Stock Suspension question - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
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Smile Stock Suspension question

I have a 2012 wee and I am new to bikes with long suspension travel like the wee (my other bike is a zx6)

My question is the instantenous dip of 2 inches as soon as you touch the front brake. I realize the strom is a budget bike and all that but are front forks on adventure touring bikes meant to be like this? does it aid the bike to perform well off road? or is it that the Strom comes with a really shit set of forks?

Have people upgraded front forks? What do they recommend?
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 05:42 AM
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It is working the way it is suppossed to... Think about it... do you want stiff jarring sport bike suspension like you had in your old sport bike or would you like supple long travel suspension for comfort over rough road/off road surfaces?

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post #3 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 06:48 AM
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When you say "instantaneous" it make we wonder if your forks are aligned correctly; maybe you have excess friction or maybe you have no front oil. The front end does dive during braking on my Vee, but the feel is normal compared to other bikes I have or have ridden.

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post #4 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 10:10 AM
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Yes, budget suspension. Better suspension comes with bikes like the Ducati Multistrada ($17k & up), BMW R 1200GS ($16K & up), etc.

In order of price, here are your fork upgrade options:
  • Picking a fork oil viscosity that makes the damping better suit your riding
  • New springs that suit your loaded riding weight.
  • Ricor Intiminator damping valves
  • RaceTech cartridge emulators (about the same cost as Intiminators)
  • Traxxion AK-20 cartridge kit

[I]"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."[/I]

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post #5 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 10:29 AM
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How much do you weigh?

Increase spring preload on top of forks.

The bike is set up for the masses, from people who weigh 140 to people who weigh 250+ (maybe).

2005 Suzuki SV1000R, 1985 Yamaha XT608N, 2012 Suzuki DL650AL2, over 25,000 miles already!

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post #6 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 10:51 AM
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I installed the Intiminators yesterday. They certainly remove that initial fork compression on quick braking. If you brake gently, there isn't much difference in the amount the front forks will compress. If that's all you're looking to fix, it's a simple fix. But, there is much more to Inertia valve technology than that.

I've had them on other bikes, and really like how they improved my timed laps. I set up an off-road figure-8 in a dry lake bed with a 12-20 inch triple bump at the intersection. It was a pretty tight closed course (second gear in the turns, one shift to third on the straights). I also tested over a marked section of whoops, that had a long section of deep sand, that took me about 5 minutes to complete. I wore a heart-rate monitor and compared peak HR, average HR, and HR at the end of the timed sections, and I did all tests in the morning with temps ranging between 85-90 degrees (yep, it's hot in the desert, even in the morning). I compared with and without the Inertia valve installed. Most of this was on a KLR650, which has a less-able suspension than the VStrom. Later, I got an Intertia valve rear shock on my XLR650, and did the same tests, as well as compared my XLR results with my KLR results. I ALWAYS got lower lap and course times on respective Intertia-valved bikes, with lower average, peak, and end-of-test HR's.

With an Inertia valve shock in the rear as well as the Intiminators up front, my KLR would beat my XLR650 on the figure 8 course, with a tie on the whoops/sand course...although my HR would be higher on the XLR. I put the Intertia valve shock on the XLR, and it was a tie between the bikes on the figure 8, and the XLR would beat the fully-valved KLR...this time, the XLR HR data points were essentially the same as the KLR HR data points. If I would have put an Intiminator-type setup (which would be different than the V or the KLR, since the XLR has a cartridge setup), I imagine the XLR would win on both courses.

With Inertia valves, not only are hard bumps attenuated, whenever I got the KLR in the air (usually a mistake...anyone that rides a KLR knows what I mean!) and the landings weren't quite so much like a piano being dropped out of a high-rise window! But, the best thing was the increased traction...I could set the front wheel line, hold an attack angle, and the bike would stick. Really amazing that the lowly KLR with shock upgrades could whip my XLR with conventional shocks.

I used Heart Rate as a proxy for effort, so, when my HR was lower at the same time my lap times were faster, it indicates to me that this was no placebo-effect. I even measured the depths of the ruts I was cutting in the desert surface...the Inertia-valved tire (whether front or rear) always cut a deeper groove in the surface on turns. The valving works.

