the new bikes don’t I kill my
battery I can kick start my bike I drop the bike in a river
I can purge the water out of the motor KTM look cool but I wanted to make it my
bike so I added some graphics I work with Rocky Mountain and Attack Graphics
and I have an image in my head and we worked together and we came up with this
this material on the gas tank this is vented so it’s not gonna peel
itself off the gearing on the bike is 15 / 48 but stock… I don’t remember but I
know it wasn’t 15 / 48 and this suits my kind of riding my style how I ride the
speed I want to ride and where I want to ride and it gives me decent fuel
economy as well along with the upgrade of the Dirt Tricks sprockets I have also
upgraded the chain as well this needs to be something I can just forget about for
20,000 miles also on here there’s some protection for the swing arm and for the
change side of these are both upgrades as well and because of the additional
weight on the bike a much stronger side stand to make life easy if I get a flat
hopefully I don’t get a flat but to be able to pull the rear wheel out
the adjusters are set so I don’t need to keep making an adjustment on the chain I
can actually pull it out and they will lock into place and a little handle to
make life easy to just be able to pull the axle and fuel filter
this is aftermarket and also the angle that the fuel line comes out of the tank
protection here in case the chain snap and this stops the chain going through
the engine case this is where the chain oiler comes down trips onto the chain
and if I drop the bike on its side to stop getting punctured there’s extra
protection here and then the big thing is the bash plate obviously covering
the whole underneath of the motor and the added bonus that’s where I keep my tools
dirt bikes don’t come with strong sub frames per se so to add a little bit
more structure and also to make the luggage sit on the bike better and make
it easy to tie down tighter to me a rack was a definite that I needed another
upgrade on the rear is a run a cush drive this helps with longevity of the
motor and it’s cushioning for the transmission main shaft the bites going
to get hot in the tracks and places that I ride it cools down from stock pretty
good but I added a trail tech system on here that I can actually dial in I drop
the temperature down by 5 degrees so this is a way for me to make the fan
turn on sooner the Boyesen is basically just an upgraded
water pump it just has better internal components and it helps with the flow it
flows a little bit better than stock all the coolant radiator hoses from a
company called Samco they’re upgraded their rates quality silicone and it’s
just added peace of mind rear turn signal thing on the KTM that always kind
of melts and gets burnt on the right-hand side change that to just a
short turn signal that’s inboard and fall down the crash it’s not going to
get broken off a couple of things that you can’t see under the seat there’s a
lithium battery better than stock and a little bit later and in the tank from
California Cycle Works an upgraded fuel pump. let’s talk about the elephant in the room it’s a race bike race bikes service
oil changes I’m not going on a race I’m not racing around the world
KTM will tell you 15 hours 500 miles change the oil do the valves every
thousand miles so does that mean like every other day I have to change the oh
no because I’m not racing around the world you can extend that loads and
loads loads of riders before me have an extended that … not an issue at all
so what makes it even easier the bike carries 1.5 litres of oil and I need to
do an oil change carry an extra oil change that’s that that’s easy – done –
forget it filters carry some extra filters easy clean the air filter again
easy these things are 5 10 15 maybe 30 minutes to me that little bit of time is
worth taking to do that a little bit of it’s preventive maintenance you have to
do it on every motorcycle but this motorcycle I can take anywhere anywhere
and to me that little bit of extra effort of maintenance is worth it it
really is one thing I didn’t cover was the luggage
I’m gonna cover that in another episode but hopefully I covered everything else
on the motorcycle you wanted to know any questions ask them in the comments and
I’ll see you on the road somewhere


Reader Comments

  1. I have a 2015 500EXC I'm setting up for longer back country rides. I'd love to see a list of what you all got on your bike as I saw a lot of things that interested me 😁. I have that same tank and seat on mine with a Rekluse clutch, risers, and a few other things installed.

  2. This video inspired me to build a bike very similar to yours. What brand is the bash plate? Awsome vid! Be safe and Thnx for the info!

