One of Tom Webb’s riding buddies for way too many decades is the infamous Mark “Mental” Mangold. Tom has written about their escapades for years, and he has touted Mental as being one of the hardest of hardcore dirt bike addicts he has ever known. Back in 2012 Mental was already the owner of a 2010 KTM 530EXC, along with a KTM 450SXF, a BMW 1200 and a Sherco trials bike. We happened to be riding up in St. George, Utah, and we let him take a spin on a brand-new 2012 500 EXC. It was a game-changer back then—lighter, more nimble, less vibration, fuel-injected and really good power. He went home, sold his 530 and bought a 500EXC.

That was eight years ago. The machine has not been hammered, as Mental has enough equipment to ride that none of his bikes get overworked. The 500EXC has about 150 hours on it but has been maintained well. He had Precision Concepts valve and spring the suspension for his robust build. The only motor mods were the FMF muffler and a gearing change to target off-road riding, not MotoGP.

Answer Pro Taper bars, Motion Pro cables and throttle, a triple tree he found on Amazon, Doubletake mirror and a Garmin GPS handle the cockpit.

His goals with the rebuild were to freshen the looks, fit it with some new wheels (since the stockers were a bit mottled), give it all-new plastic, new graphics, a new drivetrain (the chain and sprockets were slammed), new DOT-legal tires, and some odds and ends to complement the build.

Mental has been using Enduro Engineering handguards, the exhaust is a stock header with an FMF 4.1 muffler with a spark arrestor. The skid plate is stock and the rear shark fin is from Tusk.

Money was an issue, though, to be honest, Mental isn’t starving. He said he could have gotten a new 500EXC, but for the $1,500 he put into his machine (planning to make the changes himself), he honestly believed his bike would have an appetite pretty close to that of a new $11,000 machine. Here’s a look at his mods, updates and bolt-ons. He’s smiling and still squeezing the life out of his Enduro Engineering seat foam!

Project Beat-down is really more of ‘rejuvenate’ story, than a back from the dead piece. Every product that was installed came through the scrutiny of the owner, he wanted it to look more current and dance with a swagger. Up front Precision Concepts had already valved and sprung the fork. Mental fit on Acerbis lower fork guards, the front wheel from Rocky Mountain ATV, Braking rotor and a new Shinko Fatty front tire.
The driveline was updated with an Ironman rear sprocket, RK O-ring chain and TM Designworks guides and chain pads. Out back a Kenda Equilibrium DOT legal tire was fit, a Rocky Mountain ATV wheel, Braking rotor and the saddle is an Enduro Engineering tall boy.

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