Thread: Go Sportsters
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:49 PM   #3845
Randy
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Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Newnan, GA USA
Oddometer: 2,344
I bounced back and forth between the two as well. I read what I could and while I didn't find to much in the way of head to head comparisons, what I did find seemed to indicate the Ricors performed better.

The Ricor Intiminators are a straight drop in too, whereas the Gold Valve Emuators require the bleed holes in the damper rods to be drilled out. At least in most applications. In my case that wouldn't have been a big deal since I had my forks completely apart to change out the damper rods anyway. But, if that wasn't the case, just draining the oil and dropping in the Intiminators would have made it much simpler.

One possible advantage of the Emulators is that they are tuneable. Similar to the way a cartridge fork with external adjusters, only you have to remove the Emulators to make tuning adjustments if desired. I don't believe the Intiminators offer the same degree of owner adjustability. Then again, I'm not sure how essential this feature is for most riders.

I can't say that I wouldn't have been happy with the Gold Valve Emulators too, but I can say that I can't imagine being more pleased with their performance than I am with my Intiminators.

IMHO, good damping is the single most important thing to suspension performance, and the stock HD damping rod forks are horrible at it.

The stock forks have a reputation for being too softly sprung. In my case, with the Ricors I found that the stock springs worked fine. I actually ended up cutting 2" from the free length of my springs. It seems that in their infinite wisdom, the engineers at HD decided to use a soft spring rate and then use massive amounts of spring preload to keep the forks from losing too much travel in static sag conditions. In all my years I've never worked with a set of forks set up quite that way....

In testing I'm using the majority of my fork travel while never bottoming. And by "testing" I mean trying my best to bottom the forks in road conditions. Like full-on panic braking over bumps etc. That's what good damping will give you... the ability to actually use the majority of your available travel without ever being harsh or completely bottoming the suspension. Just well controlled compliance that works like it should. If you aren't using up the majority of your travel in the worst conditions your bike sees then you are wasting some of your suspensions potential and putting up with excessively harsh action and reduced wheel control.

IMO, the two things that holds the Sportster back the most is the suspension and the brakes. Coincidentally, that was the first two things I started working on with my bike. I still want better shocks when funds allow, but that'll come way before I worry about spending any money trying to get more power from the engine.
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