I think the best way to start is in reverse- let's look at the whole thing and then back into it.
So, here's the bike in all its glory, at the first assembly:
Some of the big decisions (aka, bling bling):
Acerbis front tank: Over the years, I've bought many tanks from all the different manufacturers- Clarke, IMS, etc. Acerbis is the only manufacturer I've found that has consistent OEM fit... probably because they are an OE manufacturer.
provided this one, and I think it's the best solution for a rider with my goals. The tank is tough, protects the radiators, requires no fuel pump, and is simple to install and remove- 2 bolts and 2 quick disconnects, and it's off. The bike is clearly a little nose heavy when it's full, but it doesn't do anything evil- here's my buddy Dave doing a whip with it installed:
which I include as unabashed bike porn.
Tank leads me to seat:
I've run Renazco
seats for years, and while it sounds a little off to say I wouldn't trust my butt to anyone else, yeah, I'll just stop there. They are beautiful.
Here's the thing. James is one of the only real, honest-to-god craftsman I know in any business these days. He could make more money with a production line, but he doesn't have one. Not because he doesn't understand he could make more money, but because he wants to make absolutely the finest seats he can, and the way to do that is one at a time. To me, a Renazco seat is equal parts quality, sex appeal, and sticking a fork in Henry Ford's eye.
Other big parts: Exhaust.
I've been running FMF exhausts on the 530 for a while now, and been pleased with light weight, reasonable sound, and improved performance over stock. Another plus is that you can grab the rear fender- the stock exhaust is so bulky back there that it's hard to pick the bike up. Being cheap to a fault, I've never tried one of their headers, but when I called to beg an exhaust, they said full system is the only way to go.
The header is so light that if someone hands it to you, you almost throw it, because the bulk makes it seem like it must weigh more than it does. The bike runs really nice with the system installed, too, enough that I've been eyeing getting one for the 400.
Another area where I've tried them all. My experience has led me to the idea that the "pro bend" guards are the best option, because they protect the end of the letter better as well as staying out of the way for your hand. Cycra
holds the patent and makes the nicest ones I've seen.
A key part of the handguard equation is getting rid of those cheesy expanding nut jobs in the bar end, and putting in BRP
Here, my friend Jeff demonstrates. We proved conclusively that he gets more done drunk than I do one footed. The threaded inserts, combined with the Cycra guards, are a system you could comfortably lift the bike with.
Here's the bike assembled at the Wolfman open house 2 weeks ago, and here it is now:
Back down to fix a few things that we glossed over in our initial build, including:
2011 airbox- note the additional protection above the filter, which is great for minimizing water and silt entering the airbox.
I'm getting all of my KTM parts from KTM of Aspen
. They are so awesome, it's worth working with a non-local dealer, despite the fact that I have one just up the street. Everyone at Aspen rides, and you'll most likely get either Justin, the parts manager, or Mike, the owner if you call. They never say "year make and model" when you ask a question, they'll advise you on which gaskets tend to break when you do the job, and they close from time to time to go riding, which after all, is what this is all about. Awesome shop.
I'm also putting in a 7602 Racing
carb breather filter.
For years, I've been annoyed by the thick layer of cack inside the top of my carbs when I take them apart, this will solve that. Definitely a nice piece of kit, and such a simple solution to a common problem.
Next update: The whole nav system, which deserves some mention of its own.