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A Visit To Wp Suspension.


V4 Rosso
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Öhlins, Penske, Wilbers, Hyperpro & Elka are the manufacturers that show up when browsing/searching the suspension subforum here on VFRD. Öhlins is renowned for it's quality schocks, and with all that shiny gold anodised bodies they look good too. Elka made the 5th and 6th gen owners here on VFRD an offer you can't refuse. If they had offered a shock for a third gen I sure would have been on the list. Penske is a big name in the US, no idea if there are Penske dealers here in Europe. Wilbers and Hyperpro offer moderately priced shocks and springs. All will likely outperform the stock VFR shocks.

But when searching VFRD for WP I didn´t get a single hit (edit: keny just posted a topic that mentions WP). Also I recently posted some pics of a mono arm in another topic, asking if anyone knew what it was. But even after someone found the "hidden" spoilerpic that showed who made it (WP), still no answers to what exactly it was: the TLGS (Troll Linear Guiding System) mono-arm. Seems like WP suspension is not a well known company among Sport & ST riders,at least not on your side of the pond.

And that is something that is recognised and apparently also bugs WP Suspension. This year WP celebrated 7 world championships among those of Ten Kate Honda: James Toseland 2007 champion WSB & Kenan Sofuoglu World Champion SuperSport 600, but still they're not as well known as aforementioned manufacturers. In order to change that, they could have opted to spend more on advertising or offer their shocks for bargain prices. But no, WP choose to have some riders over for some coffee and have a strawl around their plant to have a look at what it is exactly you spend your cash on. What better riders to have come visit than VFR riders who appreciate quality, durability, dependability and performance. Well, at least WP thinks that those qualifications apply to their suspension parts, and with 7 World Championships, who can argue with that. At least BWM and KTM think that's true, as they have chosen WP Suspension as their OEM.

For those who have watched Long way down those were Öhlins shock that failed. :salesman:

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with their plant. It looks well organised and they have some nice machinery too. The main activities of the Malden plant are assembly, quality control and R&D. From there, all parts are shipped to the worldwide distributors.

Below you'll find a photo impression of the tour they organised forthe Dutch VFR owners club, I hope you like it.

Like I said, WP is OEM for BMW, but they make shocks & springs for almost every street and dirt bike.

First bikes you see when entering the lobby. Active suspension: electronically adjustable BMW shock.

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Race forks and steering dampers are also on their product list.

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<drool>Shocks, shock- and fork springs everywhere. WP shock springs are mostly white because in the early seventies the only suitable paint was only available in white. Now you can get them in different colors. Maybe you can even get the titanium (yes titanium) springs clear coated, wouldn't that be nice :thumbsup:

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Our guide for the day has had several VFRs himself. A blue VTEC that he later sold to VFRD member http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...4906]BlueVFRank was equiped with a one off race spec suspension. I am not sure of the current whereabouts of this bike, as BlueVFRank traded it for an Aprilia. It may still be up for sale at some dealer.

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Like most company visits you start of with a presentation showing some of the company facts and hihglights. Never knew WP was involved in F1 too. Oh and as you can see, Wp is not just OEM to KTM but has been a daughter company of KTM for several years now.

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The parts for the shocks come from varying suppliers. In this day and age it is just not possible to produce all the neccessary parts that go into a shock yourself, machinery is just to expensive. When parts are delivered at the plant, they are first thouroughly cleaned in a pair of industrial washing machines before moving on to the assembly line or quality control. Some components are individualy check wheter they conform to spec, for others only samples of a batch are being checked.

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Looks quite cluttered from this viewpoint.

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Ah, that's better :D

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Detailed instructions at each assembly station, conform ISO9001.

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Stacking the shims is done by hand. That's quite a tedious job if you ask me, but whowever is responsible for it is said to be extremely fast with the shims, and can tell the excact thickness blindfolded (they come in a large variety of thicknesses). I bet he or she would be a pretty good croupier :lol:

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This machine fills two shock simultaniously with oil and presurises them in a matter of seconds.

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Next was quality control. They have some pretty neat machinery to check whether the parts conform to specification and if everything works like it is supposed to when assembled. Besides the indvidual components, every twentieth shock coming off the assembly line is being disassembled and thoroughly checked. I am beginning to understand why thes shock don't come cheap.

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Of course equipment like this is kept in a conditioned room (temperature & humidity kept at a constant).

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Time for a short brake. It was a nice day fora ride too, oh well.

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Off to R&D. Here is where the new models of BMW and KTM get their suspension dialed in and endurance tests are performed.

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Latest KTM ATV that had just been released to the press:

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Left: Test rig for forks. Several triangular shaped bumps (like you see laying on the diamond plated platform) are bolted to that steel blue wheel to similute roadbumps. The fork is clamped in the rather sturdy tripples.

