Service KTM (WP) Shock and Forks - Tips and links

KTM (WP) – Shock and Fork Service

In this case for a KTM sx-f 250 2006. Most of this thread should apply to the 250-450’s for years 2005-2009 (don’t quote me on that)

Just thought I would send out a post to perhaps help others who are inclined to service their own suspension.

Personally I have never owned a KTM steed. This recent effort was to help out a buddy who picked up a 2006 sx-f. When he got it home the first thing I noticed was general care and maintenance on this bike was for not. In my experience when an add says “never raced” – usually means something far worse = Never properly serviced or maintained. A fate much worse than being flogged at the local race track. Second was the back shock was shot and leaking oil. Being that I love wrenching I said I would sort out the back shock. 25hrs or so later, and a complete tear down. The bike looks new again.

Here are my learning’s, tip and relevant links that took hours to find.


Basic step by step

A good step by step form “ADVrider”: by Tseta

notes: shock was similar, other than the rebound section.

Service manual links: (this is the manual that supported the shock I was servicing)

Schrader valve mod:

Again WP coming up with an elaborate tool to ensure you have no choice but to get it serviced by your local KTM dealer at a less than kind price. Suffice it to say modifying the “piggyback” cap took less than 10 min and cost 2 dollars.

Step 1: Buy a NPT (Schrader valve)

Step 2: Drill out cap (11/32 drill bit which is standard for NPT valves)

Step 3: Tap using a standard NPT tap

As you can see it comes out pretty clean and easy.


As an alternative you can also use this from racetech:

Shock Oil:

Again KTM or WP being bastards by charging double per liter for their shock oil. Thus, I obviously look at alternatives.

I have been using Peter Verdone Designs web site for years for my MTN bike suspension. I cannot thank this guy enough for his chart on comparing various oils.

In this case, WP uses fairly thin oil than others. I used Maxima 3wt for both the shock and the Forks.

Purging air bubbles:

Another stoooped tool KTM insists on that is not necessarily required and can easily be replaced by gravity and patience. Best part on this video is at the 13min mark.

Rebound Adjuster:

While I’m bitching about things; WP came up with the worst piece of engineering that I have seen in a long time. See pic – now I will give you 1 guess where that sucker is going to snap if it goes to the stop or gets corroded into place – which btw is often. So much so you can get a mod to prevent such a thing.

In my case I just added some Teflon tape to the retaining nut that secures the adjuster in place.


Charging the Piggy Back;

Not to start a war here but air vs Nitrogen. I completely understand the merits of charging with nitrogen. It’s an inert gas that does not contain moisture and is not as subject to change by heat as air can be. Personally if you can get it charged for a few bucks at your local auto stop – sure go ahead. If you could not be bothered air is fine in my books. Never been an issue on my mtn bike units.

Other than that slap it all back together and it’s good to go.


For the most part same as other brands to work on.

The only thing I struggled to find was the oil level – which is set at 100mm (thanks to frezno) from the top of the fork tube compressed all the way down on the stanchion, compression rod in place and spring out.

Very nice write up!


This is a great thread.. I have been wanting to get the rear shock of my '07 EXC revalved for a few weeks now, right after I finished revalving the fork actually.. BUT.... in the spirit of DIY...

How hard would it be to revalve a WP shock at home? Before you answer I will say that I am a very experienced "shade tree" mechanic...I have rebuilt many car and motorcycle engines, have and operate a lathe at home, have done several fork shim shuffling jobs, tune carburetors, tune ignitions, and have basic machine shop measuring tools and instruments.

I've seen it done, watched a few videos, etc. I'm not sure I'm completely prepared to tear into it yet.

Race tech will have you believe that you need to buy every tool they sell for the WP shocks. That's about $2500. Might as well send it out..

Anyway, how many of you have been discouraged about revalving a shock at home? Have you done it? What was holding you back?

I can find recommended stacks, and once I am comfortable with taking the shock apart and successfully reassembling it, I would probably do it often until I found the right feel.

I'm not scared of it, I just don't want to break anything or not be able to put it back together.

