MXA PRODUCT TEST:
FACTORY CONNECTION REMOTE SHOCK RESERVOIR KIT
WHAT IS IT? A KX450F shock revalve with a host of modifications by Factory Connection—including a remote reservoir.
WHAT’S IT COST? $180 (revalve and service), $249.95 (remote reservoir), $17.95 (shock fluid and nitrogen), $19.95 (compression piston plate), $17.95 (high-speed
compression spring), $24.95 (heavy-duty rubber shock bumper), $109.95 (shock spring), $620.70 (total cost).
CONTACT? www.factoryconnection.com or (866) 220-1151.
WHAT’S IT DO? Factory Connection is always looking for ways to improve their slew of hardware upgrades and services to increase the performance of OEM suspension. Their remote reservoir, which Factory Connection pro riders (the Geico Powersports Honda team, for example) have been testing and racing with for a few years, was originally available for Hondas and Suzukis only. This year, the remote reservoirs have become available for Kawasakis. Customers are required to buy a revalve (or rebuild) along with the remote reservoir, which makes sense.
Factory Connection also offers a bevy of miscellaneous shock hardware that may not turn any heads individually, but can have a strong cumulative effect on performance. A lot of the revalve jobs performed by Factory Connection include a compression piston plate, a high-speed compression spring, and a heavy-duty shock bumper. We decided to go whole hog on our KX450F shock. Well, maybe not whole hog. There are works DLC coatings and other modifications that we skipped in our effort to build a practical package for a serious racer.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Factory Connection’s Shock Valving and Reservoir:
(1) Shock Spring. Although the stock KX450F shock’s spring rate is supposed to be 5.5 kg/mm, Factory Connection claims they have had some 2009 KX450F
customers whose stock springs actually rated at 5.4 or 5.3 kg/mm. We had our shock set up for taller, heavier and faster test riders with a 5.7 kg/mm spring.
(2) Remote reservoir. Factory Connection’s remote reservoir increases the nitrogen volume of the system and moves it away from the exhaust pipe and shock body in an effort to keep heat buildup from increasing compression damping.
(3) Revalve. Factory Connection takes weight, height, skill and type of riding into consideration before selecting the valving specs for their customers.
(4) Rebuild. All revalves include a rebuild, which includes a thorough cleaning, inspection, measurement of the service limits, polishing the shock shaft, replenishing suspension fluid and setting the nitrogen pressure.
(5) Miscellaneous hard parts. Factory Connection uses a high-speed compression spring for improved action at high shaft speeds. They also use a compression piston plate, which increases port volume and eliminates hydraulic lock at high shaft speeds. And finally, they use a heavy-duty rubber shock bumper for better bottoming feel.
(6) Performance. The variety of motocross terrain demands soft suspension for some obstacles and firm suspension for others, so shock setup is always a compromise. MXA test riders were impressed with how well the Factory Connection shock worked over smaller and squared bumps (even with a firm setup that favored bigger bumps).
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Shocks don’t get hot and fade in five-lap motos. It takes faster riders, rougher tracks and long motos to reap the benefits of the remote reservoir.
All together, the Factory Connection mods produced a shock that was markedly better than the stocker. Best of all, it was able to bridge the biggest and smallest of hits without suffering at either extreme.