KTM 500 EXC-F (Top Speed, Horsepower, Specs, etc.) – Good Dual Sport?

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Are you considering a KTM 500 EXC-F and would like to know more about it? Or, do you already own one and just need some info on it? Either way, I’ve put together this review that covers all of the specs including the horsepower, top speed, weight, height, handling, and more.

Overall, the KTM 500 dual sport is a very nice bike, however, it isn’t for everyone.

KTM 500 EXC-F on white background

Don’t worry, we’ll cover all of the need-to-knows about this dual sport motorcycle.

In addition to looking at the important KTM 500 EXC-F specs, we’ll also look at what this dual sport is good at (and isn’t good at). We will also look at the maintenance requirements, how much they cost new, where to buy one, and how much they are worth used.

What is a KTM 500 EXC-F?

The KTM 500 EXC-F is a dual sport motorcycle that is powered by a 510(.9, LOL)cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine.

Overall, the KTM 500 EXC is an extremely capable, offroad-worthy, dual-sport motorcycle. It’s very light and nimble, quiet and powerful, and has solid low and midrange torque.

This model has an electric start, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, an adjustable suspension, a headlight, and it’s street-legal. Basically, this is a dirt bike that has been refined to perform adequately on the road as well.

Who Should Buy?

Whether you should buy one of these street-legal KTM 500 dirt bikes or not comes down to these questions:

  • What is your current skill level?
  • Is a street-legal “dirt bike” what you want?
  • What type of riding do you do most?

Your level or skill

If you are a true beginner, I actually recommend that you look into a different dirt bike. These big-bore bikes aren’t necessarily “hard” to ride, but there are much better options to learn on.

On the other hand, if you have experience riding and are ready for a 500cc dirt bike, these are awesome. They do have a lot of power, even though they “only” put out 40 horsepower.

Type of dirt bike you want

This is a high-performance, street-legal, dirt bike. And yes, that is a good thing!

These bikes get all of the cutting-edge goodies and technology, making them incredibly fun to ride, and capable, dirtbikes. While that is great while you’re riding one, that does mean that these require more maintenance than a more simple, air-cooled dirt bike.

The type of riding your do

These KTM 500 EXC-F dirtbikes are great all-around bikes. With their big 510cc engine, these have plenty of low-end torque and they lug around well. However, these still aren’t “put-put” bikes like Honda XR, so if tight trails and slow terrain is what you’re looking for, there are better-suited options out there.

On the other hand, these KTM 500s are street-legal, so considering that you can ride to and from the trails on the road, having a little more road-ready dirt bike isn’t a bad thing.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re considering buying one:

Reasons you might buy

  • You want a big bore dirt bike
  • To ride to and from work (with a detour through the mountains)
  • You do more enduro and woods riding than motocross
  • You already know how to ride and have experience
  • Aggressive riding is the plan

Reasons you might not buy

  • You want a good dirt bike to learn on
  • Tight, slow trails are your favorite (these are made to move)
  • If you want a maintenance-free dirt bike
  • Your size (this bike is tall)

KTM 500 EXC-F Specs

Here are all of the KTM 500 EXC F specs that I was able to grab from the KTM website, along with a few of the “need-to-know” items that were not listed on their website.

Engine Specifications

Engine Type1-cylinder, SOHC, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled
Horsepower40.5 HP
Bore and Stroke95 x 72mm
Compression Ratio12.75:1
Fuel SystemEFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) with 42mm throttle body
Transmission6-speed, Wet, DDS multi-disc clutch, Brembo hydraulics
Chain520 X-ring

Chassis Specifications

ChassisCentral double-cradle-type 25CrMo4 steel
Front SuspensionWP XACT-USD, Ø 48 mm
Rear SuspensionWP Xplor PDS shock absorber
Front BrakeDisc brake (260mm)
Rear BrakeDisc brake (220mm)
Front Tire Size90/90-21
Rear Tire Size120/90-18
Rake (Caster Angle)26.5°
Wheelbase58.3 inches
Seat Height37.9 inches
Max Ground Clearance14 inches
Curb Weight255 pounds
Fuel Capacity2.25 gallons


Model ID500 EXC-F

As a recap, here are the most important and noteworthy specs:

Manufacturer: KTM
Model Name: 500 EXC-F, 500 EXC F
Dirt Bike Type: Dual Sport
Years Made: 2012-2024 (present)

Seat Height: 37.9 inches
Curb Weight: 255 (all fuel, fluids, etc.)
Top Speed: ~90 mph
Horsepower: ~40 HP

KTM 500 Engine & Transmission

KTM motorcycles have a reputation for making great engines. As far as the KTM 500 EXC F goes, these engines put out a wonderfully-usable power throughout the RPM range.

