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Help With Suspension Valves

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I was wondering if someone could help me understand the differences and advantage/disadvantages of the different valve systems that companies are using.  I have been riding cross country and hairscramble races off and on for the last couple years and have always just played with the clicker settings on my stock forks but am now wanting to go ahead and get my suspension re-valved.  Now I am researching suspension and am noticing a big variance in the style of valves that companies are using. The suspension will be going on a RMZ 250. So my question is, howcome some of the valves have bigger port holes then others and what would be the advantage of this? I'm assuming that with a valve like the Pro-action one that the port holes are smaller which would mean the shims would have less work to do and on the ones with bigger ports would they just have more layers of shims? If this is the case is it easier to fine tune a suspension with more shims? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

 

Race tech gold valve

 

smgv5003.jpg

 

Pro-Action Valve

 

p6.jpg

 

Ride Concepts Valve

 

4534229652.jpg

Edited by shmingey

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I don't think there is a real advantage to them

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Only thing is, if ur trying to achieve something that ur stock pistons arnt good for. Maybe wp shock piston for sx

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not all aftermarket pistons are created equally. design, testing, and the appropriate valving give some a leg up on others.

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Like mark (gd170) and karl say there is some situations where a well tuned valve is ideal , but most standard valves meet the needs of most riders , the extra cost of different valves is simply unneeded , the rmz X ring piston is a pain so often people replace to get rid of it

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Each company has their own theory with valves, and as others said, they aren't all created equal, and they are only as good as the valving stack put on them.

 

The theory with the Race Tech valve is to allow a setup that is plush initially with improved bottoming resistance.  This is done by eliminating orifice style damping and improving flow through the ports, this then puts the damping control on the shim stack.  While the ports on the valve are always the same size, valving can be tuned.  There are some pieces a bit more indepth with the valve that one of our techs would have to explain, but I know recently quite a few design changes that may be transparent or minor to the normal eye have had pretty amazing improvements to our test riders when it comes to initially absorbing large braking bumps and traction.

 

I just grabbed this from the RT website FAQ to explain a bit differently:

Q: What is a Gold Valve? 
A: A Gold Valve® is Race Tech's valving kit. It is designed to break through the limitations of the stock piston design. Research has shown that when the piston ports are as large as possible the harshness is dramatically reduced. This allows a valving stack to be personally tailored to the individual rider. It allows bottoming resistance to actually be increased as the harshness is decreased.

Edited by RT_Chris448

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The main reason they sell you pistons, is because if they sold you a shim stack that worked with your stock piston, you could tell all of your friends and they would be shared here on tt.

Now use larger ports and the shim stack changes to something that won't work at all on a factory piston... So you have to buy their piston to get the stacks... And you feel there's something more tangible to a shiny piece of gold anodized aluminum vs 2.00$ worth of shims for 200$

Also kyb and showa engineers are pretty good. Don't think the fellas in corona cough chris, know anything they don't know.

Now there are exceptions where things with the stock parts are terribly wrong.

Or uses for a gold valve gr2 if you wanted to preload your shim stack or use a restrictor. That's some acceptable reasons for an aftermarket piston.

Other than that NO!

Stay away from anyone selling you a piston. Any good shop can put the right springs in and change the valving for your ability, terrain, and preference.

If you really want hardware with upgraded FUNCTIONALITY see MX tech.

They build a element 7 system which converts your fork cartridges to bladder gas charged, like wp, and ohlins. Reduces friction and keeps more consistent cartridge pressure.

They also build a speed sensitave bottom out system S.S.B.C or huck valve. It's a bottom put system with a shim stack....

These are serious pieces of hardware that will improve your ride big time.

Not some anodized schrader valve caps.

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Thanks for the replies.  I have a big issue with arm pump and when I get into races it just gets worse.  I am trying to find a way to get the bike to work a little better for me on the small impacts suck as rocks, logs etc so I'm not fighting the bike as much when I'm on the trails. I have tried adjusting the clickers and it has definitely helped a bit, I just heard through buddies and local riders that getting your suspension re-valved and shimmed for your riding style/areas makes a big difference as they are able to control how the shocks react a bit better then the stock settings.  I'm not looking for a miracle with a new shiny part, but I am looking for something that will make a noticeable change in the bike and make it so I can ride it longer with a bit less effort. I'm in Alberta and race in the Rockies so we have some pretty harsh terrain up here.

