The KTM Epic Part 1

Our Lady of Divine Hare Scrambles came to me in a dream. She told me of how my Orange Beloved was feeling weary in her heart and soul but that she could still, in fact, be saved. Plans were formulated at the end of December 2016 and with the blessing of The Hotness and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (and Bishop Visa) the initial order of parts was placed.

The main job was the rebuild the valve train as well as the piston and rings. I’d be lying if I said that I had done this job before so being the diligent, humble servant I am I consulted The Oracle of YouTube. Her soft light shone down upon my shoulders, anointing me with her knowledge; she covered me with her blanket of confidence.

When the email popped up in my inbox stating the goods were on their way to me I done got started on the tear down of my bike.

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Noble, yet tired. Here she rests upon her stool anxiously awaiting her gutting.
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You remove one wrong bolt….
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My grandpa always told me my ass would fall off if I played with my belly button. Guess it isn’t a myth as far as KTMs are concerned…

Let’s go ahead and hit the “Pause” button for a minute. Is it necessary to remove the engine to rebuild the valve train and piston/rings? No, of course it isn’t. But since this was my first time I wanted to be able to eye fuck the shit outta the engine’s guts so I could learn everything possible. That being said, the engine’s done gotta come out of that frame.

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At this point you say to yourself, “Modern Man, you’ve done come this far. May as well get into those bearings and replace their asses.”
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With the swingarm removed there are only two more bolts holding an RFS KTM motor in the frame.

She’s a sturdy, heavy lump but a sexy one. A little dirty with cow shit and mud? Sure. But don’t you say an ill word against my lump.

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Alright, so you’ve removed the motor. Or you’ve exposed it enough to remove the valve covers. Good for you! Decide your own destiny, I say. Pay attention and loosen up those other bolts that hold the valve cover in place.
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OK, so at this point you’re as thirsty as a college whore in a frat house. Go inside for a glass of water, you ask? Hell no! Crack that water pump cover and chug some coolant. Just kidding don’t do that shit but feel free to crack that cover and remove the gasket so you can remove the valve cover.

Once you have the water pump cover off take the time to look at your impeller. I replaced mine about a year ago so it doesn’t look crusty but it did at the time. Take your snap ring pliers to remove the clip that holds the impeller in place. Once the clip is out of place you will need to be careful when removing the impeller. It does slide off the shaft (heyoooooooooooooooooo), I promise.

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Holy Boner, Batman! Look at them guts! Sadly, KTM doesn’t believe in clip style master links on their cam chains. Invest in a decent (read: not high dollar but a good tool) tool that’ll do the job for you. Most good tools will be good for the cam chain as well as your drive chain.

At this point one should take care to remove the RTV sealant that hugged the valve cover close to the valve head. It’s not hard and crucial so when you’re ready to reinstall there aren’t any sealing issues. Be sure that you don’t use anything metallic or abrasive as that can cause scarring and sealing issues when you go to rebuild.

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At this point you’ve earned a damn hot cup of tea. Peppermint, bitch! Also, if you don’t have at least one bloody knuckle at this break then you’re doing it wrong.
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A fine example of a good but inexpensive tool to deal with chains of all sorts and sizes.
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While breaking the cam chain be careful so the pin doesn’t fall into the motor. Stuff some clean rags beneath the breaking point so you can keep track of it in case you get aggressive with the chain tool.
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With the cam chain all broken in half and shit feel free to remove the cam shaft. With or without the water pump removed, that is. Just be sure to be a good house guest and clean on your way out.
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With the cam shaft removed you can size up the next challenge. Valves. You may say to yourself that those springs don’t look so tough but then again you’d be a big ol’ dumbass. And nobody likes dumbasses.
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With the valve head bolts removed and the cam chain broken you can remove the valve head off of the cylinder.
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Look at that ol’ dirty bitch. 2005 model year piston and rings in December 2016. Thankfully the connecting rod and whatnot proved to be stout. I had a big enough project on my hands.
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Go ahead and take a firm grip upon your dead blow hammer. No, don’t use a standard hammer. Dead blow. Don’t be that person to fuck up their piston sleeve and all that jazz. Gently tap the two pieces apart. It really doesn’t take much.

