[Long-term Bikes]

The Ultimate Ironman Machine

2 months ago | Words: Kye Anderson | Photos: Lesley Flanagan

If you’ve ever been to a Transmoto Enduro Event, you’re probably familiar with the name Kye Anderson because this moto-masochist has racked up a total of eight Ironman-class victories over the past few years. So, to get a better understanding of just how he has been so dominant in a range of conditions and terrain, we asked Kye to give us an insight into his bike set-up for a Transmoto 6-, 8-, 12-Hour race. Take it away, KA64…

As the old saying goes, “horses for courses” – different people are suited to different things. But in my years of Ironman slaughter at Transmoto Enduro Events, I’ve tried a few different steads to get me through the long and arduous days. All have been KTMs and all have been strong and reliable for each race – outside of the damage from rider error, that is. But now I’m 100% sure I’ve found the ultimate bike for the task. And if it can drag my 95kg effortlessly around for six or 12 hours, it’ll surely do same or better for any other Ironman enthusiasts (or riders in general).

So, what bike am I talking about? I’m talking about KTM’s 350EXC-F. This 2019 model is one of several 350s I’ve owner over the years – ranging from the very first model in 2011 right up until 2019 – and these mid-capacity bikes just get better and better every time. So without any further ado, here’s what I’ve done to make my trusty stead, the “Ultimate Ironman Machine”…

Cockpit

I use ODI handlebars with a OEM bend and soft grips. These are the first things I go for when I set up a bike. I then pair them with a set of KTM PowerParts Progressive Handlebar Dampening System (PHDS) bar mounts. I find this combination gives me the best feel, but also takes vibration and harshness out of impacts to my hands and wrists, minimising blisters.

I run standard clutch and brake levers in a neutral position, mounted by KTM PowerParts Perch Clamps with teflon inserts. This allows both the clutch and brake perches to spin on the handlebar, which minimises the risk of damage in the event of a crash. I also fit a set of Barkbusters VPS hand guards to keep my delicate digits safe as houses from rocks, vines and track-hugging trees.

I’ve fitted a KTM PowerParts High Seat to keep my body in a much more manoeuvrable riding position (being over six-foot tall). This allows me to corner and attack oncoming obstacles with much more confidence. The bump you see is a half-piece of a front wheel mousse that I cut and glued into the foam. This keeps me locked into the correct body position without sliding too far back on the seat, taking some pressure off my arms holding me in place.

In addition to the higher seat, I run a Strike Seats custom pleated seat cover with my logo for a bit of extra grip in slippery conditions (and added personality!).

Engine

KTM 350EXC-Fs are so good straight out of the box, I run a bone stock engine with the standard mapping. The only performance part I use is an KTM PowerParts Akrapovic Slip-On muffler to let the engine breathe better, plus it’s quite a bit lighter than the standard exhaust.
I have a KTM Powerparts thermo fan installed to keep everything cool under the collar when mud and debris build up in the radiators and or around the engine.

Funnelweb Air Filters keep the dust out of the engine’s lungs, while having a superior amount of surface area enabling you to get much more life out of a filter.
I use standard gearing 13/52 because it covers me for every track and condition I come across.


I choose to run regular 98-octane pump fuel due to cost (yep, imagine burning 50-60 litres of race fuel in a day?!)

Handling

Raceline Performance do all of my suspension work, front to back. I use standard WP Xplor forks and shock with a simple revalve and heavier springs set up for my weight (95kg).
The KTM PowerParts Pre Loader Adjuster Fork Caps are gold when it comes to making changes mid-race and on-the-fly. I rarely change suspension clickers during the race, but do change fork preload as the race progresses sometimes.

I have done a lot of testing over the years with different settings and springs, etcetera, so I know exactly what I am after. I’ve formed a great relationship with Derek from Raceline Performance, who’s been doing my suspension since 2014.

Protection

To protect my bike against the elements and untimely crashes, I use a hybrid mix of B&B Offroad Engineering products and KTM PowerParts.
B&B has been in the bashplate and radiator braces game for ever and I have been running them since 2013. In between the bashplate and engine, I use coarse 10mm foam to stop the build-up of mud (which adds extra weight to the bike). For wet events, we will zip-tie and stuff coarse foam in any spots mud can potentially store – for example, around rear brake pedal and gear-shifter.

I run a KTM PowerParts Brake Disc Protector Guard on the rear to prevent the chance of damaging a disc in deep ruts or from unsuspecting situations. A KTM PowerParts flexible chain guide allows for hard hits without the risk of permanently bending the component and derailing your chain and potentially damaging your engine cases (which I protect against with a KTM PowerParts clutch slave cylinder guard).
A heavy-duty clutch cover strengthens against heavy tip-overs, plus gives the engine a slightly factory look.

The black KTM PowerParts swingarm guard keeps the alloy out of harm’s way, plus again I think looks pretty cool.
And to protect any vulnerable radiator hoses from being pierced, I cut an old hose and wrap it around the existing hose and zip tie in place. It’s a neat little trick.

Cosmetics

I can’t race without sponsors’ support, so Willmax Graphics allows me to advertise myself along with my loyal sponsors that make it possible for me to go racing year in and year out. Plus, I feel like I always have one of the trickest and unique-looking bikes on the track.

Rubber

They say rubber is safe, right? Well, Mitas Tyres keep me safe on track. I have a huge range to choose from, which gives me confidence in any conditions. But I’d have to say my favourite combo is a C19 Green Stripe 90/90-21 up front and a C18 Green Stripe 110/100-18 on the rear. As most tyre manufacturers are heading to China and Indonesia to cut costs by using poor rubber compounds, Mitas are still made and developed in Europe, so I know they are perfect every time.
Flats? I’ve never had that problem running DuraMousse Mousse Tubes. Last year, I used the same mousse set for the Transmoto 12-Hour and two Transmoto 8-Hours, plus some training – that’s how much faith I have in the product.

Lubrication

“She runs like a well-oiled machine” – yep, Motorex lubricants from top to bottom keep my KTM 350EXC-F running perfectly, day in and day out.

How Do You Get Your Hands On These Parts?

KTM Newcastle stock all of the parts and accessories I use on my bike. So if anything takes your fancy, head in to their Newcastle-based showroom or their website: www.ktmonlineparts.com.au


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