Nihilo Concepts KTM Linkage

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Tested: Nihilo Concepts KTM Linkage

Rating: Vital Review

Review and photos by Joe Carlino

Many people believe longer suspension linkage arms are only made for riders of shorter stature, so they can lower their bike's ride height. Yes, it does that. But when set up correctly, it can also be an advantage on the motocross track to improve the bike's stability and eliminate that loose willowy feel of the stock suspension setup.

Nihilo Concepts Linkage Features:

  • One millimeter longer than stock.
  • Recommended sag 106-108 mm.
  • Anodized orange.
  • MSRP $219.95

First impressions

Out of the box, Nihilo’s CNC-machined piece of art...I mean linkage, really catches your eye. Compared to the stock KTM cast Read More »

Review and photos by Joe Carlino

Many people believe longer suspension linkage arms are only made for riders of shorter stature, so they can lower their bike's ride height. Yes, it does that. But when set up correctly, it can also be an advantage on the motocross track to improve the bike's stability and eliminate that loose willowy feel of the stock suspension setup.

Nihilo Concepts Linkage Features:

  • One millimeter longer than stock.
  • Recommended sag 106-108 mm.
  • Anodized orange.
  • MSRP $219.95

First impressions

Out of the box, Nihilo’s CNC-machined piece of art...I mean linkage, really catches your eye. Compared to the stock KTM cast aluminum linkage, you really get a sense of time and workmanship that went into its creation. The linkage comes with bearings set in place and greased, so all you need to do is remove the sleeve from your stock linkage and slide it in. The weight savings are only about one ounce and to the average eye, the length seems almost identical to stock. But don’t let the small changes fool you, because they make a big difference on the track.

On the Track

Tuning suspension can be a funny and frustrating thing. Making one change can affect another aspect, then making a change to eliminate that can affect something else, quite like a domino effect. I enjoy riding my bike with a deeper sag say around 108-109 mm for stability reasons, but in turn the front wheel would lift out of tight corners. The reason for this was that the shock was riding so low in the stroke, it would blow through the travel and lift the front wheel everywhere when under power. A way to fix this was to use a longer linkage like Nihilo's. The one millimeter difference let me set my sag a bit higher to 105-106 mm, and the problems instantly disappeared. I immediately found that the front wheel would stay planted, but I wasn't giving up rear wheel traction. This change gave me the best of both worlds! The front end would still track during acceleration, but I could corner like an animal and keep the front end down in the ruts. The longer linkage does give the bike more of a “chopper” feel. But I don’t personally mind that feeling, because it has a sense of stability that outweighs the other characteristics.

Long-Term Durability

Nihilo Concepts products are machined in the USA and their craftsmanship is second to none. The bearings have stayed sealed and clean over the last few months. The anodizing hasn't faded like some other products on the bike. Although there are a few nicks and scratches from roost, as well as marks caused by the socket from tightening the nuts on the linkage. With proper maintenance, the linkage arm itself should last the lifetime of your bike.

The Last Word

This was a great addition to my 2012 KTM 250 SX-F, and I’m not going back to my stock linkage anytime soon. At 5'9" and 155 pounds, my bike handles better than stock and I benefitted from all the characteristics of the longer linkage. If you're running into similar problems, this linkage is the cat's meow! Although, spending an extra $200+ can seem like a waste if you've already had your suspension re-valved. In this case, I believe it's worth the extra cash. But this isn't a must-have item for everyone, thus the 4 star rating.

Vital MX Rating

If you want to find out where you can get Nihilo Concepts products, check out NihiloConcepts.com.

About the Test Rider

Joe Carlino - is the guy next door. He looks for products with best value and buys them right off the shelf, just like you. He’s gained experience from being on two wheels since he was a kid. He has bought, built, repaired, and ridden everything from BMX bikes to vintage motorcycles to motocross bikes. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, he spends 75 percent of his free time riding the sticky dirt tracks of Washougal and Mountain View and the rest of his time riding the prime single track trails of Tillamook Forest and Hood River. Joe makes a hobby of this when he’s not traveling the world making snowboarding films for Nike SB. With ten years of experience in the action sports industry, he has an honest look at these products from a consumer’s point of view.


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Specifications

Product Nihilo Concepts KTM Linkage
Type
Features Stiffens initial part of the stroke.

Bike will track straighter.

Eliminates loose wallowy feel.

Newly updated design.
Construction
Miscellaneous This linkage is designed to stiffen up the initial part of the linkage curve and lower the chassis.
Price $219.95
More Info