Evaluating Kalk’s build quality

My Cursory Teardown of the KALK&

In the past I have measured the quality of engineering and manufacturing of motorcycles by saying “It’s Honda Quality” as my highest compliment. The only bikes I have no experience working on are KTMs, Husqvarna and Suzukis. I’m both sad and excited to have changed my saying to “It’s CAKE quality.” Yep it’s really that good. But unfortunately now people will say “Mark, food is not love….” Oh well. Here are my reasons for changing to CAKE quality….

At first I examined the brakes and spokes:

Spokes are STRAIGHT pull, not bent. Much stronger. Hubs are of a superior quality to what I’m accustomed to on my Sur Ron and are obviously custom designed and made.
Steel braided lines on both the front and rear brakes.

I rode my bike in my neighborhood to bed in the pads. The front brakes have the same feeling, power and modulation as my former Brembo racing brakes. Incredible! I do feel that the rear brake is too strong for the bike. It’s very easy to lock up the rear wheel with just slight pressure on the foot pedal. I adjusted the rear foot pedal to give me the maximum amount of play, but it did not help with the power of the brake.

I then decided to remove the plastic panels on the bike. BTW one of the things people bitch about is “Oh there’s too much plastic on that IKEA bike thingy.” Always from people who never intend to buy one, ride one, or have even seen one in person. Really too much plastic? Have you looked at an ICE motocross bike lately you imbecile….? Were you the one horrified that Glock handguns were made of plastic? Get real.

Hum…who has more plastic? H8TRs gotta hate.

“I don’t like it because it’s not what I have.” They’re idiots too.

So I removed the plastic panels that protect the actual frame rails…

Since I have never seen welds like this before I asked a friend who is a metal fabricator to look at them. Here is what he said – “Those are crazy huge welds. Looks like many passes of tig welds on alum. And then sanded down. I have not seen welds this large; probably using larger fill rods too.”

He was impressed to say the least. Me too!

I also wanted to see the battery and the area where it resides.

Removing the battery is easy. There is a small pigtail wire at the top I disconnected and then took off the two top bolts and lifted it out. Not too heavy around 40 pounds. The bitch is putting it back in. Getting those two rods aligned through the holes in the battery took some doing. About a 6/10 on my cussing scale.

UPDATE August 2 2020 – CAKE sent me as well as other owners guide rods that make installation of the battery much easier then before. You can read about those alignment rods here.

I’m way out of my depth with electronics, but this looks sano. Once the rods are lined up the battery easily seated down onto these connections.

I took a look at the engine and surrounding area.

That triangular support area is beefy to say the least! The swing arm is centered with the the engine and countershaft sprocket, but the load is carried by the main struts of the frame on each side. So as the swing arm makes its arc the chain does not tighten or loosen like on ICE bikes. So so good! OH and my IKEA sticker? Yup I put it on there for haters or when people ask me where I bought it? IKEA! LOL
I was informed by CAKE that the red button on the engine is used when a firmware update is done on the bike. It syncs all related components.. Those attachment points are quarter turn fasteners, very slick!

The bash/skid plate is 6.22mm in thickness. Very beefy and well done and covers the entire engine.

I read somewhere that someone was bitching about the cover for the rear Ohlins shock was attached ‘with cheap Velcro’ and they lost theirs. Well, the type used is the 3M industrial type, no fuzzy side, instead with interlocking channels. I’ve used this for other projects. Pressing down makes a positive connection with an audible ‘snap.’ And believe me once it’s connected it’s tough to remove. The ONLY way it would come off would be the adhesive that holds it to the plastic cover, but I’ve never had it happen with 3M products.

A friend mentioned that his rims were a weird size so I panicked and checked mine. Whew yep mine are 19ers. And I think mine are the older type like the 24″ KALK OR rims. On the CAKE site the &s show different rims, more like moto style with raised sides and centers. But in speaking to Zack he informed me that the rims I have are the new updated versions. Lighter than the ones on his demo bike and more durable.

I always appreciate a quality tool kit included with my bike. CAKE’s is the best I’ve seen for the bikes I’ve purchased.

Ever had the situation that the closer you look, the better it gets?! (conversely why do you think bars are dimly lit by candlelight…..don’t look TOO CLOSE) Well the closer I examine my KALK& the more impressive it gets.

So as I was examining my front rotor I noticed this small ‘disk thing’ on the inner portion of the rotor. I felt it and it spun. As I wondered what this was I noticed an electronic sensor on the caliper mounting point. AH HA I thought to myself, this must be the speedometer sensor! In my entire two wheel life whenever I changed the sprockets on my bikes it F’d up the speedometer. Zack told me it is indeed the speedometer sensor. And my friend Josh told me KTMs have the same setup. My only question now is if I change to a 21er in the future how much will it affect the speedometer setting?

What a shitty out of focus shot!
The front sensor on the caliper mount.

OK so my protocol (and track rules) from racing days is to safety wire critical bolts and when that isn’t possible, to mark them. Well guess what? I didn’t do that myself, CAKE did it here. Just another example of attention to details.

A small but nice item is to have a steering lock which the KALK& includes.


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  1. Hey Mark,
    Great article!! Love the cuss – o – meter!! Some thoughts….. what about water? Can you ride Cake Kalk& through any water terrains (puddles, streams, deeper rivers), or is that limited?
    What about rain, can you ride in light & heavy rain, or not at all?

    Also, how do you clean Sophia?


    1. Hey Carisa, I developed my cussing meter due to a horrible gf I had years ago. She is the 10/10 cussing scale measurement! Notice no LOL? Although I have not ridden the bike through any streams, I have ridden through puddles and washed my girl. Cake actually has a how to wash instructional video on their support page. I’m sure the reason they highlight not directing a hose at the shock area is doing so may allow water to get into the motor. But I’ve ridden my SR through water that submerged my motor without issue. It was NOT salt water and if it had been I would have rinsed the whole bike down when I got home.

      So in heavy or light rain, I don’t worry. I did notice after washing Sofia for the first time that when I removed the battery there was some water that had ponded in the battery compartment. Not a lot, but now each time I wash her I will remove the battery and dry out that area thoroughly.

      I have a protocol with all of my bikes be they EV or ICE that after washing I clean the rotors with brake cleaner. Just habit that has served me well for decades. And I check all of the fasteners at that time too. Old (but good) habits die hard!

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