Product Report | WP Cone Valve Fork

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Price: $3,499
Application: All bikes (tested here on 2016 KTM 350 SX-F)

What It Is  

WP suspension components are OEM spec on KTM and Husqvarna motocross bikes, but a little-known fact is that "Kit" aftermarket suspension components from WP are available for all Japanese motorcycles, too. It's no secret that we're not fans of the WP 4CS fork that has come standard from KTM and Husqvarna over the past two model years, as they feature minimal mid-stroke control and virtually no bottoming resistance. Simply put, the 4CS fork is the Achilles heel of the newest generation orange and white bikes.

The WP Cone Valve fork is used in a 52 mm diameter size by the Red Bull KTM, BTO Sports KTM, and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/KTM teams, and both that and a "standard" 48 mm version are available through the WP Authorized Center Network. The Cone Valve fork utilizes a completely different internal damping system than the 4CS fork, and each set is custom-tuned at the factory for each customer and application. Both legs feature compression and rebound damping adjustments, as well as a spring preload adjustment for even greater fine-tuning.

Hits

– The 48 mm fork bolts right on in place of the stock 4CS KTM fork.

– From the first bump on the track, it was readily apparent that the Cone Valve fork offers superior performance.

– Slap-down landings are soaked up with control and comfort; there's no comparison with the 4CS.

– Action is plush in braking and acceleration chop, but firm and controlled through the rest of the stroke.

– Even on the hardest landings, harsh bottoming was not an issue with the Cone Valve fork.

– Clicker adjustments on the compression and rebound adjusters make a noticeable difference, even in one-click increments.

– Even when mated with the stock shock, the Cone Valve forks yield great front-to-rear balance and control.

– The spring preload adjustment allows you to fine-tune the feel of the fork, depending on track conditions. Backing off on preload in dry, slick conditions makes a big difference.

Misses

– At about a third of the price of a complete motorcycle, the WP Cone Valve fork is quite an investment.

The Verdict  

The gains in performance that our KTM 350 SX-F received with the Cone Valve fork installed are so great that it hardly feels like the same motorcycle. In areas where we doubt the 4CS fork due to its lack of control, the Cone Valve fork gives the bike a completely different, fully trustworthy feel. Yes, it is expensive, but this fork is worth every penny.

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