|02-22-2014, 03:04 PM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2008
KTM 690 Enduro to SMC Review (+Motion Pro/PHDS/Renzaco)
For over a year, I'd been thinking about getting a set of SMC wheels for my Enduro but thought that It seemed expensive and always asked myself the questions "Did I really need it?"
Well, one evening after a few too many glasses of wine and a foray onto eBay Austria I was the proud owner of some immaculate SMC-R wheels. So now that I was in 'I've started so I'll finish' mode; a set of Pirelli Supercorsa from the UK and a set of front and rear discs from the Netherlands and all that remained was the agonising wait for the postman
Side Note - Tools of the trade
Having struggled with tyre changing in the past (D908RR + small levers = nightmare) and from utter fear of damaging the shiny new rims, I splurged on some nice Motion Pro tyre levers, rim protectors and and bead buddy for my off-road wheels.
These are superb pieces of kit! They are very light and the spanner end makes them ideal for the world travellers. I was a little worried that I'd end up bending them as they're 'only' an Aluminium alloy but they're incredibly strong and the tyres slide over them perfectly.
A big thank you to Adventure Spec (http://www.adventure-spec.com/) for their great advice and extremely fast postage.
The Main Attraction
So, after getting the tyres/discs on the wheels and getting the wheels on the bike [what a ridiculous faff getting the rear wheel on; you don't have to take the caliper off my back-side!!], I calibrated the speedo for the 17" wheels and took her out for a spin.
If you don't wan't to see the results, please look away now:
Absolute and utter hilarity!!!!! Why did I not do this earlier???
Having now gone through the conversion process myself, i though I'd give my opinions/answer to some of the common questions I've seen posted from others on the topic:
Does it handle well? - Yes!
Even with the reduced rake/trail from the 17" wheel, it feels more stable than knobbly tyres all the way up to 100mph and rolls so smoothly. The turn-in feeling is a little different but wow, does it go around a corner well.
However, one word of warning! Although I find that it's more stable that the knobbly tyres, the steeper head angle does make it very responsive to road inputs, especially when heavily on the brakes. My Triumph has a 22.5 head angle so I'm used to this but it could potentially catch you out if you're not used to this sort of handling.
As a general observation, because I was perhaps being a little more cavalier with the throttle than I usually would with Enduro tyres, I found that I needed to dial in more compression at the rear to try and control the weight transfer on corner exit. I replaced my fork oil with Maxima 5W which works well off-road but I can't dial in enough compression damping on the front to suit my liking.
What gearing works? - Standard Enduro gearing doesn't!
The SMC has 16:42 as stock and using the 15:45 combination with the smaller circumference 17" wheel reduces the gear ratio too much IMHO. It accelerates like a mad thing and wheelies off of every crest in the road but it feels a lot like hard work above 70mph.
To get an OEM SMC ratio you'd need a 40t rear sprocket but I've heard a lot of people go for a 15:42 combination for a bit more pep. I guess it depends on your riding style but I'll be purchasing another sprocket carrier and a 42t to give it slightly longer legs and save having to switch sprockets.
Are the Enduro brakes enough? - Yes!
The SMC comes with a 320mm disk and radial 4-piston caliper compared to the 300mm disc and twin-piston caliper on the Enduro. With the extra grip from the Supercorsa front, you can really get the brakes working hard. I never found that I needed more power and 1-finger barking was more than sufficient to bury the tyre into the tarmac. Perhaps for racing you'd want a bigger setup but for what I do, It would be nice but not necessary.
With more cavalier brake inputs, I found myself using a fair amount more travel in the front suspension. I have changed to 4.8Nm springs for my weight (145lbs) and as mentioned before, my current modifications mean that I can't get enough damping to suit this setup as well as I'd like.
Doe you really need to change the side stand - It depends!
There's a photo of the bike on the OEM Enduro R side stand with the Renzaco review below. If I were leaving it in SMC guise for a long time and had to use it every day and leave it parked up in lots of different places, I would change the side stand. I don't think it would take too much of a knock for the bike to end up falling over and you do have to take careful note of where/how you park it.
As I plan on changing between the two setups fairly regularly and I purely use it for fun and day rides, not commuting etc so personally I'm happy enough to leave it as is and make sure I can find a good place if I have to park up for lunch.
While I was getting the bike ready for SMC duties, I made a few other modifications to try and make things a little more comfortable:
PHDS Green/Soft rubber mounts
I bought the PHDS system a while ago to try and cure the issues I had with vibration causing my hands to go numb. The system came with yellow mounts and personally I didn't find them that much better than the stock clamps. Bugger - a not inconsiderable amount of money and all I had achieved was a bit of bling. Maybe the original elastomers were old and had hardened so I thought I'd give it one last try and bought a set of soft elastomers.
This is what I was looking for! I can still feel the vibration but they're definitely more muted and I completed a 2 hour ride with no discomfort where previously my left hand started to fall asleep after 20 mins.
Renzaco Leather Seat
Anyone that's on this forum already knows about the issues with the stock seat so I won't re-list the issues. I found that for off-road rides where I was standing up for a good proportion of the time I could make the OEM seat just about bearable by wearing padded cycle shorts, but on long road rides I still found it a PITA
I have a big trip planned and wanted something that wouldn't cripple me so I treated myself to a lovely Renzaco seat from the US. When It arrived I was over the moon but I ran into one little snag; it made the bike too tall for me to use 'safely'. Into the loft it went - BUGGER!
But there's a happy ending as with the SMC wheels, the bike is low enough for me to use the seat. Well, it's certainly a revelation in the same way that good suspension is; firm yet plush. I didn't even think about the seat/my back side once during the ride which is the first time this has happened since I have owned the bike.
SMC Fork Guards
I know that you can use the stock guards and sand them down a little to make the tyre clearance easier but I decided to invest in some SMR guards and be done with it. I also like to give the stanchions a good clean after each ride and this makes it a lot easier to wipe them down with GT85 or whatever product floats your boat.
These were from a 2011 450 SMR and weren't that expensive so I'm happy with them and may leave them on for Enduro riding, but I'll see how I feel nearer the time.
Still to come...
I still have a few bits that I need to complete: CRM Hand guards, revalved/modified SXF CC forks and revalved shock are are still waiting to be fitted. The weather is so nice at the moment that I'm not willing to pass up the opportunity for 'Factory Testing' so I'll do a road/off-road review of the suspension when I can.
I've pretty much got the bike to where I wan't it to be now in terms of performance, comfort etc so now it's time to get out there and put a few more miles under the belt.
All in all, I'm a very happy chappy!
scb27 screwed with this post 02-22-2014 at 05:22 PM
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