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Thread: BAD Luck:(. R1200GS

  1. #1
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    BAD Luck:(. R1200GS

    I wake up this AM and find BOTH my Ohlin's leaking! Crap.....GSA1200 was all ready for departure next week for more than a month away. Dry as a bone here, but raining heavy on ME! Some quick calls got me Ohlin's USA in NC and they are awaiting my shocks overnight tomorrow by 1030AM via UPS. Slow there and they rebuild mine when they arrive and back to me by this weekend, FAST. Problem is, the shocks are only a year old!!! Warranty by them is in play, OR I ask for it. I get slammed by shipping costs, but I hope they stand up and do the work FREE. On the phone, they said the costs would be very minimal, if anything, depending on abuse to shocks? Miles; only about 12000m on these. Its early for a rebuild even by their standards of 20000m build intervals, recommended by Ohlin. My 2nd set of these and the first were perfect a long time. 2200$ shocks and my morning awake to this, really had me cursing the situation before I got out my tools and did the work and shipped them off. At least they are doing the work PROMPTLY, I smile. GSA1200 is quite a PIG, having to take a front shock OFF, (crash bars)UGLY JOB(about an hour+). The rear one comes off in 5 minutes. FYI, for anybody having to do this job. I Will report IF I spent my shipping dollars wisely, as that alone is not cheap(overnight) from West Coast. Called my only resource, Ted Porter BMW Shop in Santa Cruz, CA. area and he is swamped with shock work and getting ready for Salem, no time for mine. 175 miles from me anyways. Anyhow, GSA will be back in fine fashion come Monday or sooner. Randy
    Last edited by deilenberger; 06-27-2013 at 04:40 AM. Reason: added model to thread title

  2. #2
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    The Ohlins gang is generally pretty good- hope your shipping arrangments work out.
    I'm not sure how you could abuse a shock unless you use bike for daily jumps over rows of school buses or similar!
    Sorry 'bout the bad luck- I'm riding a K-RS that has had Ohlins on it a long time and despite their 20K suggested intervsl I've seen no need to service them as I've yet to have to crank an adjuster even 1 notch...

  3. #3
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Yep;

    I do off road but no abuse to these, as I see it. My second set and previous bike had no issues, never rebuilt. Cost me a LOT to ship these over night across country, so I hope they at Ohlin step up and they said they would work quickly. Know today! 1030AM N.C. Time(UPS delivered) and they should have them in their shop anytime now. The worst part of this whole thing is the GSA1200, getting the front shock off the bike and back on. BMW never gave any thought to this when building this bike! The rear shock is OK to do in 5 minutes. The COMPLEX crash bar system of the GSA gets in the way and must come off. FYI. Randy

  4. #4
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear your woes...both at the same time is pretty crazy! Sounds like you'll be back on the road soon however.

    And yes, the front shock on the GSA is a booger to remove for sure, have done mine twice and a few others. Helen's R12R is WAY easier.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Follow up!

    The folks at Ohlin's USA in NC really gave me no break on rebuild cost. 329$, both shocks. The shocks are 16 months old, 12000+ miles and they just said the miles were enough to need rebuild! 20000m being their guideline for such! I must have missed something, thinking they could share some cost. Not so. They DID however get them overnight from me, out of pocket big bucks and they DID jump right on them and get them done same day as they arrived(Tuesday), made me happy. Ohlin did save me some bucks shipping back to me overnight, cutting that cost nearly in half for overnight service. This is coast to coast, so big bucks here. 325$ total in shipping two shocks roundtrip. BUT, I got all this done in THREE days, vs two weeks for ground shipping and I have tour planned soon as they get mounted by me. I'm out 660$ total for an unexpected ouch, just as I was about to depart over the road. The extra overnight shipping cost me probably 150$, so there is the difference, FYI. Three days vs. two weeks. SUMMARY: Ohlin's are great products, I have had three sets in 15 years. This is my first FAIL of their shocks, imo. Just too soon! I experience this again and Ohlin loses my business for a LONG time. 2200$ in shocks that cannot hold up are useless to me. The stock BMW shocks did much better and I know the Ohlin product is a major upgrade or supposed to be? Their rebuild policy of every 20000m is a JOKE, period. I am glad they are rebuildable, but come on here. Having to build my shocks twice a year or less in some cases, is a PURE joke for a shock costing all these bucks. I'm just in the wrong business, as this overseas stuff is killing me in this case. I LIKE the product, bought it three times. but will hold my ground from now on. Randy

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    All I need to hear. I'll never own Ohlin's!

