Author Topic: Race tech gold valves front - Nitron R3 rear - Installed and reviewed.  (Read 2511 times)

Offline lryder

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Thought this post may be of some use for some - but Im no expert on these matters. The following is simply my experience and opinions from the following install.
Battled with the stock suspension on the ST for 40K. Hired a BMW RT1200 in NZ for 8 days 2 up loaded - worked out the ST had really shity suspension compared IMO.  What to do? Never really happy with the stock set up.

Background. Im 120k my wife about 80k. I ride solo light - sometimes quick, but at times 2 up fully loaded. To make matters worse I pull a Classic Industries Mini Tourer from time to time. The way I see it- if you were 70K or there abouts, probably have no issues with the stock springs solo. Add some serious weight, I consider the stock arrangement woeful at best on reflection.   

For our weight - the front is completely under sprung. Im / we are simply bouncing up and down on whats left of the spring travel but mostly siting on the 63mm air gap. 
The rear seemed OK I thought with the preload fully adjusted up (2 up), but was again completely under sprung as it turns out. The amount of squat mid corner was not apparent until I changed it out with something different - more on that later.

After some research, I settled for the following arrangement:

Front - Race Tech gold valve arrangement front end.  1200 springs RH19 standard rebound valve and RH34 standard compression valve running 5wt motex oil with recommended 130mm air gap each leg.

Rear -  Nitron Race shock R3 fully adjustable shock length, hyd preload, hi/low speed compression adjust. 1350 ib spring (24kg). Provide to Nitron - riding weight, style, load details etc. Shock was built to my specs. Delivery was 8 weeks from USA.

Install: I fitted both front and rear at the same time along with pair road 3s.

Front - had to completely pull front dampers apart following instructions. No big deal here. Compression came pre assembled. I had to build the rebound shims leaving one shim off each leg so as to remain standard.  Measured front sag unladen (30mm) laden (me) (35mm). Its very important to have at least a 12 - 13 mm static preload on each spring pre assembly. Spacers supplied. With out this steers a little nervous. 3 mm made a big difference.

Rear - was a little fiddly to fit through side access - but no biggy - just followed instructions, with hyd pre load swapped out for the OEM part and hi/lo compression canister fastened under rear seat. Measured rear sag unladen (10mm) laden (41mm). Adjusted the hyd preload (very small amount) to bring rear laden up to the fronts (35mm) to balance total bike sag solo as a start point.

Riding and dial in: - Initially was amazed at the difference. No external adjustment can be done to the front. Re the rear I needed to add a little more hyd preload which felt a lot better, then make a major reduction to the rear rebound rate (make it rebound faster). After the rebound was set I moved to the hi/lo compression, (hi/lo reference is to the speed of the shaft moving within the shock body). I did this by going from one extreme to the other; riding, then working from mid point until I was happy with the ride over various surfaces. Noted and marked.

Re 2 up. I required a lot more hyd pre load initially working it up and down until I felt it was right. I then increased the hi speed compression under the seat given the extra weight - played with a few positioned here as well until it was right. The lo speed adjustment(can be turned independently) was left at factory setting. By design it turns along with the hi speed adjustment by default. Lo speed adjustment appears to be a function of the hi speed value.


Totally impressed. The bike feels much lighter and stable to ride. The ride height feels higher - as it is. Far more ground clearance. Of note I thought the real issue was in the front. Turns out the rear has given me the greatest improvement by far overall. Before I could feel all the bumps in the front and the amount of rear squat particularly loaded mid corner was crazy as it turns out.

I can run through corners a lot faster now - and not meaning to - but just seems so stable and composed, holding a corner line so well. The bike squats evenly front to rear, 2 up its so much smoother (as reported), and in particular there is no further rear jacking down in the corner like the old shock.  Its a totally different (new) bike now. Not cheap - but it was this or buy an RT1200. I took the cheaper option, and glad I did.

If I had to make any further adjustment - it would only be (maybe) put (1) extra rebound shim back into the front leg at the next fork service, as the front rebound may be just a tad lively; and thats marginal; - but thats it.

Hope this may assist others that think the suspension on the ST is a little ordinary. Its worth the spend if you have the coin.   :thumbsup

« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 11:01:59 PM by lryder »
Lyndon and Melissa
ST 1300 2008 Graphite (I think)

Offline richo

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Re: Race tech gold valves front - Nitron R3 rear - Installed.
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 06:31:37 PM »
 ++. Good ready it will be interesting to see how it goes long term.  When two up I am very close to the limit and have often wondered about replacement costs.  You were right about the cost.  Definitely not cheap but if it does the job it is worth it
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Offline tj189

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Re: Race tech gold valves front - Nitron R3 rear - Installed.
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2016, 05:18:23 AM »
Thanks Lyndon, very informative  :thumb
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Offline lryder

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Re: Race tech gold valves front - Nitron R3 rear - Installed - reviewed.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 11:00:28 PM »

Well Ive done a few thousand klm on the ST now with the new suspension. The following is simply my take on the suspension i fitted a while back. Im no expert in these matters.

I have played with a few settings, oil levels, shims, pre load etc - more to see what happens when these things are changed. For me the Race tec (RT) 1200 springs hold the (my) weight and provide good ground clearance particularly in corners. The supplied rebound RT valves are fine as they come pre set for a variety of weights. They appear to be a constant value.

Re the air gap - I used 130mm which allows nearly full travel of front suspension when pushed hard- as it should. You could use 110 mm which would make it a little firmer with more compression with less travel if that was your preference. 

