MXA TEAM TESTED: RIDE ENGINEERING KTM AXLE BLOCKS

RIDE AXLE BLOCK BIKE-web

WHAT IS IT? Not every manufacturer does things the same way. Take KTM, for example; instead of using an axle that resembles a bolt with a nut on one end, KTM threads the right-side axle block onto the end of the axle and has it do double duty as both an axle block and an axle nut. Killing two birds with one stone is a good idea, isn’t it? Maybe, maybe not. The Ride Engineering KTM axle block kit adds more stones to the equation.

WHAT’S IT COST? $54.95 (black or gold anodized), $44.95 (Honda CRF450 axle and nut).

CONTACT? (800) 805-1516 or www.ride-engineering.com.rideaxlektmWHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Ride Engineering KTM axle block kit.

(1) Concept. During testing, the KTM factory race team decided that it wasn’t a good idea to bond the axle block to the rear axle. They surmised that the solidly linked axle/axle block combo did not allow the axle to move freely under a load, and it locked the axle and swingarml together into an overly rigid single unit.

(2) Flex. Since the swingarm of a motocross bike flexes both torsionally and vertically, integrating the rear axle and the swingarm via a solidly attached axle block would either limit flex or transfer loads to the suspension. Additionally, a rear axle doesn’t just sit there and do nothing. It is subject to tremendous loads. It endures asymmetrical chain torque and side loads from the rear hub. To test their theory, the KTM factory team mounted a conventional rear axle to a floating axle block and sent Dungey and Musquin  out to test it. According to KTM, the riders could feel the difference between the stock axle block and the free-floating axle block instantly. Thus, the factory team no longer runs KTM’s bonded axle-block rear-axle design.

(3) Trickle down. Ride Engineering now makes a KTM axle kit that eliminates the one-piece axle/axle block on the KTM. Instead, it uses a Honda CRF450 rear axle combined with special CNC-machined axle blocks that slip into the KTM swingarm. You need the special axle blocks to properly space the borrowed Honda axle. The Ride Engineering axle blocks retail for $54.95, and they offer Honda rear axles for $44.95.

(4) Performance. Though the KTM factory riders are sold on the concept, it requires a very sensitive test rider to notice the difference. The faster the MXA test rider, the more he liked the lack of deflection and the freer feel of the rear suspension. A lot of this was track-related, as bigger, faster and rougher tracks highlighted the advantages more than flat, smooth or jumpy tracks. But, let’s not get too misty about the idea. Most Novice and Vet test riders could not feel a significant difference.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? No complaints. The Ride Engineering axle blocks are high quality and trick-looking.

3-STARS
For Ryan Dungey, this was a five-star product. Any aspiring National Pro would make this mod to keep up with the factory team. For the rest of us, it’s a cool idea that we might or might not appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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