Coach Seiji took the amateur mechanic route. He ordered the parts online and installed them himself to produce his own Rottweiler Performance KTM Adventure 990. Coach Seiji and Andrew Short ultimately ended up with the same modified bike, just took the different approaches offered by Rottweiler Performance.”
My interest in adventure riding started with Andrew Short’s return from the 2013 KTM Adventure Rider Rally where he led group rides. He had a great time and was already looking forward to the next one, planned for Taos, NM. He was instantly stoked on adventure riding, the bikes and the people and I recalled in awe some riders ripping past him on the forest service roads in sketchy conditions. Shorty knew my love of the outdoors, backpacking and climbing and adventure riding seemed like a good fit for me…basically backpacking via motorcycle. I was intrigued but had no idea about adventure bikes. He purchased a used 2012 Adventure 990 to be on a machine that felt more like his own motocross bikes; I followed suit and purchased a 2013 demo Adventure 990 Baja Edition.
Andrew Short took advantage of Rottweiler’s in house, turn-key modification services. He dropped off an essentially stock KTM Adventure 990 that he bought of Craigslist and took delivery of this finished product.
I took my stock bike to the Taos Rally and was hooked. Riding in the mountains with the ability to haul camping gear really got me excited and the adventurous spirited people felt like the tribe I had been missing in motorsports. During the rides, I made mental notes about the modifications I would want; suspension changes, lighting, and weight loss were paramount. I knew the dual exhaust system had potential for huge weight savings and started up a conversation with Chris Parker at the Rottweiler Performance vendor tent. He founded the company and had a display 990 that was off the charts with beautifully fabricated and thoughtful parts, including a single sided exhaust system. I was to start writing adventure segment test articles for Dirt Rider Magazine and a few conversations and beers later, Project 990ADV was born.
Chris Parker cut his teeth fabricating high end parts like this for exotic cars and the famed Millen racing organization.
Rottweiler Performance manufactures and sells performance parts for KTM dual sport and adventure bikes. They also provide a turnkey service where Chris Parker expertly installs, adjusts and optimizes the modifications for the customer. Project 990ADV would explore both of the options: the average adventure riding enthusiast (me) ordering parts online, installing and adjusting the modifications and the turnkey customer (Shorty) dropping his bike off to have Rottweiler do their magic. Both bikes would receive identical parts manufactured or sold by Rottweiler Performance and they would receive feedback from both the average guy and professional rider.
Here is an example of the workmanship that goes into Rottweiler Performance parts. This is the KTM Adventure 990 Single Side Out stainless midpipe.
Some background is in order for Chris Parker and Rottweiler Performance. Chris started welding in his teens and cut his teeth in racing, incredibly at Rod Millen Motorsports, fabricating critical parts for their various professional racing campaigns and projects. After 5 years, in 2000, Chris moved on to Toyota backed teams racing SCORE events in Baja. In his first year as a contributing member of a Baja 2000 team, he tasted victory and began a string of desert racing successes, including championships, as a team fabricator, crew chief and co-driver.
Rottweiler’s shop is a busy place but things are immaculately clean and organized. This attention to detail is evident in the products that are manufactured here.
In his late 20’s, Chris was presented with an opportunity to take over a metal fabrication shop that had machinery and a few customers to boot. Chris Parker Racing Fabrications was born, aka CPR Fabrications, which was also a play on words for the life-saving CPR – breathing life into engines. CPR Fabrications carved out a niche creating custom exhaust systems for high end and collectible cars, garnering attention on the TV show Top Gear and mentions on Jay Leno’s Garage. CPR also became the exclusive provider of exhaust systems for the Singer Porsche 911.
Enjoying business success but yearning for racing adventures in Baja, CPR Fabrications fielded “Team CPR Fab” on 450cc race bikes that often outran 650cc bikes. These race bikes employed external bolt on modifications to produce amazing power and they were featured right here in Dirt Rider Magazine.
All good stories involve a woman, and this is no different. Chris met his current wife and business partner Mariel while pre running for an upcoming race in Mexico. Chris made the 300 mile trip to Mexicali to visit her every other weekend and fuel costs were mounting. He purchased a 2008 Super Duke 990 to continue the trips at a lower fuel cost, and after 3 total years of back and forth trips, they were finally granted a visa so they could get married. During this time the tinkerer inside him could not leave the stock KTM twin alone and with the outstanding results he was getting, you can guess the rest of the story that led to Rottweiler Performance.
