Test #4: Race Tech, Showa HPSD
Test #4: Race Tech, Showa HPSD
By: Dominic Cimino
In the unique world of motocross, aftermarket components have always been something that lands on a very large percentage of our bikes. The craze for the best parts that can not only make your bike function better, but also add a unique look or “factory flare”, seems relentless. Case in point; it was time for me to add something to my KTM, to help aid in the process of creating the ultimate GP/Offroad machine. I was in need of a steering stabilizer, and I wanted something “Factory-ish”, but keeping in mind that this item needed to be something that anyone one of us could buy over the counter. I decided that the Showa HPSD, mounted by way of the Ride Engineering billet mounting kit, would be the best option for me.
After putting this ensemble together, and being able to test-ride a few different times for this review, I immediately recognized that I was due for a better damper setting inside the Showa stabilizer, to handle the harsh Nevada deserts. What better way to fix this issue, than calling upon the experts at Race Tech. Since my initial test with their suspension valving has continued to prove very trustworthy in the performance category, I knew that they would be able to help in the process of making the HPSD unit better. And that they did! Utilizing their signature Gold Valve, Race Tech was able to re-valve the stabilizer to coincide with the Offroad focused terrain that my KTM loves to gobble up. In this installment of PulpMX Product Punishment, we get to see the results of Race Tech’s work, once again.
First thing is first; when you send your components to Race Tech, the average turn-around time is three to five business days, which is exceptional. I applaud them for this customer service effort, because the end result is the consumer (you) being able to ride sooner, with improved equipment. After receiving the unit, no time was wasted to get out and test. I wanted to ride some grueling terrain, that demands the most out of components that help a rider stay in control.
KTM’s in their natural stock form have the tendency to be very sensitive in the front-end, making them “twitchy” at speed. With the bike on the stand and moving the handlebars side to side, I could feel the difference in resistance and also the progression of the HPSD unit. After the first few laps, the re-valved Showa stabilizer was able to calm the abovementioned problem down, making the front-end more stable and confident. It provided enough stability to not conflict with cornering, and also gives motocross-oriented riders the perception that you can still do what you wish with the bike, from a maneuverability standpoint.
Something that I would like to see more out of the new Race Tech settings was the progression at the very end of the stroke (with the bars fully turned, at the steering stops). They were able to supply the stabilizer a bit more resistance in this range, to really aid in preventing extreme front-end swap. But for the true high-speed desert rat, it is important to have this valving become effective sooner in the stroke, instead of at the very end. Just in case you hit something unexpected at high speeds, having the Showa HPSD unit ready to absorb the harsh twist of the bars is important.
Overall, I am very pleased with the new settings that Race Tech offered for this stabilizer. I was able to accomplish my goal of adding something “factory-ish” to my bike, but also keeping in mind that bettering performance was the ultimate objective. If you are interested in a similar set up for your KTM, I urge you to look up Race Tech for the updated stabilizer settings that includes their signature Gold Valve, as well as Ride Engineering, for the sleek behind the number plate mounting kit.
Thank you for reading!