Race Tech Gold Valve installation review.

4/20/2022 7:01pm Edited Date/Time 4/22/2022 5:16pm
My 2019 KX450 has been an awesome bike. Being that I’m a bigger guy (6’3”, 215) and race motocross in the B class, I have always thought that despite raising the oil level and purchasing the correct springs, my forks still feel like they blow through the stroke and spend way too much time in the harsher bottom half of the stroke. This past winter, I decided to try my hand at revalving and installing Gold Valves. I purchased the Gold Valve kit through Race Tech and gave them the information necessary to get my setup specs. After watching the installation video on the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC website about 10 times, I rebuilt the forks (new seals, bushings, and oil) a installed the Gold Valves. Not only did I save a ton of money doing the work myself, but it was really cool to take everything apart and put it back together to see how it all works. I rebuilt the shock as well, but since I felt like the shock worked better for me, I didn’t mess with the valving. This past weekend, I tried it out at my first race of the year. After racing 4 motos, I was very happy with my purchase. The bike worked much better, and I felt way less fatigued at the end of the day than I expected. Overall, I learned a bunch and came away a satisfied customer.
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hubbardmx50
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Location
Rancho Cucamonga, CA US
4/20/2022 9:43pm
RMATVMC's videos are awesome. I know how to rebuild suspension because of them
1
FWYT
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San Diego, CA US
4/20/2022 11:01pm
Nice!!
Yeah, always immensely more satisfying doing it yourself and learning some things along the way.
1
Rotaholic
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Location
NZ
4/21/2022 12:29am
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
3
kawasa84
Posts
1068
Joined
6/7/2008
Location
Flower Mound, TX US
4/21/2022 2:03am
I have two 05' Kawi 250 2-strokes, and one 06'. One of my 05's has Race Tech (with Gold valves) suspension, both forks and shock. I didn't do it myself like you, which I might on one of the others, but it's my go to bike to ride of the 3.
The others have suspension work done to them by another company, but the Race Tech Gold valves are the shit

The Shop

4/21/2022 3:56am
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
4
38special
Posts
255
Joined
6/30/2010
Location
US
4/21/2022 5:00am
I always thought they were snake oil or over hyped, until I actually tried a set on a mid-90's bike....

WOW.... I could not believe how good they were. They rival modern SSS stuff, and that's not an exaggeration.



4/21/2022 5:44am
What are the gold valves specifically supposed to do? Just increase efficiency of dampening or something?
4/21/2022 5:48am
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
yes they give you extra shims still, but they used to also have a chart with stiffer or softer options of the valving helping you make changes if needed. they no longer include that chart.
4/21/2022 5:56am
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
yes they give you extra shims still, but they used to also have a chart with stiffer or softer options of the valving helping you make...
yes they give you extra shims still, but they used to also have a chart with stiffer or softer options of the valving helping you make changes if needed. they no longer include that chart.
Oh, gotcha. I guess I got lucky that my initial setting made me happy.
motox11
Posts
247
Joined
1/22/2014
Location
Bainbridge, NY US
4/21/2022 6:05am
The biggest thing with the gold valve from my understanding was that once they developed the piston, they used it on that entire model range until the bike changed. It makes it much simpler to develop settings when you aren’t tweaking shim stacks year after year due to the mfg making small changes to the stock piston and having to run a different shim stack. Also helps that they’re high quality products too!
1
38special
Posts
255
Joined
6/30/2010
Location
US
4/21/2022 6:28am
What are the gold valves specifically supposed to do? Just increase efficiency of dampening or something?
The theory is the piston flows more oil, putting more of the valving load on the shim stack as opposed to the piston itself. This makes it more tunable and plush.

Again, I thought this was all marketing fluff until I tried a set. Paul Thede's a smart guy!
2
4/21/2022 6:34am
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
Why do you need a micrometer and what is the cost of rt gold valves ? How many hrs to rebuild the forks ? Is there better bottoming resistance on the forks ? Stiffer springs and adding oil to 04 cr125 forks works for cruising speed . Pu the pace and the valving is too soft, it blows threw the stroke with comp all the way in. 04 is the 1st yr they inner honed. You just tell them top 5 b rider and they come up with a valving stack ? I polish the springs also I figured there smoother , better for fork oil to flow threw.
1
4/21/2022 6:38am
What are the gold valves specifically supposed to do? Just increase efficiency of dampening or something?
38special wrote:
The theory is the piston flows more oil, putting more of the valving load on the shim stack as opposed to the piston itself. This makes...
The theory is the piston flows more oil, putting more of the valving load on the shim stack as opposed to the piston itself. This makes it more tunable and plush.

Again, I thought this was all marketing fluff until I tried a set. Paul Thede's a smart guy!
That's pretty cool, sounds like a worthwhile upgrade!
4/21/2022 7:22am Edited Date/Time 4/21/2022 7:24am
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
Why do you need a micrometer and what is the cost of rt gold valves ? How many hrs to rebuild the forks ? Is there...
Why do you need a micrometer and what is the cost of rt gold valves ? How many hrs to rebuild the forks ? Is there better bottoming resistance on the forks ? Stiffer springs and adding oil to 04 cr125 forks works for cruising speed . Pu the pace and the valving is too soft, it blows threw the stroke with comp all the way in. 04 is the 1st yr they inner honed. You just tell them top 5 b rider and they come up with a valving stack ? I polish the springs also I figured there smoother , better for fork oil to flow threw.
You need a micrometer to measure the shims to build your valving stack. I picked one up at Hazard Fraught Tools. I rebuild my forks every season. Since all I do is race motocross with very little practice time, that works out to about 30 hours a year. Bottoming wasn’t really a big issue for me because I already had stiffer springs and higher fork oil level. For me, the biggest issue was harshness from the forks riding too low in the stroke.
As for coming up with the setting, you tell them your height, weight, type of riding you do (MX, GNCC, desert, etc.), and your racing classification and they send you a list of shims in a specific order to achieve the setting they think will work best based on the info you provided. In the past I have sent my suspension out to have it resprung and revalved. They ask you the same questions and do the same process. I just decided to try it myself this time. As for the price, the Pulp MX show has a discount code to bring the price down quite a bit. Either way, if you do the work yourself you are saving money as opposed to paying someone else to do it for you.
2
Rotaholic
Posts
1155
Joined
4/2/2013
Location
NZ
4/21/2022 12:42pm
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
The spec sheet used to give you every possible configuration of shim stacks, rebound, float, mid valve, lsv, low speed bsv and high speed bsv etc.
If you were happy with everything but you wanted it a little bit more softer on the top and they speced a setting of bsv low 37, you could just go down a setting on the chart to 36. Same if you wanted more holdup you could go from a midvalve 10 to a midvalve 11.

