PRODUCT: K-Tech is a company based out of Derbyshire, England, that specializes in suspension engineering. The company is primarily known for its road racing success, but with the cooperation of its U.S. importer and Works Enduro Rider (WER), the company is making inroads into the American off-road market. Drew Smith at WER used K-Tech’s hardware to convert the Xact AER 48 fork and WP shock on a 2020 Husqvarna TX300. To do this, he used two separate K-Tech kits for the fork—a spring conversion and a piston kit—as well as a bladder conversion kit for the WP shock. In addition to the installation, Drew re-valved both ends with his own specs for woods racing and used K-Tech springs.
OUR TAKE: WP has the best air fork on the market. Still, an air fork requires some maintenance for each and every ride, and some riders still feel the performance can’t match coil springs. On a separate note, the 2020 and earlier Xact air forks have a somewhat simple valve design that could be improved. The 2021 version of the fork addresses this with a new mid-valve design, but there are still hundreds of earlier versions in the U.S. population of Husqvarna and KTM off-road bikes that could use the update. The K-Tech spring replacement and the K-Tech piston replacement work together to address both issues.
In the rear, the WP shock uses a floating piston, which works well but makes maintenance difficult. Bleeding the shock after an oil change or a seal replacement requires special tools and technique. The K-Tech bladder kit eliminates the floating piston and makes shock bleeding possible for the average person in an average garage. The shock also got WER’s re-valving.
The 2020 Husqvarna TX300 that we used to test the whole system was set up for the woods of the Northwest. We got to try it back to back with a standard 2020 model. The biggest advantage was that the K-Tech bike was ready to ride on tight, rocky trails immediately. We have a loop with miles of rocks and low-speed trail obstacles, and while it isn’t Oregon, it has many of the same elements. The modified TX was turnkey and plush. The stocker, on the other hand, was far too stiff with the stock air pressure. We reduced it to 127 pounds to get the initial compliance that we wanted, but at that level it had very little bottoming resistance and too much movement. More compression and rebound damping helped, but after a few hours of chasing settings, we never got the bike to work as well as the K-Tech bike on that specific loop. In the rear, it was more click-chasing.
BOTTOM LINE: In general, suspension tests are never conclusive, because each rider’s needs are different. But, the mechanical changes offered by K-Tech are well-engineered and solid. They must be combined with a good suspension tuner who can tailor the valving to your needs. The K-Tech prices start with $495 for the spring conversion. For everything that was done on both ends of our test bike, including springs and labor, the total was around $1600. For more specific itemization, contact Drew Smith.