Check out our latest feature as we catch up with Jeremy Wilkey, owner of MX-Tech.
You may recognize the MX-Tech name from its debut on the bike of Stank Dog, Gared Steinke, winner of the Red Bull Straight Rhythm on October 21st, 2017. Jeremy was more than willing to take some time to answer a few questions for our readers.
When we see the pictures of Stank Dog’s bike, the suspension looks pretty trick! What upgrades did you add to the stock suspension?
Gared Steinke (Stank Dog) has tested with us for a couple of years, now. He is a great rider to work with and is very articulate about what he wants from the suspension.
We were able to build the suspension for Stank’s 250 2-stroke quickly since we often keep trick items like Kashima coated tubes, SKF seals, and other hardware in stock. Genuine Kashima coating is direct from Japan and offers the least amount of friction for the upper fork tubes. The lower fork legs get a special hard coated DLC treatment. Internally, Stank ran the MXT TAC-R in AX on his KXF. So, it was good since we also make this system for the WP forks. The MXT A48R air system is lightweight and, in many ways, delivers a spring-like “force profile.” This means that if you were to plot data points of the air system against a spring fork system – the result is very similar. Additionally, we added a leaf spring mid-valve and our newest generation Huck Valve. The Huck Valve is an excellent bottoming control system… The kind of thing that would have kept Chad Reed from going metal to metal when he over jumped a section at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm.
The Shock gets a total upgrade, too! We added the MXT Tank, an oversized reservoir with a Kashima coating and a 2mm larger piston. Both of these parts help to reduce temperature change in the shock and impact on the rod charge. We added the 3-way compression adjuster to offer more tuning options for every type of riding condition. We also added a Huck Valve technology to the shock. Not only does the Shock Huck prevent bottoming, it also keeps the rear of the bike from going sideways – something perfect for the big hits at the Red Bull race.
Besides all of that, Stank ran a special set of “MXT 726 PBR” stickers on the upper triple clamps – obviously, it was a total “Dream Catcher” since Stank saw Ronnie Mac fade into the California dust! (We only have a few sets left for sale on our website – the money goes directly to Stank – just a creative way for anyone to help support the people’s privateer).
We know that you have been featured in some of the biggest magazines for your earlier work. What did that experience give you when it comes to dialing in a bike for Straight Rhythm?
Not much! Haha. I’ve had some awesome adventures, learning experiences, and mentors along the way. I’ve had the full range of results in the magazines, as well as racing. This collectively has given me a pretty deep well of experience to draw from.
Do the suspension settings differ for an event like this vs. regular Motocross or Supercross?
Technically, it is easier because this race doesn’t require much front wheel traction. So, the focus is on getting maximum stability and control out of the suspension. SX needs a lot of stiffness, but some front traction is desirable for corners. MX needs stability, control, and comfort. Otherwise, the rider will tire out.
Can I purchase that same set up for my bike? Or are the parts “factory” and unavailable to the public? The set-up Gared uses is 100% available!
Speaking of the “huck valve”, how does it work? Does it work better on 2 strokes vs. 4 strokes? Does it matter? The Huck Valve is a speed sensitive bottoming control device that replaces the OEM bottoming controls. OEM bottoming controls cannot compensate for the speed of the suspension when they engage. The Huck Valve is speed sensitive. So, it can be softer or stiffer depending on the load acting on it. This allows the whole set-up (traditional tuning aspects) to be maximized without concern for managing bottoming control. The Huck Valve benefits have proven to be very effective in all applications.
When it comes to the beginner rider, will revalving the suspension make a big difference since they are typically riding slower?
So, as a rule, what we do as tuners has little to do with how fast or slow a rider is. We make the bike and the rider work well together. An experienced rider, one who is consistent, will see the largest gains from revolving suspension. Beginning riders (not pace related) should focus on bike set-up in the following ways:
Free stuff: Tire pressure, clickers, sag, and proper lever and bar position, etc.
Maintenance such as leaky seals, frozen link bearings, worn wheel bearings, worn tires, and bad brakes all have the biggest impact on ride quality.
If a rider is unable to achieve proper sag, correct springs are required.
Put your money in these things first. Log a lot of riding time and consider riding lessons. Once rider progresses, suspension is a must, and becomes a return on investment.
What is the normal service interval for suspension? How do I know when it’s time to do it?
The “average rider” should be able to get 30-40 hours on his/her suspension before it needs service. The maintenance will likely be 1 or 2 times per year. To achieve these longer time frames, the fork tubes should be wiped down after washing and/or after a muddy ride. The mud that dries on your fork tubes will shorten the life of the seals.
Always rebuild forks as soon as a seal begins to leak. The grit that caused the seals to fail is also in the forks and bushings, which, with every stroke, is degrading the fork tubes. So, prolonged maintenance begins to get more expensive. With shock seals, a leak is pretty much an emergency. Anything more than a very minor leak is risking the whole life of the shock assembly. Service intervals at 30-40 hours will almost never have a shock seal failure. Shocks are pretty reliable.
KYB PSF: Fork seals are mandatory. A blown fork seal is a non-functioning air fork.
Showa TAC: Forks are super reliable. Service 1-2 times per year. Please note: Oil accumulation on the balance side is normal and no problem. There is a coating on the air cylinders that comes off and makes the oil dark. It is normal, and the coating continues to come off forever.
AER: The WP units are the industry standard for ease of use, however, the air seals are sensitive. The early problems with the main seals have been resolved now with a new u-cup design. The lower seal head seals are reliable but tend to start leaking at 30-40 hours. If the air chamber is losing pressure and the outer is gaining more than normal (small build up) then it is time for service. The warning is observed by only a few PSI loss over a week, to a much more noticeable loss.
If you would like more information on these products for your bike, contact Mx-Tech at https://mx-tech.com/
We would also like to extend a thanks to Garth Milan for providing the cover photo. Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/garthmilan/