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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been offered a set of Ohlins shocks and a Staintune exhaust from a '98 K1200RS. Are there any compatibility issues putting these onto my 2004 K1200GT?

A couple of places seem to list the '03 and '04 bikes as using different shocks than the earlier ones, but not everyone does that, so I wonder if it's an artifact of the changing models available for those years (RS and GT for '03 and '04, RS only for earlier years).
 

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I've been offered a set of Ohlins shocks and a Staintune exhaust from a '98 K1200RS. Are there any compatibility issues putting these onto my 2004 K1200GT?

A couple of places seem to list the '03 and '04 bikes as using different shocks than the earlier ones, but not everyone does that, so I wonder if it's an artifact of the changing models available for those years (RS and GT for '03 and '04, RS only for earlier years).
Exhaust are the same across all years - same for K1200GT also. Only difference is cosmetic: alu surface finish on rear part for K1200RS of 1997-1998. I do not approve or like these aftermarket exhaust , but I do not foresee any problems IF INDEED it was from a K1200RS of 1998.

As far as the shocks are concerned it is slightly more complicated:
1) for REAR shock:
The Showa OEM rear shock on 1st generation models (1998-2001 in USA) did not have separate a preload adjuster handle. Except for this , the shocks and mounts are compatible across all years.

I know Ohlins had various options available for K1200RS rear shock - you may get one with a preload handle AND-OR a separate oil reservoir (see attached photo below). I believe both were options when ordering the rear Ohlins. In general the separate oil reservoir had a shorter hose so you had no choice but to mount if on right side - no mounts were furnished so the most common method was large round screw type clamps - not very elegant but works ok.

The preload handle had a long hose so you get to choose to mount on left side if you want. Check this older discussion here with a few photos and options: Ohlins Reservoir Mounting

2) for the FRONT shock: BMW has made minor changes in length for the front shock on later K1200RS and also for K1200GT (2003-2005) compare to all earlier K1200RS. At same time, they also change the part number of the TeleLever so-called "A-Arm" where the lower part of the shock is mounted. For a while I had here in my garage a 2002 front Showa OEM shock to compare with later OEM Showa from K1200GT. The K1200GT shock looks the same externally but if was about 0.5 inch (12 mm) longer than the 2002 model front shock.

The problem that you have is that BMW has never documented any of these changes in terms of compatibility. We know both the front shock and the "A-arm" have different part number for later models like yours - but we do NOT know what impact they have on geometry and/or handling if you mix / match. My guess is that the Ohlins front shock you will get will bet about 0.5 inch shorter than your OEM Showa shock - so easier to slide in as there is not much spare room to work when doing this.

HOWEVER I do not know what impact on handling this will have since you have the newer design A-Arm.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info!

I'm headed up now to pick up the '98 K-RS that has the Ohlins and Staintune. It's a higher-mile bike (91k) but seems in quite good shape, and appears to have been maintained reasonably well.

I haven't decided yet which parts to swap over from the '98 to the '04. My long-term plan is going to be to sell the '98, so if I take the suspension from it I'll have to replace it with something. Considering that an aftermarket suspension doesn't increase the value of a used bike much if at all, I may just pick up a factory front shock to put on there. My '04 front shock, besides being too long, is leaking, and I wouldn't waste the time to put a bad shock on an otherwise nice bike.

One interesting thing on the '98 is that the Ohlins has the hydraulic preload adjuster, but it appears not to work. Something else to troubleshoot. Worst-case is that I'll find that it's not fixable, but it's not something that's essential to me - the vast majority of my riding is solo with either no luggage or minimal weight in the bags, so I can set the preload for that and forget about it.
 

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Thanks for the info!

I'm headed up now to pick up the '98 K-RS that has the Ohlins and Staintune. It's a higher-mile bike (91k) but seems in quite good shape, and appears to have been maintained reasonably well.

I haven't decided yet which parts to swap over from the '98 to the '04. My long-term plan is going to be to sell the '98, so if I take the suspension from it I'll have to replace it with something. Considering that an aftermarket suspension doesn't increase the value of a used bike much if at all, I may just pick up a factory front shock to put on there. My '04 front shock, besides being too long, is leaking, and I wouldn't waste the time to put a bad shock on an otherwise nice bike.

One interesting thing on the '98 is that the Ohlins has the hydraulic preload adjuster, but it appears not to work. Something else to troubleshoot. Worst-case is that I'll find that it's not fixable, but it's not something that's essential to me - the vast majority of my riding is solo with either no luggage or minimal weight in the bags, so I can set the preload for that and forget about it.
If you intend to swap or sell other parts , be aware of these other important differences between 1st generation (1998-2001 in USA) compare to later so-called "facelift" generation:
1) both front brake calipers and disks are quite different
2) front wheel (because of brake disks mounting points)

3) Front sub-frame (front fairing bracket)
4) all nose fairing parts including windshield mechanism

5) many changes in main wire harness - most related to ABS system differences - other changes related to options only available in 2nd generation
6) Right / Left handlebar combo switches have many variations not only because of options (heated grips / cruise) BUT ALSO because BMW changed the end-connector design in relay junction-box for 2003-2005 models.