Right: Rear shocks impact test rig. The swingarm is attached to a heavy steel plate that is dropped from several feet high.

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Another endurance test rig for fork legs and some other KTM frame getting a new shock:

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The engineers would have been staring out the windows all day, drooling over all these beautifull bikes parked outside.

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This it what the cabinet of an R&D engineers looks like, just like it should:

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Unlike that of a race engineer:

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Race department:

This poor guy (the tall one) was the only one at work that day (apart from our tour guide). He was doing some testing/set-up on a shock for some motocross world champion. I suppose those WCs can be pretty demanding that you have to work overtime :lol:

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Shocks and forks for champions:

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Here some parts were made from billet material:

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Hey a lathe, though BLS was nowhere to be seen.

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That looks nice doesn't it?

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That conludes about this visit, not much else to be seen apart from a rather impressive stock of billet materials. Oh and here is that mono-arm I wrote about earlier.

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Outside our tour guide demonstrated how to set sag on the VFR and we were off for lunch :sleep:

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Big thanks to WP suspension for having us over. Was very informative and impressive.

As an encore, here is a pic of the best looking VFR :P with WP forks. And yes, that is a Hyperpro sticker on the fork lowers :D For some reason Hyperpro springs were installed in the forks :salesman:

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My shock, with 74K km is likely well worn and due for a replacement. I haven't decided yet what brand or type but I'd rather have an aftermarket shock like a WP or Hyperpro than the original replacement. These aftermarket shocks being serviceable is a big plus. And if you like, you can take the shock with you when you get a new bike. They can swap some parts so it fits the new bike. Not sure if that's worth the hasle though.

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But when searching VFRD for WP I didn´t get a single hit (edit: keny just posted a topic that mentions WP).

I found a few mentions of WP:

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...st&p=347655

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...st&p=261938

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...st&p=234017

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...st&p=447989

http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.p...st&p=400459

The problem with the search function is that it doesn't look for words with less than four characters. So, if you do a search for WP, you're not going to get anything. Same goes for "CBR" or any other two or three letter word. You could do a search for say "WP suspension" but then you'd get a whole bunch of results that you don't need. The trick: do a search for WP*. Adding an asterix makes the search engine look for any words that start with those letters (so CBR* would return any posts with CBR, CBR900, CBR929, CBR600, etc.). The nice thing about this is it bypasses the less-than-four-letters rule. :thumbsup:

Great pictures by the way! I would of loved to have been there on the tour. :sleep:

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What kind of rotors are those?

They somewhat resemble Beringer's rotors. I had a Beringer setup on my motard...that is some nice kit in its own right that's really not too popular over here.

OOF! I just looked up the price of the Beringer rotors to fit my RC51 front end. Converted from Euros to Cdn $ = 497.046 PER ROTOR!

I think I'll stay with the (excellent condition) used EBAY stockers I have now.

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Thanks for the great pictorial.

I was lucky enough to work for a short time in the ride quality industry with Arvin-Meritor (Ok, you've heard of Gabriel, right?) I got to do some limited ride developement and competitor analysis, so I've had workbenches scatted with cool looking parts like that before... Also got to run a shock dyno quite a bit... if I could have talked them into it, I would have bought that machine before they moved it to Michigan, and I would have been a big name in aftermarket suspension guru right now as we speak... but it didn't work out that way. Maybe one of these days I'll get that buisness going... right now even the best known tuners in the buisness can't strap thier work to a machine and confirm that it was done right... or give you a before and after like they do in the engine buisness.

I've spent a lot of time in the valve building room too... as far as I know, every company builds the valves by hand.... I've been in Kayaba, ARM, and Sachs, and like you mention, the person that does it can tell you the thickness of the shim by feel... and they can build 100 valves in the time it takes you to pull out a set of mics and measure one.

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Lots of eye-candy there, thanks for the report.

The funny thing is, with all the fancy CNC tools and dynos these guys have, most stock bikes have pretty crappy suspension setup and poorly matched springs for any weight rider. Even KTM bikes with WP forks and shocks, good quality stuff, but the OEM springs are all wrong and valving is quite poor. In my case, I'm lucky to have a guy a block away from me, working in his garage shop and no machine tools, that can work magic with the valves and shim stacks. It couldn't cost the manufacturers much more to get this right (or at least close) the first time.

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What, huh? Oh, THAT White Power.

The name always seemed a little KKKish to me. I trust that's not why they picked the name. :ph34r:

Noticed they had some black springs and other colors too, so... :sleep:

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What kind of rotors are those?

Yep, those are Beringer rotors.

  • WP 4357 USD fork
    320mm Beringer rotors
    4-pot Brembo calipers
    16mm Brembo master brake cilinder
    3 spoke PVM wheel.

Btw, anyone familiar with these rotors?