Shops charge $250-400 for the revalve on the shock alone I noticed. Can I do everything at home except for the nitrogen fill? I noticed the Race tech bladder kit that allows you to charge with a Schrader valve so you can do everything in the garage.

Edited by Bailey28

@Bailey - to redo the shim stack on the shock would be a snap. As long as you say you have the shim configurations you think you need its pretty straight forward.

Basically once you separate the compression bolt (which has all the valves and shims etc) it is basically all apart from there. For me all I needed to do was replace the main oil seal. As soon as you remove the top bolt everything slides off the rod. I basically slid everything onto a screwdriver so that I would not get any of the shims, valves washer etc mixed up.

For you - you would basically remove the top nut then each subsequent part an lay them all out in sequence on your bench. From there, you redo you shim stack and reassemble.

When your done PM me I would like to know what you did differently and what was the result.

As for special tools - I did not use any. On the piggy back I used 2 drill bits and a long "Jimmy bar". I did the same for the forks too. Also a crap load of heat for good measure (heat gun). Yes its nice to have the rights tools, but I grew up in the bush of Africa and I take a deranged pride in making do with what you have. Just take a little extra care is all.


By the "piggyback" are you referring to the bladder cylinder under the compression screw?

My shock does not have an external high speed adjuster on the EXC. I have only low speed and rebound at the bottom.

With revalving is there an need to remove the compression adjuster screw?

Thanks for the encouragement as well.

By the "piggyback" are you referring to the bladder cylinder under the compression screw? -Yes

My shock does not have an external high speed adjuster on the EXC. I have only low speed and rebound at the bottom.

With revalving is there an need to remove the compression adjuster screw? - yes, as that is where you will purge the last bit of air and top off the oil. Not to worry, it's pretty easy to remove, as it comes out as one whole unit.