Close up of a KTM 500cc engine

This lightweight, 510cc engine is solid! KTM is well-known for making quality, high-performance motors, and the 500 EXC is no exception.

Overall, these engines provide great torque and roll-on power while still delivering a nice big-bore punch.


A stock KTM 500 EXC-F makes 40.5 horsepower at 8,200 RPM. Although 40 horsepower isn’t a huge number for a 510cc engine, the power is very controllable and stable throughout. Also, these KTM 500 dirt bikes are known for their torque more than their top speed or horsepower ratings.

Compared to the Honda CRF450RL horsepower of 40.7, KTM is basically the same. However, the 500 KTM dirt bikes are serious machines. Don’t let the fact that they “only” have 40 horsepower fool you.

Top Speed

The KTM 500 EXC-F top speed is typically around 90 MPH.

A good assumption for a stock 500 EXC F maximum speed is anywhere from 85-95 mph. However, the 500 could go faster depending on the dirtbike gearing.

Just remember, top speed isn’t too important. Unless you’re planning on high speed, freeway riding, you’re more likely to enjoy the torque and roll-on power more than the top speed.


Since this is a high-performance motorcycle, it does take a decent amount of maintenance. However, the good news is that these 500s should last you a while before needing to be rebuilt.

Below is a list of the service/maintenance schedule for these dual sports.

KTM 500 EXC-F Maintenance Schedule

You can see from this screenshot that most maintenance items are spaced out every 1,000, 3,000, and 6,000 kilometers. (620, 1,860, 3,720 miles).

Screenshot of maintenance in a KTM 500 owner's manual
After the first 43 miles

Read out the fault memory using the KTM diagnostic tool
Verify that the electrical system is functioning properly
Inspect the free travel of the hand brake
Check idle speed
Change oil and filter
Inspect all hoses
Check the run-out
Test spoke tension
Inspect the chain, sprocket, chain guide, tension
Grease all moving parts
Check valve clearance
Verify that all screws, nuts, and hose clips are tight
Change fuel screen
Check fuel pressure
Inspect coolant level
Verify radiator fan is working
Check the steering head bearing

Every 620 miles

Read out the fault memory using the KTM diagnostic tool
Program the gear position sensor
Verify that the electrical system is functioning properly
Check and change the battery (only use the best trickle charger)
Inspect brake linings, discs, lines, fluid
Check the hydraulic clutch fluid level
Inspect hand and foot brake levers
Check idle speed
Change engine oil and filter
Check all hoses and cables
Inspect the frame and link fork
Check tire condition and pressure
Inspect wheel bearings, hubs, rim run-out, and spoke tension
Inspect the chain, tension, and chain guide
Check the front and rear sprockets
Grease all moving parts
Inspect the air filter and air box
Verify that all screws, nuts, and hose clips are tight
Change the fuel screen
Check coolant level
Verify that the radiator fan is working
Check the steering head bearing for play
Check headlight setting

Every 1,860 miles

Check the fluid level of the hydraulic clutch
Check the fork bearing for play
Inspect tire condition
Check valve clearance
Inspect the clutch
Inspect inlet membrane
Change the glass fiber yarn filling of the main silencer
Service the forks
Service the rear shock absorber
Check fuel pressure
Check antifreeze and coolant
Lubricate the steering head bearing

Every 3,720 miles

Change the front & rear brake fluid
Change the hydraulic clutch fluid
Replace the fuel filter
Clean the spark arrestor

What motor oil does a KTM 500 EXC-F use?

The manual recommends Motorex Cross Power 4T – 10W/50 (view on Amazon).

In reality, as long as you use an oil that meets the JASO MA2 standard (KTM manual states: JASO T903 MA2), and is SAE 10W/50, you should be good.

