‘Better’ and ‘easier’ are two words that will capture the interest of any rider. KTM has forged the most technically advanced semi-active technology (SAT) suspension for select flagship models: the new, innovative system, produced in collaboration with WP Suspension and specialists like Bosch, is another example of how KTM’s elite STREET bikes are able to pull away from the competition. The software and hardware offer peerless variable damping so that handling can be more sensitive, reactive, and customisable.
‘Easier’: Long gone are the days where a tape measure, tools, or even a visit to a specialised suspension workshop were necessary to maximise the feeling and setting of a bike. Through KTM’s large and well-designed TFT displays, semi-active technology (SAT) can be selected and modified with a few simple touches of a button. Riders can alter the height, response and general behavior to suit any road condition and the changes are outlined with useful graphics that demonstrate the effect of each mode and option. It’s another mark of KTM’s STREET development principles and versatility that the whole process is both a cinch for beginners and detailed enough for the most grizzled veteran.
KTM’s latest SAT offers three damping modes – COMFORT, STREET, and SPORT – with defined levels of compression and rebound depending on how and where the KTM will be ridden. The spring preload on the rear shock can be tweaked through 10 steps, from 0-100%.
Buying the optional SUSPENSION PRO pack opens the possibilities even wider with three further configurations: TRACK, AUTO, and ADVANCED, on a KTM that begs for some smooth asphalt throttle-abuse. There is also OFFROAD (instead of TRACK) for a machine like the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S. The sophistication of the system means that the SAT will use the fantastically fast readings of the 6D lean angle sensor, the suspension control unit, and various other sensors to react instantly and smoothly to the rider’s demands in AUTO. ADVANCED allows the rider to flick through 8 levels of front and rear damping on the TFT.
SUSPENSION PRO provides three preload auto-leveling settings which are LOW, STANDARD, and HIGH. The suspension will consider the weight of the rider, a pillion, and any baggage, and then self-adjust. It will also conveniently recreate three defined geometries. STANDARD is neutral and balanced. LOW is less aggressive and relaxed. HIGH is more aggressive, loading the front for an ‘attack’ setting and even more agility.
The technology’s ability to make its own calculations and adjustments is one prominently cool facet of the new SAT. It can all be done on the move and while in the saddle. Another feature made available by SUSPENSION PRO is the anti-dive functionality. It keeps the front end high for stability and improves pillion comfort under braking. Once riders have felt and tasted SAT, it’s hard to go back.
‘Better’: KTM has achieved these SAT parameters due to new magnetic valves, new programming, and refinement of the 6D sensor and stroke sensors, and the very latest version of WP Suspension’s 48mm front fork and hydraulic rear shock. The combination of this technology brings sensitive real-time readings from the road or path directly to the heart of the suspension control unit and the bike re-aligns instantaneously, depends on what the rider wants from their KTM.
Focusing on the hardware in particular, the WP APEX SAT fork boasts more ‘conventional’ damping but still with all the advantages of the range offered by an electric valve. This has been made possible thanks to the new design that permits faster relay of signals and the deployment of more efficient pulse-width modulation sensors. The WP APEX SAT shock spans 140 to 200 mm of travel depending on the KTM model and has an oil/gas body construction. Another new sensor optimises the self-preload adjustment, which is key in the setting and regulation of the sag and balance geometry.
The most recent generation of KTM’s SAT development has allowed the brand to again set the benchmark for standard specs on the motorcycle market. KTM has been able to revitalize the enticing bond between the invigorating sensation of power, torque, and handling on two wheels with cutting-edge sophistication and control. ‘Easier’? ‘Better’? KTM won’t stop here, with Naked November already on the horizon, look out for two new models that will be unleashed. These new creations will combine the brute power of the V-twin with the very latest technology.
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