KTM/Husqvarna uses an axle that resembles a bolt with a nut on one end. Although it’s nice not to have to mess with the left side axle block when putting in the axle through the swingarm, it’s not so friendly on the rear end of the bike while you're riding. Why? Because when you’re heavy on the throttle coming out of corners the rear end of your machine will squat under load putting force on the axle/axle blocks that sometimes can make the shock feel rigid and harsh. If the axle blocks can’t semi float (when hitting bumps under throttle) there will be some added rigidity put on the swingarm. Although crazy to think about little things like this can make a noticeable difference with the handling of your machine.
Ride Engineering makes a KTM/Husqvarna axle/axle block kit that eliminates the one-piece axle/axle block on the KTM/Husqvarna. Instead, it uses a Honda CRF450R rear axle combined with special CNC-machined axle blocks that slip into the KTM/Husqvarna swingarm. However, you will 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, but how do they work?
I am not going to sit here and blow smoke up your asses and say everyone that has a KTM/Husqvarna are going to feel this modification. Could I feel the difference when going back to back with the stock axle/Ride Engineering axle block kit? Yes, I could, but to me I only could feel it when coming out of corners with square edge as well as fast choppy conditions. After installing the Ride Engineering kit the rear of the bike felt more compliant and had less spike/harsh feel. I could feel more rear wheel traction immediately out of corners as the rear of the KTM/Husqvarna stayed straighter under throttle. I also felt like I could stiffen up my shock’s low speed compression because I had a free-er feel to the rear of the bike under load. To me a modification like this is worth it because I can actually feel more comfort. I had some of my less sensitive test riders help me with this test and one of them couldn't feel a thing, so installing the Ride Engineering Axle Block Kit should be based on how sensitive of a rider you are.
The Ride Engineering Axle/Axle Block Kit does not add weight to the machine and in fact weighs a couple grams less than the KTM/Husqvarna axle, just in case you’re on a diet and counting your grams. The Ride Engineering axle blocks themselves come in black or orange and have a unique design that allows easy chain alignment with tabs that have markings that can be easily seen and measured off the end of the swingarm. The blocks are also 2mm shorter than stock for more gearing options.
If you’re a sensitive rider and can feel your way around a motorcycle fairly well this Ride Engineering axle/axle block kit is a great way to get more connection out of your orange or white ride. Head over to Ride-Engineering.com to check them out.