Updated: Apr 3, 2018
When I was looking for an aftermarket perch/lever setup for my crf450 I ended up pulling the trigger on a NEXT Smart Clutch Assembly Perch/Lever combo.
After reading the marketing materials, I became interested because it was listed as a composite “unbreakable lever” and CNC machined perch with “on the fly” cable adjustment. To top it off, they have a lifetime warranty if the lever were to ever break. So I figured, why not? Here is a link to their site: https://www.matrixracingproducts.com/next-smart-brake-clutch-levers/
Upon opening the package, I agreed that it looks pretty cool. It’s anodized and definitely has a ‘bling’ factor to it. Unfortunately, that’s where the compliments stop.
Installing this was a little tricky, and the cable didn’t really adjust correctly. I’m not sure why, but I assume it’s because they have a universal pull instead of one that is matched to each manufacturer similar to other aftermarket companies. After getting it all mounted up, I tried adjusting the lever by pulling it a few times. Granted I have a crf450 and it doesn’t have the easiest clutch pull, the lever actually snapped in half within 10 pulls…Not good for being “Unbreakable”, especially considering this happened on a stand in my garage and not after a crash on the track. Unfortunately, the item was unable to be returned as it was now considered “used” condition.
Luckily, Matrix Concepts was good about their warranty. So, they sent me a replacement lever after emailing them a few pictures of the busted one. They said that it must have been a fluke and I had a new one within 2 days and installed shortly after.
After riding with it a few times, I still could never really seem to get the lever adjusted properly with the right amount of slack, pull, and feel that I wanted. It always had a stiff pull with a spongy engagement point. However, once I was riding, I didn’t seem to notice it too much. Although, I’m not a super picky rider.
This is when the second problem occurred: I tipped over in a slippery turn at Monster Mountain MX. Normally, this isn’t a huge deal, however, the lever snapped off again! This time it broke almost right at the knuckle and was a major pain in the butt. It’s one thing when it breaks in the garage, but, if you’ve ever had the joy of pushing your bike through ankle-deep sand from the opposite end of the track, you’ll agree that this was a major inconvenience. Luckily I did have another spare with me in the truck. (always bring spare parts when you are far from home!)
After this, I had enough of it and took it off my bike when I got home. I called Rocky Mountain again (Great Customer Service!) and we worked out a solution to replace it with a Works Connection setup. The initial cost is only about $6 more, but, believe me, it is well worth it.
Overall, I would say that the NEXT Levers need some refinement. It’s a cool idea on paper and in pictures, but I would have to think that any amount of testing would have let them know that it is a subpar product; especially for $130. I give this product a 1 out of 5 stars. Also, I want to give a huge shout out to Rocky Mountain ATV/MC for helping me to get this disaster over with and on to a better product.