KTM Motorcycle tests
It is often said that the only difference between funding a race team and throwing money in a bonfire is that you’ll actually stay warm if you burn the money. That comparison isn’t far off. Fielding a professional motocross race team is a money pit. There’s a gross misunderstanding about the expenses needed to even get to a single race. Motorcycles cost money, as do team personnel, parts, travel, transportation, fuel, food, and rider salaries. It doesn’t take a genius accountant to realize that funding a race team is a terrible investment.
Yet enterprising individuals, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring conventional wisdom, enter the racing fold. Why? It’s for the same reason why Ray Kinsella, in the movie “Field of Dreams,” cut his crops to build a baseball field in Iowa. Following a dream is motivating and exciting. It’s also dangerous. That’s why so many successful businessmen, with dreams of winning races and championships, have washed out of professional racing.
The MXA wrecking crew commends aspiring race team owners. We root for them. Although the odds are heavily stacked towards failure for these dream seekers, we respect their drive. Fortunately, operating a profitable race team isn’t an impossible venture. Money makes the racing world go around, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. If run properly, a smart and educated team owner will be fiscally rewarded. And a happy team owner will continue to fund a racing effort. Jobs will be maintained. Open slots will remain available to riders. The heart of motocross will continue to pump money throughout the industry. We’re all better for it.
A SHARED GOAL AMONG MULTIPLE INVESTORS, SUCH AS FIELDING A RACE TEAM, IS A WISER CHOICE THAN A SINGLE TYCOON FOOTING THE BILL.
Lance Vincent's Munn Racing KTM didn't get much use this year, as Lance got hurt early on.
A shared goal among multiple investors, such as fielding a race team, is a wiser choice than a single tycoon footing the bill. Why? Every entity brings something to the table. That’s exactly how the Munn Racing KTM team came to be. Chip Munn, of Munn Racing, partnered with Josh Rogers (EBR Performance) and Tom Crain (Moto Innovations) to put together a racing effort.
Unlike a vanity team, which is created with the sole purpose of fulfilling a personal dream of a wealthy businessman, Munn Racing is showcasing a line of products from the trio. Chip Munn owns a KTM dealership outside of Dallas, Texas. He’s in the business of promoting his dealership. Josh Rogers, owner of EBR Performance near Houston, specializes in engine and suspension modifications. The third member of the party, Tom Cain, is the owner of Moto Innovations and invented the Ankle Savers footpegs. All individuals knew that they would benefit from the nationwide promotional opportunities of racing Supercross and hitting the National circuit.
Before the start of the 2012 Supercross season the trio joined forces to reach a common goal, and Munn Racing KTM was born. They signed Lance Vincent and Sean Hackley for the 250 East coast Supercross series. Unfortunately, as was the case with many riders this year, injuries forced both riders on the sidelines for several races. Vincent was the star of the team, finishing in the top ten at Dallas and making four main events. Heading into the Nationals Munn Racing added Cannan Barrileaux, as well as Sara Pettersson to the women’s class.
MXA prides itself on testing all types of motocross bikes, but nothing gives us greater joy than throwing a leg over a rare motorcycle. The allure of the unknown is exciting. In a way, testing the Munn Racing KTM 250SXF provided that exhilaration. Although a privateer team, the melding of different companies was intriguing. We were also interested in testing the bike of a top privateer, Lance Vincent. It was a no brainer for us to arrange a bike test with Munn Racing.
KTM’S UPSCALED COMMITMENT TO RACING HELPED INFLUENCE CHIP MUNN TO FIELD A TEAM. IT’S A WIN-WIN FOR THE DEALER AND THE MANUFACTURER.
With improved suspension and a boost in power, the Munn Racing KTM 250SXF maximizes KTM's already accurate handling.
