Works Gas Gas Supercross rider Justin Barcia revealed after Houston I that he had new suspension item that helped him to victory in the first race of the season.
The WP air shock, which is what he was talking about, was debuted by Ryan Dungey in 2013 but got shelved midway through the last decade. Now it’s back and here, DBR’s technical chief Mark Woodage explains what it is:
“There is no coil spring, it’s all air like a mountain bike’s shock. Development ended in 2016 but now it’s back on the agenda for racing, however, it won’t be OEM on bikes for sale any time soon
“The unit is lighter as it has no spring, is more consistent and gives better feedback as it’s not relying on a spring coiled up for return.
“Also, it has better adjustment for high and low-speed compression damping, and is easier to fine tune. Basically you adjust the air in shock instead of going harder or softer on the spring.Mark Woodage
“It’s more controlled and consistent where a spring is a coiled mechanical part and difficult to control when it returns to normal.”
Barcia admitted after Houston I: “It was definitely really hush-hush before the season. I got to test it and then it kind of went away for a little bit because we were waiting on parts and stuff. Then I went back to my spring shock and then back to air-shock, probably three or four weeks before the season.
“It’s just very consistent, you don’t get any fade like a spring shock and there’s definitely some positives to it versus a spring shock. I’m super-stoked to have it and I think it’s a good thing for us – I’m glad the whole KTM brand and WP figured that out.”