Mark Johnson - REP Suspension
Due to the high success rate of the MW1 linkage for the past generation models there has been much pressure for the release of the CR22 for the new Austrian platforms. This was something that could not be rushed, so thank you for your patience. Not only did I want to make the new system superior to its predecessor, but we needed time to test with the standard chassis. Time to collect information from a larger dataset built through months of working with the new bike and a multitude of riders. It was not until we saw strong correlations between rider comments that we felt confident in the direction to go with new linkage.
In suspension tuning, giving someone the coveted plush top with good bottoming resistance is rarely found by doing exactly that. Generally doing the opposite results in what the rider is looking for out of the bike. Counterintuitive I know, but this was not the case for the new model. The CR22 is a very progressive linkage on paper and this yielded rider comments of increased comfort, traction, stability and bottoming resistance.
The new linkage focused on two main functions, the first being heavy progression and the second being bike geometry via rear static ride height both to eliminate the kick many were experiencing on bump impact. Similarly, to the MW1 this system will not require a spring change but will have a much higher rate of progression. In our testing with the new chassis in its standard form we found a consistent issue with the rear getting too deep in the stroke and having nowhere else to go other than sideways. By having the linkage rapidly build force from 150mm of wheel stroke to final wheel position we found the bike to be much more predictable under a load and eliminated any sudden or unexpected kicks when hitting a large bump. It is confidence inspiring for the riders as they feel the rear is much more calm and can trust that it eliminated any side to side action they experienced with the standard linkage. Comments of no longer being "on the bump rubber" and "riding in a better part of the stroke" were common themes. It also eased corner entry as the rear now followed the front and the wheel stayed more connected to the ground. In addition to the high progression, the beginning of the stroke is much softer. By softening the initial, straight-line traction and drive exiting corners was vastly improved while increasing comfort. The system also raises the rear just under 5mm for improved balance and front-end plant to decrease rider input needed for cornering.
Though genuine KTM bearings are used in this linkage, bearing dimensions differ from the production linkage to mitigate any issues with bearing walk and for weight reduction. The knuckle and pull rod are much lighter than stock and even comes with the option to be completed with DLC coated titanium pins if more weight savings is desired. Special thanks to Jacob Hayes for all the groundwork on this development and to Chad Reed for getting the main goals started.