Air Forks Can They Work?

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8/8/2018 1:47 PM

I recently spoke with my loan wallet and bought a 17' KX450F. It currently has the K-TECH AIR2SPRING Conversion in the fork. With the bike I received the SFF TAC stuff to put back in it if I desire to do so.

Rolling the bike around I could hear the fork spring rattling back and forth inside the tube. The guy I purchased it from was a woods rider and had the pre-load almost completely out. So I tightened it all the way in to see if it changed in sound. It did but still has a little rattle. Keep in mind the bike has 13 hrs on it. It seriously still looks and smells new.

The topic of this post make me pose the question : Can air forks work for the average weekend warrior +25B/+30B racers? I am going to pull the spring conversion and set the Air forks up using Kris Keefers settings and see how it works. How many of you have stayed with them ? Sorry so long winded!!

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8/8/2018 1:51 PM

Unbolt those piece of shit forks and throw them away or sell on ebay. and buy springers.. 100% the best decision you will ever make concerning this bike.

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8/8/2018 1:54 PM

So, you’re on the fence about those forks.

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8/8/2018 1:54 PM

Have you uh, ridden it?

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8/8/2018 1:57 PM

Sell the entire bike. Buy a ktm or husky with wp aer48. Ask me how I know.

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GP740
Since 1987

8/8/2018 2:28 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/10/2018 6:11 AM

The spring conversion is not done right or is cheap azz stuff if you hear the spring raddling. I have the Race Tech SCS and there is no such noise and works like a champ. The TAC is garabage and will aggravate the crap out of you.

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8/8/2018 2:32 PM

The forks can work, but I honestly wasn’t a big fan. I always struggled finding a balance between plushness and bottoming resistance. I hear good things about the SKF Glide kit helping get the forks more plush, but I never tried that.

Wound up trading a guy for a set of KYB forks off a 2011 KX450F. They came with FC valving. Also had my suspension guy go through them and set up the rear for me. The bike is night and day different.

Photo

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8/8/2018 7:36 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/8/2018 7:36 PM

I love the air forks! Have had zero problems, easy to adjust, and have never had to have anyone change the springs!

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8/9/2018 2:28 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/9/2018 3:37 PM

kkawboy14 wrote:

I love the air forks! Have had zero problems, easy to adjust, and have never had to have anyone change the springs!

I'm with you dude. I have the TAC on a 2017 RMZ450 that I have Gold Valves in and set up for me and I absolutely love it.

I ignored all the nay-sayers and gave it a fair shot and spent the time getting it dialed in and getting used too it and its GREAT FOR ME. I do think that setup is extremely important on this fork getting it right, where as springs may not be as sensitive. My experience has been the valving in stock trim is the issue. Revalve = different fork

I guess I'm an idiot and don't mind checking the pressures cause it takes all of about 1 min, just as I don't mind kicking my bike once to start it.

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8/9/2018 2:35 PM

They can work quite well - once you get a setting dialed in for you. Spend some time reading on what each chamber does so you can tune further.

SFF Air are almost infinitely tunable, which is what causes a lot of frustration for people. It can be irritating to keep checking the pressures too.

Keefer's baseline would be a good start.

I like 174 psi inner, 12 psi outer, and 215 balance.



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8/9/2018 3:08 PM

kkawboy14 wrote:

I love the air forks! Have had zero problems, easy to adjust, and have never had to have anyone change the springs!

im the same, never really had any issue with showa or KYB air forks, the showa forks are complicated with teh 3 different pressures, but a day out playing with settings got my head around what helped, and once i got a setting i was pretty good with it,

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8/9/2018 3:16 PM

The air check is easy with the swing joint and it rarely goes down on pressure

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8/9/2018 4:11 PM

I found a setting that worked really well for me. I'm 190 lbs and I added 5ml oil to help with bottoming. I ran 175i, 14.5o, and 195 in the balance and was happy.

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Care Factor Zero

8/9/2018 4:13 PM

kkawboy14 wrote:

I love the air forks! Have had zero problems, easy to adjust, and have never had to have anyone change the springs!

me too- if i ever see a set of fork springs again.....

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8/9/2018 6:00 PM

Yea they are not that bad. Had enzo revalve and I have not touched em for like 10 rides. Just check pressures.