Engine oil change capacity: 1.3 US qt (1.2 L)

KTM 500 EXC-F Handling

The KTM 500 EXC F is a great handling dual sport. Whether you’re planning to hit the streets or the hills, the KTM is well-equipped to handle the terrain.

This motorcycle is one of the lightest in its class and has a fully adjustable suspension. Here are the main things to know and the characteristics of this street legal KTM dirt bike.


A stock KTM 500 EXC-F weighs 255 pounds with a full tank of gas and all other fluids. This is considered its “wet,” or “curb” weight. Dry, the KTM weighs 240 pounds according to the owner’s manual.

Compared to the weight of its competitors, the KTM 500 is actually quite light. For example, the CRF450RL weighs 291 pounds, making the KTM 36 pounds lighter than the Honda. Not only is the KTM lighter, but it holds .25 gallons more fuel. That’s impressive!

KTM 500 EXC-F Weight Limit

If you were wondering whether the KTM 500 has a weight limit, the answer is “yes” it does.

According to the manual, the maximum load for the front axle is 310 pounds, while the maximum load for the rear axle is 419 pounds. Remember, you need to account for your weight, the weight of your riding gear, tools, and anything else you pack on the bike.

Seat Height

The KTM 500 EXC-F seat height is 37.9 inches. However, it’s important to note that this is “unloaded” and it can squat down slightly with a full load.

Typically, a 37-38″ tall seat height is a good height for someone who is 5’10”-6′ tall. However, this does vary from person to person, so you really should sit on a bike to see how you fit on it.

But again, KTM’s seat height is comparable to the competition, but it is the tallest. For instance, the Beta 430 RR-S has a seat height of 37 inches, the Honda 450RL has a seat height of 37.2 inches, and the Husqvarna FE 450 also has a seat height of 37.2 inches.

Can you lower a KTM 500 EXC-F?

Yes, there are a couple of different options to lower the seat on a KTM 500 EXC-F.

  1. Set the sag and spring rates
    Adjusting the sag and spring rates on your suspension can lower your bike and make for a more personalized ride. Whether you install a lowering kit or a short seat, it’s still a good idea to double-check that the sag and spring rates are correctly set. Once you’ve adjusted the suspension to your liking, then you can determine how much lower (if any) you need to go.
  2. Shave the seat
    Shaving down the stock seat is a common way to lower a dirt bike’s seat height without spending any extra money. If you’re like me, however, you may be hesitant. I don’t recommend cutting away on a perfectly good seat if you don’t have to. If possible, save the stock seat for when/if you sell the bike and buy a “low seat” as mentioned next.
  3. Buy a low seat
    Although shaving down your seat is free, you might want to look into buying a “low seat” instead. These KTM 500 low seats are usually about .5″ shorter than stock. While this sounds like a no-brainer, just remember that they can be a little harder than you might like, so make sure to buy a good quality one, versus trying to save a few bucks. Here’s (a good low seat) on Amazon.
  4. Buy a lowering kit
    Another way to lower this KTM is to buy a lowering kit or lowering link.


Okay, so even though I said that these KTM 500s are known for their engine, they are also known for their suspension.

Screenshot of the adjustable suspension settings

As you can see from the owner’s manual pictured above, the KTM 500 EXC-F suspension settings allow for three distinct riding experiences. If you need to adjust the suspension from one type of riding to another, KTM makes it easy.

Here are the different settings for each riding style:

Front Suspension Settings

Compression Damping
Comfort – 17 clicks
Standard – 15 clicks
Sport – 7 clicks

Rebound Damping
Comfort – 19 clicks
Standard – 17 clicks
Sport – 9 clicks

Rear Shock Settings

Lowspeed Compression Damping
Comfort – 18 clicks
Standard – 15 clicks
Sport – 12 clicks

Highspeed Compression Damping
Comfort – 2.5 turns
Standard – 2 turns
Sport – 1.5 turns

Rebound Damping
Comfort – 18 clicks
Standard – 15 clicks
Sport – 12 clicks

Is the KTM 500 EXC-F a Good Dirt Bike?

Yes, it’s a great dirt bike. There’s no doubt why the KTM 500 EXC-F is so popular. But, as you know, just because it’s a good bike, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right bike… for you.

Question mark over a KTM 500 EXC-F dirt bike

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning one more time… the KTM 500 EXC-F is not for beginners. It’s a dual sport bike for those who want an advanced, high-performance motorcycle.