Re the compression shim stacks. These allow you to play with damping rates /speeds. RT stock comes with 4 large shims at the top of the compression stack. You can remove these down to 2 large shims, with reduced damping. I guess it depends on how much damping you want - how soft over bumps (speed of the piston movement).  I stuck with leaving the four large shims for sports / road riding - yet its still surprisingly comfortable also. You can actually see the suspension working very hard over our fabulous roads - compared with the standard set up that tended to ride over everything - for me anyway.
In all extremely happy with the front suspension. Its working a lot faster than the OEM, the way suspension should as I see it. Front of the bike stays essentially steady / level  but still responds to fast changes when required. Good comfort that allows faster corner speeds with confidence.   

The best part about the R3 Nitron is that you quickly adjust everything while on a ride - stop - make a little change and keep going. The rear is where I had the most improvement with the ST, which surprised me. Its not cheap - but does it does an excellent job. The standard OEM unit really is crap - particularly if you are carrying weight. If you ever change it out and compare it to a proper built unit - you will see what I mean. Cheap and nasty it is in my opinion.

For me - it was getting a rear shock with the correct spring rate for my weight with pre-load off, which allows for when I carry gear mum and dragging the trailer - sometimes all three. Nitron build and ship the unit based on your weight. The only thing is they recommend you start with their settings first.

All I can say is they must have very smooth roads in the USA. The thing was way to tight to ride. Settings had to be substantially wound off for our road conditions (well up here in QLD anyway). For example - rebound setting (0-24 clicks) they recommend - 10, I settled on 20 - having a very quick rebound - let the wheel do the work not me.  Fast and slow compression canister under the seat (0-16) the say 10 and 8 respectively, I required 13 and 11 also making the 'hits' a little softer - save bouncing all over the place, let the suspension do all the work. All in all, very impressed with the Nitron unit. Its a quality bit of kit. I would recommend one of these if you have the coin.  Im sure there are other units out there that would do much the same - they all cost.

So thats about it on the subject for what its worth. Just my experience and opinions fitting this gear for my riding style.
The bike is very sweet to ride now - goes great and now it actually handles..

Hope it helps some of you thinking about alternative options.


« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 08:08:42 AM by lryder »
Lyndon and Melissa
ST 1300 2008 Graphite (I think)
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Offline lryder

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Well thought I would drop back in and give a you a 20,000 klm report on the fitted suspension. Front works great. It been so long now i forget how rough the old dampers / springs were in the front. Fully loaded or one up - rides quick and handles very well. Slightly higher ride from memory.  Its firm but steady works hard bike generally remains on the level. Before the bike used to ride the bumps a lot more.   

The back is where Im still impressed. The paperwork that came with the unit suggested i use the factory settings. I did find these too firm, (maybe I was just used to the factory sponge  :H) .
Over time though when things settled, with speed and different roads I actually slowly worked back to the recommended settings by default - and thats where Im at now, with the exception of two up and some gear where the preload is used and when i can be bothered depending on road - firming the rebound (when at speed).

Over all summing up -  the RT springs and GV's as fitted work just great. As for the Nitron R3, well its expensive - yes but you get what you pay for. Its really a shit hot piece of kit. One up with a bit of preload not much managers to slip away from me  :-(((    Just make sure if you purchase do your sums so the techs can purpose build it correctly for your weight.  The bike actually feels like a real sports tourer in action rather than just in name. 

Happy riding.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 09:14:33 PM by lryder »
Lyndon and Melissa
ST 1300 2008 Graphite (I think)
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Offline Shiney

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Thanks for the update mate, it's always good to get some real world reviews  :thumbsup
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Offline Hooda

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Re: Race tech gold valves front - Nitron R3 rear - Installed and reviewed.
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2020, 01:10:09 PM »

A great write up Lyndon,  especially with the backing review after a couple of years, hopefully that’s still the same after another two.
I have just recently got my ST1300A Project back together and whilst she runs beautifully, I found the handling was always lacking and frequently bottomed, especially after the resounding half & I both opted for the ‘big breakfast’ on our regular Sunday morning rides.   I also have an R1200GSA and its suspension has somewhat ‘set the benchmark’ so from comparison sakes, I went looking for replacement options.
After a lot of reading in various forums, reports & internet sensations self praising on you tubes, I was left with more questions that the answers I sought.   The one logical thing that seemed consistent was that a heavier spring was needed, however further reading indicated the Showa rear shock on the ST1300 is not repairable due to the inability of re-gassing.   

I called in to see  the ‘Shock Treatment’ workshop in western Sydney that you posted, there I learned more in an hour than the weeks online canvassing and was impressed to learn that they could do the rebuild & mods needed in their workshop.     A day later, ok 2 days & I filled the swear jar getting it out, I delivered the rear shock out to the Shock Treatment workshop, filled in the necessary weight details & left it for surgery.
1 week later & $700 outlaid, I have a transformed ST.     

You were right in stating that the upgrade to the rear shock makes such a noticeable difference.    2 clicks in on the preload now seems right for relaxed single riding when it used to be 2 clicks out, 8 clicks in when more spirited and around 15 clicks in when riding 2up.   I feel the front much better now, there’s no wallowing & can attack a corner without necessarily worrying too much about how lumpy the surface is.   I am yet to play around with the rebound damping as I’m impressed with how it is as standard.

For those who read this (in this current timeline) and are considering an upgrade, This option for me has ticked all the boxes, I found it has convincingly transformed the ride, is very smooth, definitely confidence inspiring, & quite affordable if your willing to take on the removal, the install thankfully is much easier.   I was originally considering upgrading the front forks but for now, the changes to the rear alone has seemingly lessened that demand.   We shall see if the need presents over time.

If interested, the website is

The shock after surgery. (Pic Attached)
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