The modifications for the Project990ADV bikes go plenty deep:
- Rottweiler Performance Quick Flip Mirrors
- Rottweiler Performance Intake System w/Pre Filter
- Rottweiler Performance High Fender Kit
- Rottweiler Performance Stage III Emissions Removal
- Rottweiler Performance Dog House Storage Box
- Rottweiler Performance Snap Out
- Rottweiler Performance Tune ECU Cable
- Dynojet Power Commander V
- Rottweiler Performance Fueling Dongles
- Rottweiler Performance Single Side Out Performance Exhaust System
- Rottweiler Performance Endurocell Extended Range Fuel Tank w/quick detach upgrade kit
The upgrades on my own 990 were done in two stages. The mirrors, intake system, high fender kit, stage III emissions removal, doghouse storage box and ECU reprogramming comprised the first stage of modifications. All was done in my shop with my own two hands, exactly how a mail order customer would have to do it. On a mechanical difficulty scale of 1-10, nothing on this list would rate over a 6 other than one part of the Stage III Emissions Kit. Just to give you an idea of my mechanical ability, changing a two stroke top end is the most involved thing I would tackle solo and a four stroke valve adjustment required professional, hands on guidance and literally took all day. The forward cylinder block off plate is very difficult to install, not because of mechanical complexity, only because of the cramped space in that area, the only part that received a “6” rating. Reprogramming the ECU seems to strike fear into many, but the free Tune ECU software and watching Chris’ instructional video on his site vanquished any fears and the process went smoothly.
The meat of this first stage of modifications was all the fueling changes and there is some reduction in weight. The intake system obviously frees up breathing as the restrictive air box and paper filter are tossed for an open air/foam filter design. The stock ECU is flashed with a map that is provided by Rottweiler to optimize the physical changes made. The most notable performance change that I felt was much smoother and quicker throttle response from closed to mid throttle and an equally drastic improvement in coming off throttle in the same range. The torque came on sooner and built faster through the smaller to mid throttle openings. The initial off-on and on-off throttle hit was also mellowed. I’m sure at the upper reaches the power is increased but I don’t ride the ADV bike up there much (limited by traction usually) so it was hard to discern the power changes at the limits. The intake sounds do skyrocket, some love it and some abhor it. I liked it and viewed it as just another way to be more connected to the happenings in my motor. As a bonus, the Stage III Emissions Kit alone dropped 2.5 pounds.
The non-performance related mods were just pleasant to use. The Quick Flip mirrors are very high in quality and performed their function well; their myriad of usable positions a major bonus. The Dog House storage box was the perfect spot to stash trail tools in a normally wasted space. The ingenious Snap Out turned the ridiculous task of removing 12 bolts to move the glove box assembly for air filter changes into a ten second affair. Converting to a high mount, motocross style front fender is a must for anyone running knobby tires that can collect mud. The stock fender will tear off with any heavy mud collection and possibly take the brake lines with it. The Rottweiler High Fender Kit provides an elegant way to securely mount the motocross style fork guards necessary in the conversion.
Andrew Short delivering his stock KTM Adventure 990 at Rottweiler’s Costa Mesa facility. Chris Parker and crew provide the products and services to customize your KTM to your specifications.
I put about a thousand mostly dirt miles on the bike in this configuration. The only real concern I had was how quickly the air filter would become dirty enough to be concerned. The larger foam filter massively boosts surface area available for filtration but it is literally sitting on top of the throttle bodies without anything around them to impede dust. I have dirt roads out my front door and in the summer, it is so dusty that the UPS man often wears a mask. The aforementioned increased intake sounds only magnified my fears as I thought I could hear the dust getting sucked through the filter. I pulled the seat and Snap Out often and the foam pre filter did show dust but the main filter never showed anything that even sparked concern.