The three parties involved in the Munn Racing team have a background in motocross. Chip Munn has raced motorcycles his whole life. He has also been a KTM dealer since 1999. When KTM ramped up their racing efforts in the U.S., Chip Munn benefitted from the Austrian’s goal to have a stronger showing on the pro scene. How so? In previous years Munn had to buy KTM bikes in order to go racing, but for 2012 KTM North America is supporting Munn with an allotment of bikes. Considering the cost associated with a fleet of KTM 250SXFs, KTM’s upscaled commitment to racing helped influence Chip Munn to field a team. It’s a win-win for the dealer and the manufacturer.
Josh Rogers, of EBR Performance, is on the fast track to prime time. Recently the hop-up shop moved to a larger facility and hired more help. At the moment EBR caters to the Texas motocross market, especially amateur riders. However, with the many services that they provide it’s not hard to believe that EBR will continue to gain popularity.
As for those wide ranging services, Rogers and his staff specialize in engine and suspension upgrades. They also offer dyno tuning, radiator repair, valve and seat resurfacing, powder coating, make suspension parts, and build complete race bikes. It’s not surprising to hear that EBR Performance takes care of the engine and suspension on all of the Munn Racing KTM team bikes.
BELOW IS A BREAKDOWN OF THE KEY AREAS OF LANCE VINCENT’S KTM 250SXF.
As a part of the Munn Racing Triad, EBR Performance is in charge of engine performance.
Engine: Rogers disassembles Lance Vincent’s engine, matches everything up and checks for manufacturing flaws. He then installs high-end bearings, a lighter and stronger rod, polishes the crankshaft assembly, ports the head, cuts the seat (on a seat and guide machine), changes the valve angles, and uses a high-compression piston with a smaller skirt and coated pin. Most of the moving parts are super finished, such as the valve spring seats and primary, kick starter and idler gear. Rogers made injector changes to the throttle body. Munn Racing uses Renegade Racing SX4+ (the most expensive race fuel option from Renegade).
Mapping: The team opted for the stock ECU with KTM software to adjust engine timing and fuel delivery. The mapping is quite a bit different than stock, and Rogers spent a lot of time on the dyno in order to get the the proper camshaft combination. A note of particular interest, Vincent is the only rider on the team to use a kick starter instead of an electric starter. Why? In Josh Rogers words, “We wanted to try certain cam combinations, and with the electric starter we discovered that certain durations caused havoc.” The team also learned that they could bypass the tip over sensor, so the bike can remain idling regardless of how long it’s laying flat.
Clutch: Lance Vincent relies on a Rekluse Core EXP auto clutch in Supercross and outdoors. At the beginning of the season Lance used the Core Manual clutch, but found that the engine hit extremely hard. Fatigue quickly set in while riding, so the team switched to the automatic Core EXP to lessen the abruptness of the engine. The Rekluse clutch lessens engine brake and keeps the bike running in the event of a crash.
Lance Vincent's suspension includes stiffer springs, billet shock piston and special spring seats in the forks.
Suspension: EBR Performance takes care of hard coating the WP fork tubes. Internally, Vincent runs stiffer springs and altered compression and rebound damping. Special parts include the billet spring seats in the forks (manufactured by EBR) and billet floating shock piston (also made by EBR, it replaces the flimsy plastic piston). The seat foam is 15mm lower than stock. Vince prefers to have his subframe cut 10mm, since he is of shorter stature. Speaking of the frame, EBR Performance powder coats the frame in eye-catching bring orange.
Aftermarket parts: Munn Racing uses a host of aftermarket products from quite a few companies. The list includes DEP (S7 exhaust system with a resonance chamber), Enjoy Manufacturing (graphics), PMP (sprockets), Motorex (oils), DT1 (air filter), DP (brakes), D.I.D. (ERT 520 chain), Moto Tassinari (air boot), ODI (grips), Dunlop (MX71F front with a 110/80-19 MX51 rear), Motion Pro (tools), ICW (oversized and reinforced radiators), Renthal (999 bend TwinWall handlebars), ASV (front brake lever), Cycra (skid plate and plastics), and Engine Ice (radiator coolant).
THE MUNN TEAM RELIES HEAVILY ON KTM POWERPARTS–NEED PROOF?
The 22mm offset triple clamops are directly from KTM's Power Parts catalog.
