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Old 09-29-2009, 04:22 PM   #4321
Jim Rowley
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Ray (ladder106) can tell you more about emulators, probably when his shift is over.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #4322
atgreg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Funk
Springs and emulators ......

Can anyone suggest where, or part numbers, etc .......

G.
Intiminator
http://store.ricorshocks.com/Product...=043-20-1001AT


cant remeber which emulator I used, here's some info to work out what to use
http://www.racetech.com/HTML_FILES/E...R_FITTING.html

This guy in Oz has fitted emulators & springs to at least 5 AT's , drop him a line for some info about what to fit & tell em Big Greg with the AT sent you
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:55 PM   #4323
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Also dont use progressive springs, use straight rate springs, you really need to measure your sag to see what you need.

on my bike's standard forks the guy listed above cut the soft part of the standard spring off & fitted a longer spacer to suit, this brought the spring rate up from about 0.5kg to about 0.64kg but you have to know what you are doing as if you cut to much off you'll get coil bind
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:32 AM   #4324
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Intiminators might be where I'm heading too, along with something nice for the rear end

Not decided on WP or Ohlins yet - either WP Emulsion, or WP Fusion/Ohlins HO645 with remote reservoirs and standard preload adjuster.....
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:53 PM   #4325
Ladder106
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The Never-never land of suspension....LONG (be warned)

Suspension improvements are a very interesting mix of science, opinions, wives-tales and black magic. Some people are as passionate about this as politics and religion so......keep in mind this is JUST my opinion.

Warning: This is long and kinda "bloggy" If you want just the basic facts, scroll down till you see this:

Now for the history............

First you'll have to decide how you want the bike to ride. Some people are interested in comfort, others want their long-travel DualSport to handle like a Ducati race bike and are willing to pay the price for this when going off-road (ouch). Some people can ride with long-travel DS suspension and to some it seems like the bike is misbehaving. You have to decide what works for you and what doesn't.

My "OMG moment" happened when I was able to ride Jonah Streets 07 Dakar racer. For those of you that don't remember, this was a modded KTM 525 with suspension done by SuperPlush in San Francisco. The premise here was COMFORT and the ability to finish a 2 week long race that beats the crap out of everything and everyone. Anyways.....the suspension on this bike was a revalation for me. It surprised me because it was so soft but still controlled. It would bottom (gently) landing from about 4 feet of air but it absorbed everything short of that in a very controlled way. My AfricaAlp felt like a stiffly sprung POS after riding this bike.



So, what I've been trying to achieve is a ride that is as close to this as I can get. It will let me go at a reasonable pace off-road and will keep me in control and not beat me up. I AM STILL WORKING ON THIS.

I had the AfriceAlp set up with XR650 fork legs and a 27 mm spacer under the stock AT rear shock. It looked like this:


This isn't a great photo but I'm using it to give you an idea of the relationship between the crank center-line and the axle center-lines and amount of air (ground clearance) under the bashplate.

To be fair to all those using this set-up I had not yet had the forks revalved and was still using the stock XR spring with a larger preload spacer to get the correct front sag/ride height. I rode the bike for about 7000 miles like this. The bike didn't do anything scary. It cornered well on the pavement and went into the rough stuff fairly slowly but with caution. Off-road, I could never get rid of a slightly top heavy feeling and there was a genereal "oh-shit" feeling whenever anything got "interesting". I noticed I was shying away from any kind of steepish/loose climb because the bike was so tall that once it got just a bit away from vertical is was very difficult to dab and correct. (I'm 6'1" and 185, thinish but in good enough shape to hang with the young guys on fires). Riding on gravel or dirt roads I was always kinda tippy-toeing around corners because the bike felt very uncomfortable turning on the throttle and sliding the back end around. There was a feeling of trying to high-side if you entered a corner like a half-miler downshifting and using the rear brake to get the bike a bit sideways. I was just about to spend over $1000 on suspension valving and a new rear shock.

