There is something to be said for loyalty. And while it doesn’t play well in today’s modern “gimme” society, where riders, sponsors, companies and consumers jump on the latest bandwagon, the
MXA gang admires anyone who sticks to their beliefs out of principle,
loyalty or even stupidity. Take Dicks Racing for example. Dick Wilk isn’t a
Johnny-come-lately to the current KTM craze. Dick specialized in the offbeat
European brand, even when they weren’t popular among the motocross elite.
In Dick Wilk’s case, he formed Dicks Racing 25 years ago and immediately
zeroed in on doing high-performance modifications, engine building, suspension valving and product development for KTM and Husqvarna motorcycles.
Dick is hands-on. He races what he builds, and he doesn’t make compromises.
In lots of ways, Dick Wilk is a throwback to the good old days of mom-and-pop race shops—much like Pro Circuit under Mitch Payton and FMF under
Donnie Emler once were. He lives it, breathes it and tests it himself. If Dick
doesn’t believe in a product, he doesn’t sell it.
We don’t think that Dicks Racing has stayed small because Dick doesn’t
want a big bank account and a legion of customers touting his greatness.
Instead, we think that Dick likes to be small because it gives him the freedom to work hard, test more and be smarter about what he does. And even
though he works on and builds parts for all the Japanese brands, he has a
warm spot in his heart for the European brands that he cut his racing teeth
on. MXA has tested Japanese brands modified by Dicks Racing, but given
our druthers, we are more interested in what Dick Wilk can do to his beloved
KTMs and Husqvarnas. So, when Dick said he was making the drive from
Utah to SoCal for a special event and was bringing his latest 2016 Husqvarna
FC450 project bike with him for us to try, we asked him to extend his stay,
hit a few of SoCal’s 10 different racetracks and come with us to Glen Helen
for a race—where we promised him that we would have several MXA test
riders race his bike (and if he was nice, we would let him race it also). Dick
jumped at the chance—not just to have us test his bike, but to race it at
We’ve had enough experience testing Dick’s race bikes to know that he
is focused on getting the best out of them, not the most. With his MX1
Suspension, he seeks comfort and fluidity over Supercross stiffness, and his
engine mods are marvels of smoothness over brutishness. Since Dick spent
the better part of a week in SoCal, he was able to re-valve his WP fork and
shock mods to work better on the unique square-edged aspects of California
racetracks. For our part, we were easy. Dick wanted to know what we
wanted him to do with the valving for our test riders. We told Dick to set it
up for his riding style—and we would test it the way he liked it.
MX1 is the company that works on Dicks Racing’s suspension, but to avoid
confusion, Dick Wilk is the man behind MX1 as well as Dicks Racing. Dick,
as a long-time KTM guru, knows the shortcomings of WP forks better than
most. He is of the same opinion as the MXA wrecking crew—the 2016 WP
4CS forks are okay. They are good for a certain speed and style of rider,
but they aren’t “very good,” and they certainly aren’t great. Most MXA test
riders think that the 2016 WP forks, as found on KTMs and Husqvarnas, are
better than in the past, but only for Vet, Novice and slower riders. When
pushed, they get harsh, especially in successive bumps and off square edges.
“THE 2016 WP 4CS FORKS
ARE OKAY. THEY ARE GOOD
FOR A CERTAIN SPEED AND
STYLE OF RIDER, BUT THEY
AREN’T ‘VERY GOOD,’
AND THEY CERTAINLY