The Munn team relies heavily on KTM PowerParts. Need proof? Vincent’s bike has D.I.D. DirtStar rims with D.I.D. hubs, a two-button holeshot device, aluminum gas cap, 22mm offset orange triple clamps, and frame grip tape–all from KTM PowerParts. KTMtalk.com and Motocrossuniversity.com are also on board.
The ankle Saver footpegs prevent the rider's ankles from hyper-flexing when casing a jump.
Ankle-Saver: Tom Crain is the third part of the Munn Racing puzzle. His creative invention, called the Ankle-Saver, aids in preventing hyper-flexion of your ankles by offering support to the heel of your boot when casing a jump or landing hard. The metal tongue behind the footpeg is incorporated into the peg itself and basically supports your foot from wrapping around the footpeg upon heavy impact. It’s a smart design.
IT TOOK ONE LOOK AT THE LOW PROFILE HANDLEBARS, CLOSE LEVERS AND SEAT TO REALIZE THAT WE WERE NOT GOING TO COMFORTABLY FIT ON VINCENT’S KTM 250SXF.
Munn and DEP worked together to develop the DEP S7 exhaust system that complemented Vincent's riding style.
Let’s make one thing clear. Lance Vincent is a small guy. It took one look at the low profile handlebars, close levers and seat to realize that we were not going to comfortably fit on Vincent’s KTM 250SXF. Having said that, we commend Lance on running a neutral setup. We’ve tested plenty of pro bikes where the bars are in our laps and the levers are pointed towards the moon.
We were most interested in testing the Rekluse Core EXP automatic clutch. It’s not uncommon for a Pro rider to use a slipper clutch (Andrew McFarlane’s Yamaha of Troy YZ250F comes to mind), But the EXP is not a slipper–it is an auto clutch. Vincent’s Rekluse was so good that, had it not been for the Rekluse clutch cover, we might not have realized what was inside the KTM 250SXF. The Rekluse did an excellent job of acting as a conventional clutch in most situations, and excelled in tight corners where stalling or loading up the engine might have been an issue. We even tipped over the 250SXF once while in third gear (on purpose, of course) to see what would happen. Vincent’s engine stayed lit. After picking the bike up we rolled on the throttle and powered away. It was awesome!
The oversized and reinforced radiators come for ICW.
The EBR Performance-tuned engine was the obvious work of a perfectionist. Josh Rogers burned the midnight oil while trying to dial in Lance Vincent’s KTM, and it showed. Josh admitted that Lance wanted a powerband that was smooth in transition, didn’t rip his arms off, and was broad. That’s exactly what every test rider felt while spinning laps on the Munn Racing bike. The engine revved slowly, just like the stock KTM 250SXF, and had the same basic characteristics of the stocker. Where it differed was in the amount of power than the EBR engine produced. Broad is the best word to describe how the engine performed.
We knew going into the test that we would need to chop off one of our legs in order to weigh somewhat close to what the slender Lance Vincent does. We were probably 40 pounds heavier than Lance, but it didn’t matter. Slower test riders, not even in the same zip code in terms of speed, still appreciated how the 250SXF suspension worked. The speed bias was offset by weight. Remarkably, the forks stayed up in the stroke and felt fluid in rough chop. We came away impressed by Vincent’s suspension.
WE PRAISE CHIP MUNN, JOSH ROGERS AND TOM CRAIN FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO A SHARED GOAL. THEIR HARD WORK AND DEDICATION HAS LED TO THE REALITY THAT A TOP PRIVATEER TEAM CAN MAKE AN IMPACT.
We praise Chip Munn, Josh Rogers and Tom Crain for their commitment to a shared goal. Their hard work and dedication has led to the reality that a top privateer team can be built and make an immediate impact. Not only has a dream become a reality for this trio, but they have helped grow the sport. And, without them, the MXA wrecking crew wouldn’t have had the opportunity to test Lance Vincent’s Munn Racing KTM 250SXF. For that we give thanks.
See MXA's video here: