2012 KTM 500 EXC | Preview

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2012 KTM Motorcycle

KTM returns for 2012 with its powerful enduro cross-country machine, the 500 EXC. But the street-legal 500 EXC, known for its enduro prowess, has received some major upgrades for 2012.

With engineering typical of KTM, the new 510.4cc SOHC EFI engine is 5.5 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. But it’s not only the powerplant that was redesigned; the Austrian machine also gets a newly-designed chassis, rims and bodywork.

Following are the new features on the 2012 KTM 500 EXC:

2012 KTM 500 EXC Engine Highlights:

The 500 EXC’s new, improved silencer not only offers greater volume and a new design, it also reduces noise levels to the stricter standards of the future.

All ports and the combustion chamber have been redesigned in the OHC cylinder head of the 500 EXC’s new engine. The new camshaft actuates four valves via lightweight rocker arms. High-quality titanium valves are used on the intake side. As before, the cylinder head cover mounted at an angle simplifies service work.

The 500 EXC’s cylinder has been further developed especially for the new engine configuration. The new, 15 % lighter forged piston minimizes reciprocating weight and optimizes durability at high engine speeds. New, nitrided piston rings ensure highest levels of resistance to wear.

When designing the new crankshaft on the 500 EXC, KTM engineers focused on reducing the reciprocating weight. Thanks to the new, lighter PANKL connecting rod and the new, lighter piston, they managed to achieve minimum vibration, while maximizing engine-speed strength.

The 500 EXC’s new engine case weighs almost 2 kg (4 lb.) less than its predecessor, although it offers better resistance to damage due to stone impact or falls. This has been achieved by using a high-strength, elastic aluminum alloy and changing from sand-casting to die-casting.

The 500 EXC’s new, more compact balancer shaft not only eliminates vibration, but also serves as the drive for the water pump. This intelligent multi-functionality contributes to the compactness and low weight of the 500 EXC’s new engine.

The 500 EXC’s new engine is equipped with a common oil circuit for engine and transmission, and two oil pumps. A pressure pump lubricates the engine, while a suction pump draws oil from the crankcase, using it to lubricate the transmission and the clutch. At the same time and in conjunction with a steel diaphragm, negative pressure arises in the engine cases, which boosts the engine performance.

The newly developed Keihin engine management system with electronic fuel injection ensures spontaneous responsiveness from the engine. Various engine characteristics can be activated with an optional map select switch.

The 500 EXC’s newly developed clutch, with a robust steel cage and transmission-friendly back-damping, makes use of a spring washer for the first time instead of the customary conical springs, hence substantially reducing the operating force. The hydraulic actuation mechanism from Brembo facilitates sensitive modulation of the clutch.

2012 KTM 500 EXC Chassis Highlights:

The completely revamped frame made from high-quality chrome-molybdenum steel is characterized by even greater lateral stiffness. Furthermore, it is even better at absorbing jolts introduced by the suspension system, whereby the simple handling and comfort of the 500 EXC have been further optimized.

The 500 EXC’s new, lighter, cast aluminum swingarm accommodates the shock absorber, which is mounted more toward the center, in order to load the swingarm more evenly. The new, 7 mm (0.28 in) longer PDS shock absorber with adjustable rebound and high-/low-speed compression damping, and a new setting installed with a reduced angle provides even more progression.

The 500 EXC is equipped with the latest WP upside-down fork which offers a wide range of both compression and rebound adjustment. The sensitive responsiveness and outstanding damping of the open-cartridge fork with 48 mm (1.89 in) outer tubes are a perfect complement for the 500 EXC’s simple handling and precision.

Practically unbeatable in terms of weight and stability, the new wheels have CNC-machined hubs, Excel rims, zinc-/nickel-coated spokes and aluminum nipples. They reduce the unsprung and gyroscopic masses, hence bolstering the simple handling of the 500 EXC.

2012 KTM 500 EXC Bodywork:

The 500 EXC’s new bodywork with the very slim seat and radiator shrouds, plus excellent contact points, perfect the bike’s ergonomics, making handling even simpler and more precise.

Following are the new highlights:

  • The longer rear fender protects the rider even more effectively from flying back tire roost.
  • New intake boot that provides great power and extra protection for Twin-Air filter which still has the same quick change, no-tools access air filter change process.
  • Newly designed taillight and license plate holder with improved durability.
  • Equipped with DOT approved headlight, taillight and turn signal indicators.
  • New 2.38 gallon/9 liter translucent fuel tank with integrated fuel pump and regulator.

2012 KTM 500 EXC MSRP: $9899