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A lot of you KTM/Husqvarna/Gas Gas owners ditch the stock AER fork set up and go to a WP spring fork. I also get a ton of emails about which WP product is best for you. This article is dedicated to those that are thinking about which Xact Pro component is right for them as well as how each Xact Pro component works out on he track. How does a Cone Valve fork feel in comparison to the 6500 drop in kit? You will get your answers below.
Xact Pro 6500 Cartridge Kit:
REP Set Up $500.00
The WP Xact Pro 6500 Cartridge kit is a straightforward closed-cartridge (CC) coil-spring conversion that is fully adjustable with compression, rebound and preload adjustments. It drops right into your current WP Xact 48mm air fork with no additional modification or machining. This is not the same as the WP’s Xact Pro 7548 complete fork assembly, aka the Cone Valve fork. The difference is that the 6500 kit uses a shim stack on a mid speed valve vs. a cone type technology that is inside the CV fork.
Xact Pro Cone Valve 7548:
REP Set up: $500.00
With Cone Valve technology as well as compression, rebound and preload adjustments, these forks give you the ability to fine-tune them to your liking with tighter tolerances. The CONE VALVE technology is said to improve the turbulence-free oil flow through the damping piston by using a conical valve. This is said to enable a linear damping performance with stiffer settings without loss of comfort.
Out On The Track:
So besides the obvious pricing is there enough difference in feeling between the two? If I was a weekend warrior/occasional vet racer I would be just fine with the 6500 Cartridge kit. The 6500 drop in kit gives you much better small bump absorption compared to the stock AER fork and this is just the standard WP spec that you get when you purchase the kit. Going to a 6500 setting from REP when you buy the kit makes it even plusher and can hold up better on bigger hits. I don’t get as much stiffness in the head tube/front end of the KTM 450 SX-F as much with the 6500 kit as I do the Cone Valve fork. The 6500 kit as slightly more front end feel on the side of the tire than the Cone Valve and slightly better small bump absorption. The Cone Valve fork provides a better damping feel on heavy loads and can stay up in the stroke easier than the 6500 kit on heavy braking. Remember, I tried out of the box settings (how they come if you were just to order from WP and slap on your KTM) on each and these are the feeling that I get.
I then went to Mark from REP Suspension and had him valve each fork for my weight and ability and still found that the 6500 setting was still slightly plusher in small bump/square edge than the CV fork setting. The 6500 also felt like it cornered better on flat surfaces (with nothing to bank off of) than the CV fork. The REP valved CV fork performed better than the standard valved set (that comes with the fork when you purchase from Authorized dealer) on small bump absorption but still just didn’t have that lean angle compliance that the 6500 does. Where the REP valved CV fork shines is when you apply heavy loads to the chassis. Think of coming down Mt. Saint Helens (Glen Helen) or maybe loading the front end when you land off a jump into braking bumps (KTM stays flatter with a calmer reaction). This is where the REP valved fork performs best. The CV fork likes the rider to push their limits and that is where the internals of the CV fork as well as the slightly thicker outer tubes (that come on the CV fork) help the rider. The action of the 6500 kit is quicker naturally than the CV fork. The CV fork isn’t as active feeling and therefore has more of a dead feel to it.
So Which One Should You Choose?
You are looking around just over 2K more for the CV fork over the 6500 drop ins. Obviously some of that cost is because you’re getting a full brand new set of forks and not just the cartridges, but if it was me, I would go with the 6500 kit for the money. Mark over at REP can get you in a much happier place on your KTM with his 6500 cartridge valving specs. If I was planning on racing softer dirt, with deep conditions, I think I may choose the CV fork with REP’s valving specs, because I can charge into corners better and get a flatter feel out of the KTM’s chassis. Since I am mostly on the west coast and we have harder dirt, the 6500 kit is slightly plusher to me for what I ride most of the time. If you’re a serious racer or live on the east coast and has some money to burn the CV fork (with REP’s setting) is a great choice. However, for the rest of us, the 6500 drop in kit with REP setting is pretty damn amazing for the cost. If you can’t get along with your AER fork and need some extra lean angle traction and slap down comfort, the WP/REP 6500 drop in kit is just what you may need.
Note: If you decide to go this direction and use REP for your valving services on your 6500 or your CV fork, use the code KKREP to save $100.00 off parts on your re-valve.
Any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org