Long-Term RC390: Lightening Up With Pro-Bolt Titanium Fasteners

Pro-Bolt's bike jewelry makes your motorcycle prettier and lighter.

Pro-Bolt titanium hardware
These beautiful Pro-Bolt fasteners and my wedding ring are made from the same Grade-5 titanium. The bolts’ threads are rolled, not cut, which increases the bolts’ strength.©Motorcyclist

Cynics will immediately dismiss the $100 of titanium fasteners I put on the KTM RC390 project bike as a total waste of time and a pointless act of vanity. That's fine, and not totally inaccurate.

The fact is I only shaved a few ounces off the RC’s svelte chassis, but some of those nuts and bolts needed replacing, and damn they look good! I swapped out the front brake-rotor bolts ($47 for six) as well as the worn-out axle pinch bolts ($14 for two) up front, and on the rear wheel I replaced the rounded-off sprocket nuts for titanium as well ($32 for a set of six). According to my scale the titanium pieces are on average half the weight of the steel parts I replaced, adding up to a total weight savings of about 3 ounces.

Pro-Bolt race bolts
The original steel axle pinch bolts were pretty beat up and at risk of rounding out due to poor quality and heavy use. These titanium bolts are more durable, lighter, and they’ll make me smile every time I see them.©Motorcyclist

Minimal, yes, but keep in mind that’s unsprung and rotating mass, a double-whammy of importance in terms of performance. And there was also a practical reason for replacing some of the fasteners—they were rounded off and worn out. The RC’s stock hardware is made from junky soft steel, and after lots of wheel and gearing changes the axle pinch bolts and rear-sprocket bolts were worse for the wear. Why replace them with more crappy pot-metal parts when I can upgrade to stronger, lighter, beautiful components?

Pro-Bolt offers a wide range of titanium goodies, plus aluminum and stainless steel stuff, too. It's all made in the UK but available in the Unites States through ProBolt-USA.com.