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Harb67

Race Tech Gold Valve Emulator review.

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I recently reworked the front forks on my Ninja 650r and thought I'd share my thoughts on the star of the show: the Gold Valve Emulators from Race Tech.

If you aren't familiar with exactly what these are, click here for a very good article on them by Sport Rider

. It is worth noting that along with the emulators, I also changed the fork oil to a different weight (from 10 to 15) and drastically changed the spring rate: went from the extremely stiff 1.2 kg/mm stockers to some .95 kg/mm springs (also from Race Tech). Because of all these changes, it's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the bike pre-emulator and post-emulator, but I doubt that there's anyone out there that would put these in their forks without also changing spring rates and possibly oil as well.

I purchased these to resolve two major gripes I had with the front end of my bike. First and foremost, despite the ludicrously stiff 1.2 kg/mm stock springs, the Ninja 650r in stock trim has unbelievably bad low-speed compression damping. Even braking from stoplight to stoplight in normal city riding produces huge amounts of front end dive, causing braking to feel awkward at best. Second, the bikes high-speed compression damping was extremely harsh. Hitting bumps at speed felt like I had no front suspension at all, making riding over bumpy pavement uncomfortable during "normal" riding and downright frightening when cranked over in a turn. It's important to note that these problems aren't unique to the 650r; they're simply characteristics of damping rod forks. While I've never ridden one, I'd wager that an SV650 or any other bike with damping rods would have similar issues.

After riding on these new parts for about a week and a half, I can say that I'm very happy with the performance. Front end dive under braking has been significantly reduced; it's still there but I'd estimate that it's been cut by at least half. It's most noticeable in city riding where I'm not braking from any huge speeds; casually hauling it down from 40 to 0 at a stoplight produces hardly any dive, whereas the stock setup would use almost the entire range of travel. High-speed compression has been drastically improved, to the point where it feels like a completely different bike over very rough surfaces. The bike is now to the point where any major drama from hitting bumps at speed comes almost exclusively from the stock shock out back, whereas before the mods the front was so brutal over bumps that it completely eclipsed any problems the rear end had.

Overall, I'm quite happy. The front end is now nice and firm under low-speed compression, yet very compliant and manageable under high-speed compression. Aside from going from the crappy stock tires to Diablo Rosso's, this has been the best bang-for-the-buck mod I've done to my bike, and I would strongly encourage anyone who isn't completely satisfied with their damping rod forks to consider doing the same thing. The only problem I have is that in order to tune the emulators, they have to be removed from the forks. I misread the instructions the first time I tuned them prior to install, and just yesterday I pulled them out to fix my mistake (had them spring twice as stiff as I had intended...oops). It's not particularly difficult, but it's still far more involved than just twisting some screws on the fork caps as you would do on many other bikes.

Last but definitely not least: I did not do most of the install work. I simply removed the forks from the bike and dropped them off with Paul at DucRX and let him work his magic. Paul did a great job and I am very satisfied with the whole experience. I would recommend him to anyone who needs work done on their bike.

tl;dr version: got valve emulators, new springs, changed fork oil weight. PROS: much less front end dive, much more compliant during high-speed compression. CONS: emulators are a PITA to tune once installed...do it properly before you install them. CONCLUSION: well worth the money, big improvement, DucRX FTW.

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i don't know a whole lot about suspension, but i didn't realize going to a softer spring would make the front end dive less under braking.

i better call pauly to make sure we're not ordering the wrong springs.

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If you second guess me again I'll kick your bike onto its side. I know what I'm doing.

Customer Service at its best! :lol:

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good write-up. emulators made a world of difference in my old F2 as well. The only shitty thing is having to remove the emulators to make adjustments. With a $6 parts grabber, I got pretty good/fast at it.

Once they're set up to your liking, you can pretty much forget about them, but for anyone who buys emulators, this should be purchased along with them:

ec-902257_1.jpg

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i don't know a whole lot about suspension, but i didn't realize going to a softer spring would make the front end dive less under braking.

i better call pauly to make sure we're not ordering the wrong springs.

Damping rods simply don't do anything for low-speed compression; it's almost entirely the springs doing the work. The valving in the emulator takes over a good portion of the low-compression damping, so your springs don't need to be nearly as strong. In the end, you have maybe 20% less springs doing far more than 20% less work. I'm sure the increase in oil weight also played a part in the difference, but not by too terribly much.

Then again...you were probably being sarcastic :p But hey, the explanation may help someone else out down the road if they read this post.

I also forgot to mention that the spring preload has nothing but Paulie's best guesstimate backing it up; my bike doesn't have adjustable preload (:mad:) and I haven't checked to see if the sag is properly set. For various reasons, I couldn't provide Paul with the information to use to cut the spacer lengths. He used his vast repository of motorcycle wisdom to size them, and so far the setup as a whole is working out very well but I bet things would be even better if I took them to a specialist and got things set up with actual measurements and maths and stuff.

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i wasnt being sarcastic. i have .75 springs (that's what comes on the OEM 2003 600RR?) and i'm moving to .95 springs cause i'm like 180. right now, the only thing i'm not liking is that my front end dives a lot under heavy braking. a riding coach borrowed my bike at the track and he concurred.

so i'm wondering why my bike's prognosis is get heavier springs and yours was opposite.

i'm never sarcastic. i am always sincere and helpful.

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i wasnt being sarcastic. i have .75 springs (that's what comes on the OEM 2003 600RR?) and i'm moving to .95 springs cause i'm like 180. right now, the only thing i'm not liking is that my front end dives a lot under heavy braking. a riding coach borrowed my bike at the track and he concurred.

so i'm wondering why my bike's prognosis is get heavier springs and yours was opposite.

i'm never sarcastic. i am always sincere and helpful.

Jbot you are going in the right direction. It is all about spring rate. His bike was oversprung in the front at 1.2kg/mm and moved to .95kg/mm which you are going to as well. It seems that Honda CBR's are undersprung in the front most of the time. My bike stock had a 1.0kg/mm spring in it and I couldn't achieve the correct sag numbers which is the first place to start to determine whether you need a softer or stiffer spring. So I personally had to go to a 1.1kg/mm spring for my delicate frame.

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I know it's an ancient thread...  How heavy was Harb67 back in 2010? heh I'm thinking about Race Tech springs and emulators for my 2012 Ninja 650 and their calculator suggested the same spring rate, 0.95. I entered 155 pounds without gear. Stock is 1.2. Just wondering if the calculator is fairly decent based on other peoples experiences.

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On 2/2/2018 at 4:53 PM, hiro said:

I know it's an ancient thread...  How heavy was Harb67 back in 2010? heh I'm thinking about Race Tech springs and emulators for my 2012 Ninja 650 and their calculator suggested the same spring rate, 0.95. I entered 155 pounds without gear. Stock is 1.2. Just wondering if the calculator is fairly decent based on other peoples experiences.

Call them. They have good customer service.

When I sent my GSXR suspension in, I asked (not thinking they would do it) to speak to the tech that physically disassembled and reassembled my forks, they said wait one moment, 2 min later I was speaking to the guy. 

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8 hours ago, TimTheAzn said:

Call them. They have good customer service.

When I sent my GSXR suspension in, I asked (not thinking they would do it) to speak to the tech that physically disassembled and reassembled my forks, they said wait one moment, 2 min later I was speaking to the guy. 

Wow. I bet the phone was dirty after that. heh

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