The fork upgrade includes these new upper fork caps that allow for the compression and rebound adjustments.
The fork upgrade includes these new upper fork caps that allow for the compression an
With the new shocks, the shortcomings of the front suspension became painfully obvious. The rear worked so much better that the frontend could not keep up and was upsetting the balance of the chassis. As mentioned before, the front forks on the XR only have a dampening system in one leg. This means that all the work is done by one side creating more heat and less ability to control the spring action. The entry-level solution from Race Tech is its famous Gold Valve kit. This is a replacement piston kit for the stock fork dampening cartridge that improves both the compression and rebound dampening of the standard components. The kit comes with a new piston and valve shims along with a chart that explains the different setups so you can set it up for your weight and riding style. At $179.99, this is a very cost-effective improvement that will satisfy many riders. Race Tech also offers custom springs for $109.95 for the pair. The only downside to this is the one fork leg is still doing all the work, and while it is much improved, there was still room for more. The next step is to install Race Tech's 25mm G2-R cartridge kit. The stock single cartridge is 20mm and Race Tech upgrades that to 25mm cartridges in both fork legs. These cartridges feature rebound and compression adjustability, and come with fork caps that provide preload adjustment. It becomes pretty involved to install the cartridge kits, requiring special tools to work on the forks and some machine work since the right fork lower wasn't designed to mount a cartridge. However, Race Tech can do the labor and machine work and set up the spring rate and valving to suit the rider and riding style and can generally turn them around in about a week. Race Tech will also walk you through setting up your new suspension and explain things like sag and valving adjustments. Race Tech also includes a unique-to-the-industry 90-day set-up warranty. Don't like the way your shocks or forks are set up? Race Tech will re-valve them for free within the first 90 days.
The adjuster is in the center of the new fork cap.
After all the parts were installed and settings made, it was time for a ride. The first thing we noticed was a taller seat height that made the bike look more aggressive, and when we sat on it, we noticed the frontend felt lighter to turn. As soon as we started to ride, the frontend felt totally different. Stock, the bike is quite lazy when it comes time to turn and takes a fair amount of effort to steer, especially at slow speeds. Right away the bike felt much crisper, like it actually wanted to turn into a corner. We were worried that it might be twitchy at speed or in big sweepers but it was really just as stable as before. After playing in the canyons for a while, creating a big grin from how much fun the bike was and surprised looks from a few sport bike riders when a Harley passed them in a corner, it was time to hit the freeway and head home. Anyone who has ever ridden SoCal freeways knows that there are many sharp-edged bumps and nasty grooves on the roads. With the stock suspension, these bumps sent a shock straight up our spine that makes riding a real pain. That all disappeared with the Race Tech setup; in fact we were really surprised as to how much more compliant the suspension is over these types of bumps. Overall the Race Tech suspension makeover completely changed the bike-for the better. It feels like a different bike altogether and makes riding it more enjoyable, whether flying down racer road or just commuting to work, it might just be the most fun bike we have ever owned. Oh, and for all you non Sporty owners , don;t worry, Race Tech has Supsension uprade options for many other H-D models as well.