There was an SV racer in Southern Nevada who consistantly placed in the top 10, but, he never won. The ONLY change he made was installing Intiminators up front....he immediately won, putting something like 1.2 seconds PER LAP on the next fastest rider. That is HUGE!

I'm not saying other products wouldn't perform as well, or even better. I don't know because I haven't tested anything else like I tested these. I was just fortunate enough to be able to test when they were first being developed. I'm not a racer. Just some dual-sport-riding guy that happened to have a bike that RICOR was developing parts for, and I lived close by. Being scientifically-minded, I wanted to test how they worked, rather than rely on seat-of-the-pants "feelings".

They are making a rear shock for me, too. I have no idea if they will begin making them for sale to the general public, so, don't ask me! Also, I won't be testing these valves pre- and post- installation on my Glee, as it's snowy, muddy, and COLD where I now live, plus, I don't want to risk dropping this nice, new bike!
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 12:51 PM
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Nicely done.
Have you done the Ricor valves in the Glee forks? What do you think?
PLEASE keep us updated on the shock.

Last edited by greywolf; 12-17-2012 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Hugely and unnecessarily quoted.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 05:52 PM
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On the subject of Ricor Intiminators, I tried them on a 2010 Triumph Scrambler and was not impressed. They did improve the Triumph fork, starting from what I considered a poor level of performance, but I was still far from satisfied with the fork performance after fitting the Intiminators.

Based on this experience I questioned the concept compared to cartridge forks or cartridge emulators. While both the Intiminators and cartridge technologies provide dual (or multiple) damping rates, being inertia based my understanding is that the Intiminators need movement, acceleration, of the front wheel to shift to the lower damping rate. By comparison a cartridge fork shifts to the lower damping rate based on fluid pressure, which is directly proportional to the force felt in the suspension compression.

As there will always be some delay between the acceleration of the front wheel and the Intiminator shifting to the lower damping rate (the valve has to move - nothing is instantaneous), it seemed to me that you still tend to feel a rather sharp reaction to a sharp bump that you do not with a cartridge fork since it responds directly to pressure, which is force. This impression is also based on having previously owned a cartridge fork bike (CB1000) which provided a significantly more comfortable yet controlled ride.

Of course execution is everthing and perhaps the effect of the Intiminators were simply limited by what I considered a poor fork on the Triumph. The other poor fork execution was my '02 DL1000 which, while being a cartridge fork, was significantly poorer performing compared to the simple damper rod fork on the DL650.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 08:04 PM
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the intiminator rely on inertial state of the valve body to momentarily open up a by-pass circuit to relieve the damping pressure when the wheel hit bump causing the stanchion to move rapidly (relatively speaking, compare to slower chasis movement)

At that rapid movement instant, the intiminator valve lags behind in its movement compare to the rest of the system and as a result expose a in build pressure relief circuit to soften the damping rate for that instant.

It is the lagging reaction of the intiminator which provides the pressure relief.

The spring used in the intiminator determines how much lagging is needed to open up the relief circuit.

If you ever dismantle the intiminator, it becomes a clearer as how it works than words can describe

The above deals with fast fork movement or wheel movement as Ricor likes to call.

In terms slower fork movement or chassis movement, it uses shim to deal to determine the damping.

Racetech emulator uses the increase in damping pressure when a wheel hits a sharp bump to open up a cap to relieve pressure.

RT uses low velocity bypass orifices to control low velocity fork movement.

Since i had the opportunity to test a professionally well setup RT emulator for a rider of a similar weight and similar riding style and my own tuned intiminator, the following observations were made:

1) we both agreed, all else being equal intiminator deals with brake dive a noticeably better.

