KTM 530 XCR-W 1st Impression/Ride Report

CR Swade

Jan 18, 2001
The big dog is here. I did set-up this last weekend and initial break in ride on Monday. First impressions...after the suspension breaks in, it may be pretty close stock. These things are stiff out of the box, almost stiff enough for race speed...but again until it breaks in I really can't say. Right now, the bike feels like you could go local MXing w/ it. KTM shocks take about 6 hours to free up, so we'll have to wait and see. I've set the sag at 35mm and 110 and we'll let it break in at those numbers

Changed the pilot to a 45, added a Hard Parts fuel screw set at 1.5 and fired it up no fuss at all. Some light tearing around...very much feels like the 525. I think this will be a great trail engine, especially for Colorado and similar mountainous terrain. Feels like 525 in that it has instant torque right off the bat. You can let the thing drop down to idle, never touch the clutch and almost count the piston strokes and it won't stall. Once the engine has some more time on Monday I'll give you a detailed report. No idea on the tranny spacing/gearing yet...it has a 14/50 on it now. I want to be able to gear the bike so 2nd gear is the one gear w/ 3rd for faster blasts in the woods to open sections. We'll do some top-end blasts too...stay tuned for that. Feels strong though. Triple digits should be no problem

Weight saving measures abound on these bikes. Seems to have paid off as it feels lighter moving the bike around. Detailing on the bike is overall right on par with KTM quality. The sweet billet clamps found on my last SXF are on this bike, nice touch. The 07 EXC headlight I have mounted right up as the bike was light ready and works great. The tank...such a sore spot in the past, well it seems ot be a well thought out re-design and maybe with the new tank material and new locking cap they have gotten the cap/tank problems behind them. Bike came w/ Bridgestones...I traded those back and put good rubber on. The 07 EXC's come w/ Metzeler's. I have a set front and back for them...they are almost exact duplicates of the Pirelli MT32's that I love but wear much better and are DOT approved.

Little irritating observances...the new style bodywork and frame work looks great and is very seamless. Downside...they are quite a bit tougher to work on. Not CRF difficult mind you, but it is pretty tight in the confines of the frame/engine. The kickstand spring is almost an afterthought...very loose and looks to be a potential weak spot, particularly the spring mount on the stand itself. The seat has gone back to retro KTM seats...might as well be a plank. EE is supposed to have one ready in the next few weeks...it needs one.

Overall, I'm impressed and can't wait to get on some singletrack Monday with the bike. I've owned 525's and 520's in the past and will be comparing this bike back to back w/ a 07 525 just for giggles.

Mods will be pretty simple on this bike. Dial the suspension or revalve if needed, cut the bars down to 29"usual guards...BPD rad guards, EE slave cylinder guard, EE rear disc guard/carrier, Hard Parts quick disconnect skid plate, EE handguards w/ Hard Parts mounts to clear the new clutch, solid rear rotor, Hard Parts frame guards (these are huge step up from the past frame guards available), fine tune the jetting, fuel screw, fan kit for CO/AR rock crawling, EE seat and Roc Stompa under bar mount stabilizer (just came out!) as well as those sweet Roc Stompa Pegs and of course the newest set of BPD Team graphics from PG. I'll keep you posted on this as she breaks in and get some pics up when the stuff is all in this next week.

CR Swade

Jan 18, 2001
First real ride yesterday.

Outside temps...started in low 80's initially, ending up around 94 for later rides

Place...Super Secret KTM Test Facility ;)

Terrain...tight to more open singletrack, loamy dirt, dusty/powdery sections, rock sections, small to moderate log crossings, lots of sections to flow and see how the bike turns as well as how it handles rougher race whooped out straights and turn entrances.

First thing, started easy w/ choke. I changed the pilot to the 45 and w/ the fuel screw set at 1.5 turns the bike had great throttle response and never stalled...ok I stalled once initially only after forgetting I was not a on a Rekluse equipped bike. Jetting seemed to be pretty close for the hot temps as the bike never once even hinted at overheating. No steaming in the ragweed jungle, no running hot when grass tracking in the grass track sections w/ WOT. One of the more spot on engines right out of the box.

Overall power is torquey right off the bottom, at first you think it is just the same 525 style-power in new cases, but as you get the bike out and rip through the gears it becomes apparent that the bike is more willing to rev and rev much quicker. Mid-range pull and top end is better IMO. The spread of power is very even from way down low to top-end...very linear but very strong. The transmission seemed very well spaced and I never noticed any weird gaps that would hinder me in the woods. It does seem to be geared just a bit tighter (less gappy) than the older RFS EXC's...maybe it works with the gearing better. Stock gearing is 14/50. This is the same trans for the new EXC though, just w/ a lower final drive. I never got room to hit 5th or 6th...it gobbled up the grass track fields pretty quickly!

Big props to KTM for designing a S/A for the bike that is keeping the noise down. Close to the bike w/in say 5 ft it doesn't sound any different than any previous S/A from KTM, but as the bike is being ridden in open areas or in the woods, the heavy deep tones seem to really be quieter. I did remove the extra screen on the end cap, redundant as it has the Krizman style insert also.

Handling is where this bike made HUGE leaps from the 525. The bike feels like a MXer in terms of weight. N otop heavy feel and real easy to flick around. The bike carves well, holds a line in the turns and generally is head and shoulders above any previous RFS chassis. The bike is twitchy right now...suspension is still breaking in and it tends to get a little nervous but nothing major. As the suspension breaks in and gets revalved (it will need one as the bike feels real stiff on initial damping) I expect that nervousness to go away. In the chopped out sections of trail, the bike is rock solid. No deflection or swapping...reminds me a bunch of a CRF in the rough.

The suspension is stiff...the thing is though the bike is ultra stable in the rough and very well balanced front to rear. It shouldn't be hard for tuners to figure out spring rates w/ lighter valving for woods. I'm thinking once it is revalved for rocks and woods, this will be a sweet suspension.

Brakes...that is one strong front brake. I have a solid rear rotor...felt fine. Brembo clutch, very nice. Renthal style bars, nice bars.

Again, its kind of hard to get to some of the stuff w/ the new bodywork. I'm getting used to it though. Whoever thought up the idea of T45 torx head bolts for sprocket bolts and subframe bolts ought to be smacked around a bit. PITA if you ask me. The little radiator shroud mount w/ the insert nut has already lost the insert nut...another stupid design. I epoxied a spare one in its place...plan on keeping some handy. Check the shroud bolts going into the tank...they loosen up. C'mon EE and get a seat made for this bike! The Metzeler Six Days front tire I put on the bike is sweet!

So after day one I'm very stoked w/ the bike. This would make an awesome desert bike w/ the solid chassis and suspension and big power, or in my case part time racer/play bike for torture trips/dual sport. Honestly, the spread and delivery of power makes the bike real easy to take just about anywhere...whereas the harder hitting XC and SXF engines may be a handful in real tight stuff.


Wise master of the mistic
Jun 28, 2001
Sounds awesome! I'm Jealous!

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