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I am in the midst of my research on upgrading the suspension for the SV. I've got the rear pretty much decided. My question is regarding the forks. I am wondering if the additional benefit of adding emulators is worth the extra money. From what I have read, I understand emulators allow for adjustment but I also hear it is a major task to do so. What I had originally planned to do was just get the .90 springs and 20w oil and be done with it for <$100.

To do the emulators too it looks like I'm adding at an additional ~$190 to the cost. Is this additional cost worth it? I know that is a subjective question but I would love to hear some opinions. I've yet to get to the track and Im mostly doing commuting with some occasional mountain riding. What do you think?
 

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I have been over this in my mind, too. 3x the cost, for maybe 10% improvement? Hmmmm. My conclusion was to put that extra $ into the rear shock, try upgrading the front without the emulators, and see. They can always be added, later.
 

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Is the majority of your your riding going to be on the street? If yes, springs/oil is fine.

If the majority of your riding is going to be on a track, get a GSX-R front...
 

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I went ahead and got the emus too. They are not that complicated over just installing springs. I think I paid around $130 for my emus.

I ride mostly street but do track days as well. I figured I would do it since I had the forks off the bike, it wasn't difficult and took three hours from start to finish.

If you decide, there are a lot of threads on here to walk you through the process and you have two choices for the damper rod: Traxxion or drill them out yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have been over this in my mind, too. 3x the cost, for maybe 10% improvement? Hmmmm. My conclusion was to put that extra $ into the rear shock, try upgrading the front without the emulators, and see. They can always be added, later.
good point. so you think its only adding a 10% improvement? if so, in my mind, definitely not worth it.
 

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From what I have read, I understand emulators allow for adjustment but I also hear it is a major task to do so.
I had emulators on my gen1 and I used the initial recommended setup but it was too harsh over bumps. So I adjusted them and it was much better. But you're right that it's not easy. You have to take the emulators back out to adjust them.

I was happy with the change in the emulators, but now that I just got a gen2, I think I'm just going to do springs and oil, at least for now.
 

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The smoother the roads you ride, the less benefit you'll see from emulators. The main benefit from emulators is that they give compression damping adjustment. It's not too big a job to fish them out if you don't like the initial setup. The secondary benefit is that you can use oil viscosity to change rebound damping. For that you can use the siphon-most-of-the-oil-out method.

For the mix of roads I usually ride I found the emulators a big improvement.
 

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good point. so you think its only adding a 10% improvement? if so, in my mind, definitely not worth it.
<disclaimer> Understand that is only my very rough estimation, based only on what I've read and discussed with others (including several who have done various SV front-end upgrades, a few suspension tuners, and an amateur SV racer). Also, I'm trying to put an objective number to a somewhat subjective "feeling."

It would be nice to have someone who has done springs and oil, then later added emus, do a side-by-side comparison and offer their opinion.

Here's the limits of my knowledge on this (anyone who knows better, feel free to add to, or contadict, this):

Heavier springs will better support rider weight, allow proper setting of sag, offer a stiffer ride over bumps, and control front end lift on acceleration and dive on deceleration. That still leaves damping of the spring (the rate of rebound and compression) to be dealt with.

The stock fork is a damping-rod type, which doesn't control damping as well as a cartidge-type. By better controlling the rebound and compression damping, you avoid the "pogo stick" effect of the stock forks, and you have better front-end "feel." The stiffer spring may "pogo" less and give better "feel" than stock, but the problem is still there.

The damping rod controls damping by way of some holes at the bottom of the mechanism, through which the oil gets drawn as the fork compresses or expands. Using emulators inserts an additional (and more sophisticated) variable-rate valve at the top of the damping rod, and replaces some (all?) of the holes in the bottom of the damping rod. This "emulates" the damping control of cartridge forks, and as someone else pointed out here, it has the advantage of allowing you to fine-tune the damping.

Switching to heavier oil can help with damping control, since the heavier oil flows slower through the holes in the damping rod, but it's a mild improvement and it doesn't change the basic flaws of the damping rod design. Also, there is a possibility that heavier oil can make rebound damping worse in some situations, as the slower flow rate of the heavier oil can cause cavitation within the fork.

Keep in mind that while emulators modify the damping rod design, it's still a damping rod design. In other words, emulators are also a compromise. Hence the other suggestion here that if you're going to seriously hit the track, switch to a proper cartridge-type fork (a la GSXR swap -- which, btw, should also get -- a spring and oil change).
 

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I did the emulators second, and I did notice a big difference in the ride. Like I said, depending on the roads you ride you may or may not notice a big improvement.

Stiffer springs will help dive a little, depending on how much stiffer than stock you need to go. Stiffer springs will cause the bike to top out earlier, so front end lift will be worse. The trick is to use the softest spring that carries the loads imposed. Too stiff and you get harsher ride, and the tires can "bounce". Too soft and the bike may bottom out. You can set "proper" sag even with the wrong springs.

The idea behind emulators is to give adjustable compression damping. Rebound damping can be changed by changing fork oil viscosity. It may take a couple of tries, but if you deal with someone like Traxxion and follow their advice you should be very close to right on the first try.

Note that incorrect damping can make the bike feel harsh, just like too stiff a spring rate.
 

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Rebound damping can be changed by changing fork oil viscosity.
Changing fork oil viscosity will effect both compression and rebound dampening whether you have emulators or not. I don't know much about emulators but, from Andy's description, it sounds like they have a fixed rebound circuit and an adjustable compression circuit.
 

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Changing fork oil viscosity will effect both compression and rebound dampening whether you have emulators or not. I don't know much about emulators but, from Andy's description, it sounds like they have a fixed rebound circuit and an adjustable compression circuit.
That is true. Changing the oil weight will affect rebound and compression. With the emulators you change the oil weight to change rebound and then adjust the emulator for compression. In other words if you want to change rebound, you may also need to adjust the emulator for the change in compression due to the oil.
ac
 

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In my dirt bike racing days we didn't have externally adjustable forks. Some forks only had valving on compression but the more sophisticated bikes had valving for both directions. We still made wholesale changes with the fork oil.
 

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I did the Racetech springs and Emu's at the same time so I can't say how each single item improved the ride. What I can say is what a huge and fantastic difference it made in the bike! Best money spent on Mods with the GSX-R shock being right up there with it.
 
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