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KTM 500 EXC-F 2018:The Alpha

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The KTM 500 EXC-F is the strongest dual sport bike in the world, although that doesn’t mean it’s hard to control. This motorcycle is as lean and civilized as a thoroughbred race horse. But let it rip, and its 4-stroke SOHC engine blasts the cutting-edge chassis across any terrain you choose. Ahead of the competition. No sweat, just glory.



Small in dimensions, sky-high on output. The KTM 500 EXC-F’s

fuel-injected powerhouse makes it the most compact and lightest

500 on the market, while delivering groundbreaking torque and power

figures over the entire rev range thanks to a single overhead camshaft

cylinder head and the latest electronic fuel injection. Class-leading

and cutting-edge: just the way we like it.


Cylinder Head

A single overhead camshaft controls intake and exhaust through

optimized ports, while a cutting-edge combustion chamber and water jacket

create mind-blowing power while managing heat. The engine’s four valves rely

on extremely rigid rocker arms. Double lateral brackets fix the engine

to the frame and reduce vibrations.




The KTM 500 EXC-F’s crankshaft utilizes a short connecting rod,

which makes for an overall compact and lightweight engine with a

snappy power delivery. A plain big (bottom) end bearing with two

force-fitted bearing shells runs directly on the crank pin. The necessary

oil feed for this bearing is ensured by the engine’s pressurized lubrication.

This design is a decisive benefit in terms of the crankshaft service interval,

which can be lengthened due to the plain bearing. So just pin it, all day long.




The KTM 500 EXC-F is fitted with a unique E-starter as standard,

which is a clear advantage when it comes to crunch time in the heat of

battle. A strong starter motor and a reliable lithium ion battery will fire

up your 500 time and time again at the push of a button. In order to

reduce weight to the minimum, there is no kick-starter system.

You won’t miss it. If by any chance you do, just retrofit a KTM

PowerParts replacement kit to get your kicks.



Crankcases and engine covers

The design of the die-cast crankcases allows for minimal

weight and a very centralized shaft configuration. This makes

the engine short and compact, while contributing to an efficient

centralization of masses. The engine covers also feature a solid surface

structure, which reduces the wear caused by the rider’s boots.

This way, your EXC-F will keep looking better longer.




The reliable 6-speed transmission features a special surface treatment

on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears for solid reliability. The advanced

´No Dirt´ gear shift lever design prevents dirt from jamming the joint of the

lever and guarantees precise shifting even in the muddiest conditions. All

4-stroke EXC-F engines are fitted with a gear position sensor for tailored

engine mapping for each gear. In MY18, the transmission shaft gets a

new C4 bearing that has a bigger overlap in the case. This means reliability

even under extremely hard conditions. Think GP-level riding. In knee-deep sand.

And a new, stronger shifting star made of MIM steel (metal injected molding)

improves reliability even further.



Balancer shaft

To balance the mass forces, the KTM 500 EXC-F engine uses a

multifunctional, side-mounted balancer shaft, which at the same

time drives the water pump. It has been balanced to perfection,

keeping vibration levels to a minimum, even while gunning it to the maximum.


Cylinder and piston

Inside the cylinder, with a bore of 95mm, thumps a forged box-type

piston with an ultra-light piston pin. Its crown geometry is adapted

perfectly to the combustion chamber, where its rigid structure and low weight

shine. Thanks to low oscillating masses, the engine is as smooth as it’s powerful.


Engine management system

The state-of-the-art Keihin engine management system with

electronic fuel injection features a 42mm throttle body. Thanks to

its unique injector position, the engine’s response gives a whole new

meaning to the word ‘instantaneous’. Separate circuits for cold-starting

and idle make on-site adjustments easy. Push the throttle back

when the engine is warmed up and the cold start mode disengages.



The KTM 500 EXC-F employs the KTM-developed DDS clutch

(damped diaphragm steel) with a wear-free steel basket and

extremely heat resistant clutch plates and new, nitrated steel

liners. This clever design employs a diaphragm spring instead

of the usual coil springs, making for considerably easier clutch

action. A diaphragm spring also leaves sufficient space for a

damping system to be integrated into the clutch hub. The goal is

traction, but durability is as well. Light operation and telepathic

amounts of control are standard with this hydraulic Brembo actuated clutch.




The high-tech, lightweight chrome-moly steel frame has

a knack for easy handling, outlandish rideability, precise

cornering and excellent stability. You can also count on high

torsional rigidity and low longitudinal stiffness. This results in

better absorption of the energy created from the front and

rear suspension, sucking up jumps and bumps. In short:

more comfort and less rider fatigue. Laterally attached,

lightweight aluminum engine head stays (the connection

between cylinder head and frame) contribute to precise

cornering and a reduced vibration level. The engineers

could pull off all that, while keeping their frame a big fat

kilogram lighter than that of the lightest competitor on the

market. In addition, it is easier to maintain, easier to work on

and supplies more space for the tank and other components.

The bike also features an extra-light subframe made of stable

aluminum profiles, which tiptoes the scales at less than 900g.



Sophisticated  ´No Dirt´ footpegs prevent jamming up of the

pegs, even when digging in deep ruts. The pegs on the EXC

models are 6mm higher than the ones used on SX models, which

benefits ground clearance. But you can swap them at will.



This state-of-the-art swingarm allows for an optimized

mounting position of the PDS shock absorber, providing

more progressive action. Furthermore, the cast aluminum design

guarantees lower weight and a perfect flex behavior. The

single-component casting process also eliminates any inconsistencies

and weak points.


Rear suspension

The PDS is kind of a KTM trademark where the shock absorber

is directly connected to the upper side of the swingarm.

