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Thread: Why do shocks on bikes last 1/5 the time they do on cars and cost eight times more?

  1. #1
    Registered User Beemer01's Avatar
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    Why do shocks on bikes last 1/5 the time they do on cars and cost eight times more?

    I'm really curious about this. I suspect many of us ride around on shocks that are past their prime and we just don't notice. When faced with replacement - often because they have started to leak in my case - we're told to go with the 'good stuff' in the aftermarket world and face a $1700 tab...or even more..to replace and upgrade two shocks.

    A set of two shocks and two struts for my BMW cage can be done for $400 installed! And the OE stuff on my car will easily last 100,000 miles.

    Can anyone shed light on this?

  2. #2
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    Mass production and competition is my guess

    .
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

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    The more limited a market, the greater the cost to bring a product to market. And shocks for bikes vary greatly between various bike brands, applications within brands and even personal preferences. If someone can find a good cheap shock at sears with the right mounts, length, adjustability, compression, for an airhead, I'm sure they sell a couple dozen, maybe. Imagine removing all cars from our highways and byways for enough time to see "all" the motorcycles. there aren't that many of us out there, thus limited market.

  4. #4
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    I am not sure, whether mc shocks last 1/5 of car shocks. You most certainly feel a bad shock easier and thus earlier on a mc than a car. You would be surprised how many people drive around in their car with bad shocks.
    As fara s pricing is concerned, you have to compare apples and apples. You can buy a set of shocks for a dual shock bike for $300.-. For a car you are just buying the damper part, not the complete strut.
    Now, if you look at a single rear shock from ?├╗hlins, that's a different story. But then again, a set of coilover, double adjustment shocks for my Corvette is $2,500.-

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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Motorcycles are toys for boys with egos--this stuff always brings a higher price. Motorcycles as basic transportation is fantasy.

    Note: please don't be insulted by this ... I'm a participant, too. Just not deluded it can be cheap.

    Plus, other posters are correct, i.e. fewer customers. If motorcycles were a lucrative market, you'd see cheapo shocks from Monroe, Napa, etc. Econ 101.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  6. #6
    Left Coast Rider
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    All of the above plus...

    Motorcycle shocks are typically more sophisticated than what one would find on their North American sedan. Gas charged, deflected washer, aluminum bodied, with specific valving shocks for the bike versus an automotive mild steel, damper rod, non-adjustable style for many cars.

    Having said that, there are $1400 shocks available for my car which would be the equivalent to the type of unit I might put on my bike. http://performanceshock.com/index.ph...oducts_id=1183

    I am somehow resisting the urge.

  7. #7
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Don't kid yourself, most auto shocks are pretty shot at 30K too.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
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  8. #8
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Rebuild

    I have my Wilburs rebuilt. Cheap and incredible service. I ride two up and loaded and still get over 30,000 miles on a rebuild.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
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    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  9. #9
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    "THE MAN" wants to keep bikers down by overcharging for shocks and tires designed to wear out before the fist plug change. My HD buds realized this and invested in trailers for their bikes. Now they wear out the trailer tires and shocks and not their bikes. BRILLIANT!
    1987 K75S
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  10. #10
    advrider.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Motorcycles are toys for boys with egos--this stuff always brings a higher price. Motorcycles as basic transportation is fantasy.
    For you, maybe.

    For those of us who don't use motorcycles as a lifestyle accessory, this is incorrect. As opposed to my truck, my motorcycles have paid for themselves in fuel efficiency alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude View Post
    For you, maybe.

    For those of us who don't use motorcycles as a lifestyle accessory, this is incorrect. As opposed to my truck, my motorcycles have paid for themselves in fuel efficiency alone.
    Yes, me too! Lived in Los Angeles for years without a cage; saves lots of $$$, not to mention time not rotting on a stopped freeway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude View Post
    For you, maybe.

    For those of us who don't use motorcycles as a lifestyle accessory, this is incorrect. As opposed to my truck, my motorcycles have paid for themselves in fuel efficiency alone.
    and all so true in the 2nd & 3rd worlds of course where bikes(with & w/o engines) are the travel machines and- those people are not buying pricey shocks like some here
    "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.

  13. #13
    Sir Darby Darryl Cainey's Avatar
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    Why they cost more?

    Chrome or powder coated springs, polished aluminum housings, fancy reservoirs, steel braided lines, multi adjustable settings.

    We demand they look nice so they cost more! Simple!
    Ambassador BMW MOA Ontario Canada
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    1977 R100RS, (Retired) 1993 R100GS (just getting started)

  14. #14
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    We're NOT alone;

    Been in a 4X4 shop lately, or see what those jacked up 4X rigs put on. Its quite easy to see their suspensions, as its right in your face. I imagine they spend as much as my bikes total value in some cases? I just got 2200$ worth of Ohlins on my GSA and took my huge pain PILL, before I took the plunge. Its a topic, makes me kinda sick spending that much. Good question, cannot be answered well enough to satisfy my sink hole in my bank account. Randy

  15. #15
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude View Post
    For you, maybe.

    For those of us who don't use motorcycles as a lifestyle accessory, this is incorrect. As opposed to my truck, my motorcycles have paid for themselves in fuel efficiency alone.
    No need to be defensive--my post describes the industry and its perception of the majority of its customers. While you may feel differently about your "lifestyle" that doesn't change the pricing of parts and accessories for motorcycles. Of course "fuel alone" costs the same per gallon for bikes and your truck. Cost of tires per mile ... something else again.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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