WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2015): $5,499
MILES: 3323
MPG: NA
MODS: T-Rex Racing frame and engine sliders

The RC390's license plate and street clothes live on a shelf now, and as a track-only bike the KTM lives its life exclusively in day-long fits of totally committed, high-speed (at the apex, anyway!) riding.

KTM RC390 crash
Made you look! The RC hasn’t hit the deck yet, but when it does it will have plenty of sacrificial and easily replaceable parts to slide on.Photo: Julia LaPalme

Since that’s the case, and seeing as the RC390 now handles well enough that it’s reasonable to flirt with the limits of traction, I figured it would be prudent to slap some crash protection on the bike. Most of the mishaps I’ve had on small bikes have been corner-entry lowsides, and in that scenario (when the bike is already almost on its side) having sacrificial friction points in place often means the bike slides safely to a stop, undamaged.

At the moment there only appear to be RC390 crash kits available from two companies: T-Rex Racing and R&G Racing. I went with the more affordable, American-made T-Rex option. The dinosaur's kit ($200; t-rex-racing.com) includes left and right frame sliders and engine-case covers. The frame sliders mount midway up the RC's flanks by way of stout machined-aluminum brackets and industrial-grade hardware, and the engine guards slap directly onto the clutch and stator covers with the supplied longer-than-stock bolts. There's no need to cut the bodywork to fit the parts, though I did have to remove the belly pan and side fairings to mount everything up.

T-Rex frame sliders for RC390
T-Rex machines its pucks and engine guards from solid chunks of UHMW-PE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) that’s said to offer more cushioning than Delrin, which is the other popular material for this application.Photo: Julia LaPalme

The T-Rex kit also comes with a set of swingarm spools, but I put those in my spares box since I'm already running a set of Fast Frank's sacrificial spools (click here for Ari's wheel spacer install). While I was outfitting the RC for a lowside I also slapped on some front axle sliders from the KTM PowerParts catalog. These $40 pucks screw into the axle, offering another sacrificial and easily replaceable contact point.

I’ve had the opportunity to examine R&G’s case covers (but not its frame sliders), and I think the T-Rex components are better parts. They’re quite a bit more robust so should hold up to multiple crashes, and at less than half the cost of R&G’s kit the T-Rex parts are a great value.

I feel like having the T-Rex sliders in place makes me a more responsible steward of the RC390. Thankfully I haven’t properly tested the parts yet. And hopefully I won’t!