Garage Nights KTM Style

Sweet, baby Jesus.

I’ve been a busy beaver the past week or so.

If there is one thing this mild winter has been good for it is garage nights and maintenance. The KTM has never been torn down and I am the third owner since 2005. Based on everything I have seen to date the two dudes before me took care of her but seemingly didn’t go much farther with maintenance beyond standard oil changes. Now, I’ve never torn a motor down before but decided to go for it because not only was she due but it would be a learning experience as well.

With liquid courage coursing through my veins I decided to get the ball rolling and I have to say it escalated quickly. The project is probably half way through and a full write up will come shortly.

Holy Sh*t

Here I am doing complex math computations in my mind regarding sprocket diameter and tooth count for the KTM rear hub when The Hotness rounds the corner to say hello.

Mind you it is past her bedtime and I had SeƱor Johnson in my hand mid bladder leak.

She’s damn lucky I didn’t piss all over the bathroom but I have to admit I stopped mid-stream.

You ever try stopping mid-stream? ‘Tis a feat paramount to nuclear fission.

Operation Phoenix Part 1

I don’t really know where to start.

Let’s just go ahead and say that I haven’t really much felt like myself lately. Honestly, life is going well right now and shit is getting knocked out just fine but something feels like it is missing.

One thing that has suffered a bit for me is the guitar playing. I started taking lessons roughly two and a half years ago and the journey has been good. Basically I just need to buckle the fuck down and get my nose back on the grindstone so I can earn my damn denim vest. Playing at an open mic night is a dream of mine that I would like to turn into jammin’ at a local bar or two every now and again. It would be a big step for me as I do not love being in front of people as the center of attention but you gotta face your fears at some point, right? I feel like I have something to say musically but whether or not anyone wants to listen is another story for another day. And, to be honest, I need to play with some people that are better than me because I kind of need to be pushed to reach my full potential. Am I lazy? No. But someone better than me is a good kick in the ass to get my situation in order. I tried browsing Craigslist for a bit to get a jam buddy but that just ended up being a little weird. Maybe I just need to revisit that scenario and go with the flow to see where it’ll take me. Hopefully it just doesn’t end up being tied up in someone’s trunk.

Maybe it is a lack of goals. I mean, obviously I have goals but I have a harder time achieving them right now. Besides playing guitar and singing publicly I would like to race (and race well) in a hare scramble next year. Me and Kathy soaring like eagles through the forest on a trail leading to infamy. Now that sounds magical as shit. Do I have dreams of being a factory rider? No. But I want to jam out rock solid in an intermediate class. At this point I know that she is ready for the challenge but I need a bit of work. I’ve been riding pretty well lately but winter was coming and my frame prepared well. I need to lose about fifteen to twenty pounds to be competitive but at least I’m more 6’4″ than 5’4″.

Alright, so more gym, riding, and more guitar time. Check. Jam on. But still, where does that leave me?

Bear With Me

I have to be honest and tell you that there is someone in my life that you don’t really know. Her name is Kathy and, my God, does she turn me on. She loves getting dirty and the harder you push her the more she wants. She really can take a beating and some days all I can think about it is mounting her.

I surely do love my KTM 450 MXC. Seriously, she’s a fine dirt bike!

After my last trip out on the single track I noticed that my rear wheel and steering stem bearings needed to be changed. I have never had the opportunity to perform this task before but, being The Modern Man and all, welcomed the challenge and started assembling the tools I was lacking plus ordering the bearing kits.

Rear Wheel Step One:

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Pump up the jams, pump ’em up!

Find your jam music and crank it up to 11. Enough said.

Step Two: Remove your rear wheel and pound out the bearings while being careful to not damage your hub. I got excited and didn’t take pictures of this process so I’ll go ahead and deduct 10 or 15 points for myself.

