New Limited Edition KTMs?
In late October, Kyneton-based KTM dealer, Bolton Motorcycles, staged an official opening for the revamped showroom and workshop of affiliated business, Choice Suspension, who was recently appointed as an Authorised WP Suspension Centre. And to help showcase the expanded range of WP Suspension products now on offer in Australia, the Bolton/Choice crew used the opening to unveil their own limited edition KTM EXC machines: 2019 models that have been fitted with top-shelf WP components – a Cone Valve fork, and Trax shock absorber – and a heap of other KTM PowerParts and goodies.
We spoke to dealer principal, Bruce Bolton, to get more of an insight into Choice’s renovated premises, and the unique, limited edition EXC machines that Bolton Motorcycles is now offering its customers.
TM: Explain the connection between Bolton Motorcycles and Choice Suspension, Bruce.
BB: We’re two separate businesses, but share the same premises and work very closely together. Which makes sense because we’ll often sell a bike that a customer not only wants some specific parts fitted to – such as Barkbusters, radiator guards, tyres, etcetera – but also wants the suspension’s spring rates and valving tuned to meet their requirements. Having the Choice guys as suspension specialists right there in the same building lets us do that very efficiently.
How was the official opening of Choice’s new WP showroom?
It was a great night. We had about 90 people come along, including the General Manager of KTM, Husqvarna and WP Suspension in Australia, Jeff Leisk. Gilesy’s [Choice Suspension’s Anthony Giles] new shock dyno created a heap of interest and we’ve had some great feedback since the night. Now that Choice is a WP distributor, they can carry a lot more WP parts and suspension components, and we wanted to raise the bar in terms of how professionally that product is displayed. The workshop – which you can now see from the showroom – has also been revamped, with a new floor and walls, and ‘decorated’ with some framed jerseys that Anthony has received from guys like Chad Reed, Toby Price and Daniel Milner over the years.
There were a few production hold-ups with KTM’s 2018-model bikes, but how have sales been this year? KTM’s new-generation 2019 MX models would have helped bolster sales, right?
Yep. We’ve seen really strong sales with the 2019-model bikes since we got them in early July. At one stage, we were running third in unit sales behind Newcastle KTM and Sutto’s – who have traded number one and two positions in national KTM sales for some years – which we were pretty happy with. Anywhere in the top-five dealers is good for us, bearing in mind that Kyneton is a town of just 5000 people. This year, we’ve seen more sales of the 125 and 150cc models, and the 2019 300EXC TPI has really taken off. I think people now seem very comfortable with the fuel-injected two-strokes’ performance and reliability.
Bolton Motorcycles – or more specifically, Choice Suspension – was recently appointed as an Authorised WP Suspension Centre. Do you see a lot of potential in the expanded range of WP Suspension parts?
I do. Definitely! Now that KTM is the official Australian distributor for WP Suspension, it’s given us a great opportunity to get behind the brand and claw back some of the ground lost to other suspension brands over the years. Whether you’re a Junior on a 65 or 85, a Pro rider, or an older guy like me who just wants a suspension package under him that’s kind on the body, it’s impossible not to feel the improvement that the aftermarket WP forks and shocks give you. That applies from MX to enduro to trail. Plus I think the penny is finally dropping for consumers that WP’s forks and shocks also fit straight onto a majority of late-model Japanese bikes. It’s a great product and Gilesy really knows the technical side of the suspension game. There are a lot of riders – from average trailriders right through to top Pros such as Daniel Milner and Lyndon Snodgrass – who’ve got Gilsey to work on their suspension for years, and they all rate him very highly. These days, WP is a premium product that I’m confident can go head-to-head with the likes of Ohlins and other brands you see guys using at the Finke and Hattah desert races.
Tell us a bit more about the limited edition 2019 EXC machines that you guys has been working on, and unveiled at the showroom opening.
Yes, we’ve built our own limited edition EXC models, which include a WP Cone Valve fork, a WP Trax shock absorber and a whole host of other goodies. The 500EXC-F we had on display at the opening was a kind of desert-themed bike, with a steering damper and Steg Pegz, but we can customise the parts in the limited edition kit to suit the customer. For every one of these limited edition bikes we build, Choice will set the set the factory WP fork and shock’s spring rates and valving to suit the customer’s needs free of charge, fit all the parts at no additional cost, discount all the KTM PowerParts, and throw in the limited edition sticker kit, all ready to ride. That is well over $2500 at no charge. Obviously you get to keep you original fork and shock, plus all the other original gear, so if you sell the bike, you can build your next bike up with all the good gear. Basically we’re giving customers the opportunity to get us to build their ultimate bike.
Take us through what other parts are fitted to these limited edition EXCs, and what they cost.
In addition to the WP Cone Cone Valve fork WP Trax shock absorber, there’s a Titanium Akro Slip-On Muffler, WP 20/22mm Adjustable Billet Triple Clamps, Scotts Over-Bar Damper, Rear Brake Disc Protector, Case Saver, Map Switch-Selector (including Traction Control for four-strokes), Genuine Heavy-Duty Radiator Guards, Brake Snake, Stealth Rear Sprocket, TM Designs Chain Guide, Billet Clutch Cover, Billet Folding Levers, Desert Steg Pegz, Rear Shock Top-Out Limiter, Bridgestone X20 Front and Rear Tyres and Heavy-Duty Tubes, Limited Edition Sticker Kit, Genuine 11.5-litre Fuel Tank, Wave Seat, and Carbon Expansion Chamber Protector (for the two-stroke). The specific prices for the 300EXC TPI and the 350/450/500EXC-F are between $28,740 and $29,510 (which includes full road rego in Victoria), but the kit can be fitted to any EXC model and priced accordingly.
Wow! Not cheap, but the WP suspension itself is worth more than $8K and the things are loaded with fruit. Got a demo unit for us to throw a leg over, Bruce?
Yes, they’re damn good things. Like I said, it’s about building a customer’s ultimate bike. And it’s a long-term investment because they can take the parts with them to their next bike. Not sure we can afford to put one of our demo fleet. Nice try though, Andy [laughs]! That said, we do offer demos on the aftermarket WP fork and/or shock. We simply fit them to one of our 2019 EXC demo fleet bikes – at the moment, we have a 300EXC TPI, 350EXC-F, 450EXC-F and 500EXC-F available.