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Thread: lowering 08- 1200 rt

  1. #1
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    lowering 08- 1200 rt

    I would like to hear from any of you that have lowered your rt and how succesful it has been for you. ie handling etc.
    I am thinking of lowering mine by one inch and am presently talking to Ted Porter at the Beemer shop and once I know what I am after I would have it ordered and installed by Eurosport of Asheville, NC. I'm not sure but I believe Ted P. now has a shock that is compatable with BMW's ESA setup. Plus by going the one inch I believe the factory side and middle stand for the lower version will work.
    I'm letting Eurosport order the parts just to support the local dealer in this plus their charge for parts will be the same as if I ordered it directly from Beemerville myself. I like the 30 minute ride to Asheville much more than the 2 hr. to Greenville, SC.
    Thanks for any help on this.
    Mo
    Mo Shaffer
    Maggie valley NC,
    St. George, BM

  2. #2
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    I have done this for my wife's bike. (07 RT) and have posted a fair amount on the other Sport touring forum. PM me with any specific questions but yes there are some brands that work with the ESA. Back in '07 I had a set of Wilber's put in and they have been great.
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

  3. #3
    KevinRT
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    Mo, I lowered my '08RT by installing HyperPro shocks without the ESA. I'm a real lightweight and the stock shocks were just too harsh for me no matter the setting. The HyperPros get the bike one inch lower and, for me, that one inch made a huge difference. I feel so much more comfortable doing parking lot maneuvers and the like. And of course the ride on the new shocks is far superior to stock in every way. There's no comparison. I don't miss the ESA but would it be nice to have? Probably.

    I did have the sidestand shortened by .5" to retain the normal lean of the bike. I wish I had done a bit more. You can get away without doing it, but it shouldn't cost you much as a welder can make quick work of it. I didn't do the centre stand and it is still quite usable, but it does take a bit more effort to get up.

    Good luck.
    KevinRT
    Ottawa, Canada

  4. #4
    ExMaTprinLowerAlabama
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by moshaffer View Post
    I would like to hear from any of you that have lowered your rt and how succesful it has been for you. ie handling etc.
    I am thinking of lowering mine by one inch and am presently talking to Ted Porter at the Beemer shop and once I know what I am after I would have it ordered and installed by Eurosport of Asheville, NC. I'm not sure but I believe Ted P. now has a shock that is compatable with BMW's ESA setup. Plus by going the one inch I believe the factory side and middle stand for the lower version will work.
    I'm letting Eurosport order the parts just to support the local dealer in this plus their charge for parts will be the same as if I ordered it directly from Beemerville myself. I like the 30 minute ride to Asheville much more than the 2 hr. to Greenville, SC.
    Thanks for any help on this.
    Mo
    Just ride down to Edgewater, FL and let HermanUSA.com do it all for you. He'll even lend you his GS during the install! He did mine! Ask if you have any q's...

  5. #5
    Registered User wvpc's Avatar
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    Happy with my lower RT

    When I bought my R1200 RT I felt I could live with the stock height/low seat option. 1 up it was OK but 2 up loaded it was a handful. I thought a custom seat might fix the problem but it didn't. In short, I needed a lower bike. In retrospect I should ordered the low option on the bike.

    So I called Ted Porter and bought the Yacugar 1 inch lower shocks, lower centerstand and lower sidestand. They are a new Dutch manufacturer building a premium rebuildable shock. It was about $1800 for the whole kit. I put them on myself-pretty easy with help from the forum. The bottom line is I am very pleased with the new setup. Ted was very helpful in helping me figure out what I needed.

    I took the bike on a 7700 mile ride to the west coast and back 2 up loaded. Once I dialed in the shocks they were superb in tracking, handling and ride. I did scrape my L footpeg once but I have the Suburban lowering kit on my pegs.

    Your stock height sidestand will NOT work. Also your centerstand will be much more difficult to use. I am glad I got both of the shorter stands. Anybody need a newish set of stock shocks and stands? They are listed in the Flea Market for a good price.
    Last edited by wvpc; 10-08-2012 at 01:23 PM. Reason: spell check
    12 R1200 RT
    83 R100 RT

  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Interesting experience yesterday.

    A friend bought the identical bike to mine ('07 R1200R). His had been owned by a woman who had Wilbers short suspension on the bike. Mine has Hyperpro short suspension on the bike. His bike was lowered about 2"+ from the stock suspension, mine is just under an inch (about 7/8")..

