When I first started riding dirt bikes, I noticed some riders at my local track had different color front forks than mine. I wasn’t sure what they were, so I started to ask around and do research. Turns out, it was a kit suspension.
In this article, I will give you all of the information I wish I had had when I was curious about a kit suspension, and tell you whether it’s worth the money or not.
A Kit Suspension
In the simplest form, a kit suspension is dirt bike suspension that is larger internally than stock suspension, has more adjustments, is made out of higher quality internal parts, and is typically Kashima coated. A kit suspension is the closest thing to factory-level suspension that the everyday rider can get their hands on.
Factory-level suspension is still better because factory guys have access to R&D and parts that aren’t released to the public. It’s just the way it is. But, a kit suspension gets close.
The larger internal structure and higher-quality parts allow the suspension to remain cooler while being ridden. This causes the suspension to perform better and be more consistent throughout the ride.
When suspension gets hot, as it does from being ridden, it breaks down and doesn’t work as well. It also isn’t as consistent. One lap the suspension might react one way and five laps later, when the suspension is now hot, it’ll react differently. A kit suspension helps solve this problem.
The higher-quality parts are also stronger and more durable. A kit suspension flexs less due to the larger forks and shock body, which allows the suspension to work smoother during an up-and-down stroke.
The increased number of adjustments allows the rider or mechanic to really fine-tune the suspension. It gives you more options when trying to dial in your suspension.
Tyler Stepek recently chatted with AJ Catanzaro about his new a kit suspension. Tyler told AJ that his new suspension has about 48 clicks of adjustment compared to about 15-20 clicks for his stock suspension.
What is Kashima coating?
Kashima coating is a type of treatment for outer tubes and shock bodies for dirt bikes that extends the lifespan of suspension by decreasing corrosion, nicks, and scratches, increasing lubrication, and reducing friction. The treatment of Kashima coating is known as hard anodizing.
You’ll notice that the Kashima coating also makes the color of the suspension different than the stock parts. Check out the difference between a kit suspension and stock suspension below.
Showa, KYB, Enzo A Kit Suspension (and Ohlins)
The three most popular brands when it comes to a kit suspension are Showa, KYB, and Enzo. Ohlins is another popular brand that is often considered in this a kit suspension conversation, but Ohlins suspension is not technically a kit. Ohlins does have suspension that is similar to a kit and better than stock, but it is not technically a true a-kit.
As for which brand to choose, it’s really a Ford vs. Chevy dynamic. Both are great. Some people prefer Ford, some prefer Chevy.
The same goes for suspension. Some prefer Showa a kit suspension, while others prefer KYB a kit suspension.
Generally speaking, Enzo a kit suspension seems to be the most popular, with KYB a kit suspension second, Showa third, and Ohlins last.
Is A Kit Suspension worth the money?
I came into writing this post almost certain that I was going to say that a kit suspension is worth the money. Now, I’m saying the opposite. A kit suspension is not worth the money.
This does not mean that it’s not good suspension. It doesn’t mean that it’s not quite a bit better than stock suspension.
This means that it’s not worth it — at least, for 99% of people reading this article.
Pro Supercross and Motocross rider Coty Shock actually ran stock suspension his entire career until very recently. He ran stock suspension through the amateur ranks.
Today, he does run Enzo a kit suspension, and he does say it’s much better. But, you need to keep in mind that he’s a professional. This is his full-time job.
I said 99% before. That leaves 1%, right? That 1% is reserved for those people who want to go pro.
Even still, Aj Catanzaro, Pro Supercross rider and founder of The Moto Academy, says that you only need a kit suspension if you’re looking to push into the top 15 in pro motocross or supercross.
AJ said in a recent YouTube video that even he didn’t run a kit suspension in many of his professional races. He’s also never personally purchased a kit suspension himself. Any time he has run it, it was given to him.
Even Haiden Deegan, who has a factory ride from Star Racing Yamaha, didn’t run true a kit suspension at Mini O’s recently (at least it’s not Kashima coated).
You can watch the video with AJ explaining his opinion on a kit suspension and him testing it out at Tomahawk MX below.
Is it good? Absolutely.
Is it worth the money? Not for most people.
Not only did I come into writing this article thinking it was going to be worth the money, but I was also highly considering buying a set for my bike. After further research and writing this article, I’m not going to — at least not for now. Not until I hit the pro ranks (and maybe not even then).
I have to remember it’s 90% rider, 10% bike.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Kit Suspension
An a-kit in motocross is a type of improved dirt bike suspension that is better than stock and is similar to factory-level suspension. It has different internal components that allow it to work better, be more consistent, and allow for more adjustments.
The WP in WP suspension stands for White Power. The original WP shocks were painted white, which is where the name came from.
No, you cannot shop Factory Connection online.
Yes, KYB is a Japanese company manufactures of numerous types of suspension.