KTM 500 EXC-F (2017+, inc. Six Days) Complete Maintenance Schedule

This is the maintenance schedule for the KTM EXC-F 500, the enduro motorcycle that’s many an off-road adventurer’s best friend.

The KTM 500 EXC-F replaces the 2012-2016 KTM EXC 500. It’s essentially the same platform, but KTM made a bunch of upgrades and added an “F” to the end of the name.

The maintenance schedule for the KTM 500 EXC-F is the same as that for the EXC-F Six Days, but with some different parts, e.g. tires. These are mentioned below in the relevant sections.

The core of the KTM 500 EXC-F / Six Days is a liquid-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder 510.4 cc motor with a single overhead camshaft 4 valves. It runs a 12.75:1 compression ratio, and Cycle World dyno’d it at 29 kW (39 hp) at 8100 rpm at the wheel, a pretty impressive figure for a middleweight thumper.

Final drive is via a 6-speed box and chain.

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KTM 500 EXC-F / Six Days Service Intervals

As an enduro motorcycle, the KTM 500 EXC-F has quite strict 465 mile / 750 km or 15-hour service intervals. At every service, you should change the oil and filter, clean the oil screen, and do a host of checks.

KTM also recommends you do a valve clearance service every 930 mi / 1500 km or 30 hours of riding.

Note that the service schedule for KTM motorcycles is given in distance in the US manual, and in hours of operation in the European manuals. In practise, they’re roughly equivalent (they imply an average speed of 31 mph or 50 km/h).

As the KTM 500 EXC-F is a liquid-cooled motorcycle, change the coolant periodically per the schedule. KTM also recommends changing brake fluid every year.

The KTM 500 EXC-F is a high-power enduro motorcycle, so KTM goes as far as recommending a full engine rebuild ever 4185 mi / 6750 km or 135 operating hours. This includes changing the piston, valves, springs, timing chain, connecting rod, conrod bearing, and crank pin, but stops short of changing the crankshaft, camshaft, or other major items, unless they’re damaged or excessively worn.

KTM 500 EXC-F Maintenance Schedule

Below is the maintenance schedule for the KTM 500 EXC-F.

This is in a simplified format vs the manual, with major items separated out from the maintenance checklist of minor items to be done every service.

Maintenance Schedule – Major Items

ItemEvery x mi / kmEvery x hours / years
Perform full standard service (see below)465 mi / 750 km15 hours
Check the valve clearance.
Intake: 0.10-0.15 mm
Exhaust: 0.12-0.17 mm
930 mi / 1500 km30 hours
Check the clutch.930 mi / 1500 km30 hours
Check the fork bearing for play.930 mi / 1500 km30 hours
Change the glass fiber yarn filling of the main silencer.930 mi / 1500 km30 hours
Service the fork. (Fork oil: SAE 4)1395 mi / 2250 km45 hours
Service the shock absorber.1395 mi / 2250 km45 hours
Check the inlet membrane.1395 mi / 2250 km45 hours
Lubricate the steering head bearing. (High viscosity grease)Year
Change the front brake fluid. (Castrol DOT 4)Year
Change the rear brake fluid. (Castrol DOT 4)Year
Change the hydraulic clutch fluid. (Castrol DOT 4)Year
Clean the spark arrestor. (XCF-W)Year
Change the coolant. (Motorex M3.0 Coolant)2 years
US: 4 years
Perform full engine service checklist (see below)4185 mi / 6750 km135 hours
Change the fuel filter.4185 mi / 6750 km135 hours
KTM 500 EXC-F Major Maintenance Schedule

Service Checklist

Below is the checklist of standard items for the EXC-F’s regular service.

Perform this checklist according to the schedule above.

