Goodbye ESA, Hello Ohlins - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2009, 2:04 am Thread Starter
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Goodbye ESA, Hello Ohlins

With just about 25,000 miles on my 2008 GT, I had noticed a significant decrease is suspension performance and handling.

I decided to toss the ESA and replace the suspension with Ohlins custom built to my weight and bike load,

Since Ohlins doesn't offer a K1200GT specific model a little behind the scenes work discovered that the following would bolt right in

Front BM 906 14 KG Spring

Rear BM 908 13 KG Spring

My rear ESA when removed from the MC was leaking around the little motor housing and the front was showing signs of oil drips.

Initial ride report

Well it is nice to have suspension again and the bike has far greater lean angles and is just a lot smoother and quieter. At present I am running a set of high mileage tires (ME 880's) and once I mile these tires out and go back to a softer high performance compound I can imagine an even more significant improvement in handling.

The bike feels very planted and supple on the road.

The suspension shop I used suggested that the severe front tire cupping I was experiencing may be at least partially attributed to under sprung front suspension.

Interesting point I have never suffered the same level of tire cupping on any of my motorcycles once I have updated my suspension.

Bill in Vancouver
2008 GT
2007 KTM 990
IBA #310
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2009, 4:35 am
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Location: Verchères, Quebec, Canada
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Hello
I'm sure the Ohlin set up is a very good option, but considering the bike is a 2008gt, what do you do with the 3 years unlimited miles from the BMW warranty? Did you try to have the ESA replaced by the dealer before choosing the Ohlin?

Thanks for the info

Bests Regards

Sylvain
08 k1200gt
08 F800S wife's
02 wr426
1978 r100/7
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2009, 8:06 am
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Happy you informed us of the Ohlins shocks that fit the KGT. My GT was purchased without ESA because I was so happy with the Ohlins I installed on my GS providing a much more planted ride with no chatter whatsoever in turns. I figured I would install them on the GT once my stockers got "tired".

Did the Ohlins install without any problems at all? What weight are you and subsequently, which spring did you get?

Thanks!

Mike M
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2009, 10:00 am
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I deliberately bought a K1300S without ESA.so that I could put Ohlins on it when the OEM shocks wear out.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2009, 10:44 am
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Thanks for the info Bill!

How did you select the spring rates? My weight is about 170, maybe 180-190 geared-up and ready to ride. Is this close to your spring application?

And any other issues in using the '1300'-spec shocks on a 1200?

Again, thanks for your time in posting this...
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 20th, 2009, 6:26 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SylvainB
Hello
I'm sure the Ohlin set up is a very good option, but considering the bike is a 2008gt, what do you do with the 3 years unlimited miles from the BMW warranty? Did you try to have the ESA replaced by the dealer before choosing the Ohlin?

Thanks for the info

Hello again

So, did you try to get it repaired/replaced under bmw warranty? Just curious, because my dealer found what he calls a "hard fault code" in the computer memory. I can feel the suspension becoming stiffer or softer when I press sport mode or comfort , but from what I understand the settings are way too tight. The dealer doesn't seem to know if it's related to the programming, the wiring, or a faulty esa schock assembly. They have all winter to find it.

Bests Regards

Sylvain
08 k1200gt
08 F800S wife's
02 wr426
1978 r100/7
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2009, 8:47 am
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Bill,

I thought I'd bump this up to the top again, as you haven't answered some of the questions and I'd really like to know...

My shock has gone flat as hell, and I can't see the $$$ BMW wants for a non-rebuild-able shock!

If you are still around, please let us know your weight, and if you had to do any mods...

Thanks!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2009, 9:17 am Thread Starter
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SylvainB
Hello
I'm sure the Ohlin set up is a very good option, but considering the bike is a 2008gt, what do you do with the 3 years unlimited miles from the BMW warranty? Did you try to have the ESA replaced by the dealer before choosing the Ohlin?

Thanks for the info
Hi well, here are the updates, I have been traveling a bit so I have yet to be home to post up the pics

I will answer the posts in order

I a 6' 4' tall 265 and I ride solo with a fairly loaded bike for touring. I am in the process of installing a custom 2.5 gallon fuel cell (gravity fed over the back seat with a luggage rack)

My bike is set up for longer distance type events

I just heard from my dealer last week(regular phone calls from me) that after detailed examination BMW will be replacing my ESA shocks with new ones. The time delay from my dealer is typical of what I have come to expect. Since this the second set of BMW OEM shocks (albeit on different models) that I have toasted is the same distance why bother putting a new set on.

I will put them away to sell with the MC, There is no pint blowing up another pair in a year especially now that my GT is handling significantly better.

If you have never ridden a custom suspension MC dialed in to your weight and loads you are truly missing something. There is no comparison.

Now I don't scrape my boot sides on corners until I have significant (not reasonable for the street lean angles) the MC handles bad road surfaces with aplomb, it tracks well and it just a joy to ride.

I tend to ride my MC's significantly farther than the average rider so I just wear out cheap OEM parts sooner. All of our M's have custom suspension built but Ohlins tech and not bought through a dealership. They just do not have the staff on hand to do a good job and your bike will handle so much better with any new suspension that they can get away with a mediocre job and you can't tell because it is all smiles and giggles anyways because your bike was handling so poorly the last time you rode it

The relatively fast degradation of OEM Suspension helps sell inexperienced non suspension savvy riders new bikes when they don't need them. Most riders when they by a new MC can't believe how much better it handles - in many cases spending 3K on a new set of Ohlins and a new set of tires would be money better spent on their old MC

Bill in Vancouver
2008 GT
2007 KTM 990
IBA #310

Last edited by bill_310; Dec 6th, 2009 at 9:30 am.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2009, 9:19 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM
Happy you informed us of the Ohlins shocks that fit the KGT. My GT was purchased without ESA because I was so happy with the Ohlins I installed on my GS providing a much more planted ride with no chatter whatsoever in turns. I figured I would install them on the GT once my stockers got "tired".

Did the Ohlins install without any problems at all? What weight are you and subsequently, which spring did you get?

Thanks!
No big issues on install - a bit of a custom bracket for the rear shock adjuster needed to be built

The spring weights in the original post were custom ordered springs, valving and set up was included

Bill in Vancouver
2008 GT
2007 KTM 990
IBA #310
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2009, 9:25 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SylvainB
Hello again

So, did you try to get it repaired/replaced under bmw warranty? Just curious, because my dealer found what he calls a "hard fault code" in the computer memory. I can feel the suspension becoming stiffer or softer when I press sport mode or comfort , but from what I understand the settings are way too tight. The dealer doesn't seem to know if it's related to the programming, the wiring, or a faulty esa schock assembly. They have all winter to find it.
Sylvain

My other posts should explain all your questions.

See the time frame before I got the new OEM Shocks under warranty. You are getting tight on time before spring if there is a lot of back and forth plus your MC is stuck in the corner of the shop for the inter I assume.

I would be pressing weekly because in March you will be competing for Mechanic time with spring service and new bike builds. You will also need to order your suspension from a custom Ohlin's suspension shop not from your dealership - I hope you understand why.

Bill in Vancouver
2008 GT
2007 KTM 990
IBA #310
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