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8/9/2018 6:31 PM

I run air forks on my Yamaha. They are amazing.

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8/9/2018 6:33 PM

Love my air forks on my 15' KX450, after i had work done to them. RaceTech gold valve, valving for my skill and weight, and SKF Glide kit (made a huge difference in initial plushness) and SKF oil+dust seals.

I did a back to back to back comparison between my modified air forks and a set of Ohlins RXF48 kit forks. My air forks performed better in all scenarios.

I think the adoption of the air forks proved that the majority of the motocross community can't be bothered with things as easy as checking/setting air pressures. I also think people got too caught up in chasing air pressures rather than using their clickers to get the feel they wanted.

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8/9/2018 6:34 PM

Does anybody use nitrogen? Would it help the build up of pressure and remain more consistent?

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vomiting equals disqualification.

8/9/2018 7:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/9/2018 7:32 PM

BR8ES wrote:

Does anybody use nitrogen? Would it help the build up of pressure and remain more consistent?

I would imagine All the factory guys used nitrogen in their Air forks when they ran them for the reasons you mentioned. For average guy it’s not very feasible since you should check before each moto and unless you had a little N2 tank it wouldn’t be possible. High quality air pump and deligence goes a long way for us mear mortals

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8/9/2018 7:36 PM

BR8ES wrote:

Does anybody use nitrogen? Would it help the build up of pressure and remain more consistent?

colvin227 wrote:

I would imagine All the factory guys used nitrogen in their Air forks when they ran them for the reasons you mentioned. For average guy it’s not very feasible since you should check before each moto and unless you had a little N2 tank it wouldn’t be possible. High quality air pump and deligence goes a long way for us mear mortals

I agree, was mostly curious. I have nitrogen, but would hate to cart that around. Easier just to take a minute or two and check pressure like you say.

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vomiting equals disqualification.

8/9/2018 7:57 PM

BR8ES wrote:

Does anybody use nitrogen? Would it help the build up of pressure and remain more consistent?

colvin227 wrote:

I would imagine All the factory guys used nitrogen in their Air forks when they ran them for the reasons you mentioned. For average guy it’s not very feasible since you should check before each moto and unless you had a little N2 tank it wouldn’t be possible. High quality air pump and deligence goes a long way for us mear mortals

BR8ES wrote:

I agree, was mostly curious. I have nitrogen, but would hate to cart that around. Easier just to take a minute or two and check pressure like you say.

The biggest deal with nitrogen is like you stated transport and even though it doesn’t very as much as normal compressed O2 with heat it will still fluctuate. Plus if you are adjusting with nitrogen you are throwing money into your forks constantly vs the air we breath is free.
The fluctuation is more predominant in the PSF (1-2) forks to me than what they have ever been in the tac fork. I will see the PSF (1-2) stuff jump from 30-38 in a moto session (I still really like the PSF1 and I’m putting them on my 07-kx250 smoker) The tac fork I can ride all day on my 16 and I don’t feel the fork becoming unbalanced throughout the day where the PSF forks can become harsh when every two pounds of air is considered a spring rate.

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8/9/2018 7:58 PM

colvin227 wrote:

I would imagine All the factory guys used nitrogen in their Air forks when they ran them for the reasons you mentioned. For average guy it’s not very feasible since you should check before each moto and unless you had a little N2 tank it wouldn’t be possible. High quality air pump and deligence goes a long way for us mear mortals

BR8ES wrote:

I agree, was mostly curious. I have nitrogen, but would hate to cart that around. Easier just to take a minute or two and check pressure like you say.

JohnnyT_983 wrote:

The biggest deal with nitrogen is like you stated transport and even though it doesn’t very as much as normal compressed O2 with heat it will still fluctuate. Plus if you are adjusting with nitrogen you are throwing money into your forks constantly vs the air we breath is free.
The fluctuation is more predominant in the PSF (1-2) forks to me than what they have ever been in the tac fork. I will see the PSF (1-2) stuff jump from 30-38 in a moto session (I still really like the PSF1 and I’m putting them on my 07-kx250 smoker) The tac fork I can ride all day on my 16 and I don’t feel the fork becoming unbalanced throughout the day where the PSF forks can become harsh when every two pounds of air is considered a spring rate.

