For this four-part series, we take a look at five easy bolt-on parts that will transform your ADV bike from a Starbucks-destined road queen, to a Dakar-ready desert blasting rally winner. Or something like that. This series is designed to show how much of a difference a few well-thought-out adventure bike upgrades can make to the off-road prowess of your big ADV bike.
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Rottweiler Performance is a well-known name in the adventure bike segment. Hell, that’s probably an understatement. Top adventure riders such as Chris Birch and Quinn Cody run Rottweiler Intake Systems on their bikes, and the brand’s name can be found in nearly every corner of the adventure bike universe, that is, as long as you’re looking at KTMs. Currently, Rottweiler Performance only builds kits and sells parts for KTM and some Husqvarna models, due to the crossover between the brands, which has allowed Rottweiler to become highly specialized in its craft of creating expertly tuned intake kits among other items that drastically change the way the KTMs function.
The Rottweiler Performance Stage 4 Intake Kit is part three of our four part series of performance upgrades that can vastly change the capability of your adventure bike. We opted to include the Rottweiler system due to the relatively easy install and to show that dropping weight and gaining engine performance from your adventure bike isn’t as daunting as some might think. Sure it’s a little more involved than having a dealer throw on new tires for you, but with my limited mechanical skill, I had no issues.
About the company
Chris Parker fitting the Rottweiler air intake into his pristine Husqvarna 701 rally bike.
Rottweiler Performance started like any other high-performance adventure-focused fabrication shop, with a love story. Owner/founder Chris Parker met his wife in Mexico pre-running the Baja 1000, fell in love with her, and began what would be a two year process of getting her into the good ol’ US of A. Chris got tired of driving his truck 200 miles south of the border constantly and decided he’d be better equipped to make the trip more fun and faster on a motorcycle. So, Chris picked up his first street bike. It was lust at first sight (as you can tell, Chris is a bit of a romantic) when Parker laid eyes on a 2008 KTM Super Duke 990.
Chris Parker began slowly turning away business from his previous company, CPR Fabrications, to work full-time on Rottweiler Performance. Singer Porsche is the only account Chris still works with outside of Rottweiler’s core business, simply due to the fact that retaining that account, where Chris builds world-class exhausts for Porsches, helped during the switch and has continued to grow as Rottweiler performance has.
As we often do, Parker got a little bored with the motorcycle and began tinkering with the 990. Chris’s background lies mostly in automobile racing and fabrication. Beginning with little things like building Pike’s Peak record holding race cars, running prominent off-road race teams, fabricating exhaust and intake systems for GTP and Indy cars, and ultimately opening his own high-end race-oriented fabrication shop, CPR Fabrications. CPR’s primary focus having been on intake and exhaust systems, this is where Chris would focus his efforts with his new venture.
The 990 chris bought reminded him of a big burly dog, what kind of dog? A Rottweiler.
Parker had plenty of fabrication experience and also gained extensive knowledge from some very talented engineers who he was able to glean information from over the years. While some folks throw bolt-on parts at their bikes and call it custom, Chris was more interested in the performance to be gained and developed a prototype intake system for his 990, which when dyno’d, produced an 8 hp increase, a substantial performance boost. A customer Chris was building an adventure bike header for saw the prototype, and although Parker asked the guy to remain tight-lipped about the project, thankfully for all of us, he wasn’t. The news spread like wildfire throughout forums, and the deed was done.
In Chris’s words, “What started as lunch money making these kits on the weekend soon turned to rent money, and then slowly throughout the years it just became everything we did. We decided at one point, we’re going to make this business everything we do.”
The Product: Rottweiler Performance Stage 4 Intake Kit
The Stage 4 Intake kit from Rottweiler Performance is a kit of everything you need to completely replace the stock airbox and add two new fueling maps via the included Power Commander V.
The Stage 4 Kit for the 2014 KTM 1190 R consists of the following:
1 Rottweiler Rally Series Filter Element
1 TVS-80-54 Billet Tuned Velocity Stack
1 Power Commander V (Comes with Fueling Dongles)
1 base plate adapter
1 60 cell pre filter
Oiling Instructions + Guide to online instructions
2 / 5 mil Rottweiler Performance stickers
We also received the SAS/Canister removal kit to shed extra weight and help the entire system to run at its optimum level.
Essentially, what is being done with this kit is to entirely remove the stock airbox and emissions components, to save around 10 pounds of weight while optimizing engine performance through the intake system. KTM’s Adventure models have suffered intermittently since 2013 from a poor airbox seal that has allowed dust to make its way to the throttle bodies and possibly into the engine, which carries with it the potential to cause catastrophic engine failure. No bueno. The kit also puts those worries at bay when installed correctly.
Routine air filter maintenance on the big ol Adventure requires removing its 6.1-gallon tank to access the airbox.