7) Fuel tank is not the same if you intend to swap the fuel-pump mounting flange (bolts in early models - rotating cap in later models)
8) Rear sub-frame (black tubing part) has a few small differences for mounting rear brake reservoir AND the rear shock preload handle. HOWEVER the main backbone frame (alu) is the same on all models.

9) Front fork inner tube and outer sliders are not the same on anything produced before 09-1998. All later models have Showa front forks - the early ones had Marzocchi components - fork seals are not the same either. You can check production date under seat on a sticker OR using MAX-BMW parts fiche with your VIN.

10) The 1st generation riders footrest are higher ("L" shaped). Hence these also have a different shifter - both black middle and outer small pieces. However the footrest brackets (left and right) are the same for all years.

11) REAR DRIVEs are different: 1st generation with ABS2 system (1998-2001 in USA) have a hole on top for a speed sensor. Later models design uses the rear wheel ABS sensor for both functions (ABS and speedo signal).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Sailor. I knew about some of those, but not all. Interestingly, the 98 has a much stronger return spring on the throttle - I'd thought my '04 was bad, but this one is way harder. I ride an hour back to Albuquerque from Santa Fe, and my right forearm is sore. Do you know if the throttle bodies have different springs? I'm going to clean and live the twistgrip and cable, but I think most of the effort is in the throttle body springs.

My plan is to swap the Online (rear for sure, front if it appears that it'll work) and probably the pipe. I'm a little undecided on the pipe, but it nothing else I figure I could always swap back to a stick exhaust and seek it later. Beyond that, I'm going to keep the 98 as it is. It's clearly been well maintained, and I'd hate to break up a nice bike. I need to do the clutch on my '04 soon, so I'll probably ride the '98 for the time it takes to do that. After that, I'll hang on to it until spring when it's going to be easier to sell. As nice as it is, I don't need two of these bikes, and I prefer the ergonomics of my GT over the RS, especially pre-facelift. Besides, I'm hooked on cruise control for the 60 miles a day that I'm on the interstate!
 

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Thanks, Sailor. I knew about some of those, but not all. Interestingly, the 98 has a much stronger return spring on the throttle - I'd thought my '04 was bad, but this one is way harder. I ride an hour back to Albuquerque from Santa Fe, and my right forearm is sore. Do you know if the throttle bodies have different springs? I'm going to clean and live the twistgrip and cable, but I think most of the effort is in the throttle body springs.

My plan is to swap the Online (rear for sure, front if it appears that it'll work) and probably the pipe. I'm a little undecided on the pipe, but it nothing else I figure I could always swap back to a stick exhaust and seek it later. Beyond that, I'm going to keep the 98 as it is. It's clearly been well maintained, and I'd hate to break up a nice bike. I need to do the clutch on my '04 soon, so I'll probably ride the '98 for the time it takes to do that. After that, I'll hang on to it until spring when it's going to be easier to sell. As nice as it is, I don't need two of these bikes, and I prefer the ergonomics of my GT over the RS, especially pre-facelift. Besides, I'm hooked on cruise control for the 60 miles a day that I'm on the interstate!
About the throttle bodies: because BMW does not sell separate parts (except TPS and TVA) of the throttle-bodies assy we have no idea if any spring / part number have changed. In the past, I have documented a few change in part numbers as stamped on front metal plate - these number changes are mostly related to addition of a pulley when BMW introduced the optional cruise-control on the facelift models. The number on the plate are in fact BING design number - the OEM supplier of these throttle-bodies (see photo below...). On a K1200LT having 34 or 36mm diameter intake , the numbers are "95/34/..." or "95/36/..." instead of "95/38..." like we have on K1200RS. BING also changed the last digit sequence beginning with a "4" when they removed the Brass air bypass screws around 1999. One of these 4 screws is visible in my photo , however they do not exist on all later models.

Although I agree that by design the springs are a bit stiff compare to most bike from Japan, in my experience most complains are caused by:
(1) internal wear of the throttle cable with age (2 cables if cruise)
(2) accumulated dirt between throttle tube (plastic) and the right handlebar tube (metal)
Almost all who have fixed these 2 items have reported much improvements in force required

P.S.: this morning I updated list from my previous post to add items (9) and (10) about front forks and footrest. I forgot these yesterday...


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The fork stanchions and fork caps on '03 and up bikes also have a different part number than the '02 down, even though they're both Showa, presumably related to the suspension geometry changes you'd discussed above. I haven't even looked at the production date yet, so I don't know if I even have Showa or Marzocci forks. I'd seen that the early bikes didn't have Showa forks, but I have found who did make them - thanks for enlightening me on that!

The change in footpegs is very obvious when changing from one to the other. When I first sat on the '98, I thought the pegs were in the high position. Amazing what a difference an inch makes!

Thank you, as always, for all the help your providing. There are several people on this forum who, collectively, seen to know just about everything there is to know about these bikes. That makes it so much easier to keep these aging gems on the road. All of you who so freely share your knowledge have my thanks.
 
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