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Your opinion on best Front end and Fork upgrades for bike.

3023 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Bazooka Joe
Hi guys, I just wanted to get the internets opinion on what is best upgrades you have done to your front end and forks and what's "snake oil" and not worth pursuing.

I have read about the DR fork swap, but im not sure I want to go that way. I want to look for a suspension upgrade that is worth while.

I have already installed Hyperpro Progressive springs and Fork brace. My bike is raised by 50mm so I have adapters on the top of the forks.

I ride a variety of gravel, pavement and sometimes get into some technichal and smaller roads with mud and sand. I would like to see some improvement here. I have felt some stability improvements on fast gravel riding with progressive Springs, but I am wondering what else could be done? I mainly look for improvements on offroad. Yes, I do understand there are more suitable bikes for this, but entertain the idea please. :)

Are fork cartridges an good option for more offroad performance?
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It's too bad we don't know year & model you're asking about.
If you aren't doing a fork swap, there isn't much improvement to be had. It's a very old design. Set proper sag, & fork oil is about it IMO.
Hi guys, .....

Are fork cartridges an good option for more offroad performance?
Yes. If you find a knowledgeable vendor like FastBikes, among others, they can dial you in based on getting accurate information and goals from you.
What is you budget or is it the sky the limit?

When dealing with damper rods forks the only two real upgrades are add some sort of valving and get springs match to you weight/riding style. A lesser but another important thing you can do is ad a fork brace.

Shy of grafting higher end modern forks to you DL that's about as good as it gets.

As for DR forks there is nothing to be gained as they are just a antiquated and spindly as the DL forks. I'd even question the raising the forks by 50mm as that's got to have negative impact on handling as the rake is increased and now the forks are even longer and can flex more.
A fork brace is the first thing to add.
I have already installed Hyperpro Progressive springs and Fork brace.
I have already installed Hyperpro Progressive springs and Fork brace.

After the fork brace and springs, the net step is usually a cartridge emulator. It is a worthwhile upgrade. Lot's of posts here about people using them. Examples include RaceTech Gold Valve, and Coent Dynamics something or other (can't remember the name).

A very logical next step and they will help off-road. (I read the whole post that time 🙄)
So I have a 1st gen, 2008 ABS model. I kind hought that if I post in the right subforum this would be obvious. Anyways, I have raised the bike to gain ground clearence and I have benn happy with the way it feels after doing this. Immediately after raising it I did put on the fork brace because I felt significant flex and additional movement in front as the fork stems became longer.

What would be the effect of cartridges in suspension? Better reaction to bumps?
I have just come across a question in my head - Would I have to replace the springs in order for Valves to work? I do have the Hyperpro progressives on there? Could I even fit the Valves without changing the srpings or I have to do the set? :D
So I have a 1st gen, 2008 ABS model.
What would be the effect of cartridges in suspension? Better reaction to bumps?
There is a lot to cover in your question. More than I'll try to bite off this morning. But it is a important question and you or anyone pursuing better suspension should take some time to understand the available paths. A web search using the term "emulators vs cartridge front forks" will get you underway. ( a number of results from this forum show up)
_ A simplified representation of the options might look like this;
Damper cone (stock) modification / Drop in emulators / Cartridge system / Complete front end transplant
Your question, as asked, is yes to _ "better reaction to bumps". All the modifications have that goal. With a cartridge set a big advantage is the ability to adjust the rebound and compression without having to take anything apart. These use one fork to control rebound and the other control compression. Once you figure out which combination works best for you under various riding conditions (dirt vs street vs passenger) just click the dials.
_ The emulators are less expensive and they can be very effective. I have them in my SV650 and am satisfied. In my RE 650 I bought the cartridge system from Andreani. Well worth the extra couple of hundred dollars. I'm extremely pleased.
Let us know how you do.
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I had emulators in my 05 DL650. I was never very happy with them. First, the factory settings were a world away from what is required. I tuned and tuned, and eventually got fairly good compression damper control. Second, the emulators do nothing to address the inherent poor rebound control of a damper rod fork. As you chase the compression dampening, the rebound turns into the turd in the coffee pot.

I would suggest to skip the Race Tech emulators and save your money, and then pony up for the Andreani cartridges. The Andreani kit includes the springs so be sure to factor that into your comparison. I have the Andreani kit in my '18 1000XT and it works fairly well. There are also other cartridge kits from other suppliers such as Traxxion, K-Tech, and others.
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