2004 KTM 625 SXC
From the moment after I sold my old KTM 520SX, I regretted it. Yea, it didn’t have electric start, or a six speed gearbox. But it was light, fast, and sized perfectly for me. It wasn’t long after that, that I said aloud “I need another dirtbike, and I need it soon”. With an abundance of national parks and trail systems in Montana, I needed something capable of 60+mph that was rugged, reliable, and still nimble in the tight sections. If it was hunter orange and made by an renound Austian company, that would be nice too.
After searching, reviewing and digesting the abundance of information on four stroke motorcycles on the internet, I decided on the 625 SXC. The motor has been around for more than 10 years, and proven itself through some of the toughest races in the world. Its been relatively unchanged for these years, only with changes in port and flow. The one major criticism of the motor, was the vibrations about fifty percent of its users complained about. I decided I could care less about vibrations, as long as it kept propelling me forward.
I decided to look for any 625 I could find, CV carb or FCR aside. I found a buyer interested in trading his 2003 for my 1999 Ducati Monster 900, but he asked for additional money at the last minute, and I backed out. Weeks later I found a low-mileage 2004 500 miles away in Salt Lake City, Utah. Once again I found myself with a envelope of cash, my dog and a ramp in the back of my truck, burning down the interstate with dreams of roosting dirt around berms playing in my head.
The transaction went as everyone dreams a vehicle purchase should go. The bike was in the exact shape the owner had described. He had all the original documentation (including the purchase slip), along with all original parts including a 5.2 gallon gas tank and the mounting hardware. Large sums of cash we’re exchanged, and thirty minutes after I arrived, I was headed back to Bozeman with the 625 peering at me through the rearview mirror.
Riding the 625 proved to be as much fun as riding my 520. A little less rip-your-arms-from-your socket power, a little heavier, but the gearbox was spaced for both wide open riding, and technical crawling as well. The vibrations other owners had complained about we’re quite suprising at first, but 10 minutes into my first ride, and I forgot about them completely. Unfortunately, the bike didn’t forget about them, and on the first ride, I lost a subframe bolt, one of the bolts holding the front fender on, and one of the radiator mounting bolts. Lesson learned. When I got home, I invested in a large container of blue Loctite, and went to work securing every bolt not attached to the motor.
After a couple seasons of riding around Montana, I got tired of slogging the poor trail bike around at 65mph to get to the good stuff. Land use laws started changing, and I found more and more of my favorite “local” trails being banned from use. In June of 2010 I traded it for a 2004 V-Strom 650.