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Discussion Starter #1
I need to do routine maintenance on my K7 Wee this winter, and one of these items is taking the forks to the next level by installing cartridge emulators. I am trying to decide between the Race Tech Emulator and the Ricor Intiminators. Because of a lack of tuning knowledge, the Cogent Dynamics DCC product is not really being considered at this time, although I will still entertain using them.

I am asking those with first-hand experience with any of these products, especially those who have used both the Gold Valve and Intimator, to give me their recommendations and most importantly, WHY. I go into this project knowing that there will be some tweaking required no matter what I choose, and have followed the experiences of AceRider and Bazooka Joe in particular.

I have a K7 Wee. Forks have Sonic 0.9kg springs, Richland Rick fork brace, 12.5wt oil with sag set properly for my weight front & rear. Rear shock is a two-way Elka with an appropriate spring- this will be getting serviced over the winter, and am looking at getting it converted to a three-way unit. Riding is 50% smooth commuting on mostly back roads, 40% aggressive riding on semi-rough back roads, and the balance on mostly graded dirt roads.
 

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Intiminators.

I have done GVE previously on several bikes and Ricor product head and shoulders above. Not to say GVE is bad, it is good but Intiminators are better.

The reasons I went with intiminators this time was because:
- GVE cheaper but need to buy adapters
- no need to disassemble fork and drill rods.
- brake dive
- wanted to try something new.

I also did the porting mod on one of 4 ports.

There is no brake dive to speak of, only rear jack up. Even 2up loaded. Going straight or around corners suspension will eat anything thrown at it.

The only negative if you hit bump under medium or hard braking, it acts similar to old anti-dive, relatively harsh. Otherwise your eyes see the bumps but your hands don't register it. Feels very disconnected at first.

I installed them ~1.5mo ago, got 4k so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the input. I plan on enlarging the compression damping holes while I have the forks apart & being cleaned. With the testing done and documented by AceRider, I feel confident I can get the harshness under braking taken care of without much difficulty. Knowing what your issues are gives me a known issue to target.
What fork oil are you running & what level are you setting it at? My research has found that there is a huge difference in viscosity between different suppliers & the indicated weights.
 

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Read this: http://www.peterverdone.com/wiki/index.php?title=Suspension_Fluid

I am using Silkolane 2.5w, Ricor resells Amsoil 5w which is almost identical in viscosity.

There is no point in taking fork apart to enlarge holes. Just get a bottle of cheapo ATF and pump it through fork to wash out wear deposits.

I am running stock oil level. Drilling rods isn't going to change how they behave under hard braking. It is just a design limitation.

If you run search on this and advrider you find many threads discussing Intiminators.
http://store.ricorshocks.com/ias_technology_s/19.htm
And animation:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TA0NHDMsKNc

If you look at the video above what happens that under heavy braking pressure from bike pushes from above on inertia valve and makes it harder to open. Hence more damping and harsher response.

It is really a small problem as this very unlikely to happen on pavement, and it is very unlikely you'd be doing hard braking in the dirt for this to happen. The natural reaction is to ease brake prior to hitting a bump will take care of it. The only time you would feel it if you hit a bump while doing emergency braking.


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Thanks for the input. I plan on enlarging the compression damping holes while I have the forks apart & being cleaned. With the testing done and documented by AceRider, I feel confident I can get the harshness under braking taken care of without much difficulty. Knowing what your issues are gives me a known issue to target.
What fork oil are you running & what level are you setting it at? My research has found that there is a huge difference in viscosity between different suppliers & the indicated weights.

I have the Ricors and don't notice harsh damping under braking. Any fork that is compressing will loose the initial suppleness maybe that's what is being characterized as harshness? Don't know but drilling on the damper rods is not going to effect it.

Ricor builds his shim stacks to work with Amzoil 5wt. Better to start with a known baseline before messing with the valving.
 

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I have used Emulators in two DL 650's. Would use them again, if only because I am used to how they are installed and what they needed done.