2) tiny bumps are better absorbed by RT Emulator - although later further tuning close the gap for the intiminator - but i still give it to Emulator

3) mid size bump are about the same at the same given speed

4) big bump is better on the intiminator ( up to the limit of travel), i think - he is silent on that one

5) we each think our own system is slightly better so cant agree on that one we both have good respect for the other system


At the end of the day, both tool are capable of doing a good job - if it doesnt work for out of the box, it's time to tune it

L2 Glee;


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Last edited by AceRider; 12-17-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-17-2012, 08:55 PM
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You guys that can do all the suspension tuning amaze me! I wish I understood it better, and I'd be appreciative if you guys can help me understand the physics better. I can devise some FIELD testing that's decent, but, that's not the same as understanding what exactly is going on.

As I understand Intiminators, when properly set up, you use a lighter spring than normally calculated, and 5-weight oil (in everything except the biggest diameter forks). This very light weight oil, combined with a spring that isn't as stiff as "normally calculated", allows a wheel that is being forced upward (from a bump) to move more quickly (since the Inertia valve stays wide open) than a wheel that is pushing against a stiffer spring and through thicker oil. A normal damper-rod system has nothing on top of that inner tube (which the spring rests upon) to resist the oil movement that occurs in a compressing, how quickly a fork compresses or rebounds is a function of spring rate and oil viscosity. Stiffening springs and thickening oil make the ride less compliant, but, it keeps you from bottoming out as much. You can make a damper rod bike more plush, or stiffer, but, as you work on one end of the ride characteristics, you lose on the other end.

With the Intertia valve, if the chassis moves toward the earth, the Inertia valve closes, thereby stiffening up the compression of the fork as much as the shims in the valve body allow it stiffen up based upon how fast the oil can flow with a closed valve, you get the effect of a much stiffer spring during this chassis compression movement.

Since the bike can in one instant be dropping towards the earth (compressing the forks during braking, or, hitting the base of a hill during a climb, or, going through whoops) when at the same time hitting an obstruction (when you'd like the wheel to be able to step-over the obstruction), there are times you'd like the fork movement to be much stiffer in one instant, but, as pliable as possible during part of the fork stroke. I know of nothing else that can nearly instantaneously fight the compression while still allowing that step-over blow-off to occur before fighting the compression again. Hit the front brake hard just before running over a significant bump. The bike doesn't dive as much as without Intiminators, yet, it can still react to a bump that occurs during this stop, and it's much easier to keep on line. You stop faster, since the wheel stays in contact with the ground more of the time.

I tested full effort stopping distance on really rocky trails. I'd pick a long downhill go about 40 mph, and stop as fast as I could. Stock suspension of my KLR bounced all over the place, and distances were sometimes as much as 40% LONGER than with Intiminators in the front forks. Straight line stops were much easier when the bike isn't lurching first one way and then the other off of every off-camber rock strike. The worse the terrain, the greater the stopping distance difference.

I can easily understand if someone is a road-only rider, and never really hits anything, they might not be able to tell any difference in stock vs Inertia valves, other than less brake dive on quick stops.

I almost sold my CB919 because my Inertia-valved KLR with dual-sport tires would out-corner it...rough roads moreso than relatively smooth roads. I had Ohlin's put on the CB919 front and rear, and THEN it would out-corner the Intertia-valved you'd expect a road bike to do. The main thing about the Ohlins was it was much more pliable in the rear, and the front was also...although not as much difference as that really pliable rear shock. I also had a KLX250 that I upgraded to a 331. There were no Inertia valves available, so, I had a local ProAction expert set the bike up. It was MUCH better...especially the lurching back and forth off of rocks when trying to hold a line up a tough hill. So, I'm not saying Inertia valves are the only thing out there that work well, but, they sure made meaningful, measurable improvements in my KLR and XLR riding.

I obviously don't understand all the physics behind all the different types of valve mechanisms. I can certainly tell when shocks are better than they were before, and I no longer accept stock shocks as "good enough" least, not on five bikes I've owned...oops, I forget I had a DR350 that Cogent Dynamics worked on for me, make that six of the bikes I've had the past 5 years. I will say the 2012 Glee suspension surprised me that it was pretty decent as far as stock suspension. My first ride with Intiminators up front still made me smile, the time I put on the fork brace, it started snowing, so, I'll have to wait to see what that feels like...

Always trying to learn more about it all....I appreciate any instruction on the subject!

Last edited by Blackheart; 12-17-2012 at 09:00 PM.
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