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Sometimes I get to test stuff early and get the word out to a few of you if something works. 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 under acceleration. 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 rear of the bike 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. Japanese machines come stock with floating blocks so if you want aftermarket ones, it’s basically because you want a different look or want some reversible blocks for different rear wheel length measurements.
Ride Engineering made a new 2023 KTM/Husqvarna axle/axle block kit that eliminates the one-piece axle/axle block on the KTM/Husqvarna. Instead, it uses a Yamaha YZ250 two stroke rear axle (22mm, as the new axle sizing is different on the 22.5/23 KTM) 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 Yamaha axle. The Ride Engineering axle blocks retail for $54.95, and they offer Yamaha rear axle for $90.95, 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. Maybe if you’re riding soft dirt you will not be able to feel it so you east coast guys could skip this. 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 out of corners as the rear of the KTM/Husqvarna stayed straighter under throttle. To me a modification like this is worth it for intermediate/hard terrain because I can actually feel more comfort. I rode on some sand tracks and couldn’t quite feel it as much as I could on harder based dirt. 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 ounces less than the KTM/Husqvarna axle, just in case you’re on a diet and counting your ounces. The Ride Engineering axle blocks will come in black or orange and has an easy to etching on the block to properly line up your wheel from the KTM’s swingers markings. 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.