SFF TAC Gold Valves?

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12/21/2017 12:08 PM

Like everyone else, I don't like the forks on my '16 KX450. I was looking at installing some Gold Valves in it, but I haven't seen anything about if they are worth the money on this fork. Has anybody used them with this bike?

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Care Factor Zero

12/21/2017 12:33 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/21/2017 12:35 PM

Popular opinion is SKF Glide kit, for SFF Tac. I'm considering the kit, as well.

*realized I didn't answer original question!
As for Gold Valve, I've not seen any pro's or con's, either

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12/21/2017 3:11 PM

It's not the valve that's the problem on this fork, it's the thickness and number of shims... but if you do goto the gold valve, they should have the shims stacks dialed if you want to bolt them up. The setting on the rmz wasn't too good imo, but people like kxf setting better

SKF glide kit and seals does help the fork

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12/21/2017 4:24 PM

I believe the gold valve has an adjustable shim stack correct? So if the shims are the problem that might fix it. Or would you say the SKF kit is a better option?

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Care Factor Zero

12/21/2017 4:27 PM

I searched the internet moto shops and haven’t found a gold valve setup. I’m going to call Racetech direct and find out the scoop.

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NY..."A" class MX...

12/21/2017 4:42 PM

YellowZonker wrote:

I believe the gold valve has an adjustable shim stack correct? So if the shims are the problem that might fix it. Or would you say the SKF kit is a better option?

Every bike has an adjustable shim stack. You are buying a different piston with higher flow rates and then their recommended shim stack settings and shims for your weight, ability and riding type. You can change the setting from their recommendation if you understand suspension and what it's not doing right for you.

Send them to Enzo. Guy is a legend and does stuff even for riders sponsored by other suspension companies.

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12/21/2017 5:17 PM

The SKF Glide Kit works well. Transformed my CRF SFF TAC.

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"Nothing happens until something moves"

12/21/2017 8:32 PM

8k4x6f wrote:

I searched the internet moto shops and haven’t found a gold valve setup. I’m going to call Racetech direct and find out the scoop.

Drop me an email to chris@racetech.com and I can answer any questions you have and give you my cell number if you need to discuss further. Or just drop your questions here, I'm happy to answer so everyone can see.

OP - If you want to provide a bit of info about what you're experiencing, I can probably help point you in the right direction. It may be proper air pressures/sag/rear spring if needed are able to help. It may be valving or it may be that spring conversion is best for you or all the above.

Feel free to use my email or post back here.

Just as an FYI, this fork is the air fork that I hear the most complaints about and the one we sell the most spring conversion kits for. We do have a lot of riders happy with the fork with just a revalve and others who have just never been able to adapt to the air fork feel and needed the spring conversion to gel with it.

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Race Tech Director of Marketing
www.racetech.com
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12/21/2017 10:56 PM

The issue I have is that the initial part of the stroke is extremely harsh. If I lower the air pressure for plushness, I bottom incredibly hard. I'm 190-195 lbs, and my current settings are 185 14 208. I've tried less air in the balance chamber but that seems worse. I have the compression turned fairly far out to get some sort of plushness so I think it's at 15 out. I've tried all the settings I could and the best I found were these (give or take) which I got from Pingree in a Racer X video.

The next thing I am going to try in the spring is adding 5ml of oil and going 175 16 195. The app shows that I should have more bottoming resistance and I'm hoping the lower pressures help with plushness. If you have any ideas or suggestions I'm all ears.

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Care Factor Zero

12/22/2017 12:20 AM

Bruce372 wrote:

It's not the valve that's the problem on this fork, it's the thickness and number of shims... but if you do goto the gold valve, they should have the shims stacks dialed if you want to bolt them up. The setting on the rmz wasn't too good imo, but people like kxf setting better

SKF glide kit and seals does help the fork

It works ok for me, but want to improve front end traction.

I have done the basic rag tech course and read their book, but I don't know what shims or thickness I have to change, can you tell me something?

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12/22/2017 7:44 AM

The most common air fork complaints are initial harshness, lack of front end feeling, and a lack of traction at the front tire. While these can also be setup issues that can be helped with valving, I've heard enough of these from riders to see the red flags. Before even going after valving for guys who are extremely frustrated with these symptoms, I drop them over some recommended pressure settings for one last "go" and if that doesn't feel "in the ballpark" then I strongly recommend the spring conversion. All the valving and setup in the world won't entirely get rid of those complaints completely on the TAC fork.

Use the link in my signature to get some recommended pressure settings from the spring rate calculator or even send me an email chris@racetech.com and I'll get you setup with Tech support for their "live" recommendation.

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Race Tech Director of Marketing
www.racetech.com
Proud supporters of VitalMX. Ask me about the VitalMX Discount!

12/22/2017 8:05 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/22/2017 8:05 AM

I have a 15 KX450 with the SFF TAC forks. In stock trim, my complaints were (1) that the initial part of the stroke was very harsh and rigid, and so the front end felt vague and I was not confident in traction, and (2) i was blowing through the stroke at recommended pressure settings and was having to bump the outer pressure up to compensate, which adds stiction to the fork and compounds the loss of traction complaint.

I first went with just the gold valves and racetech's recommended valving for my skill level, along with a standard rebuild with standard bushings and seals, racetech fluid, etc. The forks performed a heck of a lot better. Even with just the valving and their recommended pressure settings (180/10/190), the initial part of the stroke felt more plush, and the action throughout the stroke felt firm yet predictable, and bottoming is now a thing of the past. I instantly felt a boost of confidence and was able to push harder. I then got to the point where i was chasing front end traction again because i was now charging into corners harder.

