I am at a point where I don’t see myself getting any faster. I am not the type of seasoned veteran like Jeff Pasqua or Mike Lafferty that can meet and beat the speed of the younger throttle jockeys. Still, I like to do well. So rather than relying on twisting the throttle beyond my comfort zone, I need to employ all of the available options that help me ride to my potential. In addition to improved fitness and efficient technique, a good suspension tuner is about the best investment you can make for yourself and bike. In short, I would like “me” to be the limiting factor in determining how fast I want to go, not my suspension.
You can have the most powerful bike out there but if your suspension is junk, you and your high end, tricked out motor will never reach its full potential. While the stock settings have improved dramatically over the years, a suspension revalve will often improve them.
Like many of you, I have had mixed results from some of the local suspension tuners. Sometimes they really nailed it. Sometimes not. Most frustrating is when I would send a set of suspension out for service only to have it return and wonder if they sent me someone else’s stuff. Now when I get a suspension revalve that I like, I have a local shop change the fluids.
I admit to being a bit leery about having Enduro Spec Suspension (www.endurospec.com) do my suspension revalve. New England is a specialized and unforgiving region and we’ve got some local tuners that have developed settings based on years of regional specific testing, some of which are pretty darn good. Enduro Spec is based out of the Denver Colorado area and having ridden out there, I can say that the terrain is much faster than what I am accustomed to – just look at some of the helemt camera footage from the RMEC race series. But after a moment’s thought, I realized that I didn’t really have anything to lose. If it didn’t work out, nothing gained nothing lost.
As a side note, Enduro Spec is the suspension tuner for the Shane Watts/Dirtwise team rider Jason Thomas. Jason hand-picked EnduroSpec after evaluating several tuners. In addition, Enduro Spec has a strong relationship with MX tech and uses their tricked components. Still, all that didn’t mean much.
My suspension wish list went like this: I want it to ride high in the stroke, yet be supple enough to soak up the minor hits. I don’t want it to wallow in the corners and when I charge into a rock garden at speed, I don’t want it to deflect because it blows through the stroke too easily. Same with the shock, though I want more bound to lend a planted feel over the rocks. Oh, and I want enough flexibility to ride in New Jersey or do a JDay GP.
Here is what Warren Healey, owner of Enduro Spec did: “We chose springs based on the weight and speed of the rider. Kevin is fast and the terrain back east is gnarly. The stock KTM XC suspension is inherently brutal on the body in this scenario. For the forks we opted to run MX-Tech’s Sub Valve in place of the stock compression valve holder. This allows an additional tunable shim stack so we could fine tune the stroke. We massaged the mid valving stack to remove the harshness to allow the bike to soak up the chop. Mid valving keeps it from falling into the stroke. This is a big difference from the stock set up in that the stock is just a post (holder) whereas the MX Tech version is a post (holder) that accommodates its own shim stack.