  3. I wouldn't get a "racer" bike on a long distance trip. Even the 690 can have problems (camshaft). But maybe I'm wrong and he knows the matter much better than me.
    Anyway… what a gorgeous bike!

  4. Ride around the world with a perfect bike,dive into adventure,discover new places,be free…So boring,so boring…
    Just kidding.There are so many man who would like to be in your place.Including me.
    Wish you everything best.Be safe and have fun…Peace and Love from İzmir Türkiye….

  5. Man….you know what you're doing. Preparation like a Dakar winner. The best presentation how to I've seen. Welcome back and great riding ….

  6. Awesome
    .please cover luggage mate that would also be cool. 1 question, so how far are you extending the oil changes to, how many klms?

    Good luck stay safe👍

  7. Wow! What a set up Paul, awesome job! I learned a lot from watching your video and will look to use your advise on my bike for some of the upgrades. Pleasure to meet you on your travels, we met in beautiful Caraz, high in the Peruvian mountains back when you had your DR 650. Cheers Ged.

  8. Great video! I have a 2013 500 EXC and was wondering where I can get the volt meter/USB connector that you have on your bars? Thanks.

  9. Sweet set-up! I was going to do something similar with a 500 or 690 but then they came out with the 790r and I was sold! Hope to see you on the road. I will also be taking off on a world-wide adventure in the spring of 21. I still have many mods to get done to my bike

  10. Dude! The best setup I have ever seen and I have seen a lot. I wish you listed all the brands etc for all the upgrades. Is there anywhere I can find that info? Thanks for sharing and have fun on your adventure.

  11. Watching this video for the first time and I have to say, I am impressed with what you have done to modify your KTM 500 XC. I was not aware you could add a kick start on a bike with electronic ignition. Sweet! Will be following you!

  12. Looks like a great build Paul, thank you for sharing with us all! Really like the tiny turn signals, overbuilt hand guards w/mirrors, I know that Taco Moto worked with you on a lot of those goodies! Good luck with your travels, looking forward to seeing your next update!

  13. I just finished a 2400 mile ride through Baja on my 2013 KTM 500 EXC. I was with a KTM 790 Adventure and a KTM 950 Adventure and after all was said and done I’m convinced this is the best bike for the job. I could tackle anything from single track, sand, mud and hills with confidence and still chew up highway miles with no problem. Wish I had tried the Moto Z tire. I used a Metzeler Karoo 3 and it was thrashed.

    Thanks for posting the vid, I’m gonna have to borrow some of your mods for my future trips. Have a great adventure!

  14. OK then, how much does the bike cost and how much do the extras cost? So let me give you a Trigger to wake up! I Certainly agree about the bike, no question at all! but there is a Portuguese brand called the AJP Pr7. Check it out, that's all!

  15. Very good video Paul! I would have liked you to mention the brands/models of the modifications you did during your narration.
    Thanks

  16. I want to do a similar build to my 6 Days! I had thought about selling this bike but I’m kind of inspired to have an ultralight adventure bike!

  17. Five years ago today I left Connecticut for a trip to Guatemala and back on a 2007 KTM 450 EXC. I did the cush drive, enlarged oil cooler for increased capacity, custom racks for soft luggage, larger tank, etc. It was primarily road riding, 100% across the USA, 100% across Mexico and some light trail riding in Guatemala.

    It was like riding a chainsaw for 7-10 hours a day. I would never take a small single cylinder race bike on a trip like that again. For this trip, I guess if you're doing lots of off-road, the experience would be drastically different, but for me, my CB500X with a RR L2 kit has been the sweetest setup yet for my travels around Honduras and Guatemala (I live in Honduras currently).

  18. Glad I waited to the end of the video to comment cause I kept thinking about maintenance. Seems you have it covered. Wish you well on your trip.

  19. Great setup on an awesome bike! I would love to do this. Great explanation on the parts you used too. Thanks for the video.

