26145 Jefferson Ave #303 Murrieta, CA 92562
"I have gone back and forth between the stock WP suspension and the WP XACT Pro Components a time or two on the 2020.5 KTM 450 SX-F. I have seen a lot of riders with the AEO/REP stickers on their suspension and wanted see what this company was all about. Mark Johnson was the WP factory Red Bull KTM suspension tuner for over ten years and he recently thought it was time to expand and create his own suspension company. He recently started Research Engineering Performance in order to use what he learned at the factory and incorporate that to help us normal everyday Joe’s that want their suspension re-valved. I had a set of WP XACT Pro 7548 spring forks and a XACT Pro 8950 shock laying around, so I decided to send my stuff off to Mark and the guys at REP.
Before REP took delivery of my suspension they asked me a few questions. They asked what type of riding I was doing, what type of rider I am and of course what I didn’t like about my previous WP Pro Component fork/shock setting.
With the REP valving I get more front tire contact patch feeling on lean angle and you can start your lean earlier when setting up for corners without getting the high front end, vague feeling like you do with the AER fork. With the AER fork I get some pushing in the front end through the middle With the REP/XACT fork I can lean in the corner and the fork stays planted, which lets my front end settle and bite. The REP/WP XACT fork also feels less active on braking bumps and allows me to leave the throttle on longer once the de-cel bumps start. I am able to jump in and out of bigger bumps with the REP valving without having the fork rebound too quick and be too active. If I wanted to pound through the bumps, the fork had better damping control than any other WP fork I have tried to date, through the middle to end part of the stroke.
The most notable change was to my wrists when over jumping/flat landing with the REP/XACT fork setting. I could get more aggressive with obstacles and have the bike settle into corners better in areas of the track I wasn’t able to with the stock suspension or any previous XACT Pro fork valving setting."
Years of Factory Experience
Passion for All Things Suspension
Suspension components include a WP Cone Valve 48mm fork and a stock WP Xact shock with a bladder kit. Both units are tuned by Mark Johnson at Research Engineering Performance (REP). Johnson also came up with the different bell crank and pullrod that are on the bike. As far as how Hayes likes his suspension set up, it’s understandably stiff for Supercross, but not over the top.
“He likes it stiff, but not super stiff—more so in the front than the rear,” Hughes explained. “He likes the rear to plant and to drive. He likes the rear to be stiff, but not too stiff to where he can’t turn. He wants [the suspension] to do a certain thing in the whoops and the corners, [which] is what he tries to focus on with his suspension setup.”
Things are slowly but surely coming together for Broc Tickle’s return to racing on February 15 at the Tampa Supercross. The former Western Regional Supercross Champion’s effort will be officially known as TiLube/AEO Powersports/BT20 Racing, and Tickle will race a 2020 Husqvarna FC 450 built by Jamie Elllis at Twisted Development Racing. AEO Powersports’ in-house suspension specialists – Research Engineering Performance – is handling the tuning on the WP Cone Valve and Trax Shock, and Tickle has rounded out the machine with an FMF Racing exhaust, Dubya USA wheels, Renthal bars, SKDA Graphics, and more.
Chad Reed has upgraded his new KTM 250SX two-stroke with a variety of aftermarket products and on Wednesday, he went riding with seven-time GNCC Champion Kailub Russell and a few others at Kailub’s new track in North Carolina. We’ve been dying to see some video footage of Chad riding the two-stroke, but he has kept us waiting. Although, he did post two short videos on his instagram story, but they were shot from far away. From what we can see, Chad has added a Pro Circuit pipe and silencer, Hinson Clutch cover, Neken triple clamps, ProTaper bars and WP Pro components for his suspension. In the photo below Chad shows off his WP Pro suspension boxes after he got them back from Research Engineering Performance in Menifee, California. The real question is, what will Chad Reed do next? How cool would it be if Chad raced this two-stroke at the next round of Supercross?
Consultation with the JGR Racing team and yet another opportunity to work with Broc Tickle. This was our first chance to show our diversity in the the Japanese market. Though 2020 was a tough season for the race agenda, we all learned through this and came out stronger for the continuing season. This has been a great opportunity and learning experience for us all; looking forward to what the future holds.
Ryan Sipes, what can I say this has been quite the journey. This Red Bull project has us always on our toes. The project entails multiple disciplines in racing; Supercross, Motocross, Flat Track, Enduro, Straight Rhythm (on of course a 2 stroke), and a victory in 6 days for the USA national team. The versatility in development and testing has yet to be seen by any other one rider. Lots of fun with this one!
When AEO Powersports started their team in 2022 we were excited at the opportunity to work with them on this project. With no limits on what we are able to do with the suspension and chassis, we have been having a lot of fun being able to test our preproduction ideas. It was a solid first year and expect this team to achieve major accomplishments in the future.
#17 Joey Savatgy is continuing with the team for another year after finishing 10th overall in Supercross and 8th overall in Motocross in 2021
#12 Shane McElrath is joining the team for his first full supercross season back from a shoulder injury in 2021
#34 Max Anstie is joining the team after
finishing 11th overall in Motocross in 2021
I feel our bikes and riders were very solid and even though our results did not showcase the potential it was a great for our development.
show casing our abilities in the off-road realm as they went on to win the 2022 GNCC season. I feel this is just the start for the team and for Jordan Ashburn. This takes us back to our roots from when we began tuning suspension 15 years ago and looking forward to seeing what they can do in the future.
MDK's comeback team is made up of:
Chad Reed, Justin Bogle, and Derek Drake.
Suspension Focused | Performance Driven
Red Bull's Sipes Project
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