There is no advantage in not needing to take the forks apart for installation. If you are going to spend the money, do the job right. There is an amazing amount of crap that builds up in these forks. They NEED cleaned out! Second, when the forks are disassembled, it is EASY to drill the damper rods. This allows standard oil ( the other type simply uses very thin oil so more can squeeze through the stock damper hole ) Which may lubricate better ( or not? ). I did not need any adapters to fit my Emulators. I did go back and drill out one of the holes that was left solid and that was what it needed for more supple action on the highway over expansion joints and frost heaves. Brake dive? It is less than stock, but that is and and should be more of a spring function. Still feels excessive after riding a BMW Telelever front suspension.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I'll second realshelby on the amount of gunk that builds up in the forks, even over a low number of miles/hours. I'm just wrapping up installing Gold Valves in my vintage Husky MX bike, and the stuff that came out of the bottom part of the fork oil was NASTY, even though the upper portion of the oil looked like new. And not a lot of hours on the last oil change either. ATF didn't really do too much- kerosene and an engine oil passage cleaning brush did a lot better job.
And realshelby is also right about controlling brake dive- the springs control much of it, then compression damping. Since I installed the .9 Sonic springs, brake dive hasn't been an issue for me.
Harsh compression damping continued to be an increasing annoyance after the spring change and playing around with different oil weights. I settled on a 50/50 blend of 10wt & 15wt Maxima. An improvement, but not the solution. Both valve types can be tweaked to modify harshness in the compression damping circuit by relatively minor mods to the bleed-off ports. The GV's for the Husky I just did came with 2 bleed holes- I added two more. I understand that the most current GV's have, at the very least, dimples added to the bleed valve so additional bleed ports can be added later for customized tuning. The Intiminators can have the bleed ports raised and enlarged under the sliding valve.
 

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Guys to clean out wear materials (and there were alot of them on 1.5mo old bike with 1,800mi on) you don't NEED to take forks apart. Take them off the bike, mix it up, pour OEM oil out, put some cheapo ATF, pump for a couple minutes, repeat.

ATF has 7.5w weight, so whatever left there gonna bring Silkolane RSF to proper viscosity.

And yes ester based Silkolane less effected by temperature changes than conventional or PAO based suspension fluid.

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I have the Ricors and don't notice harsh damping under braking. Any fork that is compressing will loose the initial suppleness maybe that's what is being characterized as harshness?
It happens under very specific conditions: hitting a bump under hard braking. Potholes not a problem. This is not due to spring compression; over the same bump bike with stiffer springs and GVE doesn't behave like this.

I wouldn't worry about it though unless you are racing on track with bumpy corner entry at the end of the straight.
 

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That's great info- thanks! Looks like the Silkolene Pro RSF has the best VI of the two, with the Maxima Racing Shock Fluid right up there with it. Here's another link to a table on Fork Oil weights that is helpful:
http://mahonkin.com-milktree/motorcycles/fork-oil.html

I'm surprised that Amsoil isn't listed on either...
I think Calsci many list it.. or it could have been Amsoil site. I looked it up to get RSF 2.5w to the same viscosity it needed something like 30-40ml of 10w which I had laying around or 50-70ml of 5w.

BTW the viscosity only affects rebound compression isn't affected by small changes. You can write Ricor but it is my understanding it is set up for stock springs, so for stiffer spring you might need to add a little bit of heavier oil.

IMHO it is better to start on light side as you can add heavy oil to fine tune without taking forks off to dump the fluid
 

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Discussion Starter #12
More good info- thanks! I haven't been to the Calsci site in a while- need to visit it again.
My understanding is that the Intiminators were indeed designed for use with the stock springs. I still have mine, so going back to them might be an option. I couldn't get the sag right with them for my weight though. With the heavier Sonic springs, I know that some tuning will be involved. Fortunately, my weight is pretty close to that of Ace Rider, so I can use his research as a starting point.
I also concur on starting with the lighter oil first- that's how I ended up with 12.5 wt. in my current set-up. A MitiVac with a long tube works great for sucking a measured amount of oil out of the forks...
 

