This weeks Off-Road Testing and Tales from the Trail (OTT) showcases some long term product testing, our KTM 500EXC setup for the upcoming Nevada 200 and a new suspension tuning device for the WP AER off-road fork.
KREFT MOTO PLUSH TANK
KTM/Husky/GasGas “competition” models come stock with the XACT/AER48 air spring fork. Our test riders have had issues with the forks ability to track and absorb more technical terrain (rocks and roots). Kreft Moto explains that this is due to the air spring having a “hyper-progressive” spring curve – which means as the fork compresses, the spring rate actually increases exponentially. (Conversely, a coil-spring has a linear spring curve.) This is excellent for big jumps and mongo landings but lacks the supple response needed for technical off-road riding.
The Kreft Moto Plush Tank addresses this phenomenon by increasing the volume of the main air spring chamber. They claim the result is a truly linear spring curve with a coil-like feel. They designed the Plush Tank with a switch that allows the rider to choose a “Plush” or “Firm” ride depending on where they are riding that day. “Plush” provides off-road performance designed to chew on rocks and roots. “Firm” returns the OEM progressive spring rate which is appropriate for MX or more high-speed riding where big hits, whoops, and G-outs are common.
Here’s our take after the first ride: It does exactly what it says with the plush & firm settings. You set the air pressure to stock PSI in the plush position on the tank, and it has a valve that flips to the firm position. Testing the fork in both positions provides a dramatic shift in feel and action. In the technical and rocky terrain the fork was far plusher and offered a very forgiving and predictable ride. We rode the fork in the plush mode the most. The fork was much more forgiving over stock especially in plain nasty and rough chop. This also allowed the bike to have a more balanced feel and improved cornering. Once you flip over to the firm position it can be appreciated if you just came out of the mountains on a technical ride and now have 10 miles of deep whoops and super hacked terrain.
Look for a long-term test in Dirt Bike next month.
ONE YEAR LATER
GETTING READY FOR THE NEVADA 200