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Thread: Shock upgrade opinions? 2004 1150R, 26K miles

  1. #1
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    Shock upgrade opinions? 2004 1150R, 26K miles

    OK, so before I get going, I need to say up front that this is as much a philosophical question as it is mechanical. Secondly, it probably makes sense to get the facts on the table:
    • 26,000 miles (10 years) on the stock shocks
    • No known mechanical issues with current shocks - no observed leaking, at least, but performance-wise I have nothing to compare to
    • I'm about 160 lbs, and only occasionally carry luggage in side cases; never a passenger. ever.
    • Most riding is day-trips, some travel, little to no commuting.
    • Typically ride 4-5K miles per year, so I'm not a road-warrior, by any means.
    • Had the bike 3 years, and have no plans of selling/trading it anytime soon.


    Now, some philosophy.... I try to prioritize my investments along the following lines (and actually even succeed sometimes! )
    1. Mechanically necessary to keep the bike running, and remain legal and safe. e.g. tires, battery, brakes, routine maintenance, etc.
    2. Comfort and convenience items - things like my Sargent seat, side cases, touring windshield, etc. May have an incidental impact on safety by reducing fatigue, discomfort, stress, etc.
    3. Pure performance improvements. (none yet)
    4. Cosmetic stuff. (i.e. stickers :-)


    At this point I'm pretty certain the shocks are not a "category 1" item. Also reasonably sure they're not in #4. That leaves 2 & 3, or some mixture thereof. For whatever reason, I've been looking at the standards - Ohlins, Wilbers, and Hagon - and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth dropping $1,200 - $1,800 on them. Any idea if I'd notice an improvement or difference? If so, would Ohlins or Wilbers be putting "a $10 saddle on a $5 horse"? Should I just wait unitil I have problems with the stock shocks before even worrying about it?

    So - let me know what you think. I realize this isn't scientific, so there's probably no 'wrong' answers. Thanks, everyone. And Happy Friday!
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Better suspension is the first thing I have done to my last three rides. My brand new Boxer Cup got updated at 3000 miles. Ride and handling far superior to stock IMHO. Are they a #1 item, technically no, but old crappy tires technically are not either. I would slot them at 1-1/2. They can improve comfort more then seats shields etc, if you ride back roads. And everyone I ride with says suspension improvements were the best $$ ever spent on the bike. I ride with several guys in NC, and most of them upgrade the suspension soon after they get new bikes, which they do frequently. Plus at 26K, there is a good chance that they only things the shocks are basically just springs, with little of no damping.

    More important you only rent good suspension, with a security deposit. I am selling the Boxer Cup, and removed the Ohlins/Fox shocks, and put the stock back on the bike. I enjoyed them for 50K miles and 9 years and sold them for 200 less than I paid new, I did put $200 into having them serviced over the years. so total investment for superior ride and handling is less than $50/year (2 tanks of gas)

    In NC, call Dave at Fast Bike Industries in Hendersonville, GREAT GUY and great prices. Tell him the Yankee from NY with the F800GS sent you. He will set them up for you and your weight, riding style and needs.
    Linky:
    http://fastbikeindustries.com/contac...es-contact.htm
    Last edited by pffog; 03-01-2013 at 03:41 PM.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
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    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  3. #3
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    LOL... thanks for the contact there! BTW... I'm originally from WNY, too - Jamestown. But that was many moons ago. I appreciate your comments!
    Best,
    Andrew

  4. #4
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    I'd put suspension upgrades in 2 and 3. The handling of the bike will be transformed especially in corners and on uneven surfaces, but it will also be more comfortable, kinder to your bones, back, neck etc. It's the first change I've made to several BMWs.

  5. #5
    Left Coast Rider
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    Here's another point of view...if you're not feeling your bike doing anything untoward, perhaps you don't need to spend the money on an upgrade.

    Many riders don't push their bikes to the point where improved suspension components would benefit them. And that's not a criticism. We all ride differently.

    On the other hand, if you're feeling some "uneasiness" as you ride through corners or feel some control issues while heading down the highway you could very well benefit from new shocks. Personally, its the first major modification I make on all my bikes. I'm running an Elka rear and a re-valved factory shock in the front on my 1100S. Makes a world of difference for my type of riding.

    If money is no object...spend it!

  6. #6
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    If you go to the track, and you're the fastest guy in the intermediate group, and you're thinking about moving up to expert, you need to think about upgrading your suspension. Short of that, the stock suspension is fine. That being said, your shocks will wear out eventually. You may want to look around for a lightly used set to install at the 50K mile point.

  7. #7
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aja1739 View Post
    OK, so before I get going, I need to say up front that this is as much a philosophical question as it is mechanical. Secondly, it probably makes sense to get the facts on the table:
    • 26,000 miles (10 years) on the stock shocks
    • No known mechanical issues with current shocks - no observed leaking, at least, but performance-wise I have nothing to compare to
    • I'm about 160 lbs, and only occasionally carry luggage in side cases; never a passenger. ever.
    • Most riding is day-trips, some travel, little to no commuting.
    • Typically ride 4-5K miles per year, so I'm not a road-warrior, by any means.
    • Had the bike 3 years, and have no plans of selling/trading it anytime soon.


