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KYB fork comparison pre 2005 OC vs 2006+ SSS

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I created a new thread here to avoid taking another thread off topic.

I have a 2004 YZ250 and enjoy using both my 2004 OC and my 2010 CC "SSS" forks. Both have 48mm lower tubes and the same upper tubes. So with the required axle and hub spacers they allow a direct quick swap over.

For a few years I was trying to find valving in the SSS forks that could work for vet pace MX and for fast-ish pace single trails. Finally I saw the light and gave up on the hybrid setup. I returned the SSS valving back to near stock with my fav little tweaks.

I had the original 2004 OC KYB forks stored for years then decided to revive them. Additional incentive was so I could avoid taking my SSS forks on on rocky trails and risk damaging the lugs or what ever in rocky ruts or crashes. The OC KYBs have meaty lugs and the 2004s are the big 48mm forks so that makes them a bit special as OCs too.

With new bushes, seals and a single guess at a revalve (mid and base comp) the OCs work really good. Steering response and traction is great. The stock springs are too firm for a 165lb rider on trails and I'll fix that one day.

The OC fork damping will fade over repeat hard+fast bumps and they wont be as plush as the SSS forks on that terrain no matter what, but for trails they are great. The OC forks do give more good type of feedback at lower speeds than my SSS forks can provide.  Usually I'll physically fade before the OC forks do anyway.

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I have a set of the aos forks revalved and they work very well, takes quite a bit to get them working, I have thought plenty of times of switching over to the sss but in all reality they both can work very well, I would have been time ahead just putting the 06' newer forks on, money wise it's about the same, I use my bike for a little bit of everything so I'm usually pretty content if I get my suspension set up for the range of riding I do and so far the aos fits the bill

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I agree, the KYB AOS fork can be made to work very well.

Some AOS forks came with my 06 KX450F. Perhaps very similar internals to the 2005 YZ250 fork.  My Kawi 450 AOS has different design details in the base and mid valves, but the major diff with the SSS appears to be the smaller diameter dampers.

I struggled with my AOS forks for years, then bought some lightly used 2011 SSS forks for the 450 and enjoyed a whole new bike feeling.

In 2013 after learning more about SSS valving on the Kawi and YZ, for fun I decided to see what I could do with the AOS fork, and after one revalve got them working really well.  Got very lucky, since I changed every stack and also drilled the ports bigger in the base pistons. No doubt they could be better again with more work, but I was amazed how well the front end worked considering how harsh and vague it felt for years, even after paying for a couple a revalves.

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As I've mentioned more than a few times on this forum, I actually prefer the revalved forks on my 03 yz to the revalved SSS forks on my 06 YZ (both have been revalved for eastern woods).  Neither fork worked well stock.

My suspension shaman did mention that he modified the pistons in my  03, as well as the valving.  He was talking about milling the ports or something to compensate for the oil flow, but I really didn't understand what he was doing, other than making oil flow more comparable between the the 03 and the 06.  Whatever he did, it works great!

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With the wrong valving, the SSS fork will be ordinary or bad. I've been there many times. It's a fine balance and so easy to stuff them up.

 

In my 2004 OC KYBs, I softened the mid by removing one 27mm face shim. That also opened the float 0.1mm.  Over random small chattery bumps the mid feels fine to me, and the fork doesn't blow through the stroke too easy either. So I got lucky there.

I also softened the base stack to 65% of stock stiffness. It's a two stage base stack. I retained the stage proportions and made the second stage more durable with more thin shims instead of a few thick ones. The base ports looked big enough, or at least couldn't be made much/any bigger - in the 2004 forks.

Stock: 6x24.12 12.12 22.15 20.15 18.15 16.15 13.15 11.25c.
My woods: 4x24.12 12.12 24.12 21.1 20.1 19.1 18.1 17.1 16.1 13.15 2x11.3c

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