KTM 500 EXC-F Service Checklist
[Dealers] Read out the fault memory using the KTM diagnostics tool.
Change the engine oil. (Motorex SAE 10W50)
Change the oil filter.
Clean the oil screens.
Clean the air filter and air filter box.
Check the chain, rear sprocket, engine sprocket, and chain guide.
Check the chain tension.
Tension between guard and upper: 55-58 mm (2.17-2.28 in). See below notes
Check that the electrical system is functioning properly.
Check and charge the 12-V battery.
Check the front brake linings.
Check the rear brake linings.
Check the brake discs.
Check the brake lines for damage and leakage.
Check the rear brake fluid level.
Check the free travel of the foot brake lever.
Check the frame.
Check the link fork.
Check the shock absorber heim joint for play.
Check the tire condition.
Check tire pressure.
Check the wheel bearing for play.
Check the wheel hubs.
Check the rim run-out.
Check the spoke tension.
Grease all moving parts (e.g. side stand, hand lever, chain, etc.) and check for smooth operation.
Check/correct the fluid level of the hydraulic clutch.
Check front brake fluid level.
Check the free travel of the hand brake lever.
Check steering head bearing play.
Check all hoses (e.g. fuel, cooling, bleeder, drainage, etc.) and sleeves for cracking, leaks, and incorrect routing.
Check the antifreeze and coolant level.
Check the cables for damage and for routing without kinks.
Check that the throttle cables are undamaged, routed without sharp bends, and set correctly.
Check the tightness of the easily accessible, safety-relevant screws and nuts.
Check the headlight setting.
Change the fuel screen.
Check the fuel pressure.
Check the idle speed.
Check that the radiator fan is functioning properly.
Final check: Check the vehicle is roadworthy and take a test ride.
[Dealers] Read out the error memory after the test ride using the KTM diagnostics tool.
[Dealers] Make a service entry in KTM Dealer.net.
KTM 500 EXC-F Standard Service Checklist

Engine service checklist

Below is the list of items to change or check at every engine service.

Do this checklist according to the schedule above.

KTM 500 EXC-F Engine Service
Change the spark plug and spark plug connector. (LZMAR8BI-10)
Change the piston.
Change the timing chain.
Change the connecting rod, conrod bearing and crank pin.
Change the radial shaft seal ring of the water pump.
Change the valves, valve springs, and valve spring seats.
Change the suction pump.
Change all engine bearings.
Change the freewheel.
Check/measure the cylinder.
Check the cylinder head.
Check the camshaft, rocker arm and rocker arm shafts.
Check the transmission and the shift mechanism.
Check the oil pressure control valve.
Check the force pump and lubrication system.
Check the timing assembly.
KTM 500 EXC-F Engine Service

KTM 500 EXC-F Chain Maintenance

KTM recommends you clean and lubricate the chain every ride, and also check the chain tension regularly (see the schedule above).

Every brand does it differently, and for KTM enduro motorcycles, the chain tension is defined as the distance between the chain and the part of the swing-arm where the chain sliding piece ends. The lower chain section must be taut, and the upper chain section should be able to touch the upper chain guard.

KTM EXC-F 500 chain tension check diagram from owner's manual
KTM EXC-F 500 chain tension check (From owner’s manual)

Target chain tension for the KTM 500 EXC-F: 55-58 mm (2.17-2.28 in)

If the chain tension is out of spec, adjust it by the following procedure:

  1. Loosen the rear axle, and the adjuster lock nuts
  2. Turn the adjuster screws until you get to the right tension
  3. Tighten the lock nuts
  4. Tighten the axle nut (80 Nm / 59 lb-ft)

There is a very wide adjustment ratio on the rear chain adjusters, and this is to accommodate different secondary ratios with the same chain length.

KTM 500 EXC-F / Six Days Wheels / Tires and Tire Pressures

Below are the wheel and tire sizes of the KTM 50) EXC-F, as well as recommended tire pressures.

Note that the EXC-F wears different size tires to the EXC-F Six Days, which is higher-spec. These are noted below.

Naturally, adjust tire pressures as it may suit your riding style.

KTM 500 EXC-F Base model

The 500 EXC-F base model wears MAXXIS Maxx Enduro tires.