When you studied the stacks it was interesting to see if they changed the clamp size or went thicker shims or more face shims or less float etc.

Those sheets really helped me understand valving.
The sheets are on Google if you search images but only for older bikes now.

In saying that I have found racetech super helpful in sending you a revised setting no questions asked, I just liked testing them all my self.
Alex814
Posts
567
Joined
12/18/2014
Location
IL US
4/22/2022 12:56pm
38special wrote:
I always thought they were snake oil or over hyped, until I actually tried a set on a mid-90's bike.... WOW.... I could not believe how...
I always thought they were snake oil or over hyped, until I actually tried a set on a mid-90's bike....

WOW.... I could not believe how good they were. They rival modern SSS stuff, and that's not an exaggeration.



I had RT do gold valves and springs in the fork and shock of an 89 CR250 I'm building. Can't wait to get it done and try them out.
4/22/2022 3:00pm
If the gold valves put more pressure on the valve stack. Does the valve stack wear out ? Are the rt tools needed to rebuild the shock ? There is quite a few seals and bushings to replace on a shock and a few in the forks. Do you replace all the bushings and seals on a shock when rebuilding ?
4/22/2022 3:15pm Edited Date/Time 4/22/2022 3:56pm
If the gold valves put more pressure on the valve stack. Does the valve stack wear out ? Are the rt tools needed to rebuild the...
If the gold valves put more pressure on the valve stack. Does the valve stack wear out ? Are the rt tools needed to rebuild the shock ? There is quite a few seals and bushings to replace on a shock and a few in the forks. Do you replace all the bushings and seals on a shock when rebuilding ?
I had to buy a Motion Pro seal driver and fork cap wrench. You should use a cartridge holding tool also, but I just used a wrench. Overall, not too expensive at all and it will save me money year after year. Anymore, the shipping cost for a pair of forks costs more than the tools cost me.
1
4/22/2022 3:23pm
What’s the suspension rule replace all bushings and seals ? There’s quite a few on the 04 cr125 shock.

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4/22/2022 5:17pm
What’s the suspension rule replace all bushings and seals ? There’s quite a few on the 04 cr125 shock.
Yup. They say every 20 hours, but for me it is once per season over the winter when I’m not riding anyway.
1
4/26/2022 4:11pm
Rotaholic wrote:
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one...
They use to give you all the shim stacks so you could really dig in and get it perfect but now they only give you one setting, which is understandable but I learnt more from looking at all the stacks.
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the...
Incorrect. The Gold Valve kits I bought from RT came with waaay more shims that you would ever need. They give you a list of the shims you need in the order they need to be in and it is up to you to break out your micrometer and build your own shim stacks. I had a pile of them left over at the end of the build. I suppose I could use them to go in and make changes if I understood valving theory, but I don’t.
Rotaholic wrote:
The spec sheet used to give you every possible configuration of shim stacks, rebound, float, mid valve, lsv, low speed bsv and high speed bsv etc...
The spec sheet used to give you every possible configuration of shim stacks, rebound, float, mid valve, lsv, low speed bsv and high speed bsv etc.
If you were happy with everything but you wanted it a little bit more softer on the top and they speced a setting of bsv low 37, you could just go down a setting on the chart to 36. Same if you wanted more holdup you could go from a midvalve 10 to a midvalve 11.

When you studied the stacks it was interesting to see if they changed the clamp size or went thicker shims or more face shims or less float etc.

Those sheets really helped me understand valving.
The sheets are on Google if you search images but only for older bikes now.

In saying that I have found racetech super helpful in sending you a revised setting no questions asked, I just liked testing them all my self.
Thanks for all the positive feedback.

As far as the sheets and tuning...

An updated DVS (digital valving search) was created which is why the sheets went away. With the new system, the unique identifying code is utilized to create a log of any feedback on the setting, changes/updates made to the setting, which allows us to have an even larger database of rider feedback (REAL WORLD TESTING!) to continue to evolve our products and settings.

The Gold Valve and the DVS settings are constantly evolving to be the best they can be. To continue to be a leader, you have to continue to move forward.

As you said, if you want to make/try changes, we have Tech Support available and happy to help get you a new setting/direction to fine tune your suspension to exactly what you want. Although, most riders are happy with the first setting; largely because the database of feedback is now so large.

When it comes to theory, here are a few key points...

1) The Gold Valve is designed to create optimal flow based on what our R&D department has learned through years and year of experience. It continues to evolve as do our settings for it.

2) Using the Gold Valve removes any limitations of a stock piston design, and yes, in many cases it puts more emphasis on the valve stack for control versus the piston itself. The valve stack is velocity sensitive, the piston is the piston. This means more tuning/control of what is going on for the tuner to create the exact feel you want.

3) Utilizing the Gold Valve means less variables when tuning.
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