I then got the forks rebuilt again but this time had the SKF glide kit installed and kept the same Racetech valving setup i had before, along with the same oil levels. The SKF glide kit definitely improves the initial part of the stroke and allows the front end to track the ground better. Honestly, not quite as good as a SKF glide kit equipped spring fork, but the advantage with the air fork is the awesome mid to deep stroke performance (bottoming resistance). These forks LOVE to be pushed hard and reward you for pounding on them... at least mine do.

Also, i had a chance to test out Ohlins forks on my bike for a short time and I have to say, the SFF TAC with SKF glide kit and RaceTech Gold Valves performed as well, if not better, than the Ohlins RXF48 in my opinion.

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12/23/2017 7:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/23/2017 8:02 AM

8k4x6f wrote:

I searched the internet moto shops and haven’t found a gold valve setup. I’m going to call Racetech direct and find out the scoop.

Riesenberg448 wrote:

Drop me an email to chris@racetech.com and I can answer any questions you have and give you my cell number if you need to discuss further. Or just drop your questions here, I'm happy to answer so everyone can see.

OP - If you want to provide a bit of info about what you're experiencing, I can probably help point you in the right direction. It may be proper air pressures/sag/rear spring if needed are able to help. It may be valving or it may be that spring conversion is best for you or all the above.

Feel free to use my email or post back here.

Just as an FYI, this fork is the air fork that I hear the most complaints about and the one we sell the most spring conversion kits for. We do have a lot of riders happy with the fork with just a revalve and others who have just never been able to adapt to the air fork feel and needed the spring conversion to gel with it.

Thanks for your response! Overall i am pretty happy with the SFF TAC forks that are stock on the Kawi 450's. Wehn I first got my 2015 model, I was lost as most riders were. So I had a reputable suspension shop in New Jersey service and revalve them, or atleast I thought so. They recommended 180,0,180 as the air settings. My weight was prob 160 at the time, not sure about the oil level or clickers. I tried to trust it and kept thinking its just me and my riding making them feel harsh, struggling in corners and such. Coming from an 09 KX450 that would corner quite well and soaked up bumps no problem I was having mixed thoughts about the new KX. About a year later in the off season here I decided to send them out to FC. They said the valving was stock and Id be sure to enjoy the new setup. Which I already thought I paid for re-valve from previous shop! Anyway the new air settings were recommended to be 140,16,200. Which was totally different from a year earlier, and I understand the year of research probably had something to do with this. I enjoyed this setup after a bit of time on the bike. The shock was always set with proper sag. I was just curious about the racetech stuff because I just picked up a leftover 2017 and tried stock for a few hours, then went with Keefer's recommended settings(we are the same weight, hes definitley faster though) and Im pretty happy right off the bat with these forks.Just thinking a little more plushness would be nice. Id have a guy from a local shop(whom I forgot about recently) install and service them. Not sure if its necessary though from what im reading. SIDE NOTE; I did have a 2016 KX250f with SFF spring forks and was happy with those as well and i think thats what the racetech spring conversion does so its a consideration! Another option is to service up my 09 spring forks with a gold valve setup, I just have a hard time going with the almost 10year old forks. I tried them btw on the 15 for a short time and didnt stick with them,possibly not enough of a chance given!

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NY..."A" class MX...

12/23/2017 7:01 PM

The overall approach from Race Tech with the SFF TAC fork is to increase the valving holdup so we can run a bit lower pressures to help reduce some stiction and the typical "air fork" complaints. It definitely helps and is enough to make many happy. The fact is, with the air fork there is a particular feel as well as it won't ever be as consistent as a spring fork. The WP AER fork gets much better feedback continuously, but it still has some inconsistency that drives certain riders nuts.

As far as what to address, I'll go through the things you mentioned and some others:

The KX250f forks that you said you liked are actually not as good of a component as the SFF TAC fork with a spring conversion. While they both have a single spring, the 250f SFF fork is a 48mm fork and the 450 is a 49mm fork.

As far as your 09 450 forks, I'm just the marketing guy so I will have to double check this, but I believe 2008-2012 were the same forks. Alessi, Friese, McAdoo and some of the other guys who spent time on Kawis that we work with used 2012 forks with Race Tech setups and had great feedback. It's a very viable option, but they would still need setup for you. It also depends how much time you have on the forks and what condition they are in. The technology is definitely not bad.

When looking at your setup if you are going to stay air, you'll want to consider the following pieces:

Rebound Gold Valve - these are super important on the TAC fork because you are working to try and get initial plushness and traction and this is exactly what the Rebound Gold Valve is designed to provide. (some tuners call this the midvalve) This is becoming a more and more important tuning piece in modern suspension, it used to be many tuners would give you a "revalve" without ever touching the mid-valve...well quite a few still do, but that's not a good option on this bike especially.

Compression Gold Valve - This is going to be your hold up and bottoming resistance. Typically this is what is changed when you go to many tuners and ask for a "revalve". The extra hold up in the valving with the Gold Valve and RT setting will help lower your air pressures reducing stiction and the "air fork" feel.

Finally, if you are in New Jersey, I'd give Jason at SGB Racing a call. I know he's trackside a lot and I get a lot of great feedback from riders about him. He's the local Race Tech Center in that area. I know he just recently converted AJ Catanzaro over to a Race Tech Gold Valve setup from his previous tuner on a KX450 as well.

http://www.sgb-racing.com/

Hope that helps a bit!

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Race Tech Director of Marketing
www.racetech.com
Proud supporters of VitalMX. Ask me about the VitalMX Discount!