WheelTire sizeTire pressure (cold)
Front80/100-21 M/C 51M TTRoad: 1.8 bar / 26 psi
Off-road: 1.0 bar / 15 psi
Rear140/70-18 M/C 70R M+S TTRoad: 1.8 bar / 26 psi
Off-road: 1.0 bar / 15 psi
Tire sizes and pressures — EXC-F base model

KTM 500 EXC-F Six Days

The “Six Days” edition wears Metzeler MCE 6 Days Extreme tires.

WheelTire sizeTire pressure (cold)
Front90/90-21 M/C 54M M+S TTRoad: 1.8 bar / 26 psi
Off-road: 1.0 bar / 15 psi
Rear140/70-18 M/C 70M M+S TTRoad: 1.8 bar / 26 psi
Off-road: 1.0 bar / 15 psi
Tire sizes and pressures — EXC-F Six Days

About the KTM 500 EXC-F / Six Days

KTM 500 EXC-F Action

The KTM 500 EXC-F is one of the larger enduro off-road motorcycles from KTM.

The core of the 500 EXC-F is a 510.9 cc four-stroke liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with four valves and an overhead camshaft.

As four-stroke engines go, the 500 EXC-F’s motor is pretty wild, revving up to near 10000 rpm and making over 40 hp, with a very wide torque curve (essentially, most of the rev range). But the motor and specs aren’t really what make the KTM 500 EXC-F special; it’s the weight.

The KTM 500 EXC-F is crazy light. Without fuel, it weighs an almost impossibly light 105.6 kg (232.8 lb), which is much lighter than its cheaper alternatives (like the Suzuki DR-Z400, an almost inevitable comparison), and also much lighter than other high-spec rally bikes like the Honda CRF450L.

It’s even comparably light to many 2-stroke enduro bikes from KTM itself.

Of course, the KTM 500 EXC-F’s light weight comes at many costs. It’s extremely light on many things you’d expect on a heavier bike, like crash protection, or even a good kickstand (it’s very flimsy). But many a passionate rider of the 500 EXC-F happily gives that away.

The light weight of the KTM means that you can scramble over rocky ascents and descents without really worrying about balance, because it’s so easy to keep going in the same direction. Sometimes, it feels like a relatively heavy mountain bike.

Bumps matter less because there’s less weight to be jostled around. It’s easy to loft the front wheel up over obstacles. And when you drop it, not much happens, and it’s easy to pick up again.

One of the drawbacks of the KTM 500 EXC-F is the limited fuel capacity (though the weights cited above are with an empty tank, anyway). Stock, it carries only 8.5 L (2.25 US Gallons), which is a minor blessing as you’re supposed to fuel it with premium fuel (ROZ 95). But many an enduro rider opts for extra tanks — sometimes two, one mounted on the inner subframe and another on the outside of the tank, or at the rear.

Of course, the very short 15 hour / 465 mile maintenance intervals of the KTM 500 EXC-F are likely to be a blocker for adventure rides who balk at the idea of changing oil every couple of days (many adventure riders don’t even want to lube the chain every day). It depends on your style of riding. If you’re a short-haul enduro rider who likes rocky ascents to the top of a mountain, the 500 is for you. But if you spend any more than 20% of your time on the highway… you best be looking at a milder single, or maybe one of the larger middleweight adventure motorcycles.

The higher-spec KTM 500 EXC-F Six Days comes with a number of different upgrades over the base model, including

  • Adjustable engine mapping
  • A different front tire size (see the tire sizes section above)
  • Traction control
  • A standard skid plate
  • Improved rear brake, and a floating front disc
  • Cool graphics and more orange colors (which presumably makes you go faster)

The KTM 500 EXC-F shares a motor with the Husqvarna 501, a very similar enduro motorcycle from Husqvarna, which is owned by the same parent company as KTM.

Reference — Manual for the KTM 500 EXC-F / Six Days

The above came from the manual for the KTM 500 EXC-F, which it shares with the 500 EXC-F Six Days, and 450 EXC-F / Six Days.

See screenshots below as a reference.

You can download manuals for KTM motorcycles directly from KTM here.

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