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TECH | WP SUSPENSION COMPARO | Bike Reviews | Features

Ben Grabham puts three levels of WP Suspension head-to-head and lets you know who would suit what setup.

Having so many different levels of WP Suspension available to purchase is great, but it can also be confusing unless you understand the ins and outs of suspension. So to help potential WP customers understand what option is best for them, we got together with WP Australia to test some of their most popular options. To keep things simple, our test day with WP saw us with three enduro bikes all fitted with different versions and levels of WP suspension.

Our base model was a GASGAS EC250F that had the standard fork and shock that comes on this bike off the showroom floor. Bike 2, a KTM 300EXC, was fitted with what I call the mid-range package, an XPLOR PRO shock and XPLOR PRO 6500 cartridge kit costing $1663.20.  Bike 3, a Husqvarna FE350, was fitted with the best WP enduro suspension money can buy, that I call the Pro Package, an XPLOR PRO shock at $3489 and XACT PRO 7548 spring fork at $5355.

The test area we had access to is in the Blue Mountains above Lithgow, with a great mix of slow technical single trails to open high speed whoop sections more like you would experience on a AORC race track.

To kick off the day I started riding on the GASGAS with the standard WP Suspension to get a base feel on what you receive straight off the showroom floor. The WP XPLOR linkage shock is great when trail riding as it provides a cushy soft ride that tracks nicely over everything I experienced on the single lined bush loop. On the fast open sections with much bigger bumps I did start to use all the travel but not to the point of it slowing me down. I found the XPLOR fork works great on single trail and over small obstacles providing great feel and comfort. Once I kicked up the pace a few notches or charged into more race sized bumps the XPLOR fork soon found its limitations as it used up all of the travel quite easily and bottomed out.

Jumping onto the 300EXC, the very first impression I got was the XPLOR PRO shock felt a lot firmer as the rear end did not squat or move around much in tight twisty single trails. This definitely gave me a more direct feel with the rear tyre. Once I got onto the higher speed rougher sections I could start to feel more of the potential of the shock. It felt like the faster I charged into square edged bumps and obstacles the better it felt to be working. It always recovered and felt to be following the ground a lot better than the standard shock.

Up front I have been running the same 6500 cartridge kit on my GASGAS for quite some time and just like the ones on my bike this front end setup works very well. When trail riding it soaks up everything just as well as the standard fork, it’s when I start going faster that the up-spec cartridge kit starts to outperform the standard version. All the medium-large obstacles that had the standard fork bottoming and moving all over the place basically disappeared with this 6500 version and the handlebars were noticeably easier to hold on to. To find the limit of this kit I really had to charge into a rough section all out of shape and way too fast, if I rated the standard fork a 5/10 I would give this front end easily an 8/10.

Next the Husqvarna, I was not expecting it to feel overly forgiving at slow speeds. The last time I rode on this same version of WP XACT PRO fork and shock was on Daniel Sanders practice bike and it felt way too firm for my liking with his settings. I was happy to feel that the off the shelf version of this suspension felt quite a lot different to Sanders’ specs.

On single trail the XPLOR PRO shock on the FE350 felt similar to the PRO shock in the 300EXC, as it did not squat or unload in the twisty corners. On the fast rough sections I could not fault the action of this rear shock in any way as it never once bottomed or kicked sideways. To be honest I could not fault this shock, it could easily handle anything I threw at it.

The XACT PRO fork or as most people call it the ‘cone valve fork’, felt slightly firmer initially than both other setups. This never caused any front end deflection or loss of grip, just a firmer feel that made the front end feel very precise when cornering. On all of the medium sized bumps and speed riding I found the action great but not anything better than the 6500 cartridge kit. It was only when I charged into a log at crazy speeds or jumped into a massive hole that I experienced where this fork and its cone valve setup could handle slightly more than the 6500 kit could.


The standard enduro WP fork/shock that comes on all of these Austrian bikes is way better than most people give credit for. Just because it bottoms out on large bumps or high speed hits doesn’t mean it’s no good, this is suspension perfection if you are chasing pure comfort when trail riding. You just need to remember it will always have its limitations in rough terrain and bigger sized bumps.

For a solid 12 months the XPLOR PRO 6500 cartridge kit has been the go-to first suspension upgrade for a lot of the GASGAS, Husqvarna and KTM models that come standard with the XPLOR WP fork. So it should be, as this kit provides high level performance gains, over standard on all kinds of terrain, and it is very adjustable with its external spring preload adjuster. As great as this kit is I expect to see a lot less of them in 2024 as the newly released Husqvarna & KTM 2024 Enduro models now come standard with a new XACT closed cartridge fork. On paper this fork has the same capability’s as the 6500 kit minus the external spring preload adjuster, meaning the advantages of switching to the 6500 kit will not be so big, as you are only gaining the external spring preload adjuster.

It is pretty simple if you want the best WP Suspension available or just want to ride on the same suspension as Toby Price and Daniel Sanders, the XPLOR PRO shock & XPLOR PRO fork is what you get. Out the back the PRO shock is capable of everything a standard shock can do plus way more. The Supertrax technology keeps your rear tyre on the ground providing maximum forward traction. The speedy worm drive spring preload adjuster is my favourite and makes setting sag numbers effortless.

Straight out of the box this shock has a much wider range of adjustment than the standard suspension and the additional TXN adjuster allows the rebound to be perfectly adjusted. I found this adjuster worked really well on the high speed sections of the track when I went softer with it. Straight of the shelf this shock works very well in the bush.

The XPLOR PRO fork really is your do-it-all fork. It performs great just cruising along at slow speeds, then when you hit obstacles at speeds that will generally send you and the motorcycle in different directions, it just magically smooths everything out. This fork really is the fork for the rider who does not want to compromise fork performance in any area.

Check out the full feature in issue #529 of ADB.