[News]

WP XACT or XPLOR Shock: What’s Yours?

3 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Jarrad Duffy / Husqvarna Images

Husqvarna’s 2020-model enduro bikes are fitted with WP’s XPLOR fork, right? Right. And these bikes also run a WP XPLOR shock absorber, as confirmed by the “XPLOR” sticker on their shock reservoir, right? Well, kind of. Actually, no! In spite of the fact the WP shock absorbers on Husky’s 2020 FE and TE models (for early production runs, anyway) come with an XPLOR sticker, these machines are in fact fitted with a WP XACT shock absorber. And an XACT shock is entirely different to the XPLOR shock that’s fitted to KTM’s enduro range.

So, what the hell is going on here? The short answer is that a miscommunication between WP Suspension and Husqvarna caused a discrepancy in the naming protocol of shock absorbers; a discrepancy picked up after the 2020 Huskys started rolling off the production line in Austria. And as this has created widespread confusion about the new Huskys’ componentry – from owners to dealers to media outlets to Husqvarna personnel around the world – we figured it was time to set the record straight.

As the Husqvarna factory’s Head of Product Management, Justin Maxwell, explains, “Yes, there was a mix up at WP regarding the naming of the rear shock for Husqvarna. WP was under the impression that all Motocross models use XACT and all Enduro models use XPLOR, but did not take into account that Husqvarna uses the linkage rear shock with the same technology found on its motocross range. Although the Husqvarnas use a linkage shock, some made the mistake of labelling them XPLOR because it was fitted to an enduro model. And this included the application of the incorrect sticker on some of the produced enduro models. As soon as we, at Product Management, picked up the error, we made the changes to correct the naming because the XACT shock is a key differentiation point for Husqvarna, and quite different to the XPLOR PDS version found on KTM. So the specifically differentiated naming is needed to reinforce it’s not the same component on both brands,” Maxwell went on to say.

To complicate the issue, WP Suspension has retained the original XACT versus XPLOR naming protocol for their range of aftermarket WP ‘Pro’ suspension components. “The naming that WP has kept on their Pro components side is okay, but not something I could not accept on the OEM side because customers would incorrectly think that KTM and Husqvarna have the same rear shock,” Maxwell goes on to explain. “I know the coordination of the naming protocol is not 100 percent, but we simply had to have the differentiation between the technology on Husqvarna’s and KTM’s OEM products.”

Now that’s cleared up, here’s a table to summarise it…

XPLOR & XACT SHOCKS: IN CONTEXT

  • It was back in mid 2016 – in Spain, at the media launch for KTM’s new generation 2017-model enduro range – that we first got to see and test WP’s all-new 48mm USD XPLOR fork and XPLOR PDS shock absorber.
  • A couple of months later – in Sweden, at the media launch for Husqvarna’s new-gen 2017 enduro bikes – this same XPLOR fork appeared across Husky’s enduro range (replacing WP’s much-maligned 4CS fork), but these bikes did not get an XPLOR shock. They came with WP’s DCC (Dual Compression Control) shock absorber, which is the same shock used by Husky’s MX models at the time, but mated with an enduro-specific rising-rate linkage.
  • Husky’s enduro models then ran the DCC shock and enduro linkage for three years.
  • In 2020, having reverted to the same linkage as their motocross cousins, Husky’s enduro models were fitted with a WP XACT shock absorber – the new WP shock that had first appeared in KTM’s and Husky’s 2020 MX and Cross-Country models just a few months earlier, albeit with different spring rates and damping settings to suit off-road use.

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