    He'd complained to me about how harsh the suspension felt on his new (used) bike.. so he asked me to take a look at it. With the 2"+ lower suspension, it now had about 2" of travel on the front end, and roughly 2.5" on the rear.

    We swapped bikes - and his bike was almost scary to ride. Any pavement irregularity resulted in a very harsh movement. We tried increasing the preload to get it so at least some travel was available, but with the limited movement of the suspension, this was difficult.

    Shock manufacturers (including BMW) count as "travel" - full compression of the rubber bump stop that is on the shock shaft. To me this is bogus since this rubber bump stop will compress, but not to infinitely thin. I usually figure about 1/2 compression of the rubber bump stop is reasonable.

    When I first put the shortened suspension on my bike I also noted some increase in feeling sharp bumps.. so I worked with Klaus at Hyperpro to do a bit of engineering to maintain the full suspension travel of the original suspension. On the R12R - BMW claimed 5" front travel - which in reality when the rubber bump stop started compressing was closer to 4" (measured with a tie-wrap on a front fork tube.) I forget what the claimed rear travel was, but it was a similar amount, and taking the rubber bump stop into account was accordingly less. I actually did some math and lever-arm measurements to see where BMW came up with their numbers - and their numbers are "theory" - not reality. BMWs numbers only work if you ignore the bump stop entirely.

    Anyway - Klaus/Hyperpro managed to come up with a shock design that allowed me to retain full travel (as I had calculated it and measured it - not as BMW claimed) with about 1" shorter suspension. This is the same amount that BMW came up with on the factory "lower" suspension available on the R12R. I don't know of any other aftermarket shock that offers this option, although they certainly could.

    The risk in maintaining "full" travel and lowering the bike at the same time is twofold:

    1. Things can hit on full compression - hard parts on the bike like the forks to the tank, or the rear tire to the inner fender. I had this experience with Works Performance's short shock on my '85 K100RT - hitting a good bump, even at speed often resulted in an ungodly squeal from the rear tire hitting the inside of the fender liner... So what Klaus and I did was measure the available travel before hard parts started hitting each other by installing shocks without the springs on them and moving the suspension through it's entire range of travel. Turned out we were in good shape on the R1200R - we could keep full travel distance and nothing on the bike was in danger of hitting.

    2. You can touch down earlier. Meaning - if you go cranking into a corner with too much speed, a combination of some undulating pavement and centrifugal force compressing the suspension can result in bike parts touching the pavement. No real way to avoid this except perhaps using progressive springs, which as they compress rise in rate - meaning they are harder to compress. Hyperpro comes stock with progressive springs so we were OK there. That plus I normally do not honk into corners I can't see through, and if I see the corner isn't smooth my cornering speed drops accordingly.

    The end result was - my friend is sending the shocks off his bike to Klaus over the winter to see if they can be made like mine - not as low - and with full travel. He really didn't want to swap bikes back..

    Lesson here is - there are always tradeoffs. I'd suggest anyone considering lowering their suspension lower it the absolute minimum amount they will feel comfortable with. If 1" is good, 2" isn't going to be better. And when riding, remember you are riding with less suspension travel AND closer to the ground to start with, so take that into account.

    BTW - I'm using stock side and centerstands. I understand BMW put shorter stands on the bikes with lowered suspensions, and from measuring my friends sidestand vs mine - his was about 1" shorter. The former owner of his bike said the shop that installed the short Wilbers shocks had swapped the sidestand. Based on where his rear wheel was when on the centerstand vs mine - I know they didn't install the lowered centerstand. The important thing is - I've been OK with my stock stands. The sidestand doesn't lean the bike quite as much, the centerstand takes a bit more effort to get the bike on - but they can be used. If you're unhappy with them after lowering the bike - there is a factory option that will help.

    For some thoughts on setting up your suspension - feel free to look at: http://www.eilenberger.net/Suspension/suspension.htm
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  7. #7
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Interesting experience yesterday...{snip}
    Extremely interesting info here, Don!

    I admit that I haven't addressed my (tad-too-high) suspension yet for fear of losing travel on the very sketchy roads here in New England. Your post seems to point to my solution.