Thanks for the encouragement as well. - NP.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Edwards
      Hey guys, I'm wondering what suspension settings you all are running front and rear?  I have a 2017 crf 250r I'm a 210lb newer rider, my settings are currently set at,
      rear suspension low speed  at 12 clicks
      rear suspension high speed 2 turns
       rebound is 12 clicks.
      Left front fork inner chamber 150psi, outer  chamber 10psi, balance pressure 150psi
      Right front fork compression position 7 clicks, rebound 29 clicks
      Sag is 4"
      Thanks guys
    • By Stillwell Performance
      One of the most common calls we get here at the shop is “how do you recommend I go about tuning my suspension?” Good question! The second most common call is “I started turning clickers on the front/back/bottom/top etc. and now I don’t know what I did, help!” The amount of improvement you can gain from proper suspension setup is significant, if you go about it in the right way.
      Look at it this way: if you are 6ft. tall and get in your truck after your 5 ft. 3in. wife just drove it, the first thing you are going to do is adjust the seat/steering wheel, etc. for your size. The same thing goes for your bike’s suspension-last week we had (3) 2010 bikes in the shop for revalves at the same time. Identical models, one guy was a 150lbs. pro racing MX, the next guy was a “B” level GNCC racer and weighed 220, and the third guy was a 180lbs. trail rider. Same bike, three totally different setups!
      So with that in mind, here is where to start:
      • Grab your owners manual, a computer, clipboard and a scale. You cannot effectively start tuning until you determine if the correct springs (fork and shock) are on the bike for your weight. Put down the double cheeseburger, hop on the scale, and get your weight in street clothes. Add in for your gear, which typically runs between 20-30lbs. You can easily check recommended spring rates by visiting under their spring rate calculator. Look in your manual (or ask your tuner) and see what rates are on the bike.
      • If you need to change spring rates-do it first. Trust me on this, trying to tune suspension with the wrong rates is not only frustrating, but you will be short changing yourself on the results. On most bikes the shock spring is easily changed, fork springs can be a bit more difficult-get qualified help if you need it.
      • Even if you are familiar with what “clickers” are, take a moment and read your manual. Determine what style of forks you have (closed cartridge or open cartridge), where the compression and rebound clickers are, and check to see if your shock has both a high speed and low speed compression adjustment.
      • Grab the right tools to adjust, load up and go find a typical piece of terrain to test on. By typical I mean your MX track, hare scrambles course or favorite singletrack. You don’t need to ride a 30 mile loop in order to adjust your bike, rather focus on finding a section of track/trail that has all the different types of jumps/bumps/whoops you encounter.
      • OK here is where I will preach a bit-everybody has a buddy or two that claims to “know suspension” and setup. This is YOUR bike, and unless you plan on dragging him around on the back of the seat the end result of your tuning should be focused on what feels good to YOU. Trust the feedback the bike gives you…..
      • SET YOUR RIDER SAG!!!!!!! This is critical to tuning properly. Again, look in your manual or ask your tuning dude.
      • If you do not have an idea of where to set your clickers, put them in the middle of their adjustment range. This is your baseline setting.
      • Gear up and get warmed up. It is important to be loosened up on the bike BEFORE you start tuning, or you run the chance of mis-diagnosing how the bike is feeling (I never start testing until I have at least 15-20 minutes of warmup time on the bike-I always ride stiff initially and sometimes do not get into a groove until then). Some guys can just jump on and pin the damn thing right from the truck. You know who you are, Wattsy……
      • Remember, this is a tuning session not the MXoN. Use you head and ride at a pace UNDER you max speed-there will be plenty of time to “fang it” once you have zeroed in on some good settings.
      • OK-ride and get a good feel for the bike with the clickers in the middle of their range. Now it’s time to really find out what “too soft” and “too hard” means.
      • Take your clickers and turn them all the way out, full soft. Go ride the bike, but take it easy-it will feel ALOT different. Then come back in and turn everything all the way stiff-go ride again, being careful as this will feel totally different again. For guys that have tuned a bit, these two steps might seem pretty basic, but you will be amazed at the difference in how the bike feels. This is especially helpful for guys who are just starting out.
      • Set everything back to baseline. FROM THIS POINT ON YOU WILL ONLY MAKE ONE ADJUSTMENT AT A TIME!!!!!!
      • So now you will want to determine your tuning range. The tuning range is what settings you will use to adjust for different conditions. For example, If you are an MX racer as well as an occasional singletrack rider you will want to use different settings for those conditions.
      • Fork compression is a good place to start. Ride your test section at baseline, then go about 3 clicks softer. The question to ask yourself after each adjustment is: Does it feel BETTER, WORSE, or THE SAME????
      • There are no right and wrong answers, only what you feel. So let's assume that the 3 clicks softer felt better-go 3 more clicks softer each time until it does not feel as good. You have just found the soft end of your fork compression tuning range. Now return to baseline and do the same thing, only this time go stiffer. After you have found the best compression setting, work on rebound. Remember, one adjustment at a time ONLY or you can become confused!!! Do the same testing with your shock. Once you have both comp and rebound individually adjusted, you can fine tune them to work together-just make one adjustment at a time!
      • As a final test, when you have what you would consider your best setup, write it down, then go back and compare that to your initial baseline, riding both setups back to back. Might surprise you…….
      I could go into some advanced tuning topics about the interrelation of compression/rebound, high and low speed comp, tuning for extremes, etc. but we will save that for another newsletter. Take your time, tune by how your bike feels to you and have fun. You will be surprised by how much better you will ride with well adjusted suspension.
      You can learn more at
      KEEP IT PINNED!!!!
      Alan Stillwell

    • By Jo_nathan
      Selling the showa A kit off of my yz250. It comes with a set of like new x trig adjustable triple clamps. Have 4 rides on rebuild and overall in great shape. Few dings, no dents or leaks. Setup for a 165lb a rider. Work absolutely awesome! I got hurt and cant ride for a year so I'm selling off some of my parts. 
    • By Kim Franz
      lookin to upgrade my suspension on my 06 cr250, curious whats possible with some work.
    • By tplayer100
      Currently have a 2000 drz400s work stock suspension. From my understanding this is the worst suspension the drz ever came with without even rebound damping adjustment. Therefore I'm looking for a upgrade. I'm seeing three approaches to take. First being a newer year s model suspension with dampening adjustment. A SM model USD forks and triple tree or some USD forks and triple tree from a rmz. So if you were going to upgrade what direction would you go. I currently ride off-road mostly but I do have some 17s for on road with as well so have to keep that in mind. Thanks