Husky Build Phase 4 – Last Steps before Departure

Husky Build Phase 4 – Last Steps before Departure 1000 800 Michael

In order to complete the conversion of the motorcycles we were also depending on professional help and here the team of KTM-Mueller supported us

First Service

Handlebar Risers

Fork Preload

Decals and TÜV Registration

Ready for American Loop

A special thanks goes at this point to the team of KTM-Mueller everything was last minute. Delivered on 26.03.2019 and not even all parts were there. Ready to pick up 5 working days later and directly on to the shipping company on 6.4. Thanks a lot for making this possible!


Starting problem Suspension in touring use


On my old KTM 640 Enduro I changed the front 4,4N/mm and the rear from 66N/mm to 85N/mm, adjusted the shim setting and I was happy even with the smaller 43mm fork. The chassis was comfortable, had plenty of traction on any surface and tended to only swing in a sequence of 2-3 whoops. Maybe this could be fixed by adjusting the low speed damping. With this setting I rode the BAM Road in Siberia and crossed Mongolia. My expectations of the Husqvarna chassis were accordingly very high.

Step 1 - Exchange rear spring 69N/mm => 90N/mm

I could never fully load Mathilda before the transport date. The chassis of the empty bike felt so hard on the bike that I left the spring despite the bad feeling. The spring preload was also not increased, because this would not have made much sense without a sag measurement when loaded. I was astonished when the situation was so bad that I barely was able to park it on the side stand in Texas. Therefore I went directly to a suspension specialist. Roger advised me not to only increase the spring preload and advised a spring with a spring rate of 90N/mm which he also had in stock. For time reasons only the spring was changed although the compression stage could be reduced and the rebound stage increased. Unfortunately there is not enough time to perfect the dynamic sag, this is very complicated with the adjusting nut.

Schritt 2 - Einbau XTrig, red. Highspeed Druckstufe am Stoßdämpfer

After Mexico, it was clear I’m not happy. The rear end is hard as a rock and I have to ride far above my comfort speed for the chassis to be reasonably comfortable. So I make an appointment with Racetech. I am concerned that they want to exchange the WP pistons with the so-called gold valve, because Racetech is a certified WP Service Center. I decline and drive on to ESP. The insight that George allows me is unique. I had never seen a shock absorber from the inside before and everything is explained to me in detail. The too low preload is identified as a possible cause besides the high speed compression stage in shimsetting. Consequently the shimsetting for the high speed compression damping is reduced only slightly and an XTrig preload adjuster is mounted. With correctly adjusted sag, things continue.

Schritt 3 - red. Highspeed Druckstufe am Stoßdämpfer, Austausch Gabelfedern 5,4N/mm => 6,2N/mm,

When I arrive in Colorado, two things are clear to me.

  • The spring preload and the only slightly reduced high speed compression stage do not solve my problem
  • The fork is much too soft for me and besides the annoying dive while braking it also bottoms out.

As part of the after-sales service, I have the high-speed compression stage of the shock absorber further reduced. Roger had advised me by phone to change the fork springs in a range of 6-6,4N/mm and to reduce the high speed compression further. At Slavens Racing I buy new fork springs with a spring rate of 6,2N/mm, the dimensions of the spring of 44mm x 470mm is 5mm longer than the original springs, which means 5mm more preload. I install the springs together with Greg and leave the 10mm preload bushing for now. A fatal mistake with 15mm preload and 6,2N/mm (compensation for about 20kg more weight) the front wheel becomes extremely light and hardly builds up any grip. I correct the mistake quick and dirty by pushing the fork through and remove the bushings at a later time.


What I don’t know at this time is that the mechanic in Colorado assembled the shock absorber wrong. As a result my rear rebound is almost completely out of order and explains the jumping rear and the still deep diving fork. The chassis is still bearable despite the technical chaos, but it offers clearly less comfort and especially in hard ground less traction than it was the case with my 640. There are many promises of solutions and most of them cost a lot of money. The next problem is that these solutions for the WP 4CS or XPLOR series were actually developed for the sport enduros and not for the Dual Sport Enduros 690/701. Only a few people seem to deal with these bikes in particular. The solutions known to me basically go in 3 directions:

Installation of other valves in order to use both fork legs for rebound and compression again. The adjusters on top influence the rebound, the new lower ones the compression. The construction is similar to the fork of my 640
Replacement of the complete cartridges
Replacement of the complete fork by the 450 Rally or the WP Conevalve series


Kreft Moto adaptation with own components
Racetech adaptation with own components
Dal Soggio Supplier of a Cartridge Kit & Valve Kit
MX-Tech supplier of a cartridge kit
Öhlins supplier of a cartridge kit
N10Z-Suspension Supplier of a valve kit
K-Tech Suspension Supplier of a valve kit
Tractive Suspension Manufacturer of an alternative shock absorber available through Rally Raid Products

The multitude of suppliers creates confusion, WP itself does not offer a solution, only the complete higher quality forks. After completing this research I have come to the conclusion that I will not make any changes for the moment. Sometimes the suppliers describe what bothers me, sometimes you can’t find any information at all. The fact that there are more modifications offered for the fork than for the rear shock, suggests that there is more potential for improvement. However, such a serious change in the middle of a journey is simply too risky for me.




After Return to Germany I got some help from a local WP-Service Centre and WP as well to solve that issue with no expensive parts. I’ll describe that in more Details in the next chapter the preparation for Mush to Africa

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