DR650: Intiminators (fork valving) install & review

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by eakins, May 27, 2009.

  1. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Ricor does ship to Steamboat afterall :-)

    As many of you know the DR front suspension is lacking. After reading some glowing reviews of Intiminators fork valves http://store.ricorshocks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=043-20-1001 in the big Dr650 thread & TT (i first posted about them from ADVrider and then followed the thread http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=764177 ) I got some myself. I first got them for my Strom & loved them so much, i have them my DR. I reused some of my instruction from my Strom install.

    Imtiminators 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 dampening (compared to the archaic fork rod technology). I had Emulators in my forks already and was replacing them with Intiminators.

    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.

    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 use a Harbor Freight atv lift.
    [​IMG]

    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 & slightly loosen the fork cap.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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

    Lift bike.

    Remove the speedo cable screw & pull out the cable. Move it out of the way.
    [​IMG]

    Remove the brake hose clamp bolt & caliper bolts and move the calipers out of the way/wire them up/set on top of fender.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On the right lower fork leg, remove the axel pinch bolts & the (through the wheel) axel bolt. You need to be under the wheel holding it as you remove the axel as the wheel drops & binds the axel. 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]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now remove the lower triple clamp bolts and the fork will drop down & out.
    [​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 upper fork boots.

    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]

    Fully extend the upper tube & sit the cap on top of the spacer and notice how high it sits above the top of the fork tube. This is your existing preload. It's changed with varying spacer lengths.
    [​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. The ideal plan is to achieve approx 10mm – 20mm of preload. Adjusting preload (in addition to spring rate) 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 has Eibach springs. 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!

    I like to setup preload with the fork dry (no oil). The Intiminator is going to add length to the current preload you have. Fully expand the upper fork tube to do this part. Ultimately the Intiminators sits below the spring but they would need to be fished back out if you put it the fork w/o oil, so I put in the spring > spacer > spacer > and the set the Intiminator in the spacer (upside down) > then the cap.
    [​IMG]

    Now measure how much preload you have. You’ll have something different than me (as i have Eibach Springs & Emulators previously in there). Cut spacer tube to get the desired preload. For example if you had 40mm of measure preload and you wanted 20mm, then cut off 20mm. You can always cut of more down the road, if need be.

    Use a pipe cutter (if you have a metal pipe spacer to cut) 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. A hacksaw would be used for PVC pipe.

    Mine came out a tad over 13mm but I’m happy for now.
    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 used 6.5" of oil height (which ended up being 16oz of oil, 1/2 the bottle. others are needing 2 bottles?). Properly lowered forks uses 5.9" (you'll need to buy 2 qts of oil). I got 2qts but only used 1. I'll have a bottle left over to refresh the oil down the road. I'd love to hear other Intiminator owner experience on how much oil they used.

    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 to 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.

    Add 14oz of oil, 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 them down so they set on top of the rod. Use the spring to seat the Intiminators. Pull the spring back out. Try not to loose much oil.

    Now finish filling with oil & measure to 6.5". If you bought 1 bottle never use more than half (16oz) or the other leg will be uneven.

    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.

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

    Good job!

    The fork need to go back on the bike. The top caps finish flush with the top of the upper triple clamp. Hand tighten the lower pinch bolts to hold the fork in place. Torque them to 19 ftlbs (228 in lbs)
    Torque top cap if needed . Torque upper pinch bolt to 21 ftlbs (252 inlbs) .

    Now repeat with other fork.

    The wheel goes back on. Put the speedo assy back on and then the axel through the speedo/wheel & torque to 47 ftlbs. Make sure speedo assy is positioned correctly. You need to be under the wheel to hold it up & put the axel through and tighten it.

    Put the axel cap back on (arrow up) and lightly hand tighten the 4 nuts.

    Calipers get torque back on to 19 ftlbs (228 inlbs) ftlbs. Brake line clamp goes back on. Speedo cable goes back in.

    Before you tighten axel cap pinch bolt back on your suppose to push down and cycle the forks 5x to center everything. You’ll need to drop the bike & hold the brake and cycle he forks. Torque the pinch bolt 7 ftlbs (84 inlbs) > top 2 bolts get torque first then bottom 2. Done.
    #1
  2. kuyaoli

    kuyaoli Been here awhile

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    great thread, actually exactly what I need, the problem I always need pictures to understand better what to do and your pictures just stop once it gets to the point :wink:

    But thanks for posting the instruction, I am going to print it and read it a few times until I get it...
    #2
  3. trailrider383

    trailrider383 867-5309

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    Where is the review?
    #3
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    i ran outta steam last night, here it is.

    so i had emulators in there and kn ow how they worked. cogent did my for work.

