KTM and the Dungey Mystery Shock
What is inside the black shock?
KTM and the Dungey Mystery Shock
Monster Energy Supercross 2013
It has been a little over 24 hours since this odd-looking shock was spotted on Ryan Dungey’s KTM Factory Edition SX-F 450. What is it? The next best thing, space-aged technology, lighter than air, or is it air or some type of inert gas and oil shock?
Other sites have blown up that it’s an air shock. Air shock absorbers are nothing new and have been on cars and motorcycles for years off and on. BMW had a production air shock on their HP-2 adventure bikes for a spell. Racers have raced all over the world with all sorts of air-type suspension.This KTM Works WP shock is still a little bit of a mystery. It is too soon to just call it an air shock. As you can see from the photos, the shock still has a reservoir with high- and low-speed adjusters. So there is oil in that there shock people too. The shock body is large for capacity or maybe—maybe there’s a spring inside too? Speculation tells this observer that there could be some sort of spring to hold the bike up or a top-out spring like the production air forks currently have. The older BMW design was an air-only shock with no oil if I recall—yet my memory could be askew.
In order to avoid a high-pressure air/oil dampened springless shock, which would and could run very hot and fade, there is a chance this shock is an air assist and there is a possible spring inside as well. A lighter spring than standard could help maintain ride height and then the air/gas would assist, giving the rear a very progressive action. The shock could be an enclosed unit like a fork with all sorts of circuits to control dampening, air, and possible spring pressure.
Many off-road race trucks use springs for ride height only and to help return the wheel to position and the majority of the work is done with dampening. This gives the shock a dead feel that soaks up the bumps instead of bouncing through them. Because most work controlling the wheels is done with dampening and not super-stiff springs, it is easier to control what is happening to the wheel. The race trucks have hydraulic bump stops that help slow the stroke down before bottoming.
We tried to milk some information from the KTM camp, but they pretty much smiled and shrugged their shoulders. As you look at the shock it is still hooked up to a standard link and you can see what looks like a rebound adjuster on the bottom of the shock. On the left side there is a small braided line that leads up the airbox where we suspect is a control box or air/gas reservoir. This line could help control what “we” are calling the air-assist part of the shock. This could help monitor and/or adjust inner air/gas pressures while the shock is fully extended. (This is speculation).
If there were some sort of air and spring system, the concept would be similar to that of a traditional fork, meaning coil spring with an air spring camber that increases pressure/resistance as the chamber volume decreased. Or it could be air/gas shock with a coil spring assist to maintain ride height. With the spring assist, the internal air/gas pressures would not have to be as high initially to maintain ride height and therefore, as the shock travels through the stroke the internal pressure would not increase as much. The higher the pressure to hold the bike up means the shock would reach very high (maybe too high for moto) pressures due to the small space inside the shock.
Again this is more speculation due to the fact everyone has been calling it an air shock with oil dampening. Thus far in the USA, KTM has not given any details, at least to us, what is really inside this black beast. For now it could be an air/gas spring only, it could have an internal spring only, or it could be an air spring/coil spring with oil-dampened internals.
Right now it looks trick, people are talking about it, AND, if Dungey is faster than everyone through the whoops and on the rest of the track, the competition will be chomping at the bit to find out what makes this black beauty shine.
Next week it could be a different conversation and we might see a coil on his bike, or they might have something here, and that tiny advantage each and every rider/team has been searching for.
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