Nice write-up Dave, but I had to fix your list a bit.
FWIW, I have the RT Emulators. When I installed them they were pretty much the only game in town when it came to making improvements to damper forks. It was an effort to tune them but the results were remarkable.
Ricor Intiminators were out at the time, but their product description smacked of snake oil with a heavy dose of Wahmbulance about their magic being stolen by others.
I later had an opportunity to try Ricors for a while. They just didn't work. Over washboard, they packed up so badly that it was hard to steer. It seemed that anything that happened fast confused them. They are absolutely untunable without a great deal of effort and a violation of the unwritten "No user serviceable parts inside" concept.
Things progress, new players come on the scene, and new products come to the market. If the opportunity presented itself I would go for the Cogent. The Cogent DDC have quite a few advantages over the RT Emulators. I don't know if they work better once both products are tuned, but they sure seem less fiddly and you've got Rick to send you the DDC pretty well set up for you.
Yeah, I could expand quite a bit based on the dozens of conversations I've had with various people, etc. but I'm always afraid of being too verbose which may prevent people from reading the important bits.
The Intiminators are the only ones I haven't personally tried though I did talk to a few knowledgable people that have compared them to the other products - people I trust (such as yourself) They were the first ones that piqued my interest but after reading the tea leaves, the general lack of good information on their "speed sensitve valving" and reports of poor customer service, I quickly changed my mind. The positives would seem to be that they are easy to install and typically don't require a spring change (according to them which is something that also doesn't make a ton of sense to me). Most that like them either haven't tried the RT or DDC's and/or are heavily biased towards street use and they do apparently work better than most for eliminating brake dive.
My list wasn't "linear"; I think both the DDC's and RT Emulators are close in performance and both are better than anything else out there short of a fork swap (which is a whole 'nother subject!)
Here's my DDC vs. Emulator post:
In the interest of providing a bit more information regarding the original question for those using the search function, I've spent a bit more time researching both the RT gold valve emulators as well as the Cogent DDC's and offer the following;
- no drilling of the damper rods make the DDC's much easier to install
- installation is reversible should you want to return the bike to stock (to sell for eg.)
- the deflective disk damping is said to have more initial plushness and compliance than the spring poppet valve used on the Emulator for compression dampening
- ....and finally the one most people seem to miss: the DDC controls compression AND rebound damping whereas the Emulator completely relies on the stock rebound orifice for rebound. The DDC has to control both since the lighter oil which is used to bypass the compression orifices does the same to the rebound orifices so it was a design necessity but it allows for more flexibility on the rebound damping.
RT Emulator Advantages;
- it is easier to replace/adjust the poppet spring to change compression damping than it is to replace the shim stack.
- you can change oil weight to change rebound damping (though you would need to make the appropriate change/adjustments to the poppet spring or you would likewise change the compression damping at the same time).
The Emulator is a great product designed by a suspension genius that has literally transformed thousands of forks since it's introduction in the early '90's. The RT valve works very well and personally, I wouldn't replace them with DDC's on a bike that was already equipped with the gold valves. That said I think the DDC's are an improvement on the RT valve.