Whether you're battling arm pump, recovering from a broken collarbone or torn ACL, or you just want to improve your overall physical conditioning so you can ride your best, this is the spot to talk about motorcycle rider health & fitness. Hosted by Health & Fitness Expert Coach Robb.
In the world of motorcycles, 50 bucks is something that can dissipate very quickly. One can blow that much on food & drinks at the races or the gas it takes to get to the track or trail. That said, in a world with $10,000 dirt bikes, is there anything that a measly $50.00 can be spent on that really improves the performance of your machine? One great option is the Hammerhead Designs Brake Clevis Kit. While it does add some satisfying bling to your bike, more importantly, it serves an important purpose of improving the feel of your rear brakes, improving braking accuracy and modulation.
The Hammerhead Designs Brake Clevis Kit for the YZ125 eliminates the need for the long and poorly functioning return spring that attaches to the backside of the brake pedal. This was good news because I managed to rip the stock spring off battling my way through the woods.
The Hammerhead kit comes with a beautifully machined & richly anodized aluminum brake clevis, return spring, pin, & snap ring retainer. No instructions were included, but have no fear; this is a very easy, straightforward process. With a little deductive reasoning and a quick google search, I was able to install the kit in just a few minutes with typical hand tools. I had a small hiccup with installation that required me to slightly grind down the backside of my brake pedal to maintain clearance for the pedal to operate smoothly, I am not sure if this is the same with all OEM pedals, or if mine may have been tweaked slightly, but either way, it was an easy modification that took only a few minutes. Once installed and after a brief brake pedal height adjustment, I was ready to hit the trails to see how this bolt-on mod performed.
How'd it work?
The original rear brake set-up on my YZ125 left a lot to be desired. It had a very vague and light feel in the first half of the stroke which often led to premature or panicked slamming of the pedal in order to gain some sort of feel in the bottom half of the stroke. My initial response after installation of the Hammerhead brake clevis was very positive. Pedal feel was greatly increased in the first portion of the stroke, as if the master cylinder had been upgraded with a larger piston. Pushing through the stroke maintained consistency and improved my braking effectiveness. Without any dramatic changes to my braking technique, the improved brake pedal feel & action gave me a confidence boost that allowed me to push a little harder into corners and slower sections without the hesitation caused by lacklustre brake feel. No more panicked slamming of the brake pedal in hard braking situations, just smooth and consistent pedal feel.
How's it held up?
The Hammerhead Designs Brake Clevis Kit is extremely well made and that's good because I'm not easy on bikes! I have a history that includes more than a few broken parts. Despite this, the Hammerhead brake clevis shows no signs of wear or damage, pretty much looking like the day I installed it. I'll report back as the hours pile up, but my expectations is that this part will go the distance.
Bottom-line - 4.5 out of 5
Overall, the Hammerhead Designs Brake Clevis Kit is a fantastic product. For the price, you can't go wrong! This is such a quick & easy way to improve your bike's rear brake feel & control, something that directly translates to increased control & speed. I can only image the improvements when paired with other brake upgrades such as an oversized brake rotor or upgraded master cylinder.
I love my 2017 KTM 690 Enduro, but like anything, it has a few flaws. For almost 11k, KTM couldn't include a sleek looking LED taillight that is vibration resistant and doesn't fill up with silt from water crossings? And, did the left rear turn signal have to sit in the path of hot exhaust gases? The folks at Sicass Racing seemed to have asked themselves the same questions and rather than whining about it like me, they offer a solution with their 2008-2017 KTM 690 Easy Fit Under Fender Kit.
Sicass Racing essentially took an OE KTM dirt bike LED taillight & bracket assembly and added an LED license plate light to keep you legal, everything plugging into the factory wiring. I can't stomach cutting up factory wiring, so being plug & play rocks. Since the bracket is OE, it fits, well... like OE! The only mod that you need to make is to trim off some plastic ribbing under the fender to create some clearance for the license plate light. This was easily done with an razor knife in just a couple of minutes and is completely hidden when buttoned up. The license plate light works just fine, but the rear corners stick out a tad past the rear fender tip, so while it doesn't look quite OE, only the picky will likely notice.
Sicass Racing also offers optional accessories to complete the taillight kit that include a license plate holder and an assortment of halogen and LED turn signals. I went for a pair of their amber/orange lens LED flat mounts, but they also offer clear and smoke lens options. The turn signals also have factory style plugs, so like the taillight, plug & play installation. When you drill the mounting holes for the turn signals, pay close attention to the ribbing on the underside of the taillight bracket. You need to leave a path to tighten the phillips head fasteners.
On a recent ride, I had a buddy follow me while we talked via our bluetooth head-sets. He felt that running and brake lights were plenty visible, even in sunlight and that the turn signals were reasonably visible despite their narrow spacing, flat orientation, and small size. That's more than good enough for me. As those the ride on the street know, some drivers wouldn't see if you have you had 747 landing lights as turn signals. I didn't install in-line resistors or an LED compliant relay, so the blinkers do hyperflash. I'm of the opinion that this makes them more visible, so I'm leaving them as they are.
In terms of durably, zero issues so far with the hardware, bracketry or the electrical components. And, I don't expect any having run an OE KTM LED taillight for a number of years on a previous 450 dual sport that saw plenty of abuse. The flat mount turn signals have stayed exactly where I put them, they are out of harm's way, whether it be exhaust gases, trail brush, or the occasional tip over, and the tail light doesn't fill up with silt from water crossings. Lasty, I think that the Sicass set-up looks a whole lot better than stock, but aesthetics is your call. I pointed out the kit to my riding buddy and he said that if I hadn't, he'd have likely not noticed, so it clearly looks like it belongs. Overall I'm pleased with the functionality, performance, and looks of the KTM 690 Easy Fit Under Fender Kit & accessories from Sicass Racing.