News flash: OEM suspensions are designed to a price point. So, unless you’re riding a flagship literbike, those suspenders are full of compromises. The stock suspension on the vast majority of bikes out there is designed for an average rider, going an average pace, over an average road. Get outside of those parameters, and the suspension’s performance is compromised.
Perhaps the biggest complaint leveled against the 2019 KTM 790 Duke is it coming equipped with bargain suspenders. The 43 mm WP inverted fork is devoid of any adjusters, and the WP shock only has ramped preload. The good news for such a simple suspension is that it works pretty dang well. So well, in fact, that many riders will find the stock stuff does most of what they’d want it to do. While the versatility of the 790 Duke is admirable (around town and out on the freeway, the suspension is quite nice), I began to find myself stepping outside of its ideal range of operation with increasing regularity. Some of it is most certainly due to my 200 lb weight – without gear – and the rest is because the Duke has gotten me back into doing track days on a regular basis.
While the stock WP Suspension was good for price-point boingers, getting to the track exposed its limitations. Photo by CaliPhotography.
With the writing on the wall, I began to look to the aftermarket for some upgrades, and I settled on WP’s Apex Pro line based largely on the fact that Chris Fillmore helped develop the components on the way to his Pikes Peak win and middleweight record on the 790 Duke. My choice is not meant to imply that my riding skills are even in the same area code as Fillmore’s (because they’re not) but rather the …read more