Looking to upgrade your suspension system for better handling and performance? The Race Tech gold valve kit may be just what you need.
In this Race Tech gold valve review, we’ll take a closer look at the installation, and performance of the gold valves on a 2023 KTM 300 XC-W forks. I recently upgraded the stock WP forks with gold valves and would like to share my experiences of the installation and trail test results.
Race Tech is a well-respected brand in the world of suspension. They are known for producing high-quality products that enhance the ride quality of off-road as well as street motorcycles. The Racetech gold valve is a shock and fork valve kit that improves damping control and provide a smoother ride.
Both kits come with everything you need to install the valves, including detailed instructions. The Race Tech gold valve shock kit and fork kits are sold separately, so be sure to purchase the kit that is compatible with your suspension system.
In this review, we will cover the following topics:
Let’s dive deeper into the features and benefits of the Race Tech gold valve kit in this Race Tech gold valve review.
Race Tech Gold Valves Explained
In most stock front forks, the rebound and compression damping are far too inadequate for high performance dirt riding leaving many riders asking for a more plush and tunable suspension. Gold valves increase the level of damping as well as adjustability over the stock suspension.
In short, Race Tech is a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance suspension systems and components for motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs.
Race Tech gold valves are a popular suspension upgrade kit for both front forks and rear shocks.
The Race Tech gold valve kit is available in two versions: Type 1 and Type 2. The Type 1 kit is designed for use with standard suspension components, while the Type 2 kit is intended for use with aftermarket components. Type 3 are designed for racing only.
Basically, the Race Tech gold valve kit replaces the stock valve and piston with a high-performance design piston with an adjustable shim stack.
Gold Valves VS Stock Suspension
While stock front forks typically have one fork leg work in compression cycle and the other for rebounding. This setup is asymmetrical and is not ideal. The Race Tech kit converts both fork legs to include both compression and rebound damping, greatly improving stability and performance. After the conversion both fork legs will also include rebound and compression adjustment.
Internally, the gold valve kit replaces the stock piston and the shim stack inside the suspension. You can calculate the desired suspension setup using parameters such as rider weight, style, skill level and more. These parameters are used to calculate the shim stack on the fork or shock piston to achieve your personal settings. It is these settings and adjustability that makes gold valves so great.
Overall, the Racetech valves offer better damping performance, more consistent feel, and improved bottoming resistance. Also, these kits increase suspension oil flow area and reduce rear shock harshness. Additionally, the Race Tech gold valve fork kit improves damping and response, providing better control and comfort.
Racetech Gold Valve kits are available for a wide range of motorcycles, including dirt bikes, street bikes, and adventure bikes.
Race Tech Gold Valve and Shim Stacks
The gold valve itself is a piston that replaces the stock piston. The new gold valve piston is of improved design and adds a customizable shim stack. Below, you can see the gold rebound gold valve with rebound and mid valve shim stack. The rebound shims are on the gold valve, seen in the picture against the red handle. The mid valve shims are visible on the table, ready to install on the right side of the gold valve.
The shims stack is build to tune the suspension performance. When you order the gold valves, you get access to the RaceTech’s Digital Valving Search (or DVS) tool. This tool will help calculate the shims you need to use to build each shim stack. Easy as that.
Racetech DVS or Digital Valve Search Tool
The shim stacks are a series of thin metal discs that stack on top of each other inside the suspension valve. The thickness and configuration of the shim stacks determine how much oil can flow through the valve and how much damping force is applied to the suspension.
When you buy the gold valves, you will gain access to the Digital Valving Search – tool. With the tool, you can calculate the correct suspension settings to match your riding style. The tool will spit out the correct shim stack configurations, which will make installation very easy.
By replacing the stock valve with the Race Tech gold valve and adjusting the shim stacks to suit the rider’s preferences and riding conditions, the suspension system can be significantly improved in terms of handling, control, and comfort. The Gold Valve and shim stacks work together to provide a more consistent and customizable damping performance, allowing riders to fine-tune their suspension system to suit their individual needs.
In summary, if you’re looking for a suspension upgrade that will improve your bike’s performance and comfort, a Race Tech gold valve kit is a great choice.
How to Install Race Tech Gold Valves on Front Forks
Before installing Race Tech gold valves on your front forks, make sure to have all the necessary tools and follow the instructions provided with the kit. Here are the basic steps to install the Race Tech gold valve fork kit:
- Remove the fork from the bike and drain the oil.
