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post #1 of 23 Old 05-15-2014, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Fork Problems

Over the winter I upgraded my suspension with an Elka shock and Ricor Intiminators in the forks along with the required 5w fluid and stock springs. I dialed in the shock pretty easily and am happy with it, but I notice the Ricors made the forks feel rigid and stiff over small dips and undulations in the road. They seem to do well on bumpy, rough pavement, but fairly smooth roads were very aggravating so I took them out after a 1000 miles and refilled the forks with 10w fluid, even using the oem Showa ss8 fluid. Not much improvement so I drained and refilled with Showa 5w fluid since it feels like it's over dampened. Still not much improvement, I've taken the fork brace off just in case it's causing binding.

At this point I have no idea what to do. Since I am/was running the stock set up I feel maybe the fork is not functioning right due to worn bushings? Maybe? The bike has 32k miles, and until this the fork worked fine. I've adjusted preload to both extremes to see if it changes anything but it doesn't. Any suspension experts have any ideas? At this point I'd be supremely happy if I can get the fork to function like stock.

2009 Wee Strom ABS (current)
1987 Harley Low Rider Sport (current - with 205K miles)
2009 Aprilia Mana 850, 2006 SV650, 1984 Yamaha Virago 1000 (all sold)
Silver Strom Club Member #11

Wee Farkles: Russell Day Long Seat, Madstad with Moose Adventure Shield +4'', SWMotech Centerstand, 1'' up & back bar risers, Givi XS308 Tankbag, Aprilia mirrors, Framesliders, Fenda Extenda, Elka Shock.
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-15-2014, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by om28 View Post
Over the winter I upgraded my suspension with an Elka shock and Ricor Intiminators in the forks along with the required 5w fluid and stock springs. I dialed in the shock pretty easily and am happy with it, but I notice the Ricors made the forks feel rigid and stiff over small dips and undulations in the road. They seem to do well on bumpy, rough pavement, but fairly smooth roads were very aggravating so I took them out after a 1000 miles and refilled the forks with 10w fluid, even using the oem Showa ss8 fluid. Not much improvement so I drained and refilled with Showa 5w fluid since it feels like it's over dampened. Still not much improvement, I've taken the fork brace off just in case it's causing binding.

At this point I have no idea what to do. Since I am/was running the stock set up I feel maybe the fork is not functioning right due to worn bushings? Maybe? The bike has 32k miles, and until this the fork worked fine. I've adjusted preload to both extremes to see if it changes anything but it doesn't. Any suspension experts have any ideas? At this point I'd be supremely happy if I can get the fork to function like stock.
What's your oil height set to? Did you completely drain the old oil? (forks off the bike and inverted?)

Better springs will help a lot, IMO.

Rich Desmond
'07 DL650, '01 DR-Z400S, '99 SV650 (race bike), '80 GS1000S, '85 RZ350, '08 Ducati 848
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-15-2014, 06:34 PM
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That's a characteristic of the Ricor Intiminators. Running 2.5 wt oil will reduce it, or you can have someone drill a 1mm bleed hole. (Note - it can't be done with a hand held drill, it's seriously tough to do without breaking a bit even with a lathe).

Personally, I got used to it, it did soften up after a couple of weeks anyway and the ability to laugh at the really big ones made it a net win for me anyway. After a year I don't even notice it anymore.

I'd suggest trying the 2.5wt oil first as the easy way to reduce the harshness and wait a couple of weeks worth of riding before doing anything more.

Pete
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-15-2014, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rich and Pete for your response.

Oil Height is 145mm. Yes, I took the forks off, inverted and pumped out oil.

The Ricors are gone, I'm getting the problem with stock springs and 5w oil. I was thinking of going to 2.5w but it seems like something else is wrong since I didn't have the problem running 10w oil before the Ricor install. I think I was getting used to it until I rode my buddies '02 Concours who just went to a heavier spring and 15w oil, it was very plush. He also noticed the problem with my front end when he rode my Strom.

2009 Wee Strom ABS (current)
1987 Harley Low Rider Sport (current - with 205K miles)
2009 Aprilia Mana 850, 2006 SV650, 1984 Yamaha Virago 1000 (all sold)
Silver Strom Club Member #11

Wee Farkles: Russell Day Long Seat, Madstad with Moose Adventure Shield +4'', SWMotech Centerstand, 1'' up & back bar risers, Givi XS308 Tankbag, Aprilia mirrors, Framesliders, Fenda Extenda, Elka Shock.

Last edited by om28; 05-15-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-15-2014, 11:07 PM
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a couple points:

1) first ensure things are installed correctly and there is no binding on the system - support your bike securely and fully so that the front wheel is in the air, then take off the fork caps, preload spacer and lift the wheel fully up and down so stanchion travels up and down through its full 140mm range. Observe its operation - should be smooth with no obvious binds anywhere.

