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FACTORY RIDE | 2023 KTM 500 EXC-F | Bike Reviews

Ben Grabham offers a complete racing package with the VIP Race Experience on a KTM 500 EXC-F.

Our bike setup at VIP Race Experience is the same for anyone whether it is your average punter, me or Toby Price racing. We are chasing a friendly-handling bike that is comfortable for long distances that is also very safe.

Because the races we do are all very different, we can’t set and forget, we have to set the bikes up differently for each race we do. Generally speaking we are essentially tweaking the same bike setup across all different races. The final setup for each bike changes for each race but the platform is the same. The big difference is with the Finke bike setup, you wouldn’t ride the Finke setup at any other race.

All the new EXCs at VIP Race Experience are that smooth and rideable in the motor department that all we really do when setting up the motors is tweak the mapping with Fuel Torque for safety. We’re chasing broad, useable power. They’ve got more than enough power in stock trim even for me.

Suspension is the main thing we focus on when setting up a bike. Before anyone can use the power of a bike the suspension needs to be setup, that is the most important thing.



We use the WP 6500 Cartridge kit for our fork. JVR Suspension in Queensland do all the work and setup the fork and shock on all our bikes. They’re awesome! The externals on the shock look standard but we make some internal changes just for the desert.

The other main parts we fit are a GPR Pro Kit steering dampener and Steg Pegz. Depending on the race, we fit a 15-litre Acerbis fuel tank with a dry-break so we can do the fastest fuel stops in the pits. We have the option of standard or Rally pegs and we have three seat options. Barret has made us a custom spec desert pipe for reliability because the other ones don’t like the constant heat and won’t last very long in the desert.

Handlebars are usually four different bends depending on rider size plus four different grips and gearing, again for each different rider. We have a few go-to different Maxxis tyre combos that we change depending on the terrain and race. Motorex takes care of servicing and Holeshot Graphics make our bikes look factory.



I had seen a similar thing back in the day when I was riding with Glenn Hoffman Racing. Where we try to do things different is we use my years of experience as a racer and team manager to give our customers more of a factory race team experience. Anyone can sign up for a race with us. We have guys who have never raced before we can point them in the right direction but if Toby Price wanted to jump on one, we could give him a package to go and win again.

For this year the cost of a package is, Kalgoorlie $3500, Hattah $3000, Finke $7000.

For the full feature check out issue #530 of ADB.

Words | Ben Grabham and Images | Stephen Tuff