Shocks test: ride in the first rain in CA - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 18 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 10:53 am Thread Starter
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Shocks test: ride in the first rain in CA

I've been asking this forum about how do you 'test' the bike shocks and so far I only had subjective responses, like "if you have more than 20K miles you need new shocks", or "you will 'feel' it on the turns" (I guess I'm an insensitive guy), or "You feel different from when it was good" (I must be getting senile... I can't remember how it was when was new)... and so on.

Saturday I got my answer: Ride on the California first rain and you will know.

Wife and I went for a short ride to Santa Barbara Saturday, and we had no extra weight on the bike but us, so the bike was about 65pounds light.
Few minutes after we left, start raining on 10 freeway. One of the first rain after many weeks. For those familiar with 10 freeway between San Bernardino and San Dimas know that the ride there is like you ridding in a cow back. Many small, sequential, bumps.
Well, the bike was dancing all over there. I never had this felling before. There was no way to make a straight line and sometimes it was swinging about a feet a side.
I stopped couple times to see if I had a flat, or even worst a rear end issue, but all was fine. Then I stopped again and check the tires pressure. that was fine too (couple bars up, but I took that as a hot tire measurement).
Then it clicks: shocks.
I was so glad that I just had ordered new ones from Wilbert one day before.
They should be here in 4 weeks.

On the way back wasn't raining and the bike was solid as always.

Almost 60K miles with this set of stock shocks, all 2 up, full gear, 1 trip to Alaska. I'm 6.1/180Lbs wife is 5.9/140Lbs

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Last edited by strsout; Oct 16th, 2006 at 1:47 pm.
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post #2 of 18 Old Oct 16th, 2006, 12:32 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strsout
Almost 60K miles with this set of stock shocks, all 2 up, full gear, 1 trip to Alaska.
You got your money's worth! I got about 1/2 that and not always 2-up (I'm about 235# w/gear and wife is about 125# w/ gear).

Began to notice we were bottoming-out over speed-bumps at low speed, and even entering our driveway going over the street rain gutter. We would also "porpoise" a bit on some freeway expansion joints, and cornering, too.

You'll be amazed once you get the new shocks installed!

Ted

Camarillo, CA
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post #3 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 9:46 am
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Lovely!!! NOW I gotta tell the wife we need SHOCKS!!!! : )

Wouldn't be so bad, but those are kinda pricey. I doubt she notices it, but I sure do.

Rando
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post #4 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 11:24 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando
I doubt she notices it, but I sure do.
My wife generally doesn't notice these things either, but she did in this case, which did take some of the sting out of the $1,300 price! We have a few "standard" rides - 60 to 80 mile loops and she commented that our cornering was much faster and less bouncy than before. She said the bike felt solid. There is one lefthanded sweeper along the coast that, traffic and CHP allowing, we normally take at 80-85. We can now take it at 100 (didn't realize we were going this fast until I looked) and it felt as though we could go faster if we wanted to.

If you like to ride a tad on the aggressive side then these are a must! Tell your wife these can be your Christmas/birthday present for the next "x" number of years!

Ted

Camarillo, CA
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post #5 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 1:14 pm
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Ted,
Ohlins or Wilbers ?.
Simon
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post #6 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 2:12 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Ted,
Ohlins or Wilbers ?.
Simon
Simon,
I try that... didn't work

read here:
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15187

I guess you have to pick one.

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post #7 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 3:45 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Ted,
Ohlins or Wilbers ?.
Simon
Hi Simon - I went w/ the Ohlins.

Ted

Camarillo, CA
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post #8 of 18 Old Oct 17th, 2006, 10:01 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando
Lovely!!! NOW I gotta tell the wife we need SHOCKS!!!!...
Exactly my sentiments.

I had no idea the shocks would wear out this quickly. Is 20k-30k miles typical? I've got 22k on my '05 and really, really don't want to put more $$ in the bike right now. It's like the expense never stops...

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
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2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
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post #9 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 2:57 am
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You don't have to replace the stock shocks at any certain mileage. But they will wear out and the bike's handling will suffer. I put 83K on my stock shocks and had gotten used to how it felt, though I knew I was bottoming out and not feeling quite as solid in hard corners.

After riding a friends LT with Íhlins, I instantly knew how bad mine had gotten. Another friend rode my bike and slowed way down because he just didn't feel secure on it. I managed to get a used pair of Íhlins at a great price. They had 20K on them and could stand to be rebuilt, but I put them in as is and noticed an immediate improvement. The old shocks went "[b]BUMP[/i]", and the used Íhlins were more like "by the way, that was a bump".

BTW, had similar experiences with my wifes car at around 90K miles. New shocks made a noticeable improvement in handling and ride quality, though we passed on the full-race Íhlins for her Talon.

After putting another 7K on these, I'm starting to notice a bit more drag in hard corners, and I'm sure they need rebuilding soon. But they're still way better than stock.

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
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All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #10 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 3:08 am
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Ted, thanks.
I am more inclined to go for the Wilbers due to
a) there is a dealer who sets them up and installs them, in Barcelona
b) they come set up for your personal requirements straight from the factory.
c) very good customer service and response from the factory in Germany.
Simon
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post #11 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 9:32 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Ted, thanks.
I am more inclined to go for the Wilbers due to
a) there is a dealer who sets them up and installs them, in Barcelona
b) they come set up for your personal requirements straight from the factory.
c) very good customer service and response from the factory in Germany.
Simon

I would like to second that here in US.

