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

  1. #16
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    Shocks/improved suspension is as much a personal thing as choice of underwear, at least in reading responses from past long threads on pros/cons of suspension upgrades. I for one was sold on the results after rding the stock crap shocks for 120k. The Wilbers simply transformed my bike, and I am not a track day guy, nor am I the fastest rider. I do demo rides for the local BMW dealer so I get to ride all the new models, and my 94RS at 170k miles on Wilbers rides as well as the brand new 2012 BMWs. I do enjoy the twisties and the ride accuracy with quality custom shocks was simply "shocking". Couldn't resist.

    Some things to consider though:
    1. Cost, yup, you'll spend from $800 (min) to almost $2500 (max) depending on what you chose, Hogons to Olihns.
    2. Tire wear/cupping/scalloping. Quality shocks on my 94RS nearly eliminated tire wear/cupping issues I had with the old shocks. The only thing I changed on my RS was the shocks, and tire wear life increased almost 4k, and cupping scalloping was nearly eliminated. I have proved this over three sets of tires and 40k miles.That to me has real value.
    3. Long term. Do you plan to keep/ride the bike for many years? Like five, ten or more? Then the cost is really a value.
    4. Rebuildability. Custom quality shocks are rebuildable, and you can have them tuned for you as your riding changes.
    5. Resale value. To some buyers, quality custom shocks DO add value to buying a pre-owned machine.
    6. Transferable. IF you go with custom quality shocks, and replace your current bike with a newer, lower miles similar bike, you could install the shocks on that bike. I know riders who have done this.

    Opinions are like,....um,....you know, we all have one. Personally, for me, you don't have to be a go-fast/track day rider to realize the gains of quality shocks. Others feel that stock, crappy, worn out in 30k shocks are fine for the normal rider, that you'll never notice the difference. You have to be the one that determines the value in it. For me, my next bike will have quality shocks as soon as the stock shocks are crapped out.
    Woodenshoe to Cheesehead

  2. #17
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    Shock upgrade opinions? 2004 1150R, 26K miles

    This is a very informative thread and there are a few shock names I never heard of before. I've done almost every maint and wear replacement upgrade to my '96 r1100rt last season at 72,000 miles except for the shocks. Highway riding is still relatively smooth on the originals but around town hitting minor bumps you can really feel it. Just before I put the bike away for the winter I upgraded to PR3's which greatly improved the ride and handling from the worn pr2's. Took a ride up to Ct. to see Dave Quinn to discuss Hagon for which he is a distributor. I do like them a lot and while they cost less than Olins, they are still expensive. So are a set of BMW stocks. I'm more of a comfort than speedy rider especially with this heavy bike so racetrack performance is not important to me. At least I can look at a couple more alternatives before pulling the trigger so appreciate this thread.

    Back to the original thread I'm surprised that at 26K you would need to change them unless a specific performance upgrade was called for.

    mike wex
    '96 r1100rt

  3. #18
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    one of the over riding themes seems to be that people think that

    you have to be a rider who rides like a sport rider, or a track day rider to appreciate the "upgrade" of after market shocks.

    My two cents is that the bike handles and stops much better with quality shocks that aren't worn out. Because the tires stay on the ground... which is where they are supposed to be; for starting, stopping, and turning.

    and while i am throwing out cheap opinions.... I would suggest that by the time that you hit the 24k service; you need to change your stock shocks. They are SHOT! That's not to say that everyone will notice, but they are done. Try riding two-up, and i believe that you will notice the bike wallowing, and bumps can be rather uncomfortable. They wallow!

    but again, it's not my $$$, or my bike.
    Somers, NY

    Just enjoying the ride.......

  4. #19
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    If I tell my wife that my bike wallows(@28k) with her on it will that win her over to the cost of new aftermarket shocks? I'm in the group with OEM shocks(however large or small) that has no tires leaving the ground or noticeable instability from needing new shocks or wallowing with luggage.
    For me the suggestion is that this (so called?)great machine that is so well engineered and so on & so forth has crap shocks based on BMW's unwillingness to put decent shocks on them OEM?
    I say I'm in the "if you race it & want to be in the front row crowd" then buy high end suspension, otherwise I'm using these OEM's until they actually act worn out & they don't.
    End of rant...
    "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.

  5. #20
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    Angry

    Ask anybody who knows anything about motorcycle racing, and they will all tell you speed comes from the suspension. (as in most motor sports)Then they will tell you the most important part of the suspension is the spring rates. Putting the proper rated spring on your bike for your weight and riding style is the single best improvement you can do. Unfortunately, BMW decided not to make their 'stock' suspensions serviceable by the owners, and some aren't even able to be serviced by experts, which to me is ridiculous. So to get units in which you can change springs, you have to buy a suspension component that should have been on the bike to begin with.

    I could change the rear spring on all my dirt bikes (modern; '07 KTM and not so modern; KDX's) with simple hand tools and a good bench vise, and the same with the front springs. And these springs can be bought for less than 150 bucks!

    Why in the world does a 90's vintage dirt bike have a suspension system FAR superior to a BMW street bike. I'm talking threaded collar adjustments for spring pre load, 15 to 20 settings for damping and rebound and different densities of jounce stops?
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

  6. #21
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    Because,....for all their "wisdom" in building bikes, BMW has determined that we, the owners/riders don't know a THING about proper suspension setup and calibration. When it comes to suspensions, BMW thinks the everyday BMW rider is an unknowing noob who wouldn't know what to do with suspension adjustments if BMW gave us the adjustments. So they don't.

    The other part is purely economics. Cheap shocks that crap out in 30,000 miles exceeds the miles most riders but on their bikes in many years. Many, many riders only put on 2500 miles a year, so the stock shocks will last them 10 years if they keep the bike that long. Or the rider sells the bike before the shocks are crapped out because he/she HAS to have the latest/newest ride. Given that, BMW chooses to spend less bucks on the shocks, which BMW doesn't build anyway, and hopefully spend more bucks on the parts that BMW does build. If BMW can buy a pair of shocks that will last 30,000 miles, for less than $200, they will.
    Woodenshoe to Cheesehead

  7. #22
    Registered User breyfogle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aja1739 View Post
    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
    I would put premium shocks solidly in the #3 category. The choice seems to line up with tire preferences. If you are the type of rider who tries to get 10,000 miles per rear tyre, pretty much any shock that holds up the rear will do. If you are proud to wear out a tyre in 2,000 miles, premium shocks are the better choice.
    '89 K75S Original Owner
    '94 (Beta) R11RS, ( RIP 12-5-2010 courtesy of blind left turning cage driver ) ....

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