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Thread: ESA worth the extra $$$?

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    ESA worth the extra $$$?

    Is ESA worth the money? Trying to figure out if I should outfit my 2014 1200GSW with one. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Advice, no. Opinions... sure.

    Prior to the '13 I was not interested in ESA. It let you switch between pre-load and damping settings, but unless you happened to be exactly BMW's target weight there was no guarantee that the settings are close to what you could get with a good set of after market shocks set up your way. Ease of adjustment changes didn't seem worth the extra complexity

    The GSW, however, adds something... dynamic on the fly damping adjustments to go along with the ride modes. Switching between road, dynamic, and enduro modes make a big differences in the feel of the bike. Some of those differences are due to the different throttle response mappings. The shocks play a big role, too. It's like having three different bikes.

    I'm glad I have it on the GSW. I hope I'll still be happy with my choice several years from now.

  3. #3
    Registered User liv2ride's Avatar
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    Is ESA worth the money? That's debatable. Although I didn't want a bike with ESA it was tough to locate one that had the options I did want without it. Having the bike for approximately 14 months and almost 11k miles I am happy that I have it. It allows easy adjustment for preload and damping that I can certainly detect, especially when going from solo to riding with a passenger.

    Sure there is the concern of a failure and the high cost of replacement. Knowing there are a few quality companies out there that sell replacement shocks that work with the ESA electronics is certainly comforting. I will enjoy the ESA as long as it is working and deal with the replacement when/if that time comes along. For now I will enjoy every mile of the ride.

    My opinion: We all have our reasons for buying BMW bikes. I don't believe anyone buys them to save money or to eliminate features that help make a BMW unique. That being said, if you are remotely interested in the option I say include it and don't have regrets.

    Scot
    2012 R1200RT - Fluid Grey Metallic

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    One aspect of ESA that is cool, is that if you have a passenger, you can set it at solo, have the passenger mount (as the bike is lower), then switch to either rider with luggage (if passenger is not too heavy) or 2 up and then when ride is done, put it back at solo for passenger dismount. Makes it a lot easier if the bike is high to begin with (as RT's and GS's generally are).

  5. #5
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Ask the same question when the shocks die.
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    Are you able to adjust ESA to your particular weight and riding conditions? Cost is important, but if ESA is configurable then the extra cost is acceptable. Also are there ESA replacements outside BMW? My understanding is that there is no non-BMW replacements, but it's early so three years from now who knows right? Finally, I hear that ESA is not covered by extended warranty, if it starts to leak, it's considered wear and tear.....any truth to this?

  7. #7
    AZrider
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    esa

    Quote Originally Posted by rickatsf View Post
    Are you able to adjust ESA to your particular weight and riding conditions? Cost is important, but if ESA is configurable then the extra cost is acceptable. Also are there ESA replacements outside BMW? My understanding is that there is no non-BMW replacements, but it's early so three years from now who knows right? Finally, I hear that ESA is not covered by extended warranty, if it starts to leak, it's considered wear and tear.....any truth to this?
    33k on2005RT 38k on 2007RT 59k on 2010GT and now over 11000k on 2013 water GS all had ESA and never any trouble and I can truthfully say I used the ESA modes every ride. Now how many of you with manual suspension ever adj your suspension the day you ride. I adj the suspension for early morning cold temp at 6000ft and adj for later 90 deg temps. in the afternoon i adj for 4 lane smooth roads and again for 2 lane twists. I again adj later in day going home tired and wanting a softer ride.With the new ESA that adj damping as you ride in the mode you select and according to your map overlay it becomes the best ride you can buy. No one can convince me that manual is better. Warranty covers the shocks and extended warranty covers the shocks. do yourself a big favor and buy the ESA you won't regret it. Unless you never use it and I have talked to some that never reset the ESA. This type of electronic advancement is for the riders who use the bike for it's intended propose.
    R1200WGS 2013

  8. #8
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    I have ESA on my 2012 GSA, and I'd get it again if I were configuring a new bike - particularly since the new GSW ESA incorporates dynamic suspension adjustment.