The customer service from Klaus so far shows pretty good.
Even do I sent e-mail with all my weight and ride stile, they called me and confirm every line of the e-mail, then they send an Invoice with all the information on the invoice...
If the shocks I will receive go with this service I got a winner

Wainting 4 more weeks for it...

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post #12 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 11:46 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strsout
....For those familiar with 10 freeway between San Bernardino and San Dimas know that the ride there is like you ridding in a cow back. Many small, sequential, bumps.
Well, the bike was dancing all over there. I never had this felling before. There was no way to make a straight line and sometimes it was swinging about a feet a side.....

On the way back wasn't raining and the bike was solid as always.

Almost 60K miles with this set of stock shocks, all 2 up, full gear, 1 trip to Alaska. I'm 6.1/180Lbs wife is 5.9/140Lbs
I am not going to say that you do, or do not, need new shocks. If you get them, you'll probably love them, but the symptoms you describe seem odd, dry good, wet bad

You mentioned that you were riding "lighter" than normal and that it road fine on dry pavement, but got squirrely on wet pavement. The wet pavement may be reducing the friction to the point where the problem is becoming evident.

Is your preload set "too high" for the load being carried, 65 pounds less than typical. If so, then the rear tire will get "lite" as it goes over a bump. A way to test this on dry pavement is to ride over the lane separation bumps while coming to a stop. If the preload is too high, the ABS will kick in and the bike will lurch forward. Then try reducing the preload and see if you get the same result.

If I neglect to adjust my Ohlins from two-up preload level and ride solo, the rear will loose contact over abrupt bumps

.


Bill "Omaha"

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post #13 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 12:11 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyOmaha
I am not going to say that you do, or do not, need new shocks. If you get them, you'll probably love them, but the symptoms you describe seem odd, dry good, wet bad

You mentioned that you were riding "lighter" than normal and that it road fine on dry pavement, but got squirrely on wet pavement. The wet pavement may be reducing the friction to the point where the problem is becoming evident.

Is your preload set "too high" for the load being carried, 65 pounds less than typical. If so, then the rear tire will get "lite" as it goes over a bump. A way to test this on dry pavement is to ride over the lane separation bumps while coming to a stop. If the preload is too high, the ABS will kick in and the bike will lurch forward. Then try reducing the preload and see if you get the same result.

If I neglect to adjust my Ohlins from two-up preload level and ride solo, the rear will loose contact over abrupt bumps

.

That's is an interesting idea Billy.
I will try it this weekend. I tought was the shocks, after all the bike has 60K miles on it.
I didn't turn the pre-load back and I recon I should had think of that in one of my stops to see what could be wrong.

Thank you for the input.

Elton

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post #14 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 2:04 pm
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Your welcome - and that's exactly the reason why I went with the Ohlins.....although I hear Klaus is very good - he is approximately 3,000 miles from me and I didn't want to have to rely on someone so far away.

Ted

Camarillo, CA
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post #15 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 7:08 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
You don't have to replace the stock shocks at any certain mileage. But they will wear out and the bike's handling will suffer. I put 83K on my stock shocks and had gotten used to how it felt, though I ...
Thanks Ken. Feeling a little reassured now. Question is, though: As a new rider (now in my 2nd year of riding) will I be able to tell when they are ready to be replaced? I may have to have "guest riders" try 'er out from time to time, for an objective opinion.

Regarding the issue of preload, mentioned after your reply: WOW -- the light bulb just went off. I have adjusted my preload for two-up and never reset it, and now I'm thinking that's why every once in awhile I get a very, very strange sensation when going over uneven pavement transitions at highway speeds. It feels like the rear end has lost contact with the pavement... and it probably has.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
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2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
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post #16 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 7:36 pm
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I knew my shocks needed to be replaced at 30,000 miles, but I kept holding out and finally we had a group purchase of Ohlins, so I bit the bullet and ordered them. Replaced them at 45,000 miles, and it was a new bike! Absolutely mind boggling difference. I had the Ohlins rebuilt after about 30,000 miles on them, and again, pretty noticeable difference.

Most people don't notice shocks going bad because they do it so slowly it always seems "normal", but once they are replaced you realize just how bad they were. Same for cars.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

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post #17 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 11:09 pm
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Question How much savings on a group buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
I knew my shocks needed to be replaced at 30,000 miles, but I kept holding out and finally we had a group purchase of Ohlins, so I bit the bullet and ordered them. Replaced them at 45,000 miles, and it was a new bike! Absolutely mind boggling difference. I had the Ohlins rebuilt after about 30,000 miles on them, and again, pretty noticeable difference.

Most people don't notice shocks going bad because they do it so slowly it always seems "normal", but once they are replaced you realize just how bad they were. Same for cars.
David, was it worth the savings on a group buy? How much money did you save? Details on how many pairs and what vendor would be appreciated. I've noticed bumps lately - maybe the forum riders interested in a group purchase could come together. Winter is a good time to do work on the bike. Thanks.

Regards,
John
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post #18 of 18 Old Oct 18th, 2006, 11:23 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler
I may have to have "guest riders" try 'er out from time to time, for an objective opinion.
Sign me up. Also, try and ride someone else's bike with Íhlins or Wilburs and compare for yourself. CCR, STC, or a local tech session is usually good for such things.

Ken
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All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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