So I picked up a ’17 250XC a few months ago but 40 hours on it and decided it was time to send out the suspension for a service and revalve. After shopping around for a while I decided on Stillwell Performance after reading reviews, looking at their experience with WP and talking to them. Here is the summary after 10 hours on the new revalved setup.
My initial thoughts of the ’17 KTM WP package was good, I liked the forks and shock in most situations however there were a few major downsides in my eyes. 1) The forks bottomed a lot and tended to tuck when cornered really hard, I had no confidence at our local MX track (not it’s designed area true, but I like to cross-train there) and they tended to ride a little low in the stroke for me. I made up for this by adding PSI (141psi) in the fork. The psi change helped but it made all the suppleness the fork had go away and deflect really bad. 2) The shock seemed to like to buck wildly on square edge braking bumps and over roots and rocks.
So the SP stuff, my initial 4 hours was spent at Boswick creek MX, nice flowing track with some technical stuff and a few big table tops 60-100′. They also have a few miles of trails (mostly sand, with minimal roots and big chop). Right off the bat the bike felt way better, it rode higher in the stroke and was supple over the small stuff yet resisted bottoming on the big jumps when I didn’t make them just right. No complaints from the shock on the track either, it seemed to have more “spring” action making it easier to get some pop off the lips on the jumps. Out in the woods both ends shined also to my surprise, so much nicer over the few roots, no deflection no bouncing around no drama. The rear seemed to still like to kick while braking through the big chop, but it did so in a predictable manner and kept tracking straight. In both areas the bike was very point and shoot, pick a rut no matter the size and she stuck right in and tracked perfectly. Was really impressed how well it transitioned from one side of the spectrum (MX) to the other (woods) with no clicker changes no psi changes (135 now) something that wasn’t possible before.
The next was my normal home riding area; a mix of sandy/clayish woods, on the tighter side lots of square edge chop, roots, stumps, hills, mud everything someone wants for H/S training. Here is where the stock stuff had issues, the front end didn’t deal well with the roots at the psi I had to run to keep the forks up in the stroke where I wanted and gave me a dead feeling. With the new lower psi I had a better idea what the front was doing, it didn’t defect of every pebble and in general tracked so much better through everything. Again the bike was point and shoot, didn’t matter if the ruts had roots or rocks in them both ends soaked it up and the bike stayed planted and stuck in the turn. The rear end presented the same tendency to buck but again predictably and controlled (I honestly haven’t tried to tune it out yet). Again very happy with its performance.
I should also note that I was with a buddy who has a stock ’17 xc setup very similarly to how mine was to back to back with against mine. I mainly ride/race Hare Scrambles and enduros across the Alabama, Georgia and Florida areas in the 250B class. Final thoughts are, I would shell out the cash again in a second, Stillwell has been very helpful on the phone for tuning and just in general questions and were a great company to do business with. A+