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Thread: Suspension hitting hard on 2012 RT

  1. #1
    Hammam
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    Suspension hitting hard on 2012 RT

    I don't remember if I have posted on this subject before. I may have, because it's something that has been bothering me for a while. If i did, forgive me. Here goes: I ride a 2012 RT, with ESA, Michelin PR3 at 36/40 and 9,000 miles on the clock. Now, in Montreal, the street are in a terrible state of disrepair, like you wouldn't believe. Pot holes, cracks, bumps, dips, patches of hastily dumped bad quality asphalt... you name it. It's not here and there, it's absolutely everywhere. Not one street has even a mediocre surface, they're just horrible. I usually set the ESA at one helmet preload (82 kgs rider and two empty panniers), and Comfort damping in town. But when I ride at medium or slow speed on cracks and bumps, the feeling of the suspension is like there was none at all. The hits are so hard and sharp it feels like I'm riding on wooden wheels. I get so shaken, I have to stand on the pegs (which makes me regret having traded my GS for the RT.)

    Am I the only one experiencing this? Is it a fact of life I have to accept because no shocks will absorb this kind ot irregularities, or is it because the OEM shocks are just mediocre. Or, God forbid, that my shocks are shot?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. #2
    Mind is not for rent
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    There's only so much the suspension can do. You might try increasing the preload to give you a little more travel, but a terrible road is a terrible road.

  3. #3
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    I don't remember if I have posted on this subject before. I may have, because it's something that has been bothering me for a while. If i did, forgive me. Here goes: I ride a 2012 RT, with ESA, Michelin PR3 at 36/40 and 9,000 miles on the clock. Now, in Montreal, the street are in a terrible state of disrepair, like you wouldn't believe. Pot holes, cracks, bumps, dips, patches of hastily dumped bad quality asphalt... you name it. It's not here and there, it's absolutely everywhere. Not one street has even a mediocre surface, they're just horrible. I usually set the ESA at one helmet preload (82 kgs rider and two empty panniers), and Comfort damping in town. But when I ride at medium or slow speed on cracks and bumps, the feeling of the suspension is like there was none at all. The hits are so hard and sharp it feels like I'm riding on wooden wheels. I get so shaken, I have to stand on the pegs (which makes me regret having traded my GS for the RT.)

    Am I the only one experiencing this? Is it a fact of life I have to accept because no shocks will absorb this kind ot irregularities, or is it because the OEM shocks are just mediocre. Or, God forbid, that my shocks are shot?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    For bad roads, the damping needs to be a bit stiffer to handle those big bumps and avoid bottoming the suspension. You can break the aluminum castings on these Paralevers using too soft of a setting with too little spring preload...ask me how I know!

    If I had ESA, I'd find a typical nasty piece of street for a test....Then:

    -Start at the loosest setting (1 helmet?) I'd try the "Comfort" setting.

    -Then, I'd go back and try the Sport setting to tighten up the damping with the same pre-load.

    -Then I'd go back to the comfort setting, change to (1 helmet/full bags) and try that.

    -Then I'd try "1 helmet/full bags" with the Sport setting.

    -Then I'd try Comfort and Sport with the "2 helmets" setting etc.

    By now, you've probably found the "sweet spot" for bad roads, but go ahead and try each setting. It will give you an idea about what these settings actually do. Also read the rider's manual that came with your bike. There is surprisingly useful information in it.

    When you have the best setting for rough streets, remember it and use it. For touring and other uses, just sweeten to taste.

    The most comfortable setting for any road is the one that uses as much of the full travel of the suspension as possible but never bottoms or tops out. Use just enough damping to slow down the wheel movement to avoid bottoming/topping.


  4. #4
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    For bad roads, the damping needs to be a bit stiffer to handle those big bumps and avoid bottoming the suspension. You can break the aluminum castings on these Paralevers using too soft of a setting with too little spring preload...ask me how I know!

    If I had ESA, I'd find a typical nasty piece of street for a test....Then:

    -Start at the loosest setting (1 helmet?) I'd try the "Comfort" setting.

    -Then, I'd go back and try the Sport setting to tighten up the damping with the same pre-load.

    -Then I'd go back to the comfort setting, change to (1 helmet/full bags) and try that.

    -Then I'd try "1 helmet/full bags" with the Sport setting.

    -Then I'd try Comfort and Sport with the "2 helmets" setting etc.

    By now, you've probably found the "sweet spot" for bad roads, but go ahead and try each setting. It will give you an idea about what these settings actually do. Also read the rider's manual that came with your bike. There is surprisingly useful information in it.

    When you have the best setting for rough streets, remember it and use it. For touring and other uses, just sweeten to taste.

    The most comfortable setting for any road is the one that uses as much of the full travel of the suspension as possible but never bottoms or tops out. Use just enough damping to slow down the wheel movement to avoid bottoming/topping.

    Thank you for you suggestions. I've already tried changing preload and damping, but I will try again, with more method. Come Spring. The problem is not with the big bumps on the road, and it's not bottoming, it's all those little 1/2 inch cracks, holes and edges on city streets. They always hit hard, and the panniers rattle every time.

