Monday, November 14, 2011

Harley Sportster Front suspension upgrade - RICOR Intiminators

Harley Sportster Front suspension upgrade - RICOR Intiminators

Hello all. Wish to share a great mod for all Harley riders out there.

I have been riding my Nightster for about 2 years now, and have clocked ~15k. Been through 2 rear and 1 front Dunlop K401 OE tyres in the process. It's been fun.

Since the last monsoons have ravaged the roads, and due to highway construction in my normal riding route, every ride on the Harley, I kept pondering for an upgrade to the antiquated suspension. Spent many hours browsing forums looking for an appropriate solution. Normal techniques found were changing fork oil viscosity and/or aftermarket springs. My nature to look for oddball things (eg. dynamic wheel balancing stupid:), coupled with high shipping rates for suspension components kept me looking for a "different" solution.

Thus, I landed upon the RICOR Intiminators. Ricor Shocks :: Motorcycle Suspension :: Inertia Active Suspension :: Ricor Suspension through an XL forum.

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Details of the Inertia active suspension system are given on the website. The idea intrigued me, and the very positive reviews they were getting added to my interest. Sent an email to Brian at RICOR to see about adding India to their shipping countries list, and it was done the next day itself. Gave Brian my bike specs, my weight, and an idea of the kind of roads I usually ride on. He had the discs in the Intiminators tuned as per my request. Also added some Vibranators ( to the order for same shipping cost.

Getting the parts from RICOR was the easy part. Getting the job done was a little harder. List of required items:

1. Good Friend/Mechanic. A must-have for any superbike owner here. My mechanic buddy K was the most valuable tool in my garage. Please note that K is a big strong guy and the ease with which he screwed the Fork top seal nut might be hard to replicate.
2. Bike Lift. I didnt have a bike lift, so I used car jacks and tie-down straps to keep bike secure.
3. Socket for above mentioned fork nut. 1 3/8" size. Casually went down to the big tools and hardware store in town, and was damped to find out that the 1 3/8" size is not easy to get. Walked up and down the whole "hardware" street, but no joy. Had to order from here finally: Precision Machine Tools - Electronic Measuring Instruments and Lab & Atmospheric Testing Equipment Importer and Supplier | Bombay Tools Center, Bombay, Mumbai . Not cheap. Rs. 3200 including the 3/4" to 1/2" drive adapter.

Since I was going to remove the front wheels to get to the forks, and the Dunlops were getting slicker than snot in the rains, decided to do a tyre upgrade as well. Ordered a set of Pirelli Night Dragon tires through a great find online: Motorcycle Parts & Gear ? Dirt Bike/MX, ATV, Street Bike & Motorcycle Accessories | MotoSport
Rs 20,000 for a pair including shipping and taxes. You cant beat that with a stick!! And delivers in a week. All SBK owners, jump on this while their shipping and prepaid tax deal works. Why limit yourself to a handful of choice with dealers here when you can get the latest and best for about the same price?

So, my buddy K, not only is he strong, he's a pretty smart fellow as well. I had planned on leaving the fork on the bike, draining the oil with drain screw on bottom, and refilling from top. As most user reviews on forums had shown. Instead, K suggested we loosen the clamps of the triple tree, lower the fork to between the two clamps, re-tighten the bottom one, unscrew the top nut, release bottom clamp, and slide the whole thing out. So, we were able to drain out the forks completely, remove the spacer, washer, and spring easily without any drama.

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Measured the amount of original oil by draining to a measuring cup, ensured it matched the volume (401ml) as per Service Manual, refilled with Amsoil 5W fully synthetic oil, as recommended by RICOR. Drop the Intiminators in, followed by the spring, and spacer. Screw the fork nut back on, and install back on the clamp.

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Installed the new tires with the balancing beads, the Vibranators in the handlebar, and put everything back together.

I kid you not, my bike has been transformed. The jittering on uneven surfaces, the wobble at high speeds, all gone. I dont even scrape my bottom on speed bumps as much either. The dive on the bumps has been eliminated. Please see the before and after videos. Done with duct tape and old N95 on the bar, so excuse quality. Observe behavior on the rippled road at a bend ~00:30 on both videos.
2009 XL1200N Stock suspension - YouTube

2009 XL1200N With RICOR Intiminators - YouTube

Just did a Cbe - Blr - Cbe trip this weekend, and fell in love with my Nightster all over again. No doubt the Night Dragons contributed a big part to the change, but the Intiminators is by far the best mod I have done on my Harley yet. I highly recommend it to all Indian Harley owners.

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And the best part: These are hidden mods ( no visual telltale). You only know the difference when you ride :)


Ride Safe

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