Then, a Suzuki DR750 came up for sale and the suspension money got diverted into another bike. Yeah, it was worth it:



I started riding this beast around and it was so easy. Less suspension travel than the AfricaAlp on paper but, wow, it was much better balanced off-road. I could pivot it around the front wheel on the throttle and it never felt like it wanted to toss me over the high-side. I started riding it more and more and the AfricaAlp less and less (no, not just because the Suzuki was new....well, maybe a little). I spent a lots of evenings in the garage with a beer in hand just looking at the Africa Alp and wondering what should be done. I admitted that the bike LOOKED great (in the "I just rode the Dakar" genre) but didn't WORK like I wanted. A change was needed but I wasn't sure where to go. Is more travel the answer or should I go back to the standard geometry and try to get the best control I could?

In the middle of May, I got a PM here on ADVrider from Don Richardson and a company called Ricor Racing Shocks. http://store.ricorshocks.com/ Don said he was developing a new concept in suspension improvement for older forks that used damper rods. He had read that I had a Transalp and wanted assistance in developing his product for Transalps and Africa Twins. The product is called an "Intiminator" (yeah, I know....but it was developed first for Harley riders so using that name isn't really that surprising and after using the name for a while the "patches and badges" image kinda fades). He offered to let me use the product free of charge if I would give it a fair test and post the test results in the Transalp forum.

I guess this was what I needed to get me motivated to change the AfricaAlp back to a more standard suspension set-up. I accepted Don's offer. He asked that I ship my stock TA forks to him for testing. I did that and while the shipping and building was taking place, I started taking steps to bring the suspension back to stock. So, jack up the bike, replace triple clamps, reconfigure ignition switch, replace front wheel bearings (to accept the smaller TA front axle), remove spacer from rear shock and readjust rear pre-load and sag.

I installed the Intiminators with the stock springs (.5kg/mm), set the preload on the springs and went riding.

I found the bike very much improved. The top-heavy feeling was gone. I could turn the bike with the throttle again and kick the back end out on corner entry on gravel and graded dirt. The front wheel felt so planted it gives much more confidence to sliding the rear around.

With the improvement in front wheel traction. You can use a LOT of front brake on corner entry without the front wheel feeling like it's going to slide. Corner speeds through bumpy corners are much faster with improved control (both on asphalt and off-road). The front wheel ignores those "corrogated" bumps the cars put into gravel roads. I'd actually recommend the Intiminators as a "safety" feature for a stock bike. It will let you brake a lot later into a bumpy corner with no loss of control. If you're leaned way over and the corner gets bumpy the bike doesn't go wide or change lines it just keeps on turning. It's very very nice.

Brake dive was very much reduced so the bike is easier to set up for those squared-off-pivot-around-the-front-wheel corners that are so much fun with a heavy bike on a dirt road.

I thought the valving could be a bit softer and Ricor responded quickly with another set of valves with different shims along with a "tuning" kit that included a tool to disassemble the valve and a package of many different sized valve shims.

The bike now looks like this:



I'm now experimenting with even softer (.43kg/mm) springs and I think I've finally come as close to Jonah's bike as I'm ever going to get with the stock TA forks.

OK....end of blog....and NO, I don't have a mirror in my locker at work.



So, if you just want information on the Intiminators start reading here:

What I'd recommend as a progression through the suspension world is this:

1. Start with stock springs and Ricor's Intiminators for the AT. This is both the easiest mod to make and the least expensive. It involves draining and replacing your fork oil with 5 wt fork oil (real fork oil, please, no ATF or motor oil), removing the stock springs and adjusting the oil level, sliding the Intiminators down on top of the damper rods, putting the springs back in, screwing the fork cap back on and riding. No drilling of damper rods or spring changes. I'd be happy to walk anyone through this step-by-step.

2. If for some reason you don't like this, you can then start with changing springs around and/or playing with the Intiminator shims.

3. If this still doesn't work, you can try the Racetech approach with the Emulators. This will require a racetech spring and drilling your damper rods to allow the emulator to work correctly (which is why I'm not suggesting this first). It's more expensive and makes going back to stock much more difficult.

4. If your still not happy, spend big and go with different high-travel forks. Doing this is NOT for the faint-hearted and involves a lot of time and money if done right. You can follow ATGreg's great lead on this and be right on track. It will involve front wheel mod/replacement, fender mounting problems, making certain that the front wheel doesn't contact the frame or crash-bars on full compression, spring rates, and professional suspension tuning. Then you get to make the same mods to the rear to balance the bike like a longer rear shock. You'll also be coping with extra wear on the swingarm protectors and other long-travel considerations.


