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Thread: ESA Settings, what increments?

  1. #1
    Registered User zenduddhist's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    ESA Settings, what increments?

    Just curious about the ESA on my 2011 BMW R1200RT. First, I gotta say, I really love this suspension. And that's saying something. One of the first things I do to any modern bike is suspension upgrades. I put almost $3k in my Goldwing's suspension. Almsot $1k in my previous Speed Triple, SV650, FJR, etc.

    But, this RT, for me, is almost perfect. I really am amazed that I am so happy with it as it is in the stock, OEM, configuration. FWIW, I am 200#, 5'10". I also ride pretty aggressive. Like to get the front wheel off the ground occasionally, high speeds when safe, etc.

    Anyhow, my question: Are the settings for the the ESA in linear increments? In other words, would you say that the settings go from soft to firm in graduated steps from Solo Comfort all the way to Two Passenger Sport?

    Does it proceed in this fashion:

    Solo Comfort, Solo Normal, Solo Sport, Solo Luggage Comfort, Solo Luggage Normal, Solo Luggage Sport, Two up Comfort, Two up Normal, Two up Sport.

    Is that the order of soft to firm? Or is, say, Solo Luggage Normal the same (or close to) Solo Sport?

    Yeah, I know, I am probably thinking to much! Go ahead and say it, "Shut up and ride..."

    Thanks,

    Chris
    1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1972 Commando 750, 1974 Vespa Rally 200, 1974 Commando 850, 1975 Commando 850, 2010 Triumph T100 w/sidecar, 2011 BMW R1200RT, 2013 Honda CB1100

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    The way I see it is: comfort is squishiest Cadillac style ride, on down to Sport which would be firm ride. Solo is lowest height of whole bike, and Passenger is the highest height ride. It would seem to me that the Solo, Solo with Luggage and Passenger increments deal with the spring preload, while the sport, normal, and comfort have to do with the amount of oil in the shock. For instance, before my passenger mounts, I put it in solo mode so I can brace my feet best on the ground. Then, before we move off, I put it in passenger mode and I can feel the bike lift up. Upon stopping, I return to solo mode and let the suspension settle back down before telling passenger it's OK to get off. I mostly leave mine in Comfort mode because of the crummy roads I commute on.

  3. #3
    Hammam
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    The way I see it is: comfort is squishiest Cadillac style ride, on down to Sport which would be firm ride. Solo is lowest height of whole bike, and Passenger is the highest height ride. It would seem to me that the Solo, Solo with Luggage and Passenger increments deal with the spring preload, while the sport, normal, and comfort have to do with the amount of oil in the shock. For instance, before my passenger mounts, I put it in solo mode so I can brace my feet best on the ground. Then, before we move off, I put it in passenger mode and I can feel the bike lift up. Upon stopping, I return to solo mode and let the suspension settle back down before telling passenger it's OK to get off. I mostly leave mine in Comfort mode because of the crummy roads I commute on.
    DO NOT change spring preload with someone sitting on the bike, be it pillion or pilot. The way to do it is: engine on, dismount, or at least put both feet on the ground to remove any weight, change spring setting, wait until it settles, and you're good to go.

    DAMPING can be changed on the move, not spring preload. Check your manual.

  4. #4
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    This is a bit of an iteration of what has been posted, but:

    Comfort is soft, normal is harder, and sport is firm.

    one up, one up luggage, and two up are preloads and only change the height of the seat, not the firmness.

    You can see how this works by putting the bike in comfort and bouncing on it at a standstill. It will be spongy. Then try normal and sport, and you'll see how it stiffens up and is quite hard on sport.

    I too use comfort for dirt or potholed roads. Normal is good for others, and finally sport I use if the pavement is really nice and smooth. Sport, on rough pavement, gives you worse traction than comfort or normal due to the stiffness.

    I weigh about 230 pounds in gear. I use one up plus luggage when I ride, and two up if I'm carrying some baggage. You can measure the sag of the bike when you sit on it to determine what is right, or go by feel. The point is to compress the spring but not too much so that you are riding in the sweet spot of the suspension and have adequate travel in both directions. "Sport bike Suspension" is a great book to get if you want to learn more.

    Finally, to test the pre load function, stand straddling the bike and change the settings (engine running). You'll feel the chassis jacking up or down several inches as you modify it.

    These are good thing to test and get used to so that if you think you have a problem in the future, you'll know what "normal" feels like.

    And yes, I never change the pre load with weight on the bike, either, just the rebound damping (comfort, etc. setting).
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

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