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Thread: Any Downside to 1200RT low suspension option?

  1. #1
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    Any Downside to 1200RT low suspension option?

    I'm considering adding an RT to my collection, (which would double the number of bikes ). Are there any disadvantages to the low suspension option on the RT? I can touch the balls of both feet down on a standard RT with the seat in the low position, but since the RT is a little heavier bike than I'm used to and we have a lot of hills in this area, I think I'd be a little more comfortable if I could flat foot both feet. I suppose it would be easier to drag parts in a steep lean, but I'm not super-aggressive in the corners. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Tim in PA
    Last edited by Bunker; 01-29-2013 at 01:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User RT290's Avatar
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    I must have the same inseam as you because I can only touch both balls of my feet with the RT's seat in the low position. I've never rode on that was lowered but I do often scrape my boots and foot pegs while riding aggressively. So the only downfall would be losing some clearance when cornering.

    My riding style dictates that my rear brake is on at stops. With one foot flat footed the bike is leaned over just right to keep it balanced on my down foot. Take another test ride and see how it feels with the rear brake on at a stop and one foot down, then make your choice.

    Joel

  3. #3
    Registered User wvpc's Avatar
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    Flat feet feel good.

    I would get the 1" lower suspension if I were you. It is better to be totally comfortable on a heavy street bike. Especially one you don't want to scratch up by dropping. If you ever ride two up, even occasionally, get the bike set up so you can flat foot it loaded 2 up. Your partner (and you) will appreciate it when you don't fall over stopping on uneven surfaces. So what that means basically is 1 up no load you will be on your toes. 2 up unloaded you are on the balls of your feet. 2 up loaded you are on flat feet. Your peg clearance should still be good when you ride enthusiastically 1 up.

    Beside you can always swap out the shocks and raise the bike 1" taller. It is easy on a RT.

    I have a 1" lowered RT with lowered pegs and ride 2 up. It has more than adequate clearance 99% of the time. Yes I have scraped a feeler once or twice 2 up loaded, in the mountains, going a bit faster than I probably should have.
    12 R1200 RT
    83 R100 RT

  4. #4
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    May or may not matter to you but I think you give up the ESA II option if you get the low suspension. I like mine, others don't like it at all.

    Also seats can make a big difference so you can try different aftermarket seats after your purchase (before the purchase is better if you can swing it).

    tsp
    My Blog: http://www.swriding.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    The way BMW lowers the bike - you lose the same amount in suspension travel as you lower the bike (shorter shocks, but same fully compressed length.)

    That can be a concern in ride quality. BMW does this so the minimum ground clearance doesn't change. There are aftermarket options (HyperPro can do it) which keep the same amount of suspension travel at the expense of slightly decreased minimum ground clearance (probably only important if you're someone who regularly drags hard parts of the bike.)
    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

  6. #6
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    tsperez is correct - there is no ESA II on the factory lowered RT. Also, the standard two-piece saddle is replaced by a one-piece which is not adjustable and is the most uncomfortable saddle I've ever ridden. Replaced mine with a Corbin. Other than that, the low option has allowed this 5'6" individual to ride an RT with confidence.
    Bill Mayer
    MOA #98888
    R1200RT

  7. #7
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Try to find a low bike to sit on. I did, at the dealer, and the knee angle was too acute - for my knees. It may be just right for you, but I'd want to be sure before ordering.

    Low seat in low position for city and in high for highway works for me. Low on highway gets bad knee angle, somewhat.
    Ed
    2011 R1200RT Thunder Gray Metallic; 2000 Triumph 900(sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

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    Quote Originally Posted by themayer View Post
    Also, the standard two-piece saddle is replaced by a one-piece which is not adjustable and is the most uncomfortable saddle I've ever ridden. Replaced mine with a Corbin.
    Also, no heated seat option is available with lowered suspension.

  9. #9
    Bad Buddhist k9gromit's Avatar
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    I have the lowered RT (2011). Got it because I am very inseam challenged (28"). The stock seat was horrible and I ended up going with a Russell Day Long which put me up where I would have been anyway with regards to my reach to the ground. No regrets. I can ride comfortable 1000 mile days with the Russell and I added the heat option that I had given up when I got the lowered bike. I plan my stops, got used to putting only one foot down and thoroughly enjoy riding my bike. Compared to the amount of time spent with my feet on the ground and the amount with them on the pegs, I'll take comfort riding over comfort standing...

    My advice: If you have any intention of getting a comfortable seat, go for the lowered suspension.

