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Aprilia SXV with Kold Kutter review

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For this winter I thought I would have a go on the SXV with proper wheels (21", 19") and tires so I searched around for alternatives and ended up with Kold Kutter canadian studs. I found some used wheels and a longer swing arm (standard swing arm) so I thought I would have a go at it! I thought I had to change the clamps too (as I use ICE clamps, 2 degrees steeper and shorter offset) but I could just turn them around and it made enough clearance to use the larger wheel.

Luckely for us there has been a lot of strong winds which has cleared the ice from snow and let the ice grow even though the conditions have been bad for proper ice to build, so when the day came where we could try it out there was no question if I would go even though I had a cold :bonk:

The most immediate thing you discover when you go from a KTM 200 SX (100 kg) to a Aprilia SXV 450 (125 kg, probably more with these tires) is that it takes a lot more effort to get it into and out of the van with spike tires. Not only do you need to be strong to push the bike but you also need to keep balance so you dont slip on the ice... The KTM I could load by my self but I had a fellow SXV'er from Belgium named Glenn help me load the SXV.

Once out on the ice I drowe about 25 meters before I tried out how far you could lean the bike. The ice was untouched and with the finnish studded tires (looks like needles) you could easily scrub the handle bars in this condition with the KTM, something that was not possible with the Kold Kutter tires and the SXV. You might be able to reach higher lean angles if you use a lighter bike and mount the studs differently but it really is not important because you never use lean angles like that when you are trying to lower lap times.

Something else I noticed with the KK´s compared to the finnish studs are that KK´s slide a bit when you change direction but then kind of settles. You do not end up where you think you would but about 4 inches on the outside which means that you need to go into the corner earlier. The upside of this is that the KK´s are very predictable and transitioning between slides (front and rear or left to right) is smooth and easy to control. They also give you a lot of margin, it almost feels like as long as you ride within reason you can´t crash. I only went down once and that was on purpose while I were trying out the limits of the lean angles.

Another good property of the KK´s are that the worse the ice gets during the day, the better they grip. I think that on a worn track the KK´s are probably as fast as the finnish studs but easier to ride with. Especially the front tire gets much easier to control when it is sliding and you can use it as a tool to end up on the racing line you intended when you screwed up by steering in too soon.

The SXV as a ice bike is actually a lot better than I had imagined! Sure it is big and heavy and you do notice it quite a lot, but it is also stable, easy to control and never lacks power. I could almost go to the extent of saying that it might just be a better ice racing bike than supermoto racing bike. I feel like you do not get punished as much from the weight on ice because you can more easily counter it by sliding and as you have more margins the additional power in low speed corners make less of a issue. Where you do notice it though is when you support its weight with your inner leg and when you try to change direction. It takes more energy to ride it compared to a single, but then again its stable and GOES on the straights!

The front brake was something else that I was surprised of, I thought it would be very aggressive but it was actually very controllable. I never had a moment where I ended up with more front brake than I intended but at the same time the KK´s let me brake harder than I thought I would be able to also. The engine characteristics suit ice racing very well because you can start off early in the corner with low rpms and it will pull enough to keep it sliding all the way to the exit where you get into the meat of the power band and it pulls hard on your arms down the straight. I think the suspension set up needs some work to gain some rear grip during acceleration but that is something you can count on when going between different surfaces.

Glenn who never have ridden on ice before found the SXV and KK combination to be easy to get into. From what I understood he saw the same thing as me, that ice racing might just be the most fun you can have on a bike. I also had a 16 year old kid ride the SXV and he too appreciated it a lot asking his dad for one for new years eve! Both of these riders improved a lot during the day and that proves that it is a great combo for the conditions!

Even if it would show that its not the fastest thing out there its still worth trying because the fun factor of it. I think so far these tires is the most fun to ride and it is not that expensive either, they also seem to last very well and that is a huge bonus when you spend 800$ on a pair of tires (which is what finnish studded tires cost). In both my mind and in my heart the SXV with Kold Kutters is a winner!

Video:

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If you ever get around to making new, or buying new, ice tires. You can improve your grip a great deal. Even using US KK studs you can get some pretty serious grip.

These tires are poorly indexed, we line up the slots in a known pattern. But you get the idea. You can't see it, but the screws are offset about 15 degrees AWAY from the diredtion of rotation on the rear and away from the center on the front. They also have liners in them and use 1 1/8 inch screws.

IMG_20110120_220901.jpg

Here's a vid of the tires in use. Note the grip the guys get. They are in third of forth gear on even the tight corners.

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If you ever get around to making new, or buying new, ice tires. You can improve your grip a great deal. Even using US KK studs you can get some pretty serious grip.

These tires are poorly indexed, we line up the slots in a known pattern. But you get the idea. You can't see it, but the screws are offset about 15 degrees AWAY from the diredtion of rotation on the rear and away from the center on the front. They also have liners in them and use 1 1/8 inch screws.

IMG_20110120_220901.jpg

Here's a vid of the tires in use. Note the grip the guys get. They are in third of forth gear on even the tight corners.

Yeah next time I will make proper tires, get those Kenda´s which take more studs. It was a trial run this time, theres very few that use these here, we use the finnish studs but they wear so quickly its not economical to keep using them.

I saw that video from KK on how to install them but do you mean that you lean them so that they lean away from the ice instead of into the ice when they reach the surface? That sounds a bit reversed from common logic

I did liner and the longest of the screws though, didnt turn them for the first run, but I got them tuned for next time

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