    Sometimes I commute on my GSA, and ESA seems superfluous. Then I'll go on a two-up moto-camping trip, and suddenly I'm using ESA all the time as I adjust for the weight of the gear, for the weight of the pillion, and for the type of riding I'm doing on the trip (canyon carving? forest/fire roads? single-track?).

    My favorite aspect of the ESA is lowering the bike when it's time to get off. When I have the ESA set to two-up with luggage, the bike is pretty high up. When it's time to unload the bike and get my 8 year old passenger off the bike, I put the suspension in one-up/no luggage mode, and the bike drops down to a reasonable height, making dismounting and unloading simpler tasks.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    I have the ESA on my GSW. For my last 2 BMWs, I found myself purchasing aftermarket shocks to the tune of around $1500 in order to bring ride and handling to where I wanted them to be. Although somewhat skeptical, I decided to try the latest ESA on this new bike. I have been pleased with it, especially the convenience it offers for making damping and preload changes (with real and noticeable differences) at the touch of a button. At this time, I cannot see any need to go aftermarket for new shocks. I like the system. Time will tell about durability, but I am liking it.
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  10. #10
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Probably wouldn't have bought it before I rode with it. Now, yes it is worth the bucks. When it wears out, I won't be using a BMW replacement. Wilbers, HyperPro or Ohlins.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickatsf View Post
    Are you able to adjust ESA to your particular weight and riding conditions? Cost is important, but if ESA is configurable then the extra cost is acceptable. Also are there ESA replacements outside BMW? My understanding is that there is no non-BMW replacements, but it's early so three years from now who knows right? Finally, I hear that ESA is not covered by extended warranty, if it starts to leak, it's considered wear and tear.....any truth to this?
    I don't know about adjusting the ESA system to an initial baseline for my weight and loading. So far, I've felt no need to do that. The factory settings have proven to be very close for me, at least running solo. I've got a potential week long ride coming up in mid October so that'll be my first long ride with the bike and running it with a load so we'll see how it goes.

    As for non- BMW ESA replacements, here's a few links on the subject.

    http://racetech.com/page/id/97

    Race Tech rebuilds the factory shocks and maintains the ESA functions. They rebuild with their own upgraded components set to your specifications. I didn't see anything on their web page that talked about doing this for the GS models but they do it for the RT models which is what I ride. Seems like they'd be able to do this for any of the ESA bikes. It would be worth asking.

    http://wilberssuspension.co.uk/wilbersesa.php

    http://www.beemershop.com/

    Wilbers does a similar service as Race Tech. They are a British company. The Beemer Shop is, if I understand it correctly, an American representative for Wilbers so we have a couple of options when it comes time to update our ESA equipped suspension systems.

    FWIW!

    Ride Safe,
    Steve R.
    2013 R1200RT

  12. #12
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    I have found this type of option is sort of "expected" at the time of resale. A bike with it will cost more in the beginning but will yield more (than one without) in the end. YMMV
    OM
    Last edited by Omega Man; 09-30-2013 at 01:39 AM. Reason: fix typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I have found this type of option is sort of "expected" at the time of resale. A bike without it will cost more in the beginning but will yield more (than one without) in the end. YMMV
    OM
    You mean a bike "with" it will cost more in the beginning but yield more than one without in the end?
    2013 R1200RT

  14. #14
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srhodes13 View Post
    You mean a bike "with" it will cost more in the beginning but yield more than one without in the end?
    Yeah, that's it.
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    One aspect of ESA that is cool, is that if you have a passenger, you can set it at solo, have the passenger mount (as the bike is lower), then switch to either rider with luggage (if passenger is not too heavy) or 2 up and then when ride is done, put it back at solo for passenger dismount. Makes it a lot easier if the bike is high to begin with (as RT's and GS's generally are).
    Very bad idea. Ride height should only be changed when bike is UNLOADED so the above just doesn't make sense.
    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)

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