    I've added lowered pegs and bar backs as well. Got the ergos just about perfect for me now. The pegs do touch when I'm having fun...
    Rick Germain
    Rochester, NY USA
    2001 F650GS Dakar
    2011 R1200RT

  10. #10
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    From the current (March 2013) issue of Rider FWIW ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rider
    The down side of lowered suspension is that it reduces suspension travel. The F 700 GS has 7.1/6.7 inches of travel front and rear; the lowering kit reduces rear wheel travel by 1.4 inches, to just 5.3. For street-only riders, that may be plenty, but bear in mind that cornering and ground clearance will also be reduced. For these reasons, order a low suspension kit only if absolutely necessary. Furthermore, since motorcycles with lowered suspension must be ordered as such from the factory, the kit is not a simple dealer add-on nor easily removed if you change your mind.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  11. #11
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    From the current (March 2013) issue of Rider FWIW ...
    See post #5 above.

    While there may be some concern about reversing a lowered suspension on an F bike (which I believe uses conventional fork tubes), that isn't a big concern on hexhead bikes. Reversing or converting a lowered suspension back to normal height requires replacing the shorter shocks with "normal" length ones, and if the side or centerstand has been swapped or modified - putting stock length ones back on the bike.

    Presto-Changeo - you now now have a "normal" height hexhead.

    BTW - while they are correct that lowering the bike reduces suspension travel - it does not reduce the minimum (fully compressed) ground or cornering clearance. This is a conscious design decision by BMW I expect to avoid liability issues caused by someone grounding out the bike on the tarmac under conditions of enthusiastic riding.
    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

  12. #12
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    it does not reduce the minimum (fully compressed) ground or cornering clearance.
    This is the first I've heard that the lowered BMWs have the same cornering clearance as the regular suspension bikes.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    This is the first I've heard that the lowered BMWs have the same cornering clearance as the regular suspension bikes.
    I should clarify that -BMW FACTORY lowered suspensions have the same fully compressed clearances as regular suspension bikes (at least on the Hexheads.) Think on it a bit.. if you lower the bike 1" and the suspension travel is less by 1" - the final compressed suspension height will be exactly the same so the fully compressed clearance will also be the same. Uncompressed clearance WILL change, but that's usually less of a concern unless you're a 10/10ths rider.

    That's basically what the article on the F700GS said - BMW has lowered the bike by some amount, and that same amount is now not available as suspension travel, hence - at maximum suspension compression - the ground clearances (and cornering clearances) have not changed. And "maximum suspension compression" is the important term you left out of my description in your summary.

    The downside of the BMW technique is the bike is more likely to reach max suspension compression under normal riding conditions, one of the reasons lowered suspension is often found to be somewhat harsh (when it bottoms out.) That can be alleviated somewhat by using a higher rate spring that resists compression under load more then the stick rate spring. Depending on the the rate chosen or needed - this can contribute to an overall firmer suspension which transmits more road shock into the bike through the suspension (ie - harder ride.) I haven't measured the spring rates that BMW uses for standard vs lowered suspension, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that they've used a higher rate spring on the lowered suspension shocks.

    Aftermarket suspension isn't necessarily the same. My R1200R, despite being lowered about 3/4" has the same overall suspension travel as a stock suspension setup. This was done by working with Klaus at HyperPro (he's a friend, and local) with some re-engineering of the lowered shocks, allowing for a shorter fully compressed length. This was only done after making certain that no hard parts on the bike would hit on full compression (we did this by mounting the modified shocks with no springs on them, so we could easily fully compress them and observe if there was a chance of any bits hitting each other.) Luckily on an R1200R - this is practical. The only downside is under full compression, I have 3/4" less clearance (straight or cornering) then with stock suspension, or BMW's lowered option. Given my riding level, this wasn't a huge concern for me (I'm typically a 5/10ths rider..)
    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 Bullett's Avatar
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    Have you tried the low seat in the low position? I was able to ride my standard RT with a factory low seat in the low position. Mine is an '07, so new bikes may be different. I did lower my bike suspension after 20K miles, more to get the correct spring rate for my weight, than anything else.
    Sharon
    '07 R1200RT (my favorite!); '12 Yamaha Super Tenere (El Gordo); '07 Suzuki DR650SE (!);
    '59 R 26 (my first)

  15. #15
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    This may not be the same for the RT but quoting from the GS owners manual

    "With lowering OE motorcycles with lowered running gear have less ground clearance in all positions than motorcycles with standard running gear"
    Last edited by deilenberger; 02-12-2013 at 03:12 PM.
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

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