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I found a few mentions of WP:

The problem with the search function is that it doesn't look for words with less than four characters.

Thanks for setting that straight. Now there is even one more: 6th gen shock in the classifieds!

Now, would ya look at that Rosso, people DO care over here... smile.gif (see toolcase)

Hehe, I noticed that. Meddle1999 has a KTM (pics in his gallery album) so that pretty much explains it.

And thanks (all) for the kudos :thumbsup: :D

(Ok, you've heard of Gabriel, right?)

... if I could have talked them into it, I would have bought that machine before they moved it to Michigan,

Yes, I know Gabriel. About the largest vehicle fast-fit chain (kwik-fit) has Gabriel for replacement shocks. To bad you weren't able to buy that dyno. If you can effectively operate a machine like that you can save a lot of time in getting the right set-up. I've seen a very large example of one in action. It had several hydropulse servohydraulic actuators and was used for testing 4 or 5 ton truck axles. That was quite impressive :blink:

The name always seemed a little KKKish to me. I trust that's not why they picked the name. :goofy:

Noticed they had some black springs and other colors too, so... :beer:

The answer to that can be found in the write-up :salesman:

Because of the possible association with the white power movement they don't use that name anymore.

From the WP historical overview

Right from the beginning, the springs that were used on WP shock absorbers were white, which became the typical WP colour. There’s a nice anecdote to the circumstances that led to the "choice" that was made for this colour. In the beginning the springs were coated by a company that produced hospital beds and white was the only possible colour for them (!). Although, nowadays the coating is done by special spring coating companies, the WP shock absorbers can still easily be recognised by the white springs. The white springs also introduced the original brand name of "White Power" which we are not using actively in the market anymore since 1991.

Btw the black is actually some kind of bronze color, looks pretty good.

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I actually have a WP shock on my VF, for what it's worth :P

I had one on my VF700 as well........ there should have been a thread on that install............ somewhere.

I liked it, and the service I got was absolutely top notch.

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Great thread, thanks for sharing. I knew I did right by installing the WP rear shock. could have sworn I laid out an install thread here.

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thanks for the lead with forks, now it looks like maybe theres a front fork I need to get my hands on now.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest promotosport

great write-up... I just had an informative talk with a tuner who works with WP yesterday and he told me the same things that you did regarding the championships and I was blown away... very little info on them... i found this psot by searching for WP and not much pops up! (will try the search trick mentioned above though!)

later!

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...
Guest onedowneaster

Thanks Rosso, I'm sure it was quite a trip and one that you will remember. A Corp. that I worked for some years back applied for ISO9001 certification. I just want to say that much blood,sweat and tears and dedication are required to gain

ISO certification. So with that said ,you can bet that WP will be on the suspension map for quite some time. I was introduced to WP some years back when I had a friend that was a tech inspector @ Unidella MX track

in upstate N.Y.During the MX-GP series I was privy to getting into the bike and rider areas and had a chance to talk directly to the factory mechanics .Several European teams were using WP and that was in the 1980"s .

So even without seeing your write up I know they make a first class product. One of the problems that I saw ,when trying to get a set of WP shocks for one of my previous bikes is that they are so damm expensive. If I

remember correctly their prices scared me away. I think they need to do a marketing study of American price points and such. They just dont have that strong of a reputation in America to command their pricing.

Once their products have earned the great reputation that I am sure they have, then they can get pricey. Anyway thats my humble opinion. eddie

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I think they need to do a marketing study of American price points and such. They just dont have that strong of a reputation in America to command their pricing. Once their products have earned the great reputation that I am sure they have, then they can get pricey.

Hyperpro has about the same pricelevel as WP and from what I read here, are better known and sell better. Still WP has produced a lot more World Champions than Hyperpro, in fact I can't name a single rider that won a WCship on Hyperpros. I think it has more to do with image (e.g. through advertising) than reputation.

If reputation by winning championships really plays that big a role than not only WP but also Showa should be right up there with Öhlins.

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WSBK: Ten Kate Drop WP Suspension In Favour Of Ohlins Setup

http://bikerholic.com/2009/06/26/wsbk-ten-...f-ohlins-setup/

I have WP suspension on my BMW Dakar - scored a used setup. Was very surprised to read on that old thread that BMW use it as original equipment when it is a subsidiary of KTM.

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...The problem with the search function is that it doesn't look for words with less than four characters. So, if you do a search for WP, you're not going to get anything. Same goes for "CBR" or any other two or three letter word. You could do a search for say "WP suspension" but then you'd get a whole bunch of results that you don't need. The trick: do a search for WP*. Adding an asterix makes the search engine look for any words that start with those letters (so CBR* would return any posts with CBR, CBR900, CBR929, CBR600, etc.). The nice thing about this is it bypasses the less-than-four-letters rule.

I did not know that! Great tip! Thanks!

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