Bike Tests 20 Jan 2012

Project Moto: 2012 KTM 250 SX-F Update 1

MotoOnline.com.au takes the first step of modifications on our project Lites bike.

The summer holiday period has allowed for plenty of seat time on MotoOnline.com.au’s Project Moto 2012 model KTM 250 SX-F, setting us up for the initial modification process in this, the new year.

After getting the bike’s first service by Rob Twyerould at KTM (check out the film here), it’s been full steam ahead as far as the riding goes. As I said from the beginning, the motor is strong and the suspension is pretty much on point for my weight and speed.

However, one of the major things that we couldn’t get 100 percent from the outset was the handlebars. Personally, the stock bend just wasn’t what I look for in a set of ’bars. So with that in mind, I sent a quick email to Gavin Eales from Serco and we had a set of ProTaper Contours shipped out to test.

A set of black Ricky Carmichael bend ProTapers arrived a few days later. I’d used ProTapers quite a bit before and am a fan of them, plus the JDR Motorsports KTM team is using them both here and in the U.S. for 2012. That right there is a good enough reason for the ProTapers to be out handlebar of choice for the project.

MotoOnline.com.au has been putting the Project Moto 2012 KTM 250 SX-F through its paces. Image: Adam Riemann.

Along with the delivery of the ProTaper Contour handlebars, we also had some ODI grips delivered from Lusty Industries, which is a product that I had never used before. On top of that, Johnny McLean from Lustys sent a set of ARC levers as well.

The ProTapers come with some handy indicators on the ’bars to help you line up where you want to cut/saw them (if you choose to make them narrower), which is what I did by cutting them at the number three marker (there are four in total).

Since the KTM comes stock with tapered Renthal FatBars there was no requirement of any triple clamp changes or adapters, so I could bolt the ProTapers straight on. Another handy aspect of the ProTapers is that they come with plastic ’bar ends as well.

Anyhow, once I clamped the ’bars on, slid the grips on and bolted the new ARC levers (all relatively easy jobs), we were set to ride with a completely new control set-up.

New ProTaper handlebars, ODI grips and ARC levers have updated the controls. Image: Alex Gobert.

Straight away for me, the handlebar bend was an improvement, although I’m undecided whether I would feel the need to cut the ’bars down in the future. Some benefits so far of getting the ’bars to feel how I want is that I can moto for longer, with more comfort. My control and feel is essentially better.

The ODI grips with no waffle are slightly harder than the standard Renthals that come on the KTMs. We’ll wait and see if that makes them more durable, but I’m a fan of both grips either way. We also have some ProTaper grips in the workshop that I plan on trying out over the coming months.

As far as the ARC levers go, they are better looking than standard (at least when new), but who knows how long they’ll last considering their black appearance.

What I do miss about the standard clutch is its ability to adjust the lever via a simple twist knob, whereas you need a couple of tools to do so on the ARC lever. Once it’s set though, you’ll have no need to adjust it since the clutch is hydraulic (absolutely awesome!).

ARC levers have the capability of bending forward in the case of a crash. Image: Alex Gobert.

The ARC levers’ key attraction is their flexibility via springs so if you do happen to crash, chances are the spring will work to your advantage and you won’t snap the levers. That’s going to be ultra helpful to many in racing circumstances.

Overall though, the 2012 KTM 250 SX-F has been incredibly enjoyable to work with and, of course, ride anytime the opportunity arises. We’re still on the Dunlop MX51 tyres that come with the bike, but by the time I ride again I’ll have a set of the new Pirelli Scorpion MX eXTra X tyres on.

I still definitely want to try a few gearing changes as well, just to get it more suited to my style so I can use second gear more instead of third, plus it just wouldn’t be a legit project without adding an Akrapovic exhaust system and sorting the suspension further to see if I can gain any extra comfort/speed out of both the bike and myself.

Until next time though, that’s Update 1 in the books with the MotoOnline.com.au Project Moto KTM 250SX-F.

Current Modifications:
ProTaper Contour Handlebars
Price: $129.95 RRP
Distributor: Serco (www.serco.com.au)

ODI Grips
Price: $14.95 RRP
Distributor: Lusty Industries (www.lustyindustries.com)

ARC Levers
Price: $89.95 RRP
Distributor: Lusty Industries (www.lustyindustries.com)

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