This setup boasts the best possible mounting geometry and

provides amazingly progressive damping. The shock absorber

is mounted close to the centerline, which means nearly symmetrical

loads for the swingarm and frame and more space for the exhaust

system. A second piston works together with a closed cup

(instead of a needle) towards the end of the stroke and is

supported by a progressive shock spring for exceptional bottoming

resistance. Various machined and anodized components and a distinctive

WP color trim make this a valuable, high-end product compared to the

less refined shock absorbers of the competition.


Front suspension

The WP Xplor 48 upside-down fork is a split fork developed

by WP in close collaboration with KTM. It is fitted with a

spring on both sides but features separated functions for each

fork leg: compression damping is fitted on the left side, while

rebound is on the right. The forks can easily be adjusted for

compression and rebound with the twist of a dial on the top of

the forks. New outer fork tubes and a reworked setting make for

more sensitivity, improved damping behavior and a reduced weight.

In addition, a sealed hydro-stop guarantees excellent resistance to

bottoming-out. Due to high-quality materials and a state-of-the-art

production process, the new WP Xplor 48 fork – with approx.

300mm of travel – has outstanding response and damping characteristics.

A comfortable preload adjuster can be retrofitted and allows for a simple spring

preload setting in three steps without tools (standard, +3mm, +6mm).



You can’t brake any harder, better, faster or stronger.

High-tech Brembo calipers are combined with lightweight

Wave brake discs. The steel-flex front brake hose has efficient

protection and there’s an integrated channel for the speedometer

cable. First you outrun them, then you outbrake them.



KTM engineers know how to handle handlebars. This tapered

unit, made of high-strength aluminum by NEKEN, features

a throttle assembly with a robust aluminum body and easy

free-play adjustment. An ODI volcanized grip sits on the

right, while on the left side of the bar a comfortable ODI lock-on

grip requires no glue or wire to secure it. You can retrofit two

interchangeable throttle cams, for different response characteristics

to suit your specific needs. With an optional map select switch you

can select an alternative power characteristic and activate the

unique traction control, a major benefit under wet riding conditions.


Triple clamp

The EXC-Fs are fitted with forged triple clamps with an offset

of 22mm, ensuring a solid grip of the fork and precise handling.

The handlebar is adjustable forwards and backwards over 4 positions,

so the EXC-F will fit you like your favorite gloves.



KTM R&D, KISKA Design and the factory racers had their say in

shaping the plastics with one goal: complete harmony between

rider and bike. Perfect ergonomics and contact points provide

maximum comfort in movement on the EXC-F. The I-beam

structures of the front and rear fenders guarantee maximum stability

and a low weight thanks to well thought-out construction and mounting.

They also stay cleaner for longer. Clever brake hose routing on the front

number plate prevents wear and tear.



New graphics convey the READY TO RACE character of the 2018

KTM EXC-F model line.


Air filter box

The air filter box design offers maximum protection of the

air filter against soiling, while ensuring maximum airflow in

a quiet way. The large Twin Air filter is mounted in a stiff cage,

which at the same time holds the system in place. This design is so

simple; you can pop a fresh one in with a face full of mud – without

tools and in seconds.


Fuel tank

The lightweight polyethylene tank has a capacity of 8.5 liters.

You will always be able to see how much fuel remains at a

glance, thanks to the see-through plastic. By pushing the orange

release button in the center of the fuel tank cap, the bayonet

mechanism makes refueling quick and easy. It is fitted with an integrated

fuel pump system and a fuel level sensor. Additionally, the fuel line features

a 90° connector to the tank for better protection against damage.


Exhaust system

Noise limits are a real challenge for every manufacturer. Therefore,

KTM has put a lot of effort into the development of its exhaust systems.

All 4-strokes are fitted with a short high-end aluminum muffler, mounted

as close to the engine as possible. This means more power, extra mass

centralization and better rideability. An advanced internal design reduces

the noise sufficiently to sit safely below the noise limit, while still providing

the engine response and performance that is expected from a KTM.


Cooling system

KTM’s proven cooling system routes the coolant from

the cylinder head through the frame triangle, directly to

aluminum radiators made by WP. Thanks to flow optimized

internal circulation and CFD-calculated ventilation, the system is

superbly efficient. In addition, new radiator protections improve heat

dissipation. Especially in the mud. They are also integrated into the

front part of the shrouds to protect the radiators in a crash.


Battery & Wiring harness

A strong lithium ion battery breathes life into the engine

and contributes to low vehicle weight. The lightweight

battery and wiring harness are centralized in a compartment above

the air filter box, allowing the mechanic to remove the subframe without

getting in conflict with the electronics. A happy mechanic is a good mechanic.



The EXC-F’s wheels feature lightweight, CNC machined hubs and

high-end Giant rims guaranteeing maximum stability at

minimum weight. The wheels are fitted with MAXXIS tires – perfect

for surefooted performance off-road and stability on-road.



Design 1-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement 510.4 cm³
Bore 95 mm
Stroke 72 mm
Starter Electric starter
Transmission 6-speed
Secondary gear ratio 14:50

Wet, DDS multi-disc clutch, Brembo hydraulics


Keihin EMS

CO2 emissions  78.8 g/km
Fuel consumption  3.4 l/100 km



Frame design

Chrome-molybdenum steel central-tube frame

Rear suspension

WP Xplor PDS shock absorber

Suspension travel (front) 300 mm
Suspension travel (rear)

310 mm

Front brake Disc brake
Rear brake Disc brake
Front brake disc diameter 260 mm
Rear brake disc diameter 220 mm
Steering head angle 63.5 °
Wheelbase 1482 ± 10 mm
Ground clearance 355 mm
Seat height 960 mm
Tank capacity (approx.) 8.5 l
Weight READY TO RACE (without fuel) 106.5 kg






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