I've had the +10mm link fitted to my 2022 Superduke R, but I've recently upgraded to a 2023 Superduke R Evo. Is it suitable to fit the links on the Evo or is it not needed as it's electronic preload on the Evo?
The EVO uses the exact same parts related to control arm, links, swingarm, even shock length. Only difference is the electronic control of the shock / spring. So yes, you can use your same +10 on the EVO. I have many EVO customers who are very happy with their Sport Links. Some have the +10, others have the +20 and +15.
Funny thing about using preload to adjust ride height, in my opinion it's not a great way. Preload does not make the spring stiffer or softer, it simply moves the window of your travel up or down in the stroke of your shock.
For example: If your favorite setting for the EVO puts you pretty close to the top of your shock travel, and pretty close to the bottom of your shock travel, you have an excellent setup. You are using almost all of your travel, your ride feels comfortable, you have good control of your bike. Let's just say that is your perfect setup.
Now you switch your EVO to a different suspension mode, that adds preload to your spring. What that actually does is it pushes down on your spring from the top, by winding that adjuster - but that adjuster only has the same weight of you and your bike on it that it did before, so nothing about the spring changes at all. The spring does not get compressed. The spring does not get shorter. It simply pushes the bottom of the shock down exactly as much as the adjuster pushes on the top of the spring - which increases your "ride height".
But it doesn't really increase your ride height, by increasing your ride height. It simply compresses your shock more, using up more of its travel, which now gives you LESS of a travel window. Which now makes you more susceptible to bottoming out - because with the ideal setup that you had a moment ago you used 37mm of your shock travel when you rode over the railroad tracks a mile from your house. Bike handled it perfectly, because you have 40mm of travel available to you. But after you dial 5mm of preload into the spring, now you only have 35mm of travel available. So what's going to happen when you hit that same railroad track a mile from your house today? You're going to bottom out. Which is not ideal.
That's why we use Sport Links and adjustable length shocks to adjust our ride heights, rather than preload. Because Sport Links add height without affecting your shock and spring at all.
So yes, use your Sport Link on your EVO. Because it is a much better way to increase your ride height (and swingarm angle, and trail, and anti-squat, and flickability, corner speed, turn-in, confidence, etc.) than by adding preload to your spring.
I hope this makes sense, because it is a challenging thing to both explain and understand. Most of my racing career I thought adding preload made the spring stiffer. That seems logical right? I was so wrong.
I'd like to try these links. Do you recommend starting with the +10, +15, or +20? I ride all street so far, some twisties, no track days, and I'm using stock sprockets & chain length.
I want to help you understand a little bit of the science behind the Sport Links, which I think can help you decide for yourself which one to go with. I can make suggestions but really I'd be guessing, because much of what the Sport Links do contributes to what you "feel" when you ride. And that's a subjective thing. Some want to feel one thing, others want something else. So maybe some background here can help you get a better "feel" for which Sport Link might suit you best.
KTM took a step toward "sportier riding" by adding a link to the Gen3, but they also took a step (or two) away in how they configured it. That really caught me off guard especially, because racing gets you pushing motorcycles to such extremes that little characteristics at 50mph become HUGE characteristics at 140mph. Now you might say, "I have no plans to go through turns at 140mph so I don't need to change my bike." But the reality is these "little characteristics" exist no matter what speed we ride at, so fixing them helps improve your bike at every speed and every condition you ride at. Racing just helped identify the opportunity for improvement.
Links are fascinating. Those three holes in that triangular hunk of aluminum each have primarily individual jobs, but also affect one another as a group. By changing the distance between #1 hole and #2, height is changed. Change the distance between #2 and #3 and your rate changes, meaning the same spring feels stiffer or softer. Change the distance between $3 and #1 and you affect progression or regression, meaning the same spring feels stiffer or softer at different points in the stroke of the shock. But it's a tricky design balance because changing the distance between only two holes, for instance to increase height, also in a smaller degree can change progression, or rate as well. So you really have to know what you are doing. We used crazy expensive World Superdike chassis development software to analyze and experiment with too many prototype links to count. And then I raced with them all, for years now. All of the Sport Links use race proven science and experience to achieve sensible improvements for street applications. None of them are as aggressive as what I race with.
Superduked Sport Links do more than simply increase rear ride height. They also reduce some of the progression that was designed into the OEM link, which was put there to accommodate the incredibly wide range of potential enthusiasts who buy motorcycles and ride them for life without changing anything. From a tiny 95lb girl to a huge 300lb football player - KTM designed so much progression into the OEM link so the bike can work for everyone, sort of, and for no one particularly at all. There's a lot of value in tailoring your bike to you.
Increasing rear ride height also increases swingarm angle, which helps keep your shock from squatting on acceleration, which helps keep your front tire planted, which helps keep you on your line exiting turns. But keeping your front planted also increases stability - because a light front tire dancing across the pavement surface, sometimes touching and other times not, can kickoff some crazy shaky moments if you turn the bars even a little when the tire is in the air. The other thing raising the rear does is it reduces trail up front - which makes your bike easier to turn, easier to change direction, and frankly more fun to ride.
The more trail a motorcycle has the more it wants to go straight. Always. That’s fine for straights but the world turns too. When leaned over through a turn, you have to work to keep a motorcycle with a lot of trail turning. It’s a constant job throughout. The bike feels lazy, you have to roll out of the throttle constantly to stay on line, and personally I end up doubting my skills after struggling with a bike like that. However, a motorcycle with less trail will require less work to stay on line while turning. Which makes perfect sense. Finally, a motorcycle with just the right amount of trail can and will feel “neutral” through turns. Meaning the bike just complies, in any lean angle you choose. It doesn't fight you trying to stand back up, it doesn't pull itself down farther into turns. it's simply neutral. And it's beautiful.
The Gen3 comes with a lot of trail. It takes a lot of work to turn. And in stock trim, once you engage all that Superduke torque with the throttle as you exit a turn, the rear just collapses due to not having enough swingarm angle - which ends up ADDING to your trail - and now your problems are multiplied. In stock trim a Gen3 Superduke has over 108mm of trail. Neutral on a Gen3 Superduke, in my experience, is about 101mm of trail. That is where I race at - 101mm. In order to get to that happy number I had to increase my rear ride height +30mm. This major change achieves two great improvements at once; Increased swingarm angle & decreased trail. Which thankfully, luckily, are the two weakest elements of the Gen3 chassis setup - which can both be improved by changing one thing, rear ride height.
But finally the other element of the OEM setup which can create stability issues, the progressive rate of the OEM link, is also addressed in the design of the Superduked Sport Links. Each Sport Link reduces progression slightly more as they go up in size.
So you see, there is a lot to consider here. Lots of science, lots of feel. Since you have stock gearing, and in OEM trim the Superduke swingarm is in its lowest position of its range (which means the most trail and the least swingarm angle), you will benefit greatly from any of the Sport Links. I think your safest bets are the +10 or the +15. If and when you change sprockets, I suggest you go in the direction of a larger rear sprocket. Once you do that you could also go with the +20 Sport Link. The reason I mention gearing is because some riders (very few actually) experience increased wear on that rubber chain guide at the top/front of the swingarm pivot when they use the +20 link and a small rear sprocket (like the OEM 38). But this gearing thing is a totally different conversation. I have done a ton of research on gearing and ride heights and swingarm lengths - all of which you can benefit from some time in the future. For now I'd say +10 or +15 and go have fun.