650 Vstrom: Intiminators (fork valves) install & review

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by eakins, May 7, 2009.

  1. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    As many of you know the wee strom front suspension is lacking. After reading some glowing reviews of Intiminators fork valves in the big Dr650 thread I was in contact with the Ricor team.

    Imtiminators http://store.ricorshocks.com/default.asp are similar to Racetech gold valve emulators & are a step above as they utilize inertia valve technology (to reduce fork dive) in addition to the improved compression dampning (compared to the archaic fork rod technology).

    Both of these valves sit on top of the rod & under the spring.
    [​IMG]

    Emulators require full fork disassy to drill out the compression rod holes and use 10wt oil. These utilize 5wt oil (that flows well through the existing holes) and thus only require only fork cap removal, thus saving shop time/$. In addition the inertia valve enables stock fork springs to be used for most & thus saving additional $ on new springs.

    Sounds all fine and dandy, but an install and test reveal the truth.

    Here's a pdf of the 650 service manual
    http://www.calsci.com/motorcycleinfo/PDFs/DL650K4_svc_man.pdf

    This is what was sent to me.
    [​IMG]

    This is what they look like.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here I am pushing down on the inertia valve. It’s spring load and tuned per bikes application.
    [​IMG]

    Ok time to get to work. A helper is useful, but not necessary at times.

    You’ll need to lift the front of your bike to remove the forks do this job. I have a pat walsh skid plate & use a Harbor Freight atv lift plus I put a jack under the rear tire (as the front end got light & rocked towards the back, after the wheel/fork was off). You need some way to do this: center stand, dan vessel support http://community-2.webtv.net/CHERDAN/MyVStromAccessories/page2.html , hang bike from bars? (you need genmars http://www.zianet.com/genmar/ , read on)

    Before you lift the bike a few pieces might be easier to loosen while the bike is on the ground.

    Loosen the top triple clamp bolt (10mm), remove all the preload from the caps (turn screw all the way out with big flathead) & slightly loosen the fork cap (24mm – 15/16”).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I have genmar up & back riser and so I did not need to remove my bar to gain fork cap access. If you don’t then you need to remove your bars (& maybe you should do this after the bike is lifted so you have handlebar control). If you’re planning on adding genmars anyway NOW is the time to do it!
    [​IMG]

    Loosen the brake caliper bolts (12mm). When the wheel is in the air, these are harder to loosen but not impossible.
    [​IMG]

    Lift bike. Remove fork brace if you use one.
    [​IMG]

    Remove the speedo sensor cable bolts.
    [​IMG]

    Remove the brake line bolts (watch for metal piece behind the fender to fall out) & caliper bolts & move the calipers out of the way/wire them up. You can’t remove the wheel with them attached. You ABS guys will have another wire to work around.
    [​IMG]


    On the right lower fork leg, loosen the axel pinch bolt & the (through the wheel) axel bolt (12mm Allen wrench/socket, not a common kit size, got mine at Napa: NBH212M). You need to be under the wheel holding it as you remove the axel as the wheel drops & binds the axel. As the wheel drops, remove the speedo sensor from the wheel. You now have the front wheel off & this might be a first for some of you. This is an excellent mechanics skill to have!
    [​IMG]

    Next remove the 2 forward bolts holding the fender on. You can’t remove the fender yet so don’t try. This is Suzuki’s puzzler moment. You need to remove one fork leg to get the fender out. Maybe someone has a trick I missed?
    [​IMG]

    Now remove the lower triple clamp bolts and the fork will drop down while the fender likes to fall out. Move slowly (or get help) so nothing hits the floor. Start with whatever side seems easiest for you to loosen the bolts & catch the fork leg & the fender.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Remove the other fork.
    [​IMG]

    Now is time to work on the forks.
    I like to work with them on the ground & have a towel down to protect them & for oil spillage.

    Remove the fork cap by applying downward pressure with your wrench so you don’t bugger up your caps by slipping. The inner contents are under upward pressure (preload).
    [​IMG]

    Now sit the cap on top of the spacer and notice how high it sits above the top of the fork tube. This is spring preload (accomplished with varying spacer lengths). In the second picture is how this wants to look when you’re done & ready for reassy. This is achieved by shortening the spacer by cutting it with a tube cutter, hacksaw or other tools.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After the cap, will come the spacer > washer > spring (note orientation if one). Pour out the old oil and watch for all the parts. Cycle the fork to remove all the old oil. Be patient to remove all.

    With the fork totally empty of oil, you need to achieve the proper preload. This is done with the cap preload screw at it mimimum (screwed all the way out) as additional preload can be added by screwing it down farther. The ideal plan is to achieve approx 15mm of preload & thus a max of 30mm can be had with the screw fully in. Adjusting preload is one method to achieve proper sag (25% of fork travel when you’re sitting on the bike).

    This is the order everything goes back in. Note the washer between the spring & the spacer.
    [​IMG]

    My bike came with Wilbur springs (which helped some) & those go back in. Most of you will be happy with stock springs, but you can always change those out down the road, if need be. Remember to change one suspension setting at a time!