    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    The folks at Ohlin's USA in NC really gave me no break on rebuild cost. 329$, both shocks. The shocks are 16 months old, 12000+ miles and they just said the miles were enough to need rebuild! 20000m being their guideline for such! I must have missed something, thinking they could share some cost. Not so. They DID however get them overnight from me, out of pocket big bucks and they DID jump right on them and get them done same day as they arrived(Tuesday), made me happy. Ohlin did save me some bucks shipping back to me overnight, cutting that cost nearly in half for overnight service. This is coast to coast, so big bucks here. 325$ total in shipping two shocks roundtrip. BUT, I got all this done in THREE days, vs two weeks for ground shipping and I have tour planned soon as they get mounted by me. I'm out 660$ total for an unexpected ouch, just as I was about to depart over the road. The extra overnight shipping cost me probably 150$, so there is the difference, FYI. Three days vs. two weeks. SUMMARY: Ohlin's are great products, I have had three sets in 15 years. This is my first FAIL of their shocks, imo. Just too soon! I experience this again and Ohlin loses my business for a LONG time. 2200$ in shocks that cannot hold up are useless to me. The stock BMW shocks did much better and I know the Ohlin product is a major upgrade or supposed to be? Their rebuild policy of every 20000m is a JOKE, period. I am glad they are rebuildable, but come on here. Having to build my shocks twice a year or less in some cases, is a PURE joke for a shock costing all these bucks. I'm just in the wrong business, as this overseas stuff is killing me in this case. I LIKE the product, bought it three times. but will hold my ground from now on. Randy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    The folks at Ohlin's USA in NC really gave me no break on rebuild cost. 329$, both shocks. The shocks are 16 months old, 12000+ miles and they just said the miles were enough to need rebuild! 20000m being their guideline for such! I must have missed something, thinking they could share some cost. Not so. They DID however get them overnight from me, out of pocket big bucks and they DID jump right on them and get them done same day as they arrived(Tuesday), made me happy. Ohlin did save me some bucks shipping back to me overnight, cutting that cost nearly in half for overnight service. This is coast to coast, so big bucks here. 325$ total in shipping two shocks roundtrip. BUT, I got all this done in THREE days, vs two weeks for ground shipping and I have tour planned soon as they get mounted by me. I'm out 660$ total for an unexpected ouch, just as I was about to depart over the road. The extra overnight shipping cost me probably 150$, so there is the difference, FYI. Three days vs. two weeks. SUMMARY: Ohlin's are great products, I have had three sets in 15 years. This is my first FAIL of their shocks, imo. Just too soon! I experience this again and Ohlin loses my business for a LONG time. 2200$ in shocks that cannot hold up are useless to me. The stock BMW shocks did much better and I know the Ohlin product is a major upgrade or supposed to be? Their rebuild policy of every 20000m is a JOKE, period. I am glad they are rebuildable, but come on here. Having to build my shocks twice a year or less in some cases, is a PURE joke for a shock costing all these bucks. I'm just in the wrong business, as this overseas stuff is killing me in this case. I LIKE the product, bought it three times. but will hold my ground from now on. Randy
    I'm not sure what is realistic to expect out of shocks. It's doubtful the OEM units hold up that far and they're certainly no where as good as Ohlins. And, they're not rebuildable. Although the rebuild policy sounds like few miles do shocks hold up for longer and provide the same level of performance? I think shocks wear out sooner than most realize but because it is so gradual and they're typically not leaking oil people don't give it much thought.

    I see you have a GSA. Are you off-roading it? Both leaking at the same time is unusual for sure and perhaps you hit something extremely hard? Did Ohlins comment on anything being damaged?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
    If you've arrived at this decision due to the OP's issue you may want to give it further research. All shock companies have failures. No one is immune. A 20,000 mile rebuild policy doesn't sound like a lot of miles but I'm not sure shocks are functioning real well at that mileage no matter the brand. And, I imagine rebuilding at that mileage allows them to continue providing top performance. A single failure is meaningless. Far too little information to make an informed decision.

    Ohlins will provide one of the more pleasurable riding experiences you can have. I would not shortchange them based on this repair. YMMV.

