By Victor Wanchena
I am always suspicious of an accessory claiming to be a simple drop-in or bolt on fix to some deficiency on your bike. Most barely work as claimed or even worse don’t work at all. The Ricor Intiminators are the exception to that rule.
The purpose of the Intiminators is to provide better damping for conventional damping rod style front forks. Here’s how they work. The Intiminator insert is placed in the forks below the fork springs and the fork oil is switched out to light-weight oil (5w). The light oil and valving on the Intiminators soak up the all the small stuff nicely, giving you a smooth ride. When you hit a larger dump an inertial valve opens letting the fork absorb the big hit. It’s that simple.
Installation is very simple as well. If you can change the fork oil in your bike, you can install Intiminators. Simply drain the fork oil, remove the fork springs, drop in the Intimidators, reinstall the springs, and refill with oil. Done. The name Intiminator is rather misleading because there was nothing remotely intimidating about installation or use. I assume it’s a jab at their competitor Race Tech Emulators.
Again, I was suspicious about Ricor’s claims when I purchased these. I installed them in our Suzuki DR650 test mule. For my first test ride I headed to a nice section of washboard gravel road. It was immediately evident the damping was a huge improvement over the stock forks. The front wheel stayed planted on the washboard and tracked smoothly through corners. Big bumps were equally well absorbed. The bike rode nicer and didn’t compromise comfort for road holding. Well son of a gun, their claims were true.
When compared to the other major option for damper rod fork help, the Race Tech Emulators, the Intiminators offer the advantage of the easy install and great out of the box performance. The only advantage of the Emulators is their ability to be tuned to an individual rider. The Intiminators have no adjustability, so you’re left with just spring preload and oil level in the front forks to fiddle with. For the majority of riders this won’t be an issue. The improvement is more than enough for everyone except riders needing to finely tune their suspension.
The Intiminators are available to most late model bikes with damper rod style forks. They are popular for dual sport riders and the online buzz is they work very well on Harley Davidson forks as well. They retail for around $180 dollars though I have seen prices lower and higher through online retailers.
I liked the Intiminators so much I actually tried a replacement rear shock from Ricor for the same DR650. The shock is built using the same technology as the Intiminators. It is non-adjustable except for preload. The shock is available with different spring rates to tailor for different rider sizes and riding styles.
I found the shock performance to be on par with the Intiminators. It did a good job of keep the rear planted on the road with getting overwhelmed by the big stuff. I really noticed the difference on washboard gravel, where the stock shock would pack down and ride like a hard tail over the corrugations. The Ricor shock soaked up those bumps and kept the bike tracking straight, not bouncing sideways like bike did with the OEM shock.
Like the Intiminators I wasn’t bothered by the lack of adjustability. Ricor seems to have found a nice balance in the internal valving that will work for all but the pickiest riders. At $550 from Ricor the shock is reasonable priced alternative to a rebuild of the stock shock.
You can read more and purchase directly from Ricor at http://store.ricorshocks.com/