Overall, these are basically street-legal, enduro racing bikes. They are legal and sufficiently equipped to ride on the road, but they really come alive off-road. An ideal use-case scenario is to take one of these and ride a few fun miles on a backroad until you get to a trail. From there, you can ride the trail all the way over the mountain and onto the street, where you can ride home.

Could it get any better!? I think not.

Here are a few of the main positives and negatives to owning, riding, and maintaining one of these dual sports:

Positive Reviews

  • Great handling at all speeds
  • Lightweight
  • High-performance, adjustable suspension
  • Reliable motor
  • Great torque
  • Electric start
  • Fuel-injected
  • One of the best batteries on the market
  • Light and narrow chassis

Negative Reviews

  • Quite expensive
  • Not cheap to rebuild (4-stroke race bike)
  • Requires frequent maintenance
  • Too tall for some riders
  • Limited local dealers (compared to Honda and Yamaha)
  • The stock tires are terrible off-road

All-in-all, these are great bikes. Again, there isn’t one, single motorcycle that can do it all, but this KTM can sure do a lot.

Buyers Guide (Best Year, Pricing, etc.)

After reviewing all of the specs, characteristics, positives, and negatives, you may be considering buying one. If that’s the case, here are the remaining items we’re going to look at:

  • Where to buy
  • Who to buy from
  • The best year to buy
  • What they are worth/cost

Where to Buy?

If you’d like to buy a new 500 EXC-F, there’s not a whole lot to go over. Just head over to your local KTM dealer and pick one up.

But, what if you want a used one? Since these are such popular motorcycles, finding a used KTM 500 isn’t very hard.

All you have to do is head over to Facebook Marketplace or Craiglist and start searching. Easy enough, right? Yes, but what should you look for? Let’s dive in…

Best Year

Picking the KTM 500 EXC-F best year is actually not as cut-and-dry as one might think. Generally, the newest models are the “best” as far as performance goes, but that doesn’t always transfer to reliability.

There comes a time when you start sacrificing longevity and reliability for peak performance. While I wouldn’t say that the new KTM dual sports are unreliable, because they are, I would say that they are a little less reliable than some of the older models.

It’s generally excepted that the 2016 model was the last of the “most-reliable” KTM. However, there are more-than-enough cases of the newer dirt bikes lasting a LONG time. The most important thing -even more important than the year- is to keep up with maintenance. If you do that, your bike will last much longer.

How much does a KTM 500 EXC-F cost?

For whatever reason, KTM doesn’t list the pricing on their website. However, I was able to track it down.

BASE MSRP: $12,949
Destination Charge: Contact a local dealer
Freight Surcharge: Contact a local dealer

Without talking to the KTM dealer near me, I’m guessing it would be around $13,500 to take one home.

How much is a used KTM 500 EXC-F worth?

If you are planning to buy a used KTM 500, you should expect to pay somewhere around $9,000.

Why do I think that? To get real-world value, I found as many of these dirt bikes for sale as I could. Surprisingly, there were quite a few.

Here are the top listings:

2022 KTM EXCF – $17,500
2022 KTM 500 EXC-F – $8,500
2021 KTM 500 EXCF – $16,000
2020 KTM 500 EXC-F – 6 Days – $13,000
2019 KTM 500 EXC-F – $9,000
2018 KTM EXCF 500 – $9,800
2015 KTM 500 EXCF (Supermoto/DualSport) – $8,500
2013 KTM EXC F 500 – $7,800

That’s quite a list. The prices range from $7,800-$17,500. The average price for one of these KTM 500s looks like it should be around $8-10,000, but even closer to $9k.

Is the Kelley Blue Book price accurate?

To be honest, I haven’t checked the KBB pricing for this dirt bike. I tried, but the Kelley Blue Book website wouldn’t work… even after I succumbed to their requirement for me to log in. Boo.

With that in mind, here’s a screenshot that I took from JD Power that shows a few different values for this used 500 KTM:

Screenshot of JD Power value for 2020 KTM 500

As you can see, here are the three different values for this KTM:

Suggested List Price: $11,399
Low Retail: $7,395
Average Retail: $9,730

After looking for as many different KTM 500 EXC-F dual sports for sale as I could find, JD Power’s value looks accurate to me.