installed. The third turret puts the
spring on, along with a few small
details, and the fourth turret assembles the fork tube and end cap.
After the assembly is complete,
the forks move on to what is known
as the “pencil stamp.” It is a process
that WP has been doing since the
1980s. This machine engraves two
different sets of numbers on the fork.
One set of numbers is the date when
the fork was produced, while the
other is the article number identifying what type of fork it is and what
brand of bike it will be installed on.
Included in this number code is the
model year and the exact model it
was produced for. These numbers are
not serial numbers but batch
numbers. All the batch numbers are
kept in a WP legend and are
referenced by both employees and
customers for many purposes.
IF A FORK FAILS THE
TEST, EVERY FORK
FROM THAT BATCH
IS INVESTIGATED TO
FIND AND FIX THE
Once assembled, the forks go to
a quality-control dyno. Forks are
randomly selected from each batch
and are run through a few slow
strokes on the dyno. WP has
production-level tolerances for each
fork produced. There are only two
possible results—pass or fail. If a fork
fails the test, every fork from that
batch is investigated to find and fix
the issue. If it passes, it moves on to
the next step of the process.
The final step is when WP
prepares the forks to be shipped
to the end customer (and it differs
with each one). KTM, for example,
requires the forks and shocks to be
placed on clean cardboard in a wooden box for a minimum of 24 hours to
ensure there are no oil leaks. BMW’s
shocks also undergo the cardboard
test, but every BMW part is placed
on a conveyor belt that holds it up in
the air where it cannot be touched
by human hands for at least 24
hours. During that 24 hours, the parts
go up and down on the long, elevated conveyor system. If there are no
leaks, they are shipped to BMW.
MXA had a great time in Austria
and we enjoyed our time at WP. We
know that the next time we swing
a leg over a bike, we will take a
moment to think about the incredible
amount of time and effort that went
into creating the suspension
underneath us. ❏
WP has been engraving batch numbers on all of their forks since the 1980s, so they
are able to keep tabs on every fork that leaves the building.
After the forks are built, random forks are pulled out of each batch and tested on
the dyno for quality control. This is a single pass-or-fail test.
Every fork and shock has to be placed on cardboard for 24 hours to ensure that
there aren’t any leaks after the units have been assembled.