Getting to the airbox in general on the newer KTM Adventure bikes is a bit of a hassle. Not because it’s difficult, but because it involves removing most of the plastic fairings on the bike as well as the gas tank, making a common maintenance item relatively time consuming. That being considered, I want to have an air filter that does its job and is easy to maintain when I do have to take all of that stuff off to do so.
After getting the tank off, the air box removal is a cakewalk. Rottweiler Performance’s YouTube channel has videos covering most of their products that will answer most questions and show you the process of the install. The emissions removal is a little tight getting to, but again, not difficult and is also covered in a separate video from Rottweiler. Removing the emissions system also frees up space for tools that the charcoal canister previously took up.
Rottweiler includes one machined billet velocity stack with its stage 2 and up intake kits. This is necessary due to the large foam element filter, a reduction in the height of the velocity stack was necessary, but only on the rear velocity stack. By reshaping the velocity stack with a 180 degree bell-mouth opening and altering the taper of the bore Rottweiler was able to achieve smoother induction flow characteristics as well as velocity, optimizing the added flow volume of its intake systems.
Getting the new system fitted is a cinch, mostly due to Chris’s thorough instructions and further supplemented by the installation videos. After mounting the new adapter plate, installing the rear machined-billet velocity stack and the stock front one, you’re able to easily put the new triple-layer foam open-box design filter on with quick-release fasteners that allow for easy removal for cleaning. The system also comes with the pre-filter; I have seen videos of these being pulled off thoroughly covered in dirt and dust, to reveal a perfectly clean filter element underneath. The way it should be.
In this picture, the pre-filter is installed over the open-box air filter element.
With the Stage 4 kit there are a few more steps than just the intake system, requiring you to route wiring for the Powercommander V, again everything is plug-and-play. The Stage 4 kit includes two maps in the Powercommander. One map is a full performance setting, giving you everything she’s got, captain, while the other map reverts to what Chris calls an economy setting, which is basically stock but tuned to work perfectly with the new filter.
Spray on filter oil is a must as the filter can not be removed from the plastic frame.
The entire procedure took me the good part of a day, though I spent time cleaning the motorcycle’s inner crevices as well as a few other things that I can’t really count against the install time. I would say the actual amount of time it took me to install the kit was 4-6 hours.
So how does it work?
Rottweiler Performance has kits available for big-bore adventure bikes, 500 EXCs, 1290 Super Duke Rs, and all sorts of models in between.
As soon as I rolled the bike out of the garage and fired her up, the first thing I thought was, awesome no error lights and that it started. Of course there shouldn’t be any error lights because, included in Chris’s pertinent kits are dongles to replace sensors that would otherwise throw error lights on the dash. All of the other sensors for problems in the engine and whatnot will still work, it’s only the emissions removal bits you have to block off with the dongles.
After giving the bike some time to warm up and giving her a few tugs on the throttle, you can hear the difference in intake noise, it’s much louder. I dig it. The sound is reminiscent of a trophy truck like the ones Chris used to build, only 100x quieter.
Unfortunately, installing the Rottweiler intake system doesn’t make maintenance any easier. The gas tank will still need to come off.
Riding the bike is a different experience prior to the install, the fuelling is smoothed out perfectly. From the smallest throttle openings, through the entire rev range to WOT, you get smooth power with torque spread out across it like buttah. Delicious. The kit really shines off-road when you’re getting on and off throttle. The KTM 1190 was by no means a poorly fueled motorcycle, but to now know how smooth it can be, that’s just a testament to Parker’s expert tuning skills.
The fact that I now no longer feel the need to worry about my engine sucking up dust is also a welcomed comfort. With so many stories of catastrophic engine failures due to dust getting past the OE air box, Rottweiler Performance’s intake systems have become known as the “fix” for this issue, a designation Chris likened to Star Trek, “Star Trek was never designed to be what it is today, it was the fans that made it into what it is.” Rottweiler’s intake system has always been, first and foremost, on their end, a performance product, but that’s not to say they don’t appreciate the business.
Chris’ operation currently consists of himself, his wife, Mariel, Dave (picture here with Chris), and one or two part-time employees.
When talking to Chris about the future of Rottweiler Performance, it’s clear the passion he has for this company, for his work, and for the industry. He is proud that Rottweiler has become the go-to for KTM performance products and is careful when considering branching out. “I’m a little bit nervous when branching out of KTM because I don’t want people to get the perception that we’re going to start spreading ourselves too thin and not be the experts that we’ve become on KTM products. I don’t want to do that until I know for a fact that we can do it right.”
To wrap up this series, next week we’ll take a look at Baja Designs’ Squadron Sport series lights because when you’re off-road on a big adventure bike at night, there’s no such thing as too much light.
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Source: All Bikes news one