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MOTOREX Magazine 2016 108 EN

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INSIDE Two-time world MX

INSIDE Two-time world MX 2 champion Marvin Musquin (USA) tested the new MOTOREX fork oils on his KTM. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT WITH A CLAIM TO PERFECTION Suspension forks are sophisticated chassis elements that require careful tuning for road use and especially for racing. The choice of fork oil plays a key role. The V14.217 development project for a new fork oil is a good example of how MOTOREX goes about developing products. Fork oils are a firmly established part of the MOTOREX product range. Until now the RACING FORK OIL range has consisted of five viscosities: SAE 2.5W, 5W, 7.5W, 10W and 15W. But technology marches on in the world of cycle forks, as elsewhere. Modern forks, some of which include features like the ability to modify spring and shock absorption settings from the handlebars, are continually making new demands of the fork oil. A FINGER ON THE PULSE OF TECHNOLOGY KTM uses forks from leading European motorcycle chassis component manufacturer WP. These forks feature a “closed cartridge system” design and currently require a fork oil of viscosity SAE 4W with very specific characteristics. As KTM’s lubricant supplier, MOTOREX was not slow in launching a development project for a product to satisfy these requirements. The following specifications were defined for the new product: • maximum reduction of friction values • optimized breakaway torque (stick-slip) • extreme temperature stability • modified viscosity index in maximum range • high shear stability • low foaming • quick air release characteristics The MOTOREX development team applied these specifications when producing an initial set of test fork oils that were used to establish comparison values with the existing generation of fork oils. This involved real-life tests, some of which were carried out in cooperation with an MTB chassis specialist. WHY MOUNTAIN BIKE FORKS? Suspension elements in oil-filled enduro and downhill mountain bike forks need considerably greater sensitivity due to their design and the significantly lighter weight of bicycles compared to motorcycles. This made them ideal for efficiently testing the prototype fork oils and examining the effects of the “configurable” parameters in the recipe. Measurement values in the coeffi- 14

COMPARISON OF FRICTION ZONES ON BASE VALUES RACING FORK OIL 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Friction zone from mean Variation in dia. (stick-slip) 1.5 11.76 before * Friction reduced by approx. 40% Stick-slip reduced by approx. 80% 0.2 7.11 after* RACING FORK OIL IN FOAM TEST 4W fork oil competitors MOTOREX RACING FORK OIL 4W The lower the friction value, the better the lubricating effect of the oil. In practice, a higher value (variance) for breakaway torque (stick-slip) has a negative impact on ride behavior. The difference between the two fork oils is clearly visible in a foam test in a transparent test cylinder. Various test series were carried out together with a partner who specializes in mountain bike chassis optimization. 15-time German mountain bike downhill champion Markus Klausmann (left) and Stefan Nebel (Superbike) Touratech test rider took part in real-life testing. cient of friction analyses, for example, are extremely precise. In particular, it is much easier to take extremely sensitive breakaway torque (stick-slip) measurements in a mountain bike fork than in a motorcycle fork. Various specially developed pieces of testing equipment were used to conduct the tests. The results were analyzed in the MOTOREX lab, and the parameters of the formula were continually optimized. The perfected end result was thus achieved in a defined control loop. 3D RESPONSE TECHNOLOGY When designing the new fork oils, MOTOREX took advantage of a new technology that uses a special molecular structure to enable a new form of shock-absorbing behavior. Tensile and compressive forces are no longer dispersed in a zig-zag accordion fashion, but in a sort of multi-level “grid structure”. EXTENSIVE REAL-LIFE TESTING Once the test results were in line with the development engineers’ specifications, it was time for real-life test- ing. The real-life tests were also carried out in several disciplines (with mountain bikes as well as off-road and street motorcycles). It goes without saying that forks are expected to meet a different set of criteria in a race than on a multi-thousand kilometer road trip. The experienced participants’ impressions of the ride were analyzed and evaluated using test logs and fork oil samples. SHARED SUCCESS The bottom line is that MOTOREX now offers just the right fork oil for every use and fork type, with the right shock-absorbing and suspension properties for every set of requirements (short, sharp shocks in a downhill mountain bike race from 2400 down to 600 meters above sea level, extremely large spring movements in a MX Grand Prix, or ride comfort settings on a heavily loaded touring motorcycle). The findings from the development of the new RACING FORK OIL 4W were subsequently used to improve the entire fork oil line at all viscosities. • MOTOREX MAGAZINE 108 I JULY 2016 15



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