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Tune Your Engine, Dial Your Suspension, Find Quicker Lines: KTM/Husqvarna ‘CUO’

Obtaining objective performance data while dirt biking is difficult. Professional racers have the advantage of data acquisition systems — and a team of trainers and engineers — to help them gain valuable insights on the bike and of their performance.

(Photo/Husqvarna Motorcycles)
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KTM and Husqvarna released a GPS-based system as standard equipment for select bikes and a compatible accessory for select 2022-2024 dirt bikes. Dubbed the Connectivity Unit Offroad (CUO), it provides comprehensive performance data, allows controlling engine characteristics, and aids suspension setup.

The KTM CUO and Husqvarna CUO Basics

Fork mounted control unit for a Husqvarna Connectivity Unit Offroad
The “black box” control unit for a Husqvarna Connectivity Unit Offroad; (photo/Andrew Short)

The KTM and Husqvarna CUO is a two-piece system with a dedicated app. A “black box” control unit sits between the upper and lower triple clamps, while a wired GPS antenna nestles in a dedicated pocket on the front fender. Both KTM and Husqvarna authorized retailers offer the CUO for $250.

Fender pocket for KTM Connectivity Unit Offroad
The custom pocket on a KTM for the Connectivity Unit Offroad; (photo/KTM)

Both KTM and Husqvarna have a dedicated app for connecting to the CUO. The yearly subscription rate is $70.

Engine Controls

Connectivity Unit Offroad Husqvarna app
Both KTM and Husqvarna have a dedicated CUO app; (photo/Husqvarna Motorcycles)

The KTM CUO and Husqvarna CUO allow impressive engine characteristic alteration. Offroad pilots can toggle between traction control settings using the KTM or Husqvarna CUO app. Or they can go further and control engine braking, throttle response, traction control, and launch control separately. The app will also toggle a quick-shifter, which cuts the ignition momentarily to aid in clutchless shifts.

The system has presets for specific terrain conditions. Riders can choose between Sand, Gravel, Hard Pack, and Wet or Dry conditions. There is also a quick way to return all the settings to the original, factory-specified engine mapping.

Suspension Control

KTM CUO System
The KTM/Husky CUO system can aid riders with suspension settings, which is vitally important; (photo/KTM)

Often the bane of many a dirt bike rider, the CUO aids in suspension settings for various rider weight and terrain combinations.

Setting sag is a critical first step in setting up off-road motorcycle suspension. The KTM and Husquvarna Connectivity Unit Offroad and app guide the rider through the process. The app’s Sag Assistant and Suspension Settings function uses rider weight and data to generate shock preload or spring rates.

The CUO system also delivers suspension setting suggestions for skill level (Basic, Advanced, or Pro) and terrain conditions (Sand, Soft, Medium, and Hard).

These features can hone in on a confusing and underutilized process on dirt bikes. I consider suspension adjustment more critical than anything else related to a dirt bike.

Performance Monitoring

KTM Connectivity Unit Offroad performance monitoring on app
The Connectivity Unit Offroad system can help riders determine the best lines around the track, something that was the realm of pros only; (photo/KTM)

LitPro is a helmet-mounted, GPS-enabled rider performance monitor that I first saw in the pro pits during my tenure as a professional supercross and motocross trainer. It was a valuable tool for the sport’s elite. But KTM and Husqvarna have collaborated with LitPro to bring it to consumers as a built-in package for their dirt bikes.

The LitPro/KTM and Husqvarna partnership provides a mapping lap timer on steroids. The system will map the track or train, and the rider can create a virtual start/finish line anywhere.

Not only does the system provide lap times, but it also allows line comparisons in sections so the quickest line can be identified. The software will stitch together the theoretical best lap by linking the best section times and lines.

Braking and acceleration zones, throttle position, engine rpm, water temperature, and gear selection can be identified at any point on the lap, cueing the rider on the possible improvements in those areas.

Jump distance and G-force are also identifiable, along with average speed and speed at any point. The app will also rate a rider’s consistency for multiple laps, which is just as important as raw speed in competitive settings.

The system will also connect to heart rate monitors, allowing riders to track cardiovascular output during riding. This potentially aids fitness programming and other factors surrounding physiological loads.

The app also contains motivating social functions like rider feeds, leaderboards, data sharing, and global challenges.

Testing of the Husqvarna CUO by a Professional Racer

Andrew Short at the 2020 Dakar Rally
Andrew Short at the 2020 Dakar Rally, where he placed 10th overall; (photo/Rockstar Energy-Husqvarna Factory Racing)

Andrew Short had a 21-year professional racing career, which includes stints aboard both KTM and Husqvarna factory teams. He was among the most consistent top-10 finishers in supercross and motocross. Short ended his career racing in the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, including the Dakar Rally.

Short has been testing the Husqvarna version of CUO for the last month. I saw the unit on his motocross racing bike, and it was indeed tidy. It looked like it belonged on the bike instead of an afterthought, which many aftermarket electronics can seem.

No excess wiring had to be tied up, and the front fender well for the GPS antenna looked “factory.” The control unit was almost entirely hidden by the front number plate, only visible from the side, and had a minimal profile.

Short commented, “Overall, this unit is a big addition to the KTM group’s motocross and off-road lineup. Typical vet riders and competitive amateur racers are known for upgrading their Austrian race bikes with Vortex ECUs and or less popular brands, like GET or AIM units. This does the same with added control of engine characteristics and suspension setting aids.

“The KTM CUO and Husqvarna CUO up the game with the option to utilize the LitPro software built into the unit.  I typically use a LitPro, so I really enjoy this, and not having an additional tracker on the bike is nice. Overall, I really like this system, and that’s why it’s still on my bike.”

Is the KTM CUO or the Husqvarna CUO for You?

Modern dirt bikes have many features that most riders underutilize, which can significantly improve performance, enjoyment, and safety. Engine mapping, suspension tuning, and performance monitoring while riding used to be reserved for the pros and was usually required many team professionals. I know; I was one of them.

KTM and Husqvarna now offer much of the data and control that used to be reserved for professional racers via an affordable accessory. If you are interested in optimizing the bike’s performance as well as your own, I can’t see any reason not to investigate the CUO for your KTM or Husqvarna dirt bike.

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