To Tube or Not to Tube

On such a long ride, a flat is inevitable, maybe even ten flats. The reality is fixing a tube on the trail is a pain in the ass, so I went with the Nuetech Tubliss system. Yes, tire changes are a bit more involved but for me being able to plug a tire on the trail vs patching a tube is worth it. No need to take the wheel off the bike and pull the tube off all while kneeling, probably in the rain. Instead, leave the wheel on the bike, find the leak and plug it. Yes, I know you can’t plug a side wall, but most of the time I ever got a puncture close to the sidewall it was a pinch flat, and if you tear the sidewall you are screwed anyway.

If I do get into a situation where I can not plug the tire, I carry 4 extra large zip ties which in a pinch can be wrapped on the wheel at its quadrants and you can limp to the next stop. I also carry a 21-inch tube which can get you by in both front and back.

I run the Moto Z Extreme Hybrid tire on the rear and the MotoZ Tractionator Enduro, on the front. The MotoZ’s stiff sidewalls, combined with the Tubliss system, I can run a flat at slow speeds.

I like big tanks

Who Doesn’t Like Big Tanks

To prepare the 500 for the TAT I had to address three issues, fuel capacity, oil capacity, and the headlight/flashlight,

On the TAT gas stops are on average 60 to100 miles apart with some of the western states being 190 miles, so the 2.25-gallon tank and an average of 40-50 miles to the gallon, you won’t make it past the east coast. Unlike carrying spare fuel strapped to the back of the bike, which sits relatively high and at 6.3 pounds per gallon that is a lot of weight sloshing around. The easiest way to carry fuel without changing the handling of the bike is with a larger tank, it sits lower and closer to the centre of gravity. I went with the natural Acerbis 5.3 gallon tank. Go with natural, it is easy to see how much gas you have by just by drawing lines on the sides. It sucks to guesstimate how much gas you have left when running low. Watch for rubbing points that can wear through, I have found one from my radiator guards.

Next is the oil capacity, with 1 litre of oil and a recommended oil change at 8 hours, not the best for a 5000 mile trip in mainly high temperatures. But both The rollinghobo.com and Motonomad.com have documented high mileage trips on ktm 500s. They have proved the capabilities of these bikes and that they can go for longer service intervals if not used in a race setting. My solution is to increase the oil capacity. I installed a big oily clutch cover from bestdualsportbikes.com and a twin air oil cooler which has increased my oil capacity to 1.5 litres. There are some flaws to the oil cooler. You have to make sure the oil cooler is flowing correctly. To make sure there are no issues like this, I installed an oil pressure meter on the dash by tee off the inflow line of the cooler. One important note is to use high-pressure stainless oil lines used in race cars and fittings from summit.com, so you don’t burst or get a leak.
The last issue is the flashlight/headlight on the front of the bike. With the Motomind bracket and a Baja Designs Squadron pro light as the main headlight and Superbright light pods in a 10 degree and 30 degrees, I have plenty of light now. The auxiliary lights are easily mounted to forks using street sign mounting hardware from Mcmaster Carr, hose clamps, gorilla tape, and Teflon tape. Since the KTM 500 only produces 90W, you have to watch your voltage with a Signal Dynamics Heads Up Universal Voltage Monitor from Rocky Mountain. One Led shows your charging status Flashing Green Above – 15.2VSteady Green 12.9V – 15.1, Steady Amber 12.7V – 12.8V, Steady Red 12.1V – 12.6V, Flashing Red Below – 12V.