Race Tech Compression Gold Valve
The valve replaces the stock compression base valve. The stock valve is rebuildable, but sense Race Tech has done development on their own valve, it's generally easier to go with their kit.
1. Disassemble the front fork. Getting the bolt out of the bottom of the base valve can be a bit tricky if someone has gummed up the threads for you in advance. See my previous post: https://www.stromtrooper.com/maintena...mper-tube.html
2.Remove the base valve by pushing the valve in about 3/4" and remove the c clip. Use the bolt to pull the base valve
3. Disassemble the base valve. Using a soft jaw vise can help with this.
4. After everything is cleaned, lay out the valve stack in the correct order. Make sure you measure EVERY disk. It's very easy for two disks to be stuck together. (whoever built the stack that was in my bike had two more disks on one side that the other. It's an easy thing to mess up)
5. Drill the low speed bleed valve. There is very little area to drill this hole, so take your time and use a drill press if at all possible.
6. When you assemble the valve stack, be very careful with the check disk and spring. It is easy to get the disk stuck under the keeper. To check, make sure the check disk is free to move before tightening the bolt.
7. Use only a small drop of loctite on the bolt. Put the loctite on the bolt after you have assembled the stack, you don't want to get loctite on the disks. See the photo of the mess I pulled out of my bike. You don't want this.
8. Now torque the bolt down and you are ready to go.
Race Tech Rebound Gold Valve
This is similar to the compression valve in that it replaces a valve that you could rebuild, but the work has been done, so it's a good starting point.
1. Disassemble the original valve. You will need to clean up the threads after removing the nut. I used a belt sander to smooth out the end then ran a thread repare tap over the threads to clean it up.
2. Lay out the valve stack like you did with the compression valve, measuring every disk.
3. Drill the low speed bleed valve. I found the area very small, so I drilled it at an angle. This made it much easier.
4. Put the damping rod in a soft jaw vice and build up the valve. Again making sure the check disk isn't caught under the retainer.
5. Assemble the damper by sliding the rod into the damper tube and placing into a vice. Wrap the seal around the valve. It looks a bit sketchy, but seals like this have been used for years in production cars.
6. Now you are ready to put your forks back together and go ride.
How does it ride?
The Race Tech guys did a good job. The recommended valve stacks and spring work very well for my style of riding. The front is well controlled but has a nice ride. Today I road two up from Orange County to Hollywood, via the 405. That's a lot of choppy surfaces and it did very well.
I tune dampers in my day job, so I'm sure I make some changes, but I still need to do something about the rear damper and spring first.
Notes about damper tuning:
1.Low Speed Damping.
Low speed damping deals with primary ride. It controls the float of the bike. As you tighten up the low speed damping the ride will get more firm, but not necessarily harsh.
This is controlled by the bleed hole. The valve stack hasn't started to open so it's only the oil that can move freely through the bleed. If you have an external adjustor, it's generally just a needle valve that controls the amount of bypass.
2. Mid Speed Damping
Mid speed damping deals with handling and ride quality over rough roads. More mid speed damping will make for a harsher ride and and more controlled feel when the suspension starts to work.
This is controlled by the valve stack. Be careful when messing with this. The stack needs to have the correct height and if you try to make it too stiff, you will yield the disks and loose all your mid speed damping.
3. High Speed Damping
This is when you hit a large impact. Riding off road deals with high speed damping more.
The valve ports control the high speed damping. The Race Tech Gold Valves claim to be digressive. This means that after the valve stack blows off, the damping forces don't keep climbing at a high rate. This is were the Gold Valves get that big ride improvement. A file and some clever work could give the same improvements in a stock valve.