Shock absorbers perform two important functions and, unfortunately, they are in direct conflict with each other. We rely on shocks to stabilize our vehicles during changes in direction and while accelerating or braking (chassis motion). We also depend on shocks to provide us with a comfortable ride and to allow the suspension to respond to changes in terrain so the tires can maintain traction (wheel motion).
The problem with traditional shock absorbers is that they cannot distinguish between chassis motion or wheel motion, they can only provide resistance based on relative motion between the chassis and the wheel. The resulting compromise is that traditional shocks must be tuned with a bias toward control and handling OR compliance and traction. It seems to be universally accepted that 'stiff' shocks equate to vehicle stability and handling performance, while 'soft' shocks provide better ride quality and superior traction over irregular road surfaces. As polar opposites (stiff vs. soft), the benefits of one come at the direct expense of the desirable characteristics of the other. This is a universal problem and all traditional velocity-sensitive shock absorbers fall somewhere within the spectrum between these two extremes.
RICOR was not satisfied with these compromises. They determined that the ideal shock absorber would respond to chassis motion and wheel motion with two completely different valving circuits. So RICOR set out to design a shock that would eliminate the compromises plaguing traditional shock absorbers.
The solution RICOR ultimately arrived at employed a motion-sensing valve to determine whether movement is coming from the chassis or the wheel, as opposed to merely reacting to the relative movements between the two like traditional shock absorbers. The second part of their ingenious design was to use the position of the motion-sensing valve to open and close different fluid circuits that could each be tuned independently to provide EXACTLY the right amount of resistance to chassis motion AND wheel motion.
In a sense, RICOR has managed to put two different shocks with completely different characteristics into one package. The primary circuit is tuned to control chassis motion and the secondary circuit is tuned to control wheel motion. RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension is able to recognize the difference between these two types of input and select the appropriate response instantaneously and automatically. As a result, RICOR shocks are able to provide the optimum response to chassis motion AND wheel motion without any of the compromises typically associated with traditional shock absorbers.
The concept behind RICOR's Inertia Active technology is easy enough to understand. It's fundamentally sound from an engineering perspective, but it's taken 20 years and over 11 million dollars to see this idea executed to it's full potential. RICOR's patented Inertia Active Suspension is the end result of twenty years spent refining this technology.
RICOR had to be able to ensure that the Inertia Active technology would be 'smart enough' that it couldn't be 'tricked' into selecting the wrong circuit at the wrong time before the system could be considered viable. RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension also had to be able to transition seamlessly between the chassis and wheel circuits because any benefits that variable-rate damping may provide would be totally negated if the transitions between those damping rates upset the handling characteristics of the vehicle.
Those proved to be two very difficult problems to solve, but hydraulically manipulating RICOR's Inertia Active technology turned out to be the key to making the whole system work reliably, instantaneously and automatically. RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension is hydraulically biased to select the chassis circuit over the wheel circuit if it detects wheel and chassis motion occurring simultaneously. This makes RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension system virtually infallible even in the unlikely event of any type of malfunction within the inertia active piston assembly and it also improves performance dramatically. Hydraulically manipulating RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension also proved to be an important element in making smooth transitions between the chassis and wheel circuits.
Primary Rebound Circuit
In the default mode, all of the shock fluid flows through the the external bypass tubes. We refer to this as the Primary Circuit or the Chassis Circuit. This circuit is tuned to provide stability while cornering, accelerating, braking and rebounding from chassis compression. The primary circuit is also tuned without any regard for comfort or compliance over rough terrain.
Secondary Rebound Circuit
When RICOR's Inertia Active Suspension senses wheel motion (as opposed to chassis motion), the primary circuit is bypassed and the secondary circuit, or the wheel circuit, is activated. The secondary circuit is tuned to keep the tires in contact with the ground and increase traction while traveling over rough terrain. Just the opposite of the primary circuit, the secondary circuit is tuned without regard for handling or vehicle stability. However, this is NOT uncontrolled wheel travel. The secondary circuit is fully adjustable and can be custom-tuned without affecting the handling performance of the primary circuit in any way.
The Bottom Line
RICOR shock absorbers are proven to significantly increase safety, stability, traction, handling and ride-quality. The bottom line is that RICOR shocks will make you FASTER. We're not defying the laws of physics or marketing gimmicks, but this technology promises to revolutionize every known form of motorsports. In fact, the same benefits that offer race vehicles a competitive advantage can be realized in any type of moving vehicle, from street bikes to sport bikes, from family sedans to motorhomes.
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