In my opinion, The Intiminators are the best mod there is for the stock forks right now. They will allow your damper-rod forks to perform as well as they are capable. They are not a complete substitute for a modern well-tuned (emphasis on well-tuned) cartridge fork, but they are much less expensive and the change is achievable for anyone with basic hand-tools.

The Intiminators work with an "Inertia Valve". There are two seperate damping circuits in the valve. A "hard" setting that is controlled by the shim stack that damps movement coming from the frame...like when you brake hard. The other circuit operates with the moveable Inertia Valve. This valve reacts to fork movement so it's sensitive to bumps. As the fork encounters a bump and moves up, the valve body resists this upward movement (inertia) and opens large bleed holes that gives a much softer damping to the fork movement. In effect what you have is a fork that is stiff when needed and soft when needed. It's a great concept and works very well. Brake dive is controlled with damping and NOT with a stiffer spring. I've actually found that using a softer spring is an improvement from stock. I can get away with this with the Intiminators because of their basic design.





I've had these valves apart many times and have even made a few modifications to one set. I'm no expert but have a bit of experience.

A word about Ricor. Don Richardson is responsible for inventing the "Full Floater" suspension that was purchased by Suzuki years ago. He has spent a lot of time on suspension development for cars, buggies and Dakar vehicles so he knows his stuff. Hi likes and rides motorcycles.....a DR650 so don't hold that against him. This isn't just some wacky new idea from "Ronco". I have links to his stuff at the US patent office for anyone who needs more information.

While Ricor has provided me with a lot of product free-of-charge, I'm not an employee nor do I stand to make any profit or commission on any Intiminators sold to TA or AT riders. I think that the product will speak for itself.

There is (or was) an ADV discount for 50% off on the Intiminators. Call Ricor to ask about how this works before your purchase.


Also, Ricor has developed a new rear shock based on the inertia valve technology. It was first built for the KLR 650 and has been very well received from that community of riders. Don asked that I send him my TA shock for testing and also wants the AT shock in the future. I'm bringing this up since the rear end of my bike is now sorely lacking compared to the front. I'm waiting patiently until I see what Ricor has to offer for the rear. It should be a few months away.

Apologies for lack of brevity.
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Old 09-30-2009, 01:12 PM   #4326
locorider
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Beautiful toy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigrevo
A picture of my new toy!!

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Old 09-30-2009, 02:09 PM   #4327
A-Wind
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@Ray(Ladder106): Thank you for taking the time and sharing your experiences in such great detail.
You sure you don't have a mirror?
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:54 PM   #4328
atgreg
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excellent advice ladder
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:29 PM   #4329
G-Funk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atgreg
excellent advice ladder
Yeah no kidding .....

Thanks a bunch Ladder !!!!

I've read through your post 3 times now, and I'm still absorbing it ......

I agree, with first, Jim and atgreg, about starting "simple" and you've confirmed that as well .....

I think I'm going to go the route of the imtimdators and fork oil first, and then go from there.

I'll also be doing up the bike for my LBS - which is 155 @ 5'10 - and thinking about the type of riding I want to do with it. As in - the 620a was fabu off-road. Period - but it's also lighter than the AT - my 1st thought is to get the bike were it doesn't feel so soft in the front on easy gravel. Really .... it wobbles a great deal on gravel, as compared to my 620a

I didn't notice / feel this in CO last year - but Jim took us on a dirt route - out here in my neck of the woods, it's primarily gravel.

Anyhow ...... I'll be checking into the intimidators ....... once I start this little project (here, soon, because I also need to replace the carb boots) I'll keep everyone updated.

But first ...... to see why / how I've exceeded my bandwidth for my pics.

G.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:40 PM   #4330
Ladder106
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The first thing to check to fix the wobbling is the rear sag. Both the Transalps and the ATs do not do well with too much sag in the rear. If your spring has sacked out a bit and you added the large cases and then filled the cases with gear, I'm betting the bike would handle much better with more preload on the rear spring.

