I bought my 2014 KTM 300XC with the intention of having one bike to ride off-road and still be able to play with my
buddies on the moto track. The XC model has a couple of
changes in suspension and chassis design that really elevate
the versatility of the bike. First is the addition of the WP 4CS
fork; it’s a closed-cartridge system with the compression
adjuster housed in the left fork leg while the rebound is in the
right side. Another plus for this design is having both adjusters on the tops of the fork caps, which allows for simple,
tool-less adjustments on the fly. The WP shock uses linkage,
offers enhanced manners in high-speed chop and whoops,
and really targets off-road, but it lacks control for the speeds
and types of hits that a motocross track dishes out.
After riding the bike for the last six months on every type
of terrain available in Southern California, the highs and lows
of the WP 4CS fork and shock surfaced. For pure off-road,
the stock settings were close; the tighter and uglier the terrain, the better it performed. Both ends are lightly valved in
the middle portion of the stroke and tend to rely on high-speed damping to handle the bigger loads. As the speeds
increased, the fork and shock that felt like trail magic began
to dive and wallow on the smaller hits and in the whoops.
Turning the compression in several clicks to give more bottoming resistance helped on the bigger stuff, but the slow-speed hack really suffered. The same was true for the shock.
Going in on high- and low-speed compression kept the back
end up on the G-outs but punished on the smaller hacky
stuff. I found myself setting things up for the slower technical terrain that encompasses most of my off-road riding and
backing the pace down on the high-speed and moto riding.
As much as I liked my 300XC’s suspension on the nasty
trails, I disliked it on the moto track. It was time to start looking for an expert suspension shop to fix things up.
PRECISION CONCEPTS KTM 300XC SUSPENSION
By John Bumgarner and photos by Mental
More versatility to
the WP suspension
Concepts suspension really upped
the ante when the
going got rocky.
Here’s Bum testing
in his Erzberg zone.