MXA TEAM TESTED: SHOWA A-KIT WORKS KTM SUSPENSION
WHAT IS IT? A kit that makes it possible to give your KTM the same works suspension that Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda factory riders have.
WHAT’S IT COST? $6750.00.
CONTACT? www.procircuit.com or (951) 738-8050.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Showa A-Kit Works KTM suspension.
(1) Forks. The extra diameter of the 49mm Showa fork legs keeps the forks from flexing in corners. The Showa Works forks come with sealed, pressurized, Kashima-coated, aluminum cartridge rods with much closer tolerances than the stock parts. CNC-machined axle lugs, tighter tolerances and a unique internal cartridge system complete the package.
(2) Shock. Showa’s Works shock has an 18mm shock shaft, 28 clicks of rebound, four turns of high-speed compression and 26 clicks of low-speed compression adjustment. The shock’s internals are graced with a 28mm piston, LSV system and Kashima coatings.
(3) Fork performance. Two years ago, MXA ran Showa A-Kit forks on our 2010 KTM 450SXF and had really good luck with them?not so with the Showa PDS no-link shock?so we were surprised when last year’s valving didn’t work on our 2011 KTM 450SXF fork. We were confused and worked diligently at trying different valving, spring and oil-height settings?largely to no avail. The chassis setup on the 2011 KTM 450SXF just didn’t load the forks as much as the 2010 no-link chassis did. Finally, in desperation, we threw away last year’s worksheets and started over. Voila! With a softer spring than last year, a lower oil height and new valving, we dialed in the forks quickly. The forks were fluid, stiction-free and progressive throughout the complete stroke. When we switched the same 2011 settings over to our 2012 KTM 250SX two-stroke, they worked perfectly. This year, we put our 2011 KTM 450SXF forks directly on to our 2012 KTM 250SX two-stroke along with the rising rate linkage Showa shock. They worked even better on the lighter two-stroke than they had on the 450cc four-stroke.
(4) Shock performance. Last year, we struggled with the shock setup. Showa had never made a PDS shock and didn’t have spring rates stiff enough. We were forced to compensate with damping, and the result was a very dead-feeling shock. Thanks to the new Yamaha-style linkage on the 2011 KTM, we got the shock valved in only two tries and spent the rest of the time (while we worked on the forks) trying different shock lengths and shock linkages. Better yet, the Showa works shock that Bones Bacon setup to run with KTM’s new linkage system in 2011 was still properly valved for our 2012 switch from four-strokes to two-stroke. The fact that the shock works is no mystery. KTM borrowed heavily from Japanese advancements in rising-rate linkage, mostly from Yamaha, so it was a direct cross-over from a works Yamaha shock to a works KTM shock.
(5) Link. One issue that has bothered us on the 2011 KTMs is that they tend to suck down under hard acceleration. Our solution has been to run a stiffer shock spring. But, we had Pro Circuit make us three different-length shock linkages in an effort to get more compression damping in the initial part of the shock’s stroke (and a lower seat height). In the end, our 1.25mm-longer link lowered the rear end and held the rear end higher under acceleration. Good stuff.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? The price. At close to $7000, this is suspension for professional AMA racers looking to run the same suspension, valving and setup as factory Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki riders. For that purpose?and that purpose alone?it is worth the money.
Are you a millionaire? A top 20 National rider? Unless you answered yes to either of these questions, move on; there is nothing to see here. Does it work better than the stock WP forks and shock? Yes…a lot better.