  9. #9
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    I don't:)

    I agree Ohlin 's are a nice product. I am on my 6th GS since 1982 and three have had Ohlin's, with a ton of miles added on them. My first fail is correct, but not with a lot of experience owning the shocks. My GSA1200 stock shocks went 76000m, which can be considered more than most, BUT were very good to the end. Off road, yes, since 1982 800gs. I would say ALL my stock and past Ohlin's shocks have outlasted the new set of Ohlin's I have today, which blew at 12000m. I will never consider that a good product in this one case only, as a 2200$ set of shocks cannot do this and keep my faith high. Its my understanding once one goes thru the rebuild as I just did, the rebuilds are better than new! Its a tale going around. Hope mine are better. My past experience owning the Ohlin's, all great. One more fail at what I consider EARLY and I shop elsewhere, no issues at all telling my friends Ohlin's can hike a short pier! I continue wearing my Ohlin's proudly, knowing what I spent for them and they look great under there. I told "reps" at Ohlin USA exact same thing I am saying here, beware losing business if a 2200$ upscale shock is(keeps) crapping out early. I am also NOT a fan of a 20000m shock rebuild, no matter what the conditions I ride. Some/many BMW folks ride 30-40000m+ a year and to spend 340$ twice a year to build the shocks is absurd, imo. Just that, my opinion. Anybody calls that good lifespans for a shock system, is either wealthy enough to never care or just not riding the miles. That's 700$ a year for a really serious tourer to build his shocks. Ugly! And I understand all the rebuildable shocks are same in this regard. I am older, senior rider here, but wont lie down and not speak whats true enough about m/c's and keeping them running. I'm riding, smiling still and Happy Trails to all. Save your dollars, you're gonna need'em if ya ride. Randy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    I agree Ohlin 's are a nice product. I am on my 6th GS since 1982 and three have had Ohlin's, with a ton of miles added on them. My first fail is correct, but not with a lot of experience owning the shocks. My GSA1200 stock shocks went 76000m, which can be considered more than most, BUT were very good to the end. Off road, yes, since 1982 800gs. I would say ALL my stock and past Ohlin's shocks have outlasted the new set of Ohlin's I have today, which blew at 12000m. I will never consider that a good product in this one case only, as a 2200$ set of shocks cannot do this and keep my faith high. Its my understanding once one goes thru the rebuild as I just did, the rebuilds are better than new! Its a tale going around. Hope mine are better. My past experience owning the Ohlin's, all great. One more fail at what I consider EARLY and I shop elsewhere, no issues at all telling my friends Ohlin's can hike a short pier! I continue wearing my Ohlin's proudly, knowing what I spent for them and they look great under there. I told "reps" at Ohlin USA exact same thing I am saying here, beware losing business if a 2200$ upscale shock is(keeps) crapping out early. I am also NOT a fan of a 20000m shock rebuild, no matter what the conditions I ride. Some/many BMW folks ride 30-40000m+ a year and to spend 340$ twice a year to build the shocks is absurd, imo. Just that, my opinion. Anybody calls that good lifespans for a shock system, is either wealthy enough to never care or just not riding the miles. That's 700$ a year for a really serious tourer to build his shocks. Ugly! And I understand all the rebuildable shocks are same in this regard. I am older, senior rider here, but wont lie down and not speak whats true enough about m/c's and keeping them running. I'm riding, smiling still and Happy Trails to all. Save your dollars, you're gonna need'em if ya ride. Randy
    Agreed. But my real point is how long do shocks continue to provide outstanding performance? I really don't know the answer to that question. Is Ohlins stating that 20k is long enough to degrade the performance to a level where once rebuilt you will have a noticeable difference? In other words will the shock really go 40k or 60k or 80k to throw out examples but the performance will no longer be there? What are other shock companies saying? I know 2 shock-related things with certainty: (1) the OEM units wear out very quickly but you could still put another 100k on with zero problems in all likelihood and (2) Ohlins will change your world. Maybe they're saying if you want to maintain that level of performance you need to rebuild every 20K as an average? What amounts to race equipment doesn't normally equate to longevity.

    I think qualified shock people are hard to come by and I personally just don't have the knowledge to speak of. Any qualified shock technicians out there?

  11. #11
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    Agreed. But my real point is how long do shocks continue to provide outstanding performance? I really don't know the answer to that question. Is Ohlins stating that 20k is long enough to degrade the performance to a level where once rebuilt you will have a noticeable difference? In other words will the shock really go 40k or 60k or 80k to throw out examples but the performance will no longer be there? What are other shock companies saying? I know 2 shock-related things with certainty: (1) the OEM units wear out very quickly but you could still put another 100k on with zero problems in all likelihood and (2) Ohlins will change your world. Maybe they're saying if you want to maintain that level of performance you need to rebuild every 20K as an average? What amounts to race equipment doesn't normally equate to longevity.

