Pro Circuit KTM 65 SX Project Bike - Dirt Rider Magazine

The Pro Circuit KTM 65 SX may look plain on the outside, but it's anything from average on the inside!

More ice cream. More allowance. More time to defeat the "super hard" video game boss before bed. Kids typically want more of everything, and young motocrossers are no exception. In the mind of a youth racer, the best way to modify a bike is to throw more power at it, which might (if the rider is ready for it) result in more trophies, more time away from school at big races and, with a little luck, more attention from that cute girl at the trackside snow cone stand who doesn't seem to be the least bit impressed by methanol-fueled RC cars or unicycle skills.Can you see a trend here? Pro Circuit can. A major player in the mini market, Pro Circuit realizes the value in bringing more performance to the youth racing scene without compromising ease of use or durability. In other words, the company specializes in turning minis into quick, reliable race bikes that can withstand the abuse of a sugar-fueled 8-year-old while simultaneously allowing the mini dad to make adjustments back at the motor home in between motos without a degree from MMI. We recently got our hands on Pro Circuit's latest project bike, a ripper of a KTM 65 SX that featured all of the latest and greatest mods in a race-ready package. With the help of mini test rider Derek Drake, we were able to gain a clear idea of exactly how this bike ticks.Probably the biggest feature of the modified 65 SX is the motor. Pro Circuit kept it simple and sweet with some careful head and cylinder modifications helping the bike achieve additional peak power. More horsepower gains were found through the easy installation of one of its Works pipes, capped off by an R-304 silencer. The big-news mod here is the Adjustable Power Valve that essentially allows dad to adjust the power curve to junior's preferences. The unit comes preset from Pro Circuit with what the company feels are the best settings, but ultimately it's up to the end user to determine what kind of character they want the motor to have.On the track, our 70-pound test rider, coming off his stock and modified KX65s after a previous season on KTMs, took little time in getting used to the project bike. The little KTM flew around the track with the usual velocity of a modified mini, except in this case the bike was clearly staying hooked up to every square inch of dirt the knobbies came in contact with. Pro Circuit dialed this machine in to operate on usable acceleration and crisp delivery (rather than sheer, arm-ripping power), and the outcome was a bike that Derek could carry plenty of momentum on without having to worry about the power dropping out.When asked, the young racer offered a no-nonsense assessment of what the bike was doing: "It has more power on bottom and on top than any other bike I've ridden. It went through the gears really good, and it pulls really hard. I don't have to shift it a lot. It's really smooth in the motor, when you come out of a corner and just roll it on. I don't have a least favorite thing about it, I just love the bottom and top power!" Derek's father, Barry, was also pleased with how his son looked on the bike, and was excited by the adjustability the machine provides. "I think he feels more comfortable on the KTM," Barry stated. "It has a tiny bog on hard landings, but all of the stock KTMs have that and it's not hard to get rid of. Other than that, you can tell from watching that the motor is incredible. This really is quite a machine. On the adjustability of the power curve, it's huge for a dad to be able to work on the bike and tune it. Pro Circuit will tell you what's going on, and from that point it's just what you want to do to dial it in for the rider. This thing obviously runs really well, though, and with a little adjustment it would be easy to get perfectly set up for different tracks."

The Pro Circuit KTM 65 SX may look plain on the outside, but it's anything from average on the inside!

The motor wasn't the only feature that this father-son team raved about on the Pro Circuit 65. Handling-wise, a number of significant changes were made by the Pro Circuit crew in order to fine-tune the machine for the rigors of amateur national racing. They spared no expense in throwing DLC coatings and aftermarket valving at the KTM's fork and shock, along with a Bladder Cap Kit, trick anodizing and fresh fluid. The sum of these changes is a suspension setup that better resists heat fade under race conditions while providing better action, increased bottoming resistance and improved rider feel. Basically, they took all of the KTM's stock suspension strong points and amplified them by 10. According to Derek, the "suspension never bottomed out. It felt really good in the whoops. It was a tad bit looser in the back end than my Kawasaki, but on big jumps it was really good." The benefits were visible to Derek's father, who saw noticeable improvements in straight-line stability and the bike's ability to tackle big-bike-sized braking bumps. These improvements trickled into increased rider comfort as well. "If you look at what he's doing out there," Barry said as Derek ripped around the track, "he looks like he has so much more confidence on the bike. The handling is great, and right out of the gate you can tell it was a lot straighter everywhere. The suspension is clearly phenomenal; it's a Cadillac in the rough stuff!" While the motor and suspension saw serious revisions, the rest of the KTM remained unchanged from the stock machine, as evidenced by the lack of aftermarket trickery and the plain look of the bike.As expected, one aspect of the bike that was increased right along with the performance was the price of the machine. The Works Coating Kit alone is just under a grand, proof this motorcycle was built for serious racers only-the average kid most likely won't need DLC coatings to get around his backyard track. However, the easy tunability of the machine is hard to ignore, and as far as one-stop modifications go there isn't much more you could ask for from Pro Circuit. When quizzed if he thought that this bike would be competitive with the top machines in the mini ranks, Barry summed the PC KTM 65 SX up perfectly: "This bike wouldn't just be competitive with the top bikes in the class-it is the top bike in the class! Now I know how Derek's competition does it. Some people call it cheating, but it's definitely not cheating. It's called good equipment."

The Pro Circuit KTM 65 SX may look plain on the outside, but it\'s anything from average on the inside!
The Pro Circuit KTM 65 SX may look plain on the outside, but it\'s anything from average on the inside!