Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

Chronicle of My Participation in the World's Toughest Enduro Rally – Again…

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Changes thus far

Posted by desflurane on November 7, 2015

As brilliantly appointed as the TE 300 may be, there are still points of weakness that require immediate attention.

The suspension, as previously mentioned. Needs to be resprung and revalved. That’s coming soon…

The TE comes with a plastic skid plate, which is staying on the bike for now. Past experience has shown that these are not highly durable items. The unit I purchased for the old KTM lasted a single ride before cracking and only a few more before simply vanishing altogether. Once the stocker falls apart (and I know it will…) I plan to try a TM Designs plastic skid.

The first upgrade I carried out was the addition of a set of Bullet Proof Designs radiator guards. These went on before the Husky even smelled dirt for the first time. They come highly recommended from every authority I’m aware of. My Romaniacs bike was equipped with them and withstood tremendous abuse which would have (literally) crushed lesser protection. The latest design iteration includes the slick O-ring arrangement that allows the radiator shrouds to flex outward when the bike is tipped over and they bulldoze into the soil – rather than cracking or tearing out the bolt and grommet in the stock arrangement. I was introduced to this idea in Romania. My room mate Mike Kay had his bike rigged this way and he swore by it.

And they are blue!

I didn’t even leave the dealership without these in my hot little hands. Jeff Slavens has a very nice YouTube video demonstrating their installation – it’s very easy. I did find that I needed to chase the threads in the mounting holes with an M6 tap before I could get the supplied 25mm bolts to tighten fully. The stock bolts in those positions are the very short (maybe 8-10mm) self-tapping kind, and there seemed to be no more than one or two turns worth of threads actually cut. It was a simple fix.


Next I attended to my rear brake rotor.

I have bent my rotor before and had to limp home with no back brake. Less than enjoyable. So I “harvested” the shark fin I already had from on my old KTM (the price was definitely right!) It is the Enduro Engineering made “factory” unit that came in black with “KTM” cut out of the replaceable fin. The old mounting bracket fit perfectly on my new swingarm and I sprung 25 bucks for a new fin – polished aluminum, as I couldn’t find a blue one.


While I was pulling parts off the old bike prior to selling it, I took off my Scotts steering damper. That thing cost about $700 bucks all told. There is absolutely NO WAY I was going to just give it away with my old bike. I haven’t installed the damper yet, but I did put the riser block underneath my handlebar mounts. It pushes the bars up 25mm which prevents me from feeling like Quasimodo out on the trail. I emailed the fine folks at Scotts inquiring if any of my old mounting parts are incompatible with the new bike. They answered that I would have to fork out the cash for a whole new underbar mounting assembly. “Nuts,” says I! The riser block is definitely a perfect fit and according to my digital calipers, the rest of the hardware should slip right into place. I’ll follow up on that when I get around to actually putting it all on. I’m not in a big hurry with this one, the damper has little value on tight single track.


In the photo above you can also see the $13 Motion Pro air bleeder valves I put on my forks. I’ve had these things fall apart on me before, but they are convenient and cheap.

It is beyond me why brand new bikes imported into the States are not equipped with the spark arrestors which are required to ride essentially everywhere, but they aren’t. So on went an FMF Turbinecore 2. I compared this newer-bike specific muffler to the older one I had on the KTM and was completely convinced that there was no difference – until I tried to mount it. The only change appears to be in the flare where the muffler slips over the end of the expansion chamber. It is a few mm larger on the new bikes and the old style would never work.


When I bought my KTM back in 2010 I deliberately left the stock pipe unprotected and allowed it to be “inadvertently” smashed into oblivion. I was then heard to say “Darn… I suppose I’ll just have to buy an FMF Gnarly and a sweet carbon fiber guard for it!!! I’m so sad…” And that is precisely what I did, after SECONDS of mourning.

I was planning to carry out the same subterfuge with this bike, but then thought “WHY?” The Fatty (or near duplicate of the Fatty) the bike came with is a fine pipe used the world over with great success. Why not just keep it as long as possible? When it inevitably gets crumpled I will definitely put on a Gnarly clad in shimmering carbon fiber, but that is a $400 expense I can put off for a while. So a little protection is in order. And I do mean “a little.” I spent all of $25 on an aluminum pipe guard. It’ll keep the stock pipe alive longer than it would survive without it. (I need to get another 6″ hose clamp. The 4″ one the guard came with was just a tad too short, leaving a gap in the clamp spacing).


I haven’t gotten around to them yet, but I also pulled my Cycra Pro-Bend hand guards off the old bike. They will replace the semi-cheesy-but-better-than-nothing stock guards. I snapped my clutch lever while out on ride numero uno – that essentially never happens with the Pro-Bends in place. I just haven’t torn the throttle assembly apart and cut the end off to allow the mount to go through, but I will.


Once I pull my suspension apart to get it tuned, I’ll install a Slavens Racing linkage skid. It’s cheap insurance against expensive damage to those dangly bits between the skid plate and rear wheel.

And look! It’s blue!


The final mod, which I completed only moments ago, made an immediate positive improvement. I swapped out the stock needle for the “secret sauce” needle that I was turned on to by the local KTM shop. It is the 85D, which I understand is actually intended for the SX 125, but works like a dream in most two stroke KTMs (and Husqvarnas, as it turns out). The engine’s ratty behavior between 1/4 and 3/4 throttle instantly vanished. A little tweaking of the air screw and my low end is almost perfectly sorted! Smooth, stutter-free power!

I’ll address the main jet another time. It will probably need to be leaned out a bit at this elevation, but I hardly ever get the throttle beyond the 3/4 open position where the main jet really comes in to play, so it isn’t critical at this time. I’ll conduct a few throttle-chops and see where things lie, but its a hassle I haven’t had the strength to deal with.

I don’t think there is much else I’m going to change on this bike. I had been toying with the idea of a 51 or 52 tooth sprocket in the back, but with my jetting cleaned up I don’t think I’ll need it.

One of the things that had curbed my enthusiasm for buying a new bike was the cost of the additional stuff I would need to get it all set up and truly “Ready To Race.” I consider all these things essential and the bill adds up really quickly! When I realized that I already owned a good number of the necessary items and could simply transplant them onto the new bike, it became a lot more palatable.

I still sold the KTM for a good price and the new owner is quite happy with his purchase. There was no down side to hanging on to my investment in aftermarket parts. They would have added almost nothing to the sale price of the old bike, but made a significant difference in my ability to outfit the new steed!


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