Step Three: Whip out your new bearings and make sure you eye fuck ’em hard, they like that. Also, you’re making sure there aren’t any defects and it might be a good idea to pop the dust cover off so you can be certain the guy on the assembly line didn’t mentally shit the bed and forget to put grease in there. A utility knife works great just don’t cut the cover in the process of removing it. Obviously, properly pack the bearings if none is present.

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Easy, trigger.

Step Four: Hub Prep. Ensure that your hub is clean and ready to receive your balls…er…ball bearings. Slap a lil’ grease in there to help the bearing slide into place.

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Yeah, that’s YamaLube I’m using on a KTM. So what? It’s good stuff and waterproof.

Step Five: Proper tools help you get the job done right the first time. I don’t buy all of my tools at Harbor Freight but sometimes they have just what you need when you need it. This is a race and bearing driver set that retails for about $35 and you gotta admit the colors really pop in that red case! These drivers help you drop the bearings into the hub in a straight fashion with equal pressure and whatnot so you don’t damage the bearing. Use a rubber mallet and pay attention! The bearing needs to be properly seated in the hub.

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Harbor Freight saves the day again!
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Pick the right size driver for the job!

Step Six: Flip the wheel over and grab your spacer. Apply some lube to the shaft and drop it in the hole. I mean, drop it into the hub.

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Ya always gotta lube up the shaft.

Step Seven: Drive the other bearing home so the spacer is sandwiched between the two bearings.

Step Eight: Install your dust covers on both sides of the hub to protect the bearings. Be sure to pop some grease on the dust cover around the inside and outside edges.

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Snug as a bug in a rug.

Step Nine: Before you can put the tire back on the bike you need to pop the spacers in place. As with the other pieces to the puzzle, grease the spacer.

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Don’t space out, man!

Step Ten: Install that tire!

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Tighten all fasteners to their proper torque specification using a torque wrench!

Step Eleven: Bam! You did it! Bearing install completed! Now it is time to celebrate and grab a beverage from the garage fridge. Don’t forget to bedazzle your fridge with the hot stickers that undoubtedly came along with the parts you ordered.

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All Balls, sucka.

 

Riding Phelps Farm

There’s no better way to gauge your level of fitness quite like riding a motorcycle off road and with that being said I’ve realized that I’m a big ol’ bowl o’ gravy.

Phelps Farm is roughly 400 acres of awesome located close by and I finally got the chance to go check it out and ride for a while on my Suzuki DRZ400S. My bike is a dual sport (street legal dirt bike) and while I love her I have to admit that she is overweight and underpowered but she will get you where you want to go if you are patient enough. Riding trails on a bike is pretty new to me and I have a lot to learn before I become comfortable.

When you arrive at Phelps there is a great parking area where you can camp and hang out when you’re not riding the trails. Or you can use it to attempt to catch your breath after you’ve fallen for the one hundredth time…either way.

The Beast unloaded
The Beast unloaded

There are a ton of trails that can be pretty difficult but there is a nice and easy loop for beginners to get their bearings and gain some exposure. The motocross track is probably my favorite so far. It is a good place to develop skills and there aren’t really any trees to impale yourself upon.

Take a break by the motocross track.
Take a break by the motocross track.

The trail sections can be nearly impassable when it is wet but when conditions are good it is pretty fun! Tree roots and mud puddles are my greatest enemies but thank God for compression shorts and protective gear.

A fun little trail section.
A fun little trail section.

I have located a few weak links in the DRZ’s armor and over time I will do my best to band aid the issues. An off road carburetor is on the way and after I install it I will set my sights on upgrading the suspension. I looked up the spring rates and she is set up for a 130 pound rider from the factory. Anything I can do to help her corner speed and stability will be much appreciated!

She's only happy when she's dirty.
She’s only happy when she’s dirty.

All in all, only a mirror, rear turn signal, gas tank vent hose, and my pride were lost on this trip! Not too shabby…

Check out the video I shot on my GoPro below. You can see how unimpressive my riding is while seeing a tiny bit of what is located on the Farm.

One not-so-hot-lap around the motocross track.

One minute of a little trail section.

And, of course, at the end of couple hours of riding I got tired and sloppy and fell off twice within two minutes. Enjoy!