- Disassemble the fork and remove the stock valve assembly.
- Clean and inspect all the parts, then install the Race Tech gold valve in place of the stock assembly.
- Install the new valve stack and shims, using the instructions provided with the kit.
- Reassemble the fork with the new gold valve and refill with oil to the recommended level.
- Reinstall the fork on the bike and test ride to ensure proper function.
It’s important to note that installation procedures may vary depending on your specific bike model and the gold valve fork kit you choose. Always consult the provided instructions and seek professional help if you are unsure about the installation process. Proper installation of the gold valve can greatly improve the performance of your front suspension and provide a smoother ride.
Trail Test Results
Once I completed the installation of the Race Tech gold valves, I took my new 2023 KTM 300 XC-W out to my local dirt track for initial suspension tuning and testing session. I had installed the gold valves on the XPLOR open cartridge forks the day before and I was excited to test them out.
To begin, my initial impression was that the forks were much more plush and soft on the top. When handling the dirt bike on the parking lot, gearing up and loading and unloading, I could notice a difference in how the front forks were moving.
Secondly, taking off to the trails, this feeling is more noticeable. Compared to stock forks, the feeling is both soft and stiff at the same time. Additionally, I am noticing how the front seems to ride higher, and seems to dive in less in braking and cornering.
Another thing I noticed right away is the high speed stability. The stock forks tend to become unstable at higher speeds as well as perform poorly in rubble, rocks, roots and similar trails. Surprisingly, this feeling is now completely eliminated. The increased rebound dampening and symmetrical damping makes the forks much more stable.
I am also impressed how the compression is progressive, in a way that keeps the suspension plush at the top, great at middle stroke and still able to resist bottoming out. This helps in tuning the front end just to way you like it. The clickers have a noticeable effect and they seem intuitive. You can feel the front better without losing precise steering ability and keep rider feedback in check.
Overall, first day test results are impressive!
The Racetech gold valve fork kit is absolutely worth the investment, especially if you can install the kit yourself. The front fork kit is around $300 to $450 for both fork legs and it includes access to the online DVS tool to calculate your personal settings.
Most suspension shops will be able to install the kit for you and they usually do it during the oil service or when rebuilding the forks for you.
Racetech Gold Valve Kit
Use the Race Tech product search tool here to find the exact kit you need for your motorcycle make and model.
Next, take a look at Amazon.com below to find the exact kit that fits your suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions About Racetech Gold Valves
What do RaceTech gold valves do?
The gold valve kit replaces the stock internal valve with an improved design. It also uses customizable shim stacks to personalize the suspension performance to your preference. The shim stacks are a series of thin metal discs that are stacked on top of each other inside the gold valve. The thickness and configuration of the shim stacks determine how much oil can flow through the valve and how much damping force is applied to the suspension. Overall the kit improves suspension damping making it more adjustable and adds more resistance to bottoming out.
How do race tech gold valve emulators work?
The Race Tech Gold Valve emulators control the suspension damping by using a tuneable valve with adjustable shim stack. This new valve design together with the shim stack improves damping capability as well as greatly improving suspension performance and tuning capability.
Who owns Race Tech?
Race Tech is owned by Paul Thede, Founder & President Race Tech, Inc.
What is HFR rebound valve?
It is race version of the rebound gold valve. It is specifically designed for racing.
In conclusion, the Race Tech gold valve is a top-performing suspension valve that offers exceptional performance and adjustability. With its customizable shim stack, high performance gold valve, and the increased tune-ability, the gold valves can significantly improve your dirt bike’s suspension system, providing a more precise and consistent damping performance.
Whether you’re a serious racer or a casual dirt rider, the gold valve can help you achieve your performance goals by enhancing your bike’s handling, control, and comfort.
Finally, after conducting a personal test and full review of the Race Tech gold valves on my 2023 KTM XC-W 300, I can confidently recommend this product to any rider looking to improve their suspension system.
So, if you’re looking to take your riding experience to the next level, consider investing in Race Tech gold valves.
Keeping it plush!
- Dirt bike suspension 101: trail riding setup guide
- Setting up dirt bike handlebars for trail riding
- Single track riding tips for beginners
- 2023 KTM 300 XCW – First trail test and review
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Last updated: June 21, 2023