The next stage of modifications involved some of the more bling products in the Rottweiler lineup. The most visible and weight changing of these is the Single Side Out Performance Exhaust System, comprised of a finely hand crafted 304 stainless midpipe that converts the headers into a single silencer outlet. The beauty of construction of this midpipe cannot be overstated; it’s a work of art. The heli arc welds are done under argon gas, all angles and areas calculated to avoid restrictions. This midpipe was mated with a 14” stainless steel R77 Yoshimura muffler (Shorty’s included a FMF custom muffler per sponsor agreements), equally as beautiful in looks and construction. This single modification reduced mass by an incredible claimed 16 lbs, most of it up high on the chassis. Another high profile addition was the DynoJet PowerCommander V. This fueling computer inserts itself in the stock fueling loop and with the included software, gives the user total control by adding or subtracting fuel at every throttle opening to the existing fueling map. Think of the PowerCommander V as the starting point in exercising OCD upon the fueling; additional items can be added to further enhance control. The PowerCommander was set up with both a “power” map and an “economy” map matched to the growing list of performance modifications, switchable on the go with a toggle mounted under the left grip. Rottweiler offers this preprogramming service as well as providing maps on their site. The last and newest Rottweiler addition was the Endurocell Extended Range fuel tank. This aluminum tank that occupies the stock left side silencer location made available by the Single Side Out exhaust system. Although this addition mitigates some of the weight loss of the SSO system, the additional mileage afforded by the extra 1.3 gallons of fuel (1 gal size also available) is well worth it as the stock range is way shy of 200 miles. The quality of construction matches the SSO midpipe and the optional quick detach upgrade kit makes for a 10 second tool free removal, handy when your buddy runs dry or you just don’t need the extra capacity at the time. Every detail is addressed with the quick attachment/detachment of the tank as check valves, fittings and even fitting storage locations are built into the kit-nothing rattling or dangling, no dirt getting where it shouldn’t.
Rottweiler sells the DynoJet PowerCommander V and offers customers a custom programming service. The PowerCommander will be delivered with the correct maps installed by Chris Parker himself with a certificate stating the necessary information.
Installation of the SSO components went smoothly, the instructions provided very clear and detailed. Fitment of the midpipe and silencer only required a little physical coaxing. Same for the Endorocell/quick detach upgrade, super clear instructions and again only a little muscling. The Dynojet Power Commander V installation was rather involved, only because of the need to remove gas tanks, plastics and snaking a rather large amount of wiring in and about the chassis. Similar to the Emissions Kit, nothing was technically difficult, only physically challenging due to space constraints and associated wire/connector routing challenges. Nothing stressed the limits of my mechanical ability, just stressed my patience.
The performance gains of the second stage of modifications in the “power” mode were drastic. The throttle response further enhanced, torque delivery quickened and smoothed out over the usable rpm ranges on dirt. When pushed into the upper rpm ranges on the street, giggling ensued at the almost ludicrous amount of power on hand for an adventure bike. The economy map installed by Chris only slightly changed performance, and accordingly, only slightly changed mileage. All this is completely tunable to the rider’s desires as an almost unlimited ability to customize fueling is as close as a keyboard or tablet. The power map actually resulted in worse mileage than stock, not surprising considering the performance gains. The weight loss of ditching the stock mufflers is immediately noticeable on lean, especially at slower speeds and the suspension can react quicker. The additional range of the Endurocell can be a lifesaver at times and is always welcomed. On my last ride, I was able to go 220 miles without filling up, a respectable range I believe for an adventure bike. I have yet to exercise all the options of these latest upgrades. The PowerCommander V alone boasts a long list of desirable additions; different maps, ability to custom dyno tune, installing an Auto Tune to optimize fueling on the fly, installing a data logger to view what air:fuel ratios are happening in real time (which could be extremely helpful in troubleshooting on the go) quick shifter kits, and more.
Rottweiler Performance manufactures or sells every single modification listed in this story and to date, all of it has performed as or better than expected. Installation proved to be completely manageable for me and any further questions were answered personally by Chris via telephone, something that he does all the time. Shorty’s Project990 bike was delivered fully prepared and ready to ride. My bike functioned perfectly, but after seeing his bike, the in house preparation displayed cleaner installation options. Things like wiring and hoses were done in a cleaner fashion than what my mechanical abilities produced. Professionals with limited time can enjoy the same benefits our bikes had, with the cleanest installation possible, done by the people who designed most of the parts and value attention to detail, every detail. Both Shorty and I have hammered our project bikes in what I would consider the limits to what an ADV bike should do and we are pleased with how our masterpieces performed and looked. Kudos to Chris Parker and Rottweiler Performance for our bike transformations, which upped our average smiles per mile.
Coach Seiji installing the Quick Disconnect Kit on Andrew Short’s ProjectADV990. This kit allows a tool free, 10 second disconnect of the 1.3 gallon auxiliary tank, useful when filling a riding partner’s tank or removing the tank when it’s not needed.