  20. What is your choice of USB charger? I could not find good one, everything is same China-made parts (sometimes with expensive brandname slapped over) with bad reviews like "stop working in 3 months" or "killed my battery on second ride"

  21. Seems like highway speed cruising would be the biggest drawback. Does anyone make a variable final drive for chain driven applications? Kind of like a bicycle's rear gearing…

  22. Nice bike I have a 2013 ktm 300 xc but have been looking for a 2013-2015 ktm 500 exc your bike is set up like I want mine set up very nice !!

  23. I agree on the oil change/ maintenance, a couple years ago I met a guy that was riding his ktm 500 through different countries and we talked for a bit, but what he told me when I asked him about his oil changes he had said that he hadn't changed his in about 5k miles. He said it's how you ride, if you're gentle and cruising theres no need to do it as recommended. As far as I know hes still out there on his 500 riding all over.

  24. The more I am around ADV, the more I think a single cyl, simple bike is the way to go. I couldn't fix my F700 if it broke (I am in Mexico where they do have a network, but not like US/Eur). I need a special tool to remove the spark-plug coil/cable for goodness sake. My 250 EXC is so simple a monkey can fix it (and he does). Somewhere in-between these is the sweet spot – and it looks like this 500 is it. I wonder how it stacks-up to a modded 690 (less maintenance for sure). Spec'd out DR650 Bush-Pig would be interesting as well (air cooled – nice). Love the Dakar look – rally tower is the business. The ony thing I am a little unsure of is KTM reliability – same as Ducati, maybe unfair – but a feeling. Great vid 🙂

  25. Beautiful bike you have there Paul with a lot of common sense aftermarket upgrades! Looking forward to the luggage video and if you could go into detail on everything you'll be bringing with you from spare parts, to tools, to clothing would be awesome. Will you be recording or blogging about your journey throughout? Looks like an amazing route you've chosen.

  26. Interesting overview thanks. Nice bike and mods. I would have thought a bigger engine for such a trip. Do you not see any point in having a sprocket cover, great for visual assessment and servicing but would have thought a bit risky if you caught part of a trouser or something hanging loose. I assume the rims are for tubed tyres. Clearly you know your bikes and priorities.. good luck on the trip.

  27. Looks like you turned a EXC 500 into a KTM690R that is just a tad light and requires more maintenance. The weight off those bags on the 500 makes me happy to have my 690. Don't get me wrong my last KTM dirt bike was a EXC 520 and it was my favorite bike in the world to ride. Enjoy. What is the total cost of the bike with all the add ons. Total? not including the labor to put all that on it Looks like a $20,000 bike. Have to admit I would enjoy riding it.

  28. Amazing bike set up!
    Where did you get your Skid plate from with the tool
    Compartment and what is the name of the skid plate? Thanks

  29. Nice bike! I have also had my share of different bikes for adventure riding (250 dirt bike, F800GS, KTM 1290SA, R1200GSA etc). The big bikes just don't cut it when things go crazy in far off remote places. In Cambodia and Thailand, I should have had a KTM 500 like bike. At the time my F800GS was just too big for the remote rural roads. I have been looking to do the same as you, take a good solid KTM or Honda 450 and kit it out for long distance riding. Fast highway roads are boring and I would rather spend as much time off road as I can. Enjoy your trip!

  30. What is the weight (without the luggage – too big of a variable)? I was pretty shocked how fast the weight went up on my 650L with just a couple upgrades.

  31. That voltmeter/usb charged will fail in the first rain you hit. This version has a cover that is not water proof, and you will need something waterproof when going to Europe!

  32. Are you going to run a water trapping sock type filter that goes in the tank fill port to protect the engine from dodgy fuel?

  33. I dont understand the oiling system for the chain. O-ring or x-ring chains are not meant to be wet on the outside. They only need to be cleaned once in a while and sprayed with a water displacer (like WD40) to remove moisture on it.

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