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More good info- thanks! I haven't been to the Calsci site in a while- need to visit it again.
My understanding is that the Intiminators were indeed designed for use with the stock springs. I still have mine, so going back to them might be an option. I couldn't get the sag right with them for my weight though. With the heavier Sonic springs, I know that some tuning will be involved. Fortunately, my weight is pretty close to that of Ace Rider, so I can use his research as a starting point.
I also concur on starting with the lighter oil first- that's how I ended up with 12.5 wt. in my current set-up. A MitiVac with a long tube works great for sucking a measured amount of oil out of the forks...
The stock springs are dual rate 0.65/0.85kg/mm and set up at balance point. Work great for me as I weight about as much as average japanese man. RaceTech and Sonic site have spring rate calculators to figure out what you need.

For Intiminators you need shorter preloads, the stock ones would be hard to compress to start the caps. If you are replacing springs you would need to figure out what length you need to cut them to
 

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The stock springs are dual rate 0.65/0.85kg/mm and set up at balance point. Work great for me as I weight about as much as average japanese man. RaceTech and Sonic site have spring rate calculators to figure out what you need.

For Intiminators you need shorter preloads, the stock ones would be hard to compress to start the caps. If you are replacing springs you would need to figure out what length you need to cut them to

I have the OEM springs and spacers with the intiminators, no problem getting the fork caps on. Back off the preload all the way before installing of course.

I asked about that when I purchased from Ricor. I was in the right weight range for the springs and he said cutting the spacers wasn't necessary. They add less than an inch to the spring height.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good heads-up there. I'm not positive, but I believe I re-used the stock spacer when I installed the sonic springs. Will plan on shortening the OEM spacer or make new ones out of PVC to accommodate the valve. Right now, the sag is 3mm static, 39mm dynamic with preload adjuster showing 4 1/2 lines.
 

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I've had both. I also had the gold valves professionally tuned.

The GV's were nicer just cruising on smooth seal.

The Intiminators are harsher on smooth seal but vastly better if you push the bike hard or ride off road.

Being able to stand the bike on it's nose and slide the front into corners is NOT something I can do without the Intiminators up front - it's a massive difference to bike control when doing stupid dangerous things and gives an enormous margin for errors when not doing stupid things.

Both improved riding on and off seal so if you plan to just ride highways or JUST want smoother then the GV's are probably the better choice, otherwise Intiminators.

The Intiminators do get less harsh with some k's on them, still not as smooth as GV's but a lot better.

Another oil option. 5WT Motul for seal, 2.5 if riding nasty off road. The 2.5 weight stops the front of the bike being tossed up on the larger lumps, either works still, it's just easier on arms and wrists if you ride hard offroad.

No need to drill holes or change springs with Intiminators, but I would recommend buying some 29mm PVC pipe and making shorter preload spacers. Yes, you can do it without, but getting those sodding caps back on is a battle otherwise and for $5 and ten minutes it's worth making that easier.

Another trick that helps either at least in Oz is dumping 1/2 a capful of Nulon E20 into the forks along with the oil. (It's a snake oil teflon loaded engine treatment sold here). It does reduce stiction in the forks which is nice, but mainly the detergent package in it stops the fork oil from foaming. Which has really dramatic results riding for long distances on the washboard roads around here. (Dramatic as in suddenly passing the very expensive bikes when their front suspension gives up because their fork oil has turned to mayonnaise).
 

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I've had both. I also had the gold valves professionally tuned.

The GV's were nicer just cruising on smooth seal.

The Intiminators are harsher on smooth seal but vastly better if you push the bike hard or ride off road.
In anticipation of this prior to Intiminator installation I had done the porting (hole enlargement) mod on one of the holes. Takes about 5min and you only need a small file to do this.

They are no harsher than GVE when you ride them back to back.

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/intiminator-compared-and-modified.486633/
scroll down to Ladder106 post on porting.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good stuff here, both PeteW and cyclopathic. Much appreciated. I do tend to ride a bit hard and like the dirt forest truck trails around here. Sounds like I need to go with the Intiminators.

I wonder what is available in the States that might be equal or similar to the Nulon E20? I like the anti-foaming qualities you mentioned. The fork oil gets pretty well torn apart going thru all the small passages in forks, so anything that helps reduce the damage is worth looking at.
 

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All I can suggest is hit the .au Nulon site, wander through the local auto accessory shop and see if you can find something similar.

I'm sure the US had people rendering snakes down for their oil long before Oz ;)
 
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