    Now, some philosophy.... I try to prioritize my investments along the following lines (and actually even succeed sometimes! )
    1. Mechanically necessary to keep the bike running, and remain legal and safe. e.g. tires, battery, brakes, routine maintenance, etc.
    2. Comfort and convenience items - things like my Sargent seat, side cases, touring windshield, etc. May have an incidental impact on safety by reducing fatigue, discomfort, stress, etc.
    3. Pure performance improvements. (none yet)
    4. Cosmetic stuff. (i.e. stickers :-)


    At this point I'm pretty certain the shocks are not a "category 1" item. Also reasonably sure they're not in #4. That leaves 2 & 3, or some mixture thereof. For whatever reason, I've been looking at the standards - Ohlins, Wilbers, and Hagon - and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth dropping $1,200 - $1,800 on them. Any idea if I'd notice an improvement or difference? If so, would Ohlins or Wilbers be putting "a $10 saddle on a $5 horse"? Should I just wait unitil I have problems with the stock shocks before even worrying about it?

    So - let me know what you think. I realize this isn't scientific, so there's probably no 'wrong' answers. Thanks, everyone. And Happy Friday!
    Andrew
    At the same number of miles, and with my shocks in the same good condition as yours, I purchased a set of Wilbers' shocks from Ted Porter's Beemer Shop. I noticed that my existing front shock was harsh on pavement seams, and the rear shock allowed the rear wheel to hop a bit and feel like it might bottom.

    I ordered the shocks and then started trying different pre-loads on the old one while I waited a few weeks for the Wilbers'. Fully in, the rear wheel hop was mitigated, but the front stock shock was still harsh.

    The new shocks were easy to install and did change the character of the handling. The front isn't so stiff/harsh and the bike holds the road better. Most of my riding is fast but not crazy-aggressive. The new shocks, now a year old have been a good upgrade but not a revolutionary change.

  8. #8
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    I ride this same bike with OEM shocks and post #6 works for me.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  9. #9
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    Different choices for different needs. I pulled my "sport" suspension shocks off my R11S at 12K miles. They worked fine, but were just waaaay too stiff for me, even at lightest settings in the way around. It was either gain 30 lbs, or gain new shocks. Wilbers/Ohlins won, as did my waist line. And the bike handling was trnasformed. Some need the difference, some notice the difference, some put up with what they've got, and some have no clue whatsoever.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
    Curmudgeon At Large Bobmws's Avatar
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    With your weight and riding style, at least as much as we can gather from your post, you're probably good for another 10-15k on the stock shocks. As suggested I would play with the settings to see what difference you feel. When you get to the end of adjustability that gives a satisfying ride, you will be at replacement time for sure.
    I would add HyperPro to your shopping list. Quality adjustable, rebuildable shocks.
    Having finer/better adjustment does make a significant difference, alot depends on your particular riding style if that difference is worth the investment.
    Bob Weis
    '04 K12RS - Hannigan Hack
    www.earplugco.com

  11. #11
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    OK - first of all, thank-you to everyone who posted a reply with your opinions and advice here. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that.

    Now... an update.... So, lack of patience kind of got the better of me, resulting in a Saturday evening (EST) call to Ted Porter's Beemershop. You can probably guess what happened next, especially if you've ever dealt with Ted yourself. He spent the better part of an hour on the phone with me asking questions about my bike, my riding style, weight, gear, etc., and sharing information on some of the finer points of shock/damper construction. I called him with the intent of getting a price on a set of Wilbers, but after talking with him I went with his recommendation and put down a deposit on a set of Yacugar shocks. No blue spring, but Ted felt like they had a slight technical edge for this particular application, and it didn't hurt a bit that they were a few bucks cheaper than the Wilbers. Overall, not bad for a set of custom made shocks.

    Anyway, I should get them in 3-4 weeks, and will provide another update after I get them installed. Thanks again! (And yet another thanks to Ted at the Beemershop!)

    Andrew

  12. #12
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    NEVER talk to a suspension guy!

  13. #13
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    BTDT with Ted more than once. No regrets!

  14. #14
    Registered User rhyeks's Avatar
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    Had the exact conversation with Ted a couple of weeks ago. I hope to have mine soon.
    Ken
    2004 R1150RT
    2013 F800R

  15. #15
    SportTourer
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    Another Option

    I replaced the Stock Shocks on my '99 R1100RT with "Works" Shocks and have been very happy with them. The first ride after putting them on, I couldn't believe it was the same bike!

    Sure, I would have bought Ohlins, but I don't push my bike(s) like I used to when I was younger, so the extra 1% better handling would be a waste for me. Besides, Ohlins are really expensive, and although I love my BMW, I do like to eat 3 times a day and sleep indoors, something the cost of the Ohlins would put into jeopardy. LOL

    Best of Luck to you. Keep it shiny side up.

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