Saturday, 28 March 2009


American Penske shocks seem to be "de rigeur" in flat track racing circles. And they are undoubtedly great shocks. But I felt I was letting the side down a bit if I didn't choose a Swedish shock for my project, seeing that we have what is probably the highest profile brand in racing shocks right here in the land of tall blondes and free sex for all. I've been working in the advertising world all my life and I have to admit that I am unhealthily hung up on brands. I buy my computers from Apple, my running shoes from Ascics, my TV's from Sony... the list goes on and on, exposing my inner insecurity and inability to see beyond branding and smart marketing. But I digress.

I spoke to a very helpful guy at Öhlins and he sent me a list of shocks that would suit the frame I'm building. And as it happened, the shock I finally bought was on "sale", and I ended up paying about 475 Euros for it. Not cheap by any means, but still some 35% off the original list price. The model number is KA202 and it's 343 mm long and has a stroke of 74,5 mm, which is in "the ball park" for flat trackers. Penske flat track dampers are normally a little shorter at about 320 mm, but since we are making our frame from scratch, those extra 20-25 mm aren't an issue.

I chose a shock without a remote reservoir for a cleaner look, but with a remote spring preload adjuster that will be mounted within easy reach under the saddle. The guy from Öhlins recommended a spring rated at about 90 Nm, but the spring on my shock is rated 110 Nm, leaving me with three alternatives: (a) lift heavier weights at the gym, (b) eat more pies or (c) change the spring if it ends up being too stiff at the end. I don't like the yellow colour of the spring, so I'll have it powder coated black together with the frame.

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