Named after the famed International Six Days Enduro, the KTM 500 EXC Six Days is among the greatest enduro race bikes cash should purchase. Highlights embrace a 510cc single-cylinder motor, a featherlight chromoly body, WP Suspension elements, and a daft dry weight of 246 lbs.
It seems the enterprise too—if trendy off-road bikes are your factor, in fact. Most folks in all probability wouldn’t choose it as a donor for a retro-styled customized scrambler. But Aussie Dan Mickan did, and ended up with this spicy tackle the KTM 500.
Brisbane-based Dan has been obsessive about bikes since he began using on the age of 10. He’s additionally a fan of customized bikes, due to Australian workshops like Deus ex Machina and Ellaspede. So it was solely a matter of time earlier than he took a crack at constructing his personal.
The concept to customise the KTM popped up a number of years in the past, whereas Dan was making an attempt to scratch a really particular itch. “I was looking to buy an old Honda XR600R,” he tells us, “because I wanted a vintage motocross or enduro-type bike to ride at events like Ellaspede’s Dust Hustle, or some local ‘vinduro’ events.”
“At the same time I also had this 2015 KTM 500 Six Days edition sitting in my garage. I thought that if I bought an old XR, then all I would do is ride it, throw money at it to improve suspension and engine performance, and never ride my KTM 500.”
“I was really blown away by the Roland Sands ‘Kurt Caselli’ build, which basically introduced me to the idea that you could customize a dirt bike—which, until then, I never even considered. With that in mind, my plan was to build a 1980s styled vintage enduro machine using my KTM 500 as a base. I would then have a bike that would have the vintage enduro looks, but all of the modern engine performance, reliability and suspension tech.”
Dan kicked off the design course of by printing out a bunch of pictures of inventory bikes, customized builds and gas tank choices. He then grabbed scissors and actually lower and paste bits and items collectively, till he had a transparent path in thoughts.
Next, Dan stripped the five hundred EXC to its bones and began looking for native craftsmen and fabrication outlets to assist him carry his imaginative and prescient to life. “I know my way around a workshop, but I’m not a particularly talented fabricator,” he admits. “I also have three young kids, so finding the time to spend building bikes is a challenge.”
Luckily Dan is extraordinarily good at one factor particularly: challenge administration, as a result of that’s what he does for a dwelling. So he made a listing and begin farming out the exhausting jobs.
For the subframe, Dan constructed a mock-up utilizing plastic conduit tubing—then gave that, and an in depth technical drawing to a neighborhood fabricator. He returned a precise chromoly metal reproduction, which bolted straight to the five hundred’s body with minimal tweaking. Extra care was taken to take care of the KTM’s aggressive ergonomics, as a result of the intention is to experience it because it was designed to be ridden.
Next, Dan had to determine one small, however essential, a part of the construct: the gas tank. “It’s probably the design element that the whole build revolved around the most,” he says. “It’s off an early 80s Honda XL 185, and I love it for its boxy lines and small size.”
Dan as soon as once more relied on a neighborhood artisan to change the tank to suit the EXC subframe. He had the added problem of compacting the OEM gas pump in there too, however in the long run, all of it labored out.
Next, Dan had the blocky seat constructed to match the tank’s strains. Refinishing it in the identical blue as early 80s KTM motocross bikes was a straightforward determination, and finally knowledgeable the remainder of the bike’s livery.
To maintain issues tremendous sensible, the OEM air and battery packing containers have been modified too, in order that they might nonetheless match inside the brand new subframe. For the exhaust, a DanMoto muffler was mated to the modified KTM header.
The fenders and headlight nacelle are all normal Acerbis plastic bits. Dan picked these as a result of they’re era-appropriate, but in addition straightforward to interchange if he ought to by accident hurl his bike down the facet of a hill. The facet covers are customized items.
Dan’s final hurdle was to get the livery excellent. Working with a designer, he ended up with Eighties-inspired graphics that also retained a number of the components of the unique bike’s design. The 2015 mannequin’s decals commemorated the Argentinian version of the ISDE, in order that was carried throughout too.
Another motive that Dan sourced out particular person jobs on this challenge, is as a result of he didn’t have the funds to dump the bike at a prime customized store to have it performed in a single shot. In the tip, these time and value restrictions meant that the construct took nearly three and a half years to finish.
“Along the way I reached out to a bunch of people to bounce ideas off and run design advice by,” says Dan. “The local Brisbane bike community is really full of great people. The final product would not have turned out as well without the input from these people—they all know who they are.”
So was all that point, cash and energy value it? We say sure. If this retro-fabulous enduro doesn’t get your coronary heart racing, you won’t have one.
Images by Gabriel Veit