  5. #5
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    I know what you mean. 2006 RT with ESA and sometimes I'd swear there were no shocks or springs in the bike at all. Rides on rough surfaces like a hard tail from the 50s. I run preload at one helmet and comfort on rebound. Doesn't make much difference and the bike never pogo sticks as though there weren't enough damping. Someday I'll get rid of the ESA and go with standard adjusteble suspension like Wilbers etc. Wish Koni was still around.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  6. #6
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by 05Train View Post
    There's only so much the suspension can do. You might try increasing the preload to give you a little more travel, but a terrible road is a terrible road.
    So, you don't think that BMW's average quality OEM shocks could be responsible, and that changing up for better (Wilbers, ?ûhlins) would help?

  7. #7
    Mind is not for rent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    So, you don't think that BMW's average quality OEM shocks could be responsible, and that changing up for better (Wilbers, ?ûhlins) would help?
    Sure, that could help. But I'd start with the free stuff first.

  8. #8
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 05Train View Post
    Sure, that could help. But I'd start with the free stuff first.
    Train:

    That's what I was going with...the free solution...if there is one. I've had 3 RTs. I got Ohlins for my '99. When I got my 1150, I had them modified to fit. The '05 1200 with no ESA wasn't able to be modified so I bought a set of top-end Wilbers for it right away. Stock shocks on the '05 are OK, but I think the rear spring is too much and the front seemed really harsh.

    The Wilburs came to me set up way too hard...bought from the Wilburs guy on the East Coast. They were a big improvement over stock, but not as nice as my Ohlins were on the other two bikes. I didn't like them until I had them rebuilt by The Beemer Shop in California. Since then, they've been really lovely.

    If you buy new shocks or have a good set that need rebuilding, I can recommend Beemer Shop. He sets them up right. The owner works on shocks and supervises everything. He rides and personally knows how they tick and should be done.


  9. #9
    Registered User wvpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    Train:

    I didn't like them until I had them rebuilt by The Beemer Shop in California. Since then, they've been really lovely.

    If you buy new shocks or have a good set that need rebuilding, I can recommend Beemer Shop. He sets them up right. The owner works on shocks and supervises everything. He rides and personally knows how they tick and should be done.

    +1 On Ted Porters Beemershop. I am still exploring the settings on my '12 RT NON ESA Yacugar setup after 8000 miles. The adjustability, ride and handling are greatly improved 1 up or 2 up. 5 year warranty. Give him a call. No affliation just a happy customer.
    12 R1200 RT
    83 R100 RT

  10. #10
    Cowboyatheart
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    Suspension

    I have a 2008 RT.
    I ride with one helmet, with luggage setting on and on sport mode. I find comfort to squishy and an uncomfortable ride, normal I find pretty good but not as tight as sport.

    I live in BC, and the roads are not great, but I know what you mean, Montr?®al's roads are pretty bad.

    I would also try the sport setting on your preload.

    I've never had bottoming out. Good luck
    Neil
    Want to be happy for a day? Drink. Want to be happy for a year? Get married. Want to be happy for life? Ride a BMW!
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  11. #11
    Registered User Alfred02's Avatar
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    Comfort is really for pure slap work only. That's a Highway with excellent road condition, no matter what the pre-load.
    I find for myself that normal or sport are the only settings for normal roads, depending how hard you push with pre-load to suit.

    For me ESA works great.
    Personally I have issues that others keep bringing up "custom shocks" that are tuned specific to their riding style and weight and compare them to the OE shocks that have to suit a wide range of rider styles and weights.
    Australia N,S,W
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  12. #12
    Rally Rat
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    If you are bottoming the suspension, you need more preload on the spring OR a stiffer spring.

    Springs hold the bike up, shocks control the springs.

    More preload, two helmets will set the bike a little higher needing more travel to compress the spring.

    Two helmets and luggage may be better yet.

    I was getting similar problems with my 12R1200R. Expansion bumps were kicking me off the bike. More preload fixed the problem.

    If the spring is too soft, the compression damping on the shock will work harder making your ride harder. This is only on high speed compression damping. Not the bike going high speed, but the shock working at high speed over sharp bumps.

    Have you checked the suspension sag with rider on front and rear? What is it?

    more later
    David

  13. #13
    Registered User
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    The RT has a crappy front suspension. Even here in NC when mine was new I was surprised at the ease with which it bottomed in normal riding. Now that I've got multiple bikes almost ready to go I might look at improving that lousy front. What it needs is a better shock function tat doesn't operate like a low pressure pop off valve, going to nothing so easily.
    Otherwise you're stuck with it but you may get somewhat used to it, as I have.
    Why the rate is so far off in stick trim (noI;m not a heavy rider) I've got no idea. I don't rmemeber roads in Germany being all that stellar compared to where I live.

  14. #14
    Hammam
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    Thank you for your advice and opinions, my friends. But let me say again: I do no bottom out. This is not the problem I'm trying to describe. On sharp and short craks and holes in the city the bike hits like it has wooden whels. It's a sharp knock. Let me try an image here: remember those ancient roller skates with metal wheels? Well, imagine you're going down a 1/2 inch step with them. That's the feeling. Hitting down hard and quick.

  15. #15
    Registered User
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    Roads here in Norfolk VA are lousy. I've had a '10 and '11 RT and the front ends do tend to act like jackhammers. I weigh 170 or so, and I ride without the sidecases but I do also ride with the topcase always on. I prefer the Solo position with the setting at comfort. I put my tire pressures 3 or 4 pounds above the recommeded solo settings. If your pressure is set for two-up, that could be the problem. The tire is part of the suspension, as well.

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