    Thanks!
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  8. #8
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Agree with Don's advice. My wife's Wilbers setup was limited to 1.25 inches lower and still is harsher than my stock. She is a lot lighter than me and has not had issues, however when we ride 2 up on her bike I have bottomed out and scraped pegs once or twice. Fortunately that is not something we do often.
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

  9. #9
    Registered User wvpc's Avatar
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    Nice write up

    Don,

    Nice write up on your experiance and your shock article is very helpful too. I don't know how you can keep your shortened bike upright using the stock height sidestand. A good wind would have blown mine over as it stood too upright with the 1 inch drop. Also, if your bike is heavily loaded that centerstand will be much harder to use than a stock height bike. If it is not loaded sure it's easy enough like you said.
    12 R1200 RT
    83 R100 RT

  10. #10
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    Just this week had the Wilbers ESA 40mm lowered shocks put on and rode it home 700 miles ' Herman modified the the side stand to fit. and I'll have the center stand modified shortly . Love the setup
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by moshaffer View Post
    I would like to hear from any of you that have lowered your rt and how succesful it has been for you. ie handling etc.
    I am thinking of lowering mine by one inch and am presently talking to Ted Porter at the Beemer shop and once I know what I am after I would have it ordered and installed by Eurosport of Asheville, NC. I'm not sure but I believe Ted P. now has a shock that is compatable with BMW's ESA setup. Plus by going the one inch I believe the factory side and middle stand for the lower version will work.
    I'm letting Eurosport order the parts just to support the local dealer in this plus their charge for parts will be the same as if I ordered it directly from Beemerville myself. I like the 30 minute ride to Asheville much more than the 2 hr. to Greenville, SC.
    Thanks for any help on this.
    Mo
    It would help me out if you could get a pic of the short center stand as I'm going to have to shorten mine 40mm . I'd like to see how BMW does it.
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

  12. #12
    2009 R1200RT beemeup's Avatar
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    A much cheaper alternative

    Rather than change shocks on my 2009 RT I took my BMW all around riding boots to a shoe repairman and had him add 3/4 of an inch to the sole of the boots.
    Works perfectly for me, I get a good enough foot placement, it didn't change
    the characteristics of my suspension and it only cost me $90. Something to
    consider.

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemeup View Post
    Rather than change shocks on my 2009 RT I took my BMW all around riding boots to a shoe repairman and had him add 3/4 of an inch to the sole of the boots.
    Works perfectly for me, I get a good enough foot placement, it didn't change
    the characteristics of my suspension and it only cost me $90. Something to
    consider.
    Curious - how did he add the sole? I believe the one on the boot is glued on (don't see any stitching).. If the new one has to be stitched on - I'd worry about the Goretex liner (the best thing about the AllRound boot is so far - it's been 100% waterproof, including some multi-day rain riding.) My soles are getting worn to the point where there are no grippy ridges in the front (pushing backward out of parking spaces and backwards into my garage does that..) Be nice if I could have 1/4" added with lugs on it or something like that.

    Also - where do you find shoe repairmen now? Used to be a little shop in every town, but in the world of disposable clothing, it seems most of them have retired or become pizza by the slice places.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  14. #14
    Registered User Trojan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemeup View Post
    Rather than change shocks on my 2009 RT I took my BMW all around riding boots to a shoe repairman and had him add 3/4 of an inch to the sole of the boots.
    Works perfectly for me, I get a good enough foot placement, it didn't change
    the characteristics of my suspension and it only cost me $90. Something to
    consider.
    Had the same thing done to some Cabela's Outfitter boots (added about 1/2"), and then to some Sidi Canyons. Additional spacer plus vibram lugged sole was glued on the Canyons, and on the Outfitters as well, and therefore no stitching to pierce the gore-tex liner in either pair.

    Worked great for me to get fairly close to flat-footing the RT. Close enough, anyhow.

    John

  15. #15
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Hit the links:

    http://www.nmpcs.com/images/boots/boots1.jpg

    http://www.nmpcs.com/images/boots/boots2.jpg

    BMW All Around boots. Had 3/4 of an inch added 70,000 + miles ago. Total cost - $35.00 at Sassers Boot Repair here in Clovis, NM.

    He added a semi-firm base, then a softer sole. The boots retained 95 % of their flexability so they're as easy to walk in as without the built up soles and the softer soles seriously grips the pavement - much better than the original soles.

    You can see they now look to be coming un-glued near the instep. I took them back to him and asked him to re-glue them. He asked if that part of the boot ever caught on anything - no - then told me he'd be happy to glue them at no charge but it simply wasn't necessary. I know him well enough that as you can see, I just took my boots back home and forgot about it.

    This is a great - and inexpensive modification that gets my 28 inch inseam down to the ground with solid footing on my RT.
    Nom de Plume:
    Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
    BMW MOA #6218
    IBA# 442

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