Published on January 14th, 2013 | by Joe0
Race Tech GS-3 Custom ATV Suspension Test:
Custom-built Race Shocks with Nationwide Support
In the world of racing, many competitors often build machines with performance capabilities that far exceed their talent level. Having too much horsepower will fatigue you faster, making you more likely to make a costly mistake. Othe other hand, it is hard to over-spend on suspension. The better your suspension, the less you’ll fade throughout a race, and the better job it will do of saving the day when you make a mistake. While you can’t buy talent, the better your suspension, the faster you’ll ride.
Who they’re for
Race Tech’s Shock conversions offer a lot of additional suspension performance for a smaller investment. Their shock conversions performed well for us with our Polaris Outlaw 450MXR and Can-Am DS450 X MX projects. They’re a great option for racers on a budget who are planning on using stock, or standard, travel chassis components.
While their conversions are ideal for some, they won’t serve every rider’s needs. For this reason, Race Tech offers its custom-built GS-3 line of shocks. Long travel a-arms, or swingarms and linkages, usually require the use of custom-built shocks. Many older or lower priced models have shocks that can’t be rebuilt. Making them race worthy will also require the use of aftermarket shocks. With their GS-3 shocks, Race Tech can even get more wheel travel on some models using the stock chassis components. They claim the GS-3 offers a level of performance that can’t be obtained with converted stock shocks, making them ideal for top-level racers in need of the highest level of suspension performance.
The biggest difference between Race Tech’s GS-3 shocks and the shocks that come on today’s high performance ATVs are the limitations of the stock components and the fact that Race Tech builds each shock for a specific rider, rather than to suit a wide range of rider weights and uses. The GS-3 shocks feature 36mm front and 46mm rear, zinc-plated, steel bodies and chromed 5/8 in. steel shafts. Most of the remaining components are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum while the eyelets feature stainless steel, spherical Heim joints. You can order your front shocks with 46mm bodies like we did for a bit more; they look gnarly, but, according to Race Tech, the difference in performance is small.
The internals are comprised of Race Tech’s famous Gold Valve, which was developed to prevent oil flow restriction at the piston, helping prevent high-speed harshness. Custom valuing and spring rates are selected based on your weight, type of riding, ability level, and, of course, specific chassis setup. Chassis setup also determines the shock’s length. For our Teixeira Tech a-arms, Race Tech built us 18 ¾in. long front shocks and a stock length 17 in. rear shock. The Zero Preload Race Series GS-3 shocks feature high and low speed compression and rebound adjustment in addition to their adjustable ride height.
You can order your Race Tech shocks through their headquarters in Corona, California like we did, or work directly with one of their many service centers located throughout the United States and around the world. Either way, their shocks are covered by a 90-day ride guarantee, ensuring that you’ll love the ride of your Race Tech shocks.
With the Race Tech GS-3 shocks installed on our Teixeira Tech a-arm-equipped KFX450R, we let several experienced riders put them to the test. The shocks were built for a 210-pound rider, and our riders varied in weight from 185 to 230 pounds. Nikota Motorsports Park and Bar2Bar MX played host to our testing, allowing us to experience bumps, jumps, and g-outs of all sizes.
The transformation the GS-3 shocks made to our Kawasaki was pretty spectacular. In braking bumps, the stock front shocks packed under heavy braking, amplifying the KFX’s already fast steering, resulting in a nervous-feeling front end. The Race-Tech shocks remained responsive under heavy braking, quickly recovering from bumps, even with the front end loaded up.
When you come in for a landing, the Race Tech shocks will take the big hits. Different suspension builders set their shocks up differently. We have found Race Tech to spring their shocks a little on the firm side. They are smooth on the downside and stiff enough to save the day when you come up short on a big jump. With a wide range of adjustment and a little tuning of the GS-3 shocks, our machine tracks straight in whoops and through choppy sections. They provide a predictable, confidence-inspiring ride; never kicking, deflecting, or doing anything unexpected to take you off your game. For fast, smooth tracks with big jumps, these Race Tech shocks are on target. For loamy or sandy tracks that develop lots of chop, our 185-190 pound riders wanted a little softer main spring up front, while our 230-pound rider felt they were spot on.
The GS-3 played a pivotal role in turning our Kawasaki into a confidence-inspiring motocross machine. The shocks were race-ready right out of the box, thanks to a wide variety of adjustment; component quality; and firm, yet forgiving, ride.
For a top-level racer constantly maintaining their suspension or searching for an even better shock setup, Race Tech’s network of service centers are there to help you locally with service and tuning between races. You’ll be ready to go at the next race, while your competition will be searching for the shock truck.
If you are in need of a premium set of race suspension, quality; experience; and support are three big reasons we’d consider Race Tech’s GS’3 shocks.
Manufacturer: Race Tech
Product: GS-3 ATV Shocks
Price: Fronts $1,599, Rear $1,099
Race Tech GS-3 Custom ATV Shocks
Summary: The GS-3 played a pivotal role in turning our Kawasaki into a confidence-inspiring motocross machine. The shocks were race-ready right out of the box, thanks to a wide variety of adjustment; component quality; and firm, yet forgiving, ride.