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There's a thread on ktm-talk, 20+ pages worth, where the consensus is that the stock WP linkage piston has too large of ports.  Most claim it blows through to easily and its hard to control.  Everyone who has tried a smaller port piston likes it better.  I can see that if the sealing face shim has very little movement per large changes in flow, it could be hard to control, which I think is the consensus.  I can also see port shape and leverage on the shim effecting how progressive the damping is (look at the RG3 piston).   Having said that, I would exhaust all options with the stock piston before moving on to something else.  If your going to a professional, its a mute point as you will have to let them do what they feel comfortable with.  

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call mx tech and talk to Jeremy about your bike. he can set you right up.

or if you want to go at it your self, first things first you need to make sure your springs are right.

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You're riding an RMZ, which is designed for motorcross, in the woods.  The biggest issue is just that the valving isn't right for your terrain.  A decent tuner should be able to revalve your forks and shock to perform really well for you, without using any shiny new valves.

 

On the bleeding edge of technology, there are reasons to justify alternate port sizes and geometry.  For the rest of us, you can make most stock stuff work just fine.  Just getting away from your stock MX valving will make a HUGE difference to how your bike feels.

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The main reason they sell you pistons, is because if they sold you a shim stack that worked with your stock piston, you could tell all of your friends and they would be shared here on tt.

Now use larger ports and the shim stack changes to something that won't work at all on a factory piston... So you have to buy their piston to get the stacks... And you feel there's something more tangible to a shiny piece of gold anodized aluminum vs 2.00$ worth of shims for 200$

Also kyb and showa engineers are pretty good. Don't think the fellas in corona cough chris, know anything they don't know.

Now there are exceptions where things with the stock parts are terribly wrong.

Or uses for a gold valve gr2 if you wanted to preload your shim stack or use a restrictor. That's some acceptable reasons for an aftermarket piston.

Other than that NO!

Stay away from anyone selling you a piston. Any good shop can put the right springs in and change the valving for your ability, terrain, and preference.

If you really want hardware with upgraded FUNCTIONALITY see MX tech.

They build a element 7 system which converts your fork cartridges to bladder gas charged, like wp, and ohlins. Reduces friction and keeps more consistent cartridge pressure.

They also build a speed sensitave bottom out system S.S.B.C or huck valve. It's a bottom put system with a shim stack....

These are serious pieces of hardware that will improve your ride big time.

Not some anodized schrader valve caps.

 

I respect your opinion and once again, it isn't my goal to change it.  I do want to clarify some of your statements to make sure the other readers can decide for themselves what is best and what is true.  I'm obviously biased, and don't have any intentions of hiding that.  Not only do I work for Race Tech, but well before I was employed by Race Tech, I was a huge fan and believer in the products they put out as a rider.

 

Although the larger ports are the most obvious difference of a Gold Valve (and the most common piece of the puzzle for critics to go after), there is much more to the piston than just the ports.  For over 30 years, day in and day out Paul and Race Tech have spent every day trying to improve suspension performance.  With an aftermarket company, you're able to focus on personalized setups - you don't have the HUGE challenge of a generalized setting that will work "okay" for everyone who buys an OEM dirt bike.  Race Tech also isn't having to fight to keep the cost of components and development down to keep the cost down on the overall bike to the consumer.  

 

In addition to an improved flow, which does allow a tuner to personalize the setting with more options, allows for both a plush initial feel with improved bottoming resistance, by using a Gold Valve across multiple models, it means our techs and R&D department now have loads more data to continue evolving their valving settings and the piston itself.

 

I also feel it's unfair to try and point at Race Tech discouraging the do-it-yourself suspension tuners, when infact many of the tuners out there (including quite a few of those at Showa/KYB/WP) have attended the Race Tech Seminars or worked alongside Paul at Race Tech.  Paul has, and continues to teach others how to do suspension.

 

I understand the theories of suspension tuners vary, and you subscribe to a different one than myself.  I am sure there is validity to those you believe in and I'm also sure there is riders who will say your suspension tuner does an awesome job, otherwise he wouldn't be doing business.  

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