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Ride Report - Race Tech Suspension

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Shortly after I bought my '06 DR650 I changed the shock and fork springs to suit my weight (160). It was a decent improvement over stock but the bike was still unpredictable in deep sand, over roots, on small jumps and even washboard gravel roads. The bike did not feel "planted".

I soon found out that Race Tech had cartridge emulators for the forks and also a Gold Valve kit for the shock. I had a local Race Tech guy do the work last week and took it out Saturday for a test ride.

I am amazed at the difference. Log crossings were a risky move before the mod, even with heavier springs. Now, they're fun!

Before the revalve, jumping the DR with just heavier springs was too much of a challenge. The front was still too soft but rebounded too fast. It was the same problem with the heavier rear spring, and I could still bottom out the suspension on bigger jumps.

Now, the take-offs and landings are easy (very predictable!!). I tried hard to bottom the suspension and couldn't do it. I came close but never felt it hit. Ideally, that's what I wanted.

Potholes and washboard roads are no longer an issue. I went out looking for the worst ones I could find, and I didn't have to look hard here in Louisiana. I used to avoid them because they would slow the bike down and cause the rear to bounce sideways. Now I don't even worry about them. The bike tracks straight and floats across the bumps.

The one benefit that I didn't expect was the much improved steering response on the road. It's so quick to turn, I have to be careful not to whip it like I used to. The front end feels firm and doesn't nose dive during hard braking like it used to.

It was money well spent. My DR is a very capable offroad dual-sport bike now. At 330 lbs it will never take the place of a real "dirt bike" but I don't want it to. I have another bike that's 115 lbs lighter with 10 more "ponies" that's a lot more fun on the trails.

Here are a couple of short clips of the DR in action:

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=e34417aa29c27fb5f2b30beb4fa1442b.1911474

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=e34417aa29c27fb5f2b30beb4fa1442b.1911466

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How much was the total Race Tech set up. I was quoted by a local shop for $1500. If that's the case, I'll sell my ride and buy a KTMexc 525.

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How much was the total Race Tech set up. I was quoted by a local shop for $1500. If that's the case, I'll sell my ride and buy a KTMexc 525.

That's too much! I paid $600 total for labor and materials, not including springs. The gold valve kits from Race Tech cost $325 + shipping if you order them yourself but I got them cheaper from the guy who installed them. I bought the springs from Keintech.

I just went to the Race Tech website and found this shop just a few miles from me in Prairieville, LA (Shay Racca). He said that he usually charges closer to $700.

Considering the DR650 is such a bargain, I had no problems spending the extra $ on this mod. I was just happy to find that there was a cure. If you could experience the difference that it makes, you might find it hard not to spend the $ if you like riding offroad.

I'd guess that most DR owners don't need this mod, nor could they justify it for how they use their DR. You can see in my videos how I like to ride and why I needed this work done.

There is a quote on the Race Tech website that says "The best you've ridden, is the best you know". A person reading about it can't really appreciate a suspension upgrade until they've experienced it.

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Thanks for sharing. Great work and nice riding. Has anyone here tried to install the cartridge emulators and the gold valve kit themselves? How did that work out?

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