    Now slide the imiminator down with the spring. As they fit tightly they are hard to cock sideways. Pull out the springs & flashlight down the tube to look at it. Is it setting correctly? Pull the tube out fully extended, put all the rest back in, & sit the cap on top.

    Now measure how much preload you have. You’ll have something different than me (Wilbers are 11mm longer than stock). I’ve got 41mm & want 15mm. I need to cut 26mm off my spacer tube to achieve this.
    [​IMG]

    I used a pipe cutter because it cuts evenly & cleanly. A hacksaw will work, but draw a line all the way around to so don’t have an angled cut. File it smooth and rinse w/ soapy water so no metal shavings or water are now in the fork.

    Mine came out a tad over 15mm but I’m happy.
    Preload is set correctly, so take everything back out and it’s oil time.
    [​IMG]

    Fully compress the forks down. The oil height is measured by the space from the top of oil to the top of the fork tube. There are many ways to measure the oil height (or air space). I researched height people used and found a range from 140-150mm (stock 143mm). I split the dif and used 145mm (which ended up being 16oz of oil, how perfect to split the bottle between 2 forks :D ). I made this gauge (with zip tie) which I hung over the edge and filled to it. Other use turkey basters & remove oil to a certain level. Take you time filling at the end. It’s easier to fill than remove.
    [​IMG]

    The oil height needs to be measured with the intiminators in place, but you have to first fill the oil mostly with them out. This is because you need to cycle the forks to remove all the air in the system but this is hard to do with them in place because of the tight tolerances.

    Cycle the forks and looks down in till you don’t see/hear any air from below. Compress the forks & place the intimtators in the fork and push tem down so they set on top of the rod. I used a clean long dowel as I did not want to use the springs (to push them down) & then pull the wet springs back out wasting oil & making a mess. Press in several places to seat them fully.

    Finish filling with oil & measure to 145mm.

    Extend forks fully and place in springs > washer > spacer > top cap. Press down with cap & cycle a few times to make 100% sure everything is seated. Measure preload again and this will verify everything is properly in place.
    Use your socket tools and press down the caps and thread them back on. Press straight down & watch for cross-threading. Move slowly. I like to press down with my tool, hold the lower fork leg with my knees and spin the upper fork leg to thread the cap on. This keeps the cap going down & straight on to the threads.
    [​IMG]

    If you can, at this point, torque caps to 16.5 ftlbs (198 inlbs). If not, just snug tight & torque later on the bike.

    Good job! Now to the other leg.

    The forks need to go back on the bike. I’m using the 15mm raised tube mod for better wind handling.
    [​IMG]

    I’m right handed so I like to do the right one first so when I’m working on the left one (right one looking at it), I can use my right hand to control the fork while I position the fender in place with my left hand. Those funny Suzuki engineers and their strom fender.

    After the fender is positioned in place (& stays there), move the fork all the way up in the triple clamp to desired position & clamp a bolt to hold in place. The torque spec for these 3 bolts is 16.5 ftlbs. Remember if you now need to torque your top caps, you need to loosen the upper bolt & thus the lower bolts need to be done already.

    At his point the fender get bolted back on , but don’t fully snug all bolts until you later cycle the suspension in prep for the axel pinch bolt. I’m a fan of blue locktite stick! With the 2 rear fender bolts comes the brake lines & calipers.
    I like to place the caliper hanging over the side fork reflectors so they are out of the way for easier wheel installation.

    The wheel & speedo sensor goes back on & torque the axel bolt to 47 ftlbs. Make sure speedo cable is positioned correctly. You need to be under the wheel to hold it up & put the sensor in place & then place the axel through & get it started. Have your 12mm wrench & axel next to your left hand! Grease the axel & speedo unit seal lightly if it's not. Since the wheel is off, this would be a great time to check your wheel bearings for notchyness.

    Calipers get torque back on to 28 ftlbs.

    Before you put the axel pinch bolt back on your suppose to push down and cycle the forks 5x to center everything. You’ll need to put bars back on (oh how you long for those genmars right about now), drop the bike, hold the brake and cycle he forks. Torque the pinch bolt 16.5 ftlbs & then snug up the rest of the fender bolts. Put back on brace if you use. Done.

    If someone sees an error, omission or change needed let me know & i'll edit my post.

    UPDATE:

    since i love these things, added some iminators to my dr.
    came up with an alternative method to measure for preload with a dry fork.
    thought about how it took some time to get them back out of the middle of the forks (they're a tight fight) and so i put these together this way.