    I think qualified shock people are hard to come by and I personally just don't have the knowledge to speak of. Any qualified shock technicians out there?
    Not a tech, but I'm good friends with the Hyperpro importer and know my way around the insides of a number of aftermarket shocks (and have rebuilt a few myself.)

    Good shocks shouldn't need rebuilding in 20,000 miles. Ohlins may. The problem my friend has seen with Ohlins is oil contamination caused by the wear in the aluminum housing. Most other aftermarket shocks use a steel body tube (the section the piston moves in) which doesn't wear or contaminate the oil anywhere near as quickly.

    I recently watched my rear Hyperpro shock, with about 50,000 miles on it get rebuilt. The oil coming out was surprisingly clear and showed no signs of contamination. The sliding mechanism showed no wear, nor did the piston/rod. The reason I got it rebuilt was I felt a sudden change in damping quality, and this was due to loss of gas pressure - due to a damaged seal. Without the gas charge the oil tends to foam badly, greatly lowering the damping, it was almost immediately noticeable. After rebuilding I set the damping adjustments to where they were before the failure (and rebuild), and they were very close to optimal. I had to change one setting one click to get it tuned back to the sweet spot. My front shock continues to work as well as it did when installed - now at about 65,000 miles. If it changes due to loss of oil viscosity, the damping adjustment can be used to compensate, but so far, I haven't adjusted it since I got it dialed in after installing it.

    So my answer would be - it depends. There may be a good reason Ohlins is calling for more frequent rebuilds.

    YMMV (and will depending on the brand I suspect..)
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Not a tech, but I'm good friends with the Hyperpro importer and know my way around the insides of a number of aftermarket shocks (and have rebuilt a few myself.)

    Good shocks shouldn't need rebuilding in 20,000 miles. Ohlins may. The problem my friend has seen with Ohlins is oil contamination caused by the wear in the aluminum housing. Most other aftermarket shocks use a steel body tube (the section the piston moves in) which doesn't wear or contaminate the oil anywhere near as quickly.

    I recently watched my rear Hyperpro shock, with about 50,000 miles on it get rebuilt. The oil coming out was surprisingly clear and showed no signs of contamination. The sliding mechanism showed no wear, nor did the piston/rod. The reason I got it rebuilt was I felt a sudden change in damping quality, and this was due to loss of gas pressure - due to a damaged seal. Without the gas charge the oil tends to foam badly, greatly lowering the damping, it was almost immediately noticeable. After rebuilding I set the damping adjustments to where they were before the failure (and rebuild), and they were very close to optimal. I had to change one setting one click to get it tuned back to the sweet spot. My front shock continues to work as well as it did when installed - now at about 65,000 miles. If it changes due to loss of oil viscosity, the damping adjustment can be used to compensate, but so far, I haven't adjusted it since I got it dialed in after installing it.

    So my answer would be - it depends. There may be a good reason Ohlins is calling for more frequent rebuilds.

    YMMV (and will depending on the brand I suspect..)
    Which shock do you prefer... Hyperpro or Ohlins? Does Ohlins use an aluminum housing for a reason such as weight?

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    Which shock do you prefer... Hyperpro or Ohlins? Does Ohlins use an aluminum housing for a reason such as weight?
    Hyperpro. More adjustable, 5 year warranty, lower price. While weight might be the reason for the aluminum housing, it's a minor difference (the steel housing is quite thin-walled tubing), and since the housing is normally attached to the frame, the weight isn't unsprung weight where it might make a difference (small difference, but a difference.) Ohlins makes some good stuff, but IMHO it's too costly compared to good alternatives, and the additional maintenance would become a hassle. FWIW - I've owned both (and quite a few other aftermarket shocks) - right now my choice is Hyperpro.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Hyperpro. More adjustable, 5 year warranty, lower price. While weight might be the reason for the aluminum housing, it's a minor difference (the steel housing is quite thin-walled tubing), and since the housing is normally attached to the frame, the weight isn't unsprung weight where it might make a difference (small difference, but a difference.) Ohlins makes some good stuff, but IMHO it's too costly compared to good alternatives, and the additional maintenance would become a hassle. FWIW - I've owned both (and quite a few other aftermarket shocks) - right now my choice is Hyperpro.
    Maybe Ohlins is just a bit too racery and requires all the frequent rebuilds of typical race equipment?

  15. #15
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I had Ohlins on my R1100RSL, and liked them a lot. Perhaps because of the shock differences, or perhaps because of the seat differences, or both, the Wilbers on my R1200R aren't quite so plush.

    That said, I've heard the same thing Don has: Ohlins require more frequent rebuilding, because the aluminum parts wear generating metal bits in the oil.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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