It’s no secret that the new AER front fork is much better
than the previous 4CS design. Out back, the rear shock
gets new valving and a spring that is three sizes lighter.
Last year you had to weigh at least 190 pounds for the
spring to work; this year, if you weigh more than 170, it’s
too soft. The AER forks ride high in the stroke, and the
rear end rides low, making for an out-of-balance feel. It
doesn’t turn as well as last year’s bike, either. Most people
are running less fork pressure to compensate, which is a
In Dick’s words, “Lets face it; most 350 owners are vet
guys who weigh an average of at least 200 pounds with
gear on. For them, the suspension should to be altered to
THE AER FORK
The stock hydraulic damping is contained in a sealed
cartridge housed in the right fork leg. In stock form, it has
a built-in leak in the mid-valve shim stack that causes a
loose or busy feel initially. This wheel movement causes
an “unplanted” tracking situation, which Dick addresses
by reconfiguring the shim stack to get rid of “the leak.” In
addition, compression and rebound circuits are re-valved
for plusher action and more consistent rebound control.
All current air forks suffer from excessive resistance—a
“ramping up” effect when moving through their travel. To
combat this, Dick installs an EAC (external air chamber)
to increase the air volume in the left fork. This flattens the
air-spring resistance curve, making the action smoother
through the entire stroke. The EAC also makes check-
Dick’s Racing really works on
suspension balance, along with
a complement of goods that
enhance the power.
ing the air pressure much easier, since the air valve is at
the end of the canister instead of under the handlebars.
As with all forks, built-up outer air pressure needs to be
released. Dick’s Racing sells push-button air bleeders that
fit the AER forks and also sells an aluminum compression
adjuster to replace the plastic knob on the stock fork.
A 4.9-kilogram spring replaces the stock 4. 2 N/m coil.
This big change requires that the shock be re-valved.
Much stiffer rebound valving was added to control the
recoil effect of the stiffer spring. There are some that just
replace the spring without re-valving. This forces them
to turn up the rebound adjuster, which makes the compression stiffer as well and still doesn’t provide enough
damping to control the kick. The compression valving
was also altered to reduce the spiking that occurs when
hitting square edges at speed, especially with the shock
compressed. An aluminum spring adjuster was installed to
replace the soft plastic unit. High-speed compression-ad-juster changes are made on the fly with Dick’s no-tool
adjuster. This is a great mod for the off-roader.
It is a known fact that modern fuel-injected throttle
bodies suffer from a butterfly valve that meters the air and
causes a tremendous amount of turbulence. When cracking the throttle open, air is drawn into the engine from the
top and bottom of the butterfly valve, causing a pressure
drop and air entering too far away from the injector. Dick
installs a Quad Flow Torque Wing that straightens the air
path into the throttle body and directs the flow right at the
2017 KTM 350XC-F MODS