    [​IMG]

    on the strom use this order (because the adjustable cap has part the hangs below)
    -spring
    -imtiminator (either direction)
    -washer
    -spacer
    -cap

    i took a preload measurement put together this way and just before the final cap install at the end. preload was the same as it all fits together with the same spacing no matter how you put it together.
    #1
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    ok ready for a review.
    first of all, just pushing down on the bars i noticed less brake dive.
    i rode around my neighbor and tested the brakes, yep less dive.
    next i went to a section of dirt road i ride all the time.
    this road has washboards & potholes.
    the forks where always harsh through here at any speed.
    i always stayed on the smooth sections.
    i tried a small patch.

    mmm, plush & controlled. i did some more to the point i rode the nastiest parts all the way down. 3 thumbs up!
    i then went to some curvey paved roads. the forks felt very solid & planted.
    i then headed home to do the manhole cover test. my road got repaved & these are now deep and jarring. the forks compressed nicely & controlled but i did not fell any jarring.
    as others have said it makes your forks stiffer yet plush!
    i'm way impressed in what the Ricor team has achieved!

    here's some other reviews
    http://www.google.com/search?q=rico...e=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=
    #2
  3. nedodjija

    nedodjija Been here awhile

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    Got to love those Harbor Fraight calipers.
    #3
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    #4
  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    went out today on even nastier roads that i only take my dr on.
    the difference is amazing. gotta watch myself where i take this beast.
    the more time i have on em the more i love em.
    i have emulators on my dr (both bikes use 43mm rod forks) and these work better!

    IMO this is a MUST do mod for every wee strom owner!

    mmm, now what's going on in the back with this shock?
    #5
  6. Night_Wolf

    Night_Wolf Long timer

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    Adding this to the Wee Strom Thread Index :thumb Well done
    #6
  7. BryanD

    BryanD Adventurer

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    These look good and I'm very interested. I have the Wilbers springs also and I'm running the Wilbers recommended 7.5 weight fork oil. I understand the theory that the 5W oil eliminates the need for drilling, but can there really be that much difference between 7.5W and 5W?

    FYI: I ran emulators in a previous bike and while there was a noticable improvement, I wasn't completely satisfied. I'd be very tempted to get a set of these for my Wee, especially if a discount or group buy comes along :evil
    #7
  8. Vegas Brian

    Vegas Brian Adventurer

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    We would like to offer the same discount we did for the DR's to the V-Strom owners.

    The discount is for the INTIMINATORS not the oil.

    We ask that you write a review after installation if you take us up on this offer. In the review please use the correct product name "INTIMINATOR" and or Ricor. This helps the search engines locate the reviews. We are not making any money at this price so we really appreciate the cooperation.

    The offer will need to end once a dealer picks up this model line.

    Use coupon code "advrider" on check out.

    Brian

    P.S. I would like to personally thank Bill Eakins for his experience and all the effort he put into his review.
    #8
  9. Lil' Steve

    Lil' Steve PussyWagon™ Chauffer

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    That's just what I was wondering after reading the part when you got to ride it through some of the bumpy stuff. These things are great but you definitely notice if the rear is lacking an upgrade.

    :thumb to the guys at Ricor for the discount, I was the first to buy them for the DR650 and it was money very well spent.
    #9
  10. rous44

    rous44 Long timer

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    I thought you didn't ship to Steamboat Springs????




    .
    #10
  11. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Kind of off topic, but does anyone know if the DL1000 and DL650 have the same size forks?
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    we kissed and made up.
    #12
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    these are designed for 5wt synth oil flow so stick with that.
    wilburs used 7.5 wt (& there springs) to trick the rod holes in to working somewhat better.

    the deal here is all about the advanced valving and less so the springs.
    that's why people are reporting that stock springs work just fine.
    #13
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    i believe both 43mm but 1000 has cartridge forks.
    #14
  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    from what i was told, keep your ears open for something
    #15
  16. bretoneer

    bretoneer Been here awhile

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    Yes, they both use Showa 43mm forks, however the DL650, as you have seen in this thread, uses a damper rod for spring damping, whereas the DL1000 uses cartridge style valves that are adjustable. The DR650 uses the same fork tube setup as the DL650, except for tube length. One ADVer has replaced his stock DL tubes with stock DR tubes thereby increasing travel and ground clearance, along with a longer rear shock/spring package.

    #16
  17. Night_Wolf

    Night_Wolf Long timer

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    Before this gets punted to Vendors, can I ask what the discount is and will you ship to Canada via the US Post Office. Many here are not interested in dealing with FedX & UPS due to usurious brokerage fees

    #17
  18. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    Yup....:clap :clap to Bill!!!
    Got a set of Wilbers sitting here for the ThinStrom
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251613
    ...and THAT would fit right in!!

    Where to order/ how to order?
    PayPal and shipping to AUS ok?
    Check your pm's, mate :freaky
    #18
  19. jlandry

    jlandry figo enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review, I'm toying with the idea of getting some of these for myself.

    I've had the fender off my '06 Wee a few times and I've always just wiggled and pulled it off with both forks still on the bike. It's not the easiest, but it does come out.
    #19
  20. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    mmm, i tried that in the past and scratched the crap outta the fender.
    they are scalloped where the fork legs meet so it wouldn't slide past and it couldn't raise it up to the narrow fork tube part, so i figured one legs needs to come off. anyway you made it happen.

    you won't regret the intiminators!
    i can be a skeptical guy & overtly opionated guy.
    i read all the positive reports & can say first hand, they really are that good.
    don't be that guy and miss the 50% off intro rate.
    that is a huge deal Ricor is offering!
    let us hear your report.
    #20