( 5) Four-speed tranny. Do we think that KTM needs
a five-speed tranny? We think that KTM needs to go to
five speeds to win over a skeptical American public.
( 6) Forks. Is the suspension better than last year’s?
Maybe and maybe not. The stiffer springs are a big plus,
but the WP engineers didn’t complete the renovations.
Last year MXA ran the combination of stiffer fork springs
and a lower oil height. We found that the stiffer springs
held the front end higher in its stroke, while the larger
air cavity reduced mid-stroke harshness. To us, it was the
logical path to follow. But, WP only bought into half of
our equation. In our opinion, WP gave up a golden
opportunity to fix its forks. Instead, WP made a series
of changes that resulted in zip-squat-zero improvement
in the forks.
( 7) Shock. KTM’s no-link rear suspension is a public-relations nightmare. Scientifically, it can be proven that
the rising rate of a single-sided, link-less shock is identical
to that of a revolving link system, but the average consumer doesn’t buy it. Science or not, they believe that the
lack of linkage means that the KTM doesn’t have a rising-rate leverage curve. Wrong! The problem is that KTM
has made a mess of its link-less rear suspension. KTM
has selected bad rising-rate curves (based on the location
of the shock) and hinged their success on the Ohlins-designed PDS dual-piston shock design, which probably
wasn’t the proper design for KTM’s system. KTM has
stubbornly stuck to its guns in the face of an angry mob.
HISTORY OF THE