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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For many years the idea of owning an older open class 2 stroke dirt bike has always seemed to have held some type of prominence to me. Not in the sense that I appreciate state of the art handling characteristics of 80's suspension technology, but you could say the retro styling or that the book Dirt Bike Racer that was one of my favorite reads growing up as kid are to blame. Needless to say, a bike like this is not exactly the most practical thing to own which is why many 4 strokes have held ones' spot in the garage for many years. I had a few models in mind that I was looking for specifically until I eventually somehow I stumbled across 1980's KTM open class bikes. Say wha-? That's what I said as I didn't know KTM even built these back then. After researching them, reading fine literature of 1980's magazine reviews and comparison tests, these uncommon bikes won my heart and kept a loose eye for one. Like KTM is today in a lot of ways, they were the leader back then too in terms of offering high quality parts, technology, and power over their Japanese rivals. It was the lightest 500 built then and the most powerful; which some claim to this day to be the most powerful dirt bike ever built.

I recently came across this 1986 KTM MX500 for sale by a moderator on another forum in California. The year 1986 for the MX500 was an updated year but not from a styling standpoint for the 500. Updated parts included a 5 speed transmission, front a rear Brembo disc brakes, and newer suspension. This particular bike had been stored away for nearly 25 years due to the original owner who went MIA after purchasing it. The seller I purchased it from went through it completely down to the frame in order to get back up and running again. The cables were replaced, crank seals, fork seals, rad hoses... pretty much any wear item that had deteriorated from sitting. He pulled the top end and discovered that the cylinder and piston looked almost new and had very little, if any, wear at all as you can see in the photo. It still has the original tires on it- which are going to go away. During the tear down he performed a few tasteful upgrades as well. The handlebar is aftermarket and the clamps were upgraded to higher spec later model versions, front caliper swapped to a 2 piston Brembo, wider foot pegs, bearings, etc. Oh, and a Keihn carb was installed from a CR500 which is easier to find parts for than the original Bing... a popular thing to do on these bikes from what I've read.

Anyway, it should be a lot of fun and make for a good partner next to the Hypermotard. It will be getting shipped up from California. If you'll notice from the pictures, everything is backwards on this bike. The kickstarter, the chain drive, clutch... all on the "wrong" side. Anyway, it should be a lot of fun and make for a good partner next to the Hypermotard. It will be getting shipped up from California. If you'll notice from the pictures, everything is backwards on this bike. The kickstarter, the chain drive, clutch... all on the "wrong" side. Even the factory service manual states that new owners inexplicably have the right to be intimidated of starting them; love that kind of unorthodox. The seller has warned me, too, that it will kick back and nothing other than MX boots are to be used for starting. From what I've read, unlike its rivals, the 2 stroke engine makes most of its power low in the powerband and is much more tractable and smooth than say a CR500 and KX500; good for trail riding. My plans for it are just to enjoy owning a vintage 2 stroke dirt bike and just enjoy what it has to offer.

Future plans:
-I will eventually make it street legal for the sole purpose of being able to access one trail to another if there is some pavement in-between. The seller stated that he believes it would be too powerful to actually ride on the street, lol.
-Install a retro style dual front headlight setup and some kind of vintage tailight
-Possibly have a custom exhaust system made
-These bikes have a common issue of having corrosion inside the magnesium water pump cover. While this isn't presently an issue with this one, it will need to be prevented.



It also has a factory desert style tank on it which I think is kind of cool and will be nice to have for range as these don't get much better mileage than a full size V8 truck.



















 

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Only you Austen!! You find these sweet deals and never share! ;)
Congrates!! Looks like a sweet bike!
 
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Good ole KTM
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, it should be a lot of fun. I'll post pics once it arrives.
 

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Austen, That is a sweet KTM!!! Nice bike!! Should be an exciting ride!! Just don't break a leg... I have a hand full of cycles also. My latest ride is a 80 Suzuki GS550E Carb clean and a battery and I was ridding!!. My last bike was a 75 Yamaha DT175. Guy at work gave it to me got a few parts on ebay, side covers, seat cover ect. Motor was stuck from sitting. Pulled the motor down light rust in the cylinder. Honed the cylinder, used the same rings. Some seals and gaskets, battery and was ridding! It just had 2100 miles on it. I sold it with just under 3K on it. I liked the bike but just do not get out on the dirt to ride it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Austen, That is a sweet KTM!!! Nice bike!! Should be an exciting ride!! Just don't break a leg...
Thanks, that's right!

The seller has already warned me that it will kick back and have heard of instances where some have gotten broken legs from these. A couple guys on KTMTalk, I've read, have used electric starter rollers to get them going. I will probably get one of those although they aren't too handy to bring along with you when you're out trail riding. Compression/bump starting is another technique if you're near a hill.

I have a hand full of cycles also. My latest ride is a 80 Suzuki GS550E Carb clean and a battery and I was ridding!!. My last bike was a 75 Yamaha DT175. Guy at work gave it to me got a few parts on ebay, side covers, seat cover ect. Motor was stuck from sitting. Pulled the motor down light rust in the cylinder. Honed the cylinder, used the same rings. Some seals and gaskets, battery and was ridding! It just had 2100 miles on it. I sold it with just under 3K on it. I liked the bike but just do not get out on the dirt to ride it.
Ride to live!!
Nice!! Those are a couple of very clean and sharp looking bikes. It sounds like you made that '75 like new again! I'll bet the Suzuki is a lot of fun to ride.

Thanks for the pic! :cool
 

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I was just thinking about the kick start on the left side. Back in High school I had the Harly Davidson Aermacchi Built 350cc 4 stroke with the kick on the Left. The electric start was always weak even with a new battery. Being light weight, when I had to kick it I would have to put my right foot on the kick lever and then jump up and land on the lever. Even at that it kicked me off a few times.. Had a sore ankle a week later.. I kind of wish I had that bike back. I have seen a few Café ones that look good. It is sort of a cult bike.. Have you ever been on pipeburn.com site?? KOOL bikes!! The Bikes I get are normally the ones somebody else gave up on. My new project will be a Honda Spree 50cc LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I was just thinking about the kick start on the left side. Back in High school I had the Harly Davidson Aermacchi Built 350cc 4 stroke with the kick on the Left. The electric start was always weak even with a new battery. Being light weight, when I had to kick it I would have to put my right foot on the kick lever and then jump up and land on the lever. Even at that it kicked me off a few times.. Had a sore ankle a week later.. I kind of wish I had that bike back. I have seen a few Café ones that look good. It is sort of a cult bike.. Have you ever been on pipeburn.com site?? KOOL bikes!! The Bikes I get are normally the ones somebody else gave up on. My new project will be a Honda Spree 50cc LOL
I'll bet you wish you still that HD! What a conversation piece being a 350cc. Not many will know what 350cc HD is.

Yup, kick backs are no fun at all. I know what you mean regarding that starting procedure. I've see some YouTube videos of guys kick staring them with their right leg, off the side of the bike. Another key is to prime the cylinder with fuel by either rocking it back and forth in gear or leaning it almost all the way over for a few seconds on its side until fuel drips out.

I have browsed PipeBurn a number of times and am always in awe. One can sure get a few ideas by viewing the bikes on that site. It's always amazing to me to see what a lot of those bikes looked like stock and the visions the creators had to turn them into what they are today.

Keep us posted on the Spree project when you get into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Yeahhh buddy! :ThumbUp:

I told the seller it was important that I have a picture of her all loaded up in the U-Shipper's van for the scrapbook. Getting exci-ting!! Think I'm not gonna want to get her dirty after all. :sidelaugh
 

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