    the first thing i notice is how much less the fork dived during braking.
    these things do work to reduce rider input dive. that was very apparant.

    i took my bike out for a dirt loop i ride all the time on all my bikes. it's close and has dirt & paved twisties. my neighborhood has deep potholes which i purposely hit. the forks were very plush over these. they just absorbed the hole with out any harshness. the emulators were never this plush over these. they were a major improvemnt over stock, but never this plush.

    i hit my favorite dirt section. it's a rough road (divots, rocks, washboards, ruts & dips) w/ some smooth strips one can stay one. when the fork was stock i always aimed for the smooth because it was always harsh, esxpecially the washboard & divots). with the emulators it was much better but felt harsh at times, washboards at certain speeds. with the intiminators, i hit it all and it was controlled & plush the whole time. i keep going faster thinking i'd find a weakness. i go to the point i slowed down so i wouldn't hurt myself but the forks worked awesome! 3 thumbs up!

    i then hit the twisty paved section. the forks held tight & controlled. the forks were planted to the ground. i hard braked a few times and fork dive was less than before and controlled. i like these, they're a keeper.

    others have described them as stiff yet plush and i agree. when you need plush they are when you need stiff they are. Ricor has an amazing product for our DR. this is a must do fork mod!
    #4
  5. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    In the end you did install the intiminators under the springs, and not on top of the spacers right?
    #5
  6. Rik

    Rik Adventurer

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    grapjas :D
    #6
  7. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    :D :rofl
    #7
  8. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    I have been wondering how you would install these things for a while, great write-up and pictures Bil! :clap

    One day I'll have to find somebody who has them so we can do back-to-back comparisons with a set of custom valved and sprung USD forks. Probably closer in feel than you would think!
    #8
  9. fritzcoinc

    fritzcoinc Enjoying my last V8

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    Great write up.:clap
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  10. RiDR

    RiDR The Himalayan what?

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    :lol3 awesome.
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  11. CaptTurbo

    CaptTurbo Long timer

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    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do a walk through for the community! Well done! Mine are still waiting for me to get around to installing them but ... I bought a new toy which is the WR250R/X (yes, I got both wheel sets) and my DR has been brushed aside for while. Don't panic. I still love the DR but you know how it is when a new and very sexy woman shows up. :lol3
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    nice! i've been digging the wr250r.


    ...thanks everyone!
    #12
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    been riding the dr more & more.
    becoming more impressed over time.
    rode a dr without. wow. forgot the diff!
    #13
  14. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    You just need to sit on a stock DR, grab the front brake and push forward.

    The front just sits up and begs with the Intiminators in.
    I'm sorely tempted to sell my Eibach springs.

    The race sag and ride height with the stockers is fine.
    #14
  15. DisTech

    DisTech Been here awhile

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    Great write up Bill. I've got RaceTech emulators and additional holes drilled in the damper rods. Did you replace your damper rods for the Intiminator install?
    #15
  16. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    no. 5wt oil is used for proper flow w/ Intiminators & stock hole size on the rod. even with enlarged holes (from Emulator install) the flow rate is still controlled/metered by the Intiminators. Using 5wt oil max flow occurs with stock or enlarged holes when using Nators.

    what is different is Intiminator valves controls the fork better than Emulator valves.
    #16
  17. DisTech

    DisTech Been here awhile

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    Excellent, thanks!
    #17
  18. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    Just put in the Eibach 0.48kg/mm springs to try on Sunday.

    5mm of preload gets me 17% static sag and 25% race sag.
    I need to ride it for a bit more but it feels fine so far.
    I think they have more potential than the stockers.
    #18
  19. Navaho

    Navaho Long timer

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    I just did the same thing as Eakins, replaced the RT emulators with Intiminators. They're great! Much better than the emulators. I'm using 0.45kg straight-rate springs with a preload of 10 mm, and I've increased the oil to only 115 mm from the top. I also mixed in some 10 wt with the 5 wt for a little more damping both directions. I push the DR hard offroad so all this was done to improve bottoming resistance.

    I really can't add anything else to what Eakins has already reported. The Intiminators are plush over all sizes of bumps yet have good bottoming resistence. They do make a clicking sound that I can hear on hard hits but it doesn't seam to affect performance.
    #19
  20. Eagerpooch

    Eagerpooch Been here awhile

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    Okay, I dont know much about this kind of stuff but just trying to sum up this review. I hate the dive during hard braking. I an go ahead and keep the stock springs and pretty much this Intiminator valve will solve this issue and make it even better offroad? Sounds like it is worth every penny.

    I also feel like the rear shock is too soft. Im no light weight at 205lb and I like to load the bike up with camping gear too. Can I adjust the preload to stiffen this up or should I go with a new rear shock?

    I want the most bang for the buck.
    #20