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Old 11-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #23
Gryphon12
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Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Carnation, WA USA
Oddometer: 1,261
Ok, based on the reply I received above, stock DR-650 forks are damper-rod forks with progressively wound springs.

Racetech "Gold" valves are upgrades to a cartridge fork suspension. You can't add Gold Valves to a damper-rod fork. You add Gold Valve Emulators - but they are still damper rod forks. Based on my understanding, emulators and intiminators (sp?) have slightly different characteristics, but either (both) take the damper-rod applications about as far as they can go.

Based on my understanding (and marketing / sales pitches aside), cartridge forks are generally better than damper-rod forks (but not always - on some less expensive street bikes, for example) - and Gold Valves are usually an upgrade unless your stock forks are very high-end.

So, in general, the progression goes: stock damper-rods, damper-rods with emulators, stock cartridges, cartridges with after-market (e.g. Racetech "Gold") valves.

There will be some overlap, and grey areas, depending on what you are starting with. Going from the stock DR-650 damper-rod forks to a DRZ-250 cartridge fork, sprung for your weight and valved for your application, is a big two steps up, based on my understanding to date. Suspension dynamics is a very complex subject, and while I'm an engineer, I'm no expert. Hence, I'm always willing to learn. If any of the above sounds flat-out wrong to those of you who know suspensions, please chime in and educate all of us!
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