Get the rear sag at about 1 3/4 in with you on the bike and the cases and gear you normally use. I'll bet this helps a great deal.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:58 AM   #4331
Jim Davis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schelbi
Look for Mitas E07.

It is as good as the Metzler Sahara but much cheaper!

I use this tire on my XLV750R and on my Transalp and I'm very happy with Mitas.

Schelbi.
Only trouble is I can't get that tire in Japan! Where is it made?

Anyway, think I got a line on a Sahara tubeless that I can get right away.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:12 AM   #4332
Schelbi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Davis
Only trouble is I can't get that tire in Japan! Where is it made?

Anyway, think I got a line on a Sahara tubeless that I can get right away.
Mitas are produced in Prague, Czech Republic.

http://www.mitas.cz/

I don't know if you can buy them in Japan.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:13 AM   #4333
rallybug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Funk
Yeah no kidding .....

Thanks a bunch Ladder !!!!

I've read through your post 3 times now, and I'm still absorbing it ......

I agree, with first, Jim and atgreg, about starting "simple" and you've confirmed that as well .....

I think I'm going to go the route of the imtimdators and fork oil first, and then go from there.

I'll also be doing up the bike for my LBS - which is 155 @ 5'10 - and thinking about the type of riding I want to do with it...
I agree, great stuff, Ladder - and G.Funk, you lightweight - I'm at about 225lb @ 5'11" (plus riding gear)!

I've had a similar response from Yen Powell over here who has Intiminators fitted, and he's holding out for the matching rear shock which is apparently coming at some point

I'm not a huge mechanics person, so this could be interesting - as could the rest of the bike strip-down and re-build I'll have to get rid of the rust spots on the upper fork legs at this point too, I'd imagine
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:16 AM   #4334
Jim Davis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladder106
Jim,

Give the IRC GP110 a try.

I'm NOT trying to start yet another tire thread here.

I've used the 110s on my DR750 for tha past 1500 miles or so and have a pair of Saharas on my spare wheelset for my DRZ400. While this isn't, obviously, a direct comparison, I think the two tires perform about the same both on the street and off-road.

Since IRC is a Japanese brand, I'd expect you could get the 110s easily at home.

Also, I was very impressed with the IRC quality of moulding. The tires were perfectly round and fit the rims very well. They took some but not a lot of weight to balance. In my other life as a bicycle rider/racer, I've also found Japanese tires to be of very high quality and very consistent in construction.
Ok, I check out some IRCs. They have nice tires but weird sizing. Would this fit the front?: GP-110 3.00S-21 (4PR) WT

The GP110 rear looks nice but I'm not liking the tread pattern on the front, dunno have to say from a small photo:


They have a lack of 17 inch rear tires, mostly 18s. I like the look of the GP210, would be great for something like a round the world ride because of the serious rubber on them but no 17 inch rear listed!

I really like the look of the GP-1:


Pity I didn't see these before, might have got the pair. Oh well, next set I may try them out.

Hey when did Sumitomo buy out Dunlop? I just mounted a Dunlop Roadsmart on my VFR today and it says made in Japan by Sumitomo!
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:25 AM   #4335
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They're just "inch" sizes. We all used to use these before everything went metric.

Use the 3.00X21 for the front. They make a 5.10X17....at least for the US. Use this one in the rear. They are not "low profile" tires....no /80 or /90 so the tire is as high as it is wide.

The front's been good so far. Maybe a bit noisier on the pavement than the Saharas but not by much. Nice round profile for peg dragging on warm asphalt and a decent open pattern that seems to do well on graded dirt/gravel without the bother of airing down. Sand and mud I have no experience with as yet but general experience says they will be BAD. Only a true knobby gets the job done with the looser stuff.

On that note, I've got about 1500 miles on the new Michelin T63 on the AfricaAlp. It's been just as good as the TKC80 on the street and even better in the dirt. The TKC starts with about 9 mm of tread depth and the Micheline with just over 12 so it's a more aggressive knobbie. Tread is molded to copy the Michelin Desert tire but side walls are different and a bit more flexible.

Over here the T63 was about 1/2 the cost of a new TKC80.
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