The Next Level In Performance...
Valving and More Importantly Bleed Holes...
Valving is important, but not as important as every thinks it is. The fact of the matter is that most bikes come valved pretty good from the factory already. As I explained on the Spring Rates page, other things are more important (Mostly Spring Rates). Bleed hole size of the compression stem is very important for eliminating harshness. If a suspension shop or tuner is just "Shim Shuffling" then you probably won't get the results you are looking for.
So let me explain what the bleed hole on the compression stem actually does and then you might understand more of why it makes a huge difference... The bleed hole on the compression stem is the very first circuit the oil flows through when the fork starts to compress. So when you are going over small choppy bumps, the bleed hole has a huge effect on if the forks are harsh or not. After the oil starts going through the bleed hole it then starts flowing through the compression piston past the shims. So no matter what, the bleed hole is the very first area that oil flows through, making it one of the most important circuits to address if you are trying to make top level suspension. Some forks have the right size bleed hole, but most do not. A-Kit forks have a larger bleed hole compared to regular forks. I can't explain enough how important it is to modify the size of the bleed hole if you want firm but plush suspension.
Let's go over porting inside suspension, It does nothing. You can't port the stock compression pistons (Also called Compression Valve), Rebound piston (Commonly called Mid-Valve) or shock piston and affect the flow enough to really change anything. For the Compression Valve (On the Forks) most of them are big enough right from the factory. I would not suggest changing it to any aftermarket valve that any suspension companies sells, You are better off keeping the stock one. I am sure you will get the sales pitch on why you should buy one of their valves, but the fact of the matter is the stock one flows more than the aftermarket ones- and flow is exactly what you want. So you may ask yourself, why do so many companies sell these aftermarket compression valves. First and foremost, it makes them money. Second when you change the flow characteristics of the compression valve the valving stack (Shims) change. So someone can't copy the valve stack without having the same compression valve. It is an easy way to make sure their work is not copied. So what all this basically means is- Keep you stock compression piston and save your money and don't let anyone "Port" it.
Now let's go over the stock shock piston. I always change this (Unless I am doing a favor for someone and Re-Valving their shock because they don't have the money) to an A-Kit Piston. Luckily Pro Circuit actually makes a A-Kit piston replica. It is called "Works Shock Piston" They make a few different ones- but the A-Kit Replica is the one that says "MD Port" No matter what type of riding you do- That is the one you want. A side note, Pro Circuit's website always says they are out of stock, they do have them you just have to call. The part number for 50mm Honda Shocks and 50mm Kawasaki Shocks is "SP-07" Everyone of our team bikes has this piston in it. This piston flows a lot different from stock and also is shorter so there is less drag on the piston band. If you are looking for top level suspension then this is a MUST HAVE.
The most important of getting the rear shock to work right and not fad is to have it Bleed right- A REAR SHOCK MUST BE VACUUM BLEED. No matter what anyone tells you, that "They have a way that works" Without a Vacuum bleeder, it is impossible to get all the air out. If the shock isn't Vacuum Bleed it will break down and fade, and that is that- no matter what any salesman tries to tell you!
So to summarize what I just said in all this, Valving is not as important as Bleed Hole size, having the A-Kit Shock piston and most Vacuum Bleeding the Shock. Don't let a salesman talk you into thinking that they have the magic valving stack, most of them just take a couple shims out and that is your Re-Valve.