2) we are assuming you have the bike since new and there is no unkown things done to the bike.

3) Sometime too little damping can feel like harshness - check your spring is appropriate for your weight.

have a look at this thread, if you are still wanting to work with Intiminator:
https://www.stromtrooper.com/suspensi...ork-great.html

L2 Glee;

K8 Wee ABS(SOLD);

SOLD: 06 FZ1; 04 Fireblade; 02 Fireblade; 97 CBR 600
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-16-2014, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by om28 View Post
Thanks Rich and Pete for your response.

Oil Height is 145mm. Yes, I took the forks off, inverted and pumped out oil.

The Ricors are gone, I'm getting the problem with stock springs and 5w oil. I was thinking of going to 2.5w but it seems like something else is wrong since I didn't have the problem running 10w oil before the Ricor install. I think I was getting used to it until I rode my buddies '02 Concours who just went to a heavier spring and 15w oil, it was very plush. He also noticed the problem with my front end when he rode my Strom.
The Intiminators need much lighter oil than stock to work properly.

All the cartridge emulators take over both rebound and compression damping, but for that to work you either need to drill holes to make the existing dampers ineffective, or run with very light oil.

Gold Valves you have to drill, Intiminators you just drop in AND run light oil. They recommend 5wt as the maximum, but 2.5 is probably better if you aren't thrashing the suspension.

Pete
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-27-2014, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Here's an update to where I'm at and I'm completely baffled.

I've removed the Ricors and am running the stock springs with 5w fluid at 150mm.

I reinstalled the stock rear shock just in case it was throwing off my perception.

Loosened up and retightened front end according to manual and removed the fork brace. Forks move smoothly through stroke without springs, and move easily and smoothly with springs installed, no trace of binding or stiffness.

So it's back to a stock set up except for the lighter fluid at a lower level, but it rides like it has a spring for a 350lb person. The fairing and bars bounce up and down over small bumps while the forks remain rigid. BTW, I'm 215lbs ready to ride, the bike has 33k miles and rode fine for the first 30k miles, at this point the only thing I can think of is new bushings. I searched extensively here and can't find any mention of this problem on a stock set up. My buddy rode it yesterday and confirmed I'm not imagining it. Has anybody replaced bushings periodically??

2009 Wee Strom ABS (current)
1987 Harley Low Rider Sport (current - with 205K miles)
2009 Aprilia Mana 850, 2006 SV650, 1984 Yamaha Virago 1000 (all sold)
Silver Strom Club Member #11

Wee Farkles: Russell Day Long Seat, Madstad with Moose Adventure Shield +4'', SWMotech Centerstand, 1'' up & back bar risers, Givi XS308 Tankbag, Aprilia mirrors, Framesliders, Fenda Extenda, Elka Shock.
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-27-2014, 02:44 PM
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easy?

your problem is so well described, and you have elimiated some variables - it should be easy to solve. Are all the factory fluid (fork oil) openings present in the fork internals ? And are they the right size and number and location? Becasue if not - the fluid flow - or lack of - may make the shock much stiffer than intended with a fluid installed and rolling over a real bump (as opposed to no fluid installed).

Current Bike: 2007 ABS Wee, rebuilt forks with Cogent DDC, Elka rear shock, tapered roller steering stem bearings, fork brace, Admore top box lights, LED side-only turn indicator lights, Powerlet outlet, frame sliders, Givi windscreen, Givi top box.

Prior Bikes: 2003 EX250, 2007 DL650 (non-ABS)
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-27-2014, 08:50 PM
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Did you measure the fork oil level with the forks compressed?
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-28-2014, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by om28 View Post
Here's an update to where I'm at and I'm completely baffled.

I've removed the Ricors and am running the stock springs with 5w fluid at 150mm.

I reinstalled the stock rear shock just in case it was throwing off my perception.

Loosened up and retightened front end according to manual and removed the fork brace. Forks move smoothly through stroke without springs, and move easily and smoothly with springs installed, no trace of binding or stiffness.

So it's back to a stock set up except for the lighter fluid at a lower level, but it rides like it has a spring for a 350lb person. The fairing and bars bounce up and down over small bumps while the forks remain rigid. BTW, I'm 215lbs ready to ride, the bike has 33k miles and rode fine for the first 30k miles, at this point the only thing I can think of is new bushings. I searched extensively here and can't find any mention of this problem on a stock set up. My buddy rode it yesterday and confirmed I'm not imagining it. Has anybody replaced bushings periodically??
Worn bushings just make the front feel unstable, not harsh.

Pete
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