Good info/perspective, appreciate it.

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vomiting equals disqualification.

8/9/2018 8:39 PM

200 lbs expert. I run 191 inner, 17 outer, 208 balance. Everything stock. I have no complaints.

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8/9/2018 8:42 PM

I have the KTech coil spring conversion on my '17 KTM and I love it. I would send it to a tuner to inspect, you shouldn't hear a rattle. Who performed the conversion?

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8/9/2018 9:34 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/9/2018 9:38 PM

I have Factory Connection revalved for 190lb Vet Int rider on my 2016 KX450. Their settings allow for lower pressure to reduce the initial stiction, I’m at 168ic 12.5oc and 208 balance. I set them in the morning and never check again during the day... set it and forget it!

You guys are just mentally masterbating yourselves with all the pressures and settings. Pick one and go for it and adjust your clickers like it’s a spring fork.

The other thing to remember is you can’t check the pressure, only set the pressure. So you have to go through the whole process every time, release balance and outer pressure, set the inner then outer then balance, that’s the only way to accurately set the pressure.

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Don’t piss off the old people - the older they get the less “life in prison” is a deterrent for them!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

8/10/2018 5:15 AM

TJMX947 wrote:

I have the KTech coil spring conversion on my '17 KTM and I love it. I would send it to a tuner to inspect, you shouldn't hear a rattle. Who performed the conversion?

Some dude name Mike Freeman put the conversion in for the buddy of mine that I bought it from. My buddy never opened the fork to look at it. I changed out the conversion for the air stuff last night and definitely found that the idiot installed a piece that was cut with a pipe cutter and got paid for it. I am working with Ktech to figure out how to get a new spacer for the set up so if I don't like the air I'll have the kit to reinstall. In the picture the red piece is not supposed to be two pieces. Photo

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8/10/2018 6:09 AM

kkawboy14 wrote:

The air check is easy with the swing joint and it rarely goes down on pressure

why are most top guys back on spring?
theres a different feel and for most it aint any good.
include the hassle of getting them set up, which is much more tricky and the bother of checking pressures regularly.

they work for you? great, or you dont know what good forks are? not so good. not saying either but either is a possibility..

youll have to pry my full coated enzo spring kybs from my cold dead hands..cool

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8/10/2018 6:31 AM

My topic question was generally to get an idea on if I could logically work with what I have instead of paying 1500 for fully coated enzo KYBS or something of the sort. When I spend 5.5k on a bike my wife isn't exactly understanding of wanting to spend another 2k on suspension work at the moment. I had my kybs on my YZ done with Race Tech stuff and loved it, so I understand how good suspension can be. As a weekend warrior/ doing it for fun racer, I don't feel like I need expensive stuff just yet. Hell I have been riding a 2012 KTM 350SXF with stock suspension up until now. I can handle setting air pressures.

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8/10/2018 6:58 AM

mmain62 wrote:

My topic question was generally to get an idea on if I could logically work with what I have instead of paying 1500 for fully coated enzo KYBS or something of the sort. When I spend 5.5k on a bike my wife isn't exactly understanding of wanting to spend another 2k on suspension work at the moment. I had my kybs on my YZ done with Race Tech stuff and loved it, so I understand how good suspension can be. As a weekend warrior/ doing it for fun racer, I don't feel like I need expensive stuff just yet. Hell I have been riding a 2012 KTM 350SXF with stock suspension up until now. I can handle setting air pressures.

First thing you can do is download the Showa app on your smart phone. It will help you dial in your pressures. Once you have found a setup you like, stick to it and work the damping like you would with a spring fork.

The bad part about air forks is the initial setup which takes more time. Once you're done with that part, they are pretty much the same (except for checking pressures in the morning).

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8/10/2018 7:32 AM

Sheriff245 wrote:

First thing you can do is download the Showa app on your smart phone. It will help you dial in your pressures. Once you have found a setup you like, stick to it and work the damping like you would with a spring fork.

The bad part about air forks is the initial setup which takes more time. Once you're done with that part, they are pretty much the same (except for checking pressures in the morning).

Thanks I couldn't find the Showa app on the Apple App Store though. Is it still available?

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