Custom: RSD KTM 525 Cafe Moto

Dailies, Galleries -


“60bhp, 250lbs, ultra sticky tires with great geometry and a moderately comfortable seating position. To ride a bike this light in anger is an absolute game changer. It makes you feel like Rossi, but at a quarter of the speed,” describes Roland Sands. This KTM 525 EXC was converted into a cafe racer with fully custom body work and radically lowered suspension.

Roland’s calling the concept behind this build “cafe moto.”

“It’s what we’re calling our continuous experimentation with motocross bikes modified for pavement use,” he tells us. “They closely resemble what people refer to as cafe racers, but borrow from many genre’s including supermoto, roadracing, streetfighters, flattrack and motocross with a little custom thrown in for seasoning.”

YouTube Preview Image

It’s sort of an evolution of the supersingle concept, just here looking pretty and tuned for street use instead of track. The whole idea is to go for a very light weight and accessible, involving performance, two things currently ignored by just about every stock motorcycle available in showrooms.

“If it was mine I would use it to drag my knee on my way to work,” continues Roland, who’s currently laid up with a broken leg. “Fortunately for my license it is not mine. We built it for a friends fiancé. I would like to think it will be used for a little thrashing in the canyons when she’s not looking. There really is nothing more fun on a second to third gear road. The tighter the better.”


  • JonB


  • Richard

    Gawd thats fucking cool.

  • noone1569

    Holy shit, mass produce this; I will chuck down a deposit right now.

  • Duncan

    Imagine this with the new FI 690 engine……MMMMM!

    • dux

      KTM! Lohnaufmerksamkeit!

  • UrbanRider

    Best RSD bike I’ve seen by a country mile.

    • Case

      No doubt. This has got to be one of the most fun streetbikes on the road. Absolutely hoon-tastic.

      I don’t get why people are asking for the 690 engine. The whole point is small and light. The 525 has better maintenance intervals than the 450, plus it is CA street legal (the 450 is not), so you have a platable VIN. This is the best supermoto-capable setup that you can find on a streetable KTM.

  • Ben Rowland


  • stempere

    It’s going to look a lot less cool with a license plate, indicators and rear view mirror, but that’s really a great looking bike.
    And 115kg ? Wow. Even if that must be dry, wow. Must really be a blast to ride.

    • Jason

      Bar end mirrors, axle mount the license plate bobber style and I don’t think it would ruin the lines much

  • Trev

    How labor intensive is the maintenance schedule on that motor?

    I think I just found a project…

    • Jason

      It’s not as bad as a track bike and they last a long time but as a weekend bike you would still need to check valves and change the oil more often than most street bikes

  • Glenngineer

    Looks like the squat ratio might be kinda weird, but I weigh almost as much as that thing, and I know I’m a fun ride.

  • Bronson

    I’d wheelie it!

  • Sasha Pave

    Holy crappers! It’s like the party chick in college holding a bottle of vodka.

  • wwalkersd

    Very cool bike. Really annoying music. I must be too old.

    • Deryl

      I was thinking the same thing but is sounds like Larry, Curly, and Moe cut a CD.

    • Mattro

      that band is man man. they’re pretty alright. just find your weirdest nephew and ask him.

  • stephan

    i always wanted to try something like a cafe’d out version of my old KLR. wonder what could have been…

  • markbvt

    Oh hell yes. Now stick KTM’s 690 motor in there for longer maintenance intervals and a little more power, and it would be just about perfect.

  • Steve

    Thats hot but based on the latest EXC/SM is real pricey. Would love to see a kit based on 2004-7 versions.

  • Ducky

    Those are bigass forks and shocks. Nice titanium exhaust, and I like the bike a lot, but what’s with the rad shields?

    Also: Please stop using phrases like “game changer”.

    • dux

      And “epic”
      (for future reference)

  • todd

    awesome, makes me want to chop up my drz

    looks like that exhaust would be damn loud

  • Myles

    Sweet, a cafe racer that’s about more than style. And who doesn’t love a katoom-shaka-lacka engine?

  • shaun

    i wanna hate everything he does, but can’t, i wanna put my bird in that bike!

  • jason

    I love the bike, AND the music.

  • Core

    A lot of these cafe style bikes, I don’t care for.. but something about this one is beautiful and attractive.

  • Cajun58

    The only place that bike is making 60 hp for more then about 30 seconds is in Roland’s dreams. This bike as with every other RSD creation makes me hope the AMA will bring back 250 road racing so this guy will have some other way to keep himself busy.

    • Richard

      Looks like you’re in the minority.

    • Dylan

      @ Cajun58
      Someones a Hater…

      • Cajun58

        I won’t deny it I hate that little guy. But that bike still doesn’t make 60 hp!

        • Dylan

          Not quite sure what RS has done to deserve your hate besides building what he considers beautiful bikes. And 60 hp may not be possible to the wheel but definitely to the crank.

  • fasterfaster

    Perfect. Okay, almost perfect… I’d trade 5 hp and 5lbs for a version that doesn’t vibrate itself to death at street speeds or need weekly oil changes.

  • jason

    I would like to know the song title and artist, Roland Sands, please include this in the videos!