Front suspension seems very hard - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 1:47 pm Thread Starter
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Front suspension seems very hard

Hi,

I've been using these forums quite a bit to maintain my 2000 LT, up to now I've always been able to find the answer through searching; alas not this time

I'm wondering if someone could shed some wisdom into a possible issue I have with my LT's front suspension.

First a little bit of background
I bought the bike in March this year from someone who couldn't handle the weight any more due to hip problems. This meant I picked up a bargain as the bike had only done 22K in 13 years, only 500 in the last 3 (or 5, I forget) years and he didn't want what I would consider a lot of money for it.

The most recent bill I could see was for a front fork seal (for some reason only one was done by the dealer) and a service.

About a month after purchase I noticed oil on the fork seal (the other one that hadn't been replaced). At that point I didn't have the time to repair so after researching on the forums came to the conclusion that I could still run it without a problem due the telelever suspension system and did so for about 1000 miles.

The time came that I decided to get the job done so:
  • Bought a Claymers manual
  • (stupidly) followed how to get the forks off (since learnt I could do it far quicker)

A mate:
  • Removed old seals
  • Filled with oil (as per Claymers specification although I don't know what weight he used)
  • Put new seals on (fork and dust seals)

Then I rebuilt the bike (taking the opportunity to put new brake pads and rubber on).

The problem

The front suspension is incredibly hard.

I generally "hunt the road" and avoid potholes, gravel, lumps and bumps however on the odd occasion that I miss seeing one or am forced to ride over one it's as if I don't have any suspension on the front of the bike.
Typically when I hit a pothole it's bad enough to exercise the English they don't teach you in schools, one time I hit a dip and my left wing mirror dropped off (don't worry it was zipped tied) however it got me thinking "surely this can't be right".

The problem I face is I don't really have anything to compare it with, I've never had an LT before (or any bike of this size) and I can't remember if it was like this before I saw the oil leak.

So I'd like to ask the board if this is normal?

I'd be very greatful for any advice people could give me regarding this issue.
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post #2 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 3:38 pm
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Location: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

the springs are very soft and weaken with use and age, when I got my 2K it would bottom out with a loud bang on sharp bumps - replaced springs only with Hyperpro progressive springs - if the springs are weak she will hardly lean at all on the sidestand

most people use automatic transmission fluid in the forks since they do not do any damping on the LT

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #3 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 6:22 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Hi gary45,

Thanks for your comments.

I don't think it's bottoming out, the front forks don't seem to have any "give" at all, they might as well be welded

Could you please expand on what you mean by
Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
if the springs are weak she will hardly lean at all on the sidestand
As I should be able to test to see if the symptoms are the same.

I understand that the front forks don't do the majority of dampening however should they not move even a little?

Many Thanks
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post #4 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 6:42 pm
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

the front forks are there for the wheel, they do not have springs or shocks, all suspension is done by the strut - it is rear of the forks and has an external spring, it is bolted to the center of the control arm on the bottom and the frame on top

on the sidestand with my original springs the bike was almost vertical - had to be careful where I parked it

on the center stand if you use a floor jack under the motor and jack the front up you should be able to see how much travel there is in the forks, you can use a light to look between the forks over the front fender to see the strut, unless you have something broken it could just be a weak spring

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #5 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 7:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Hi Gary,

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
the front forks are there for the wheel, they do not have springs or shocks, all suspension is done by the strut - it is rear of the forks and has an external spring, it is bolted to the center of the control arm on the bottom and the frame on top
Yes the telelever part of the front suspension system? How I understand it the front forks only really need oil for the lubrication.

However from the jolt when I go over potholes it seems the suspension is too hard rather than a weak spring or too soft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
on the sidestand with my original springs the bike was almost vertical - had to be careful where I parked it
I have the same issue, the bike always looks like it's going to fall over on the side stand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
on the center stand if you use a floor jack under the motor and jack the front up you should be able to see how much travel there is in the forks, you can use a light to look between the forks over the front fender to see the strut, unless you have something broken it could just be a weak spring
I will wander over to my mates moterbike training centre, he seems to have every tool imaginable, so will put it up on the engine and see if I can see any play, thanks for the advice.

-={Q}=-
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post #6 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 7:36 pm
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Too soft of a spring will bottom out easily turning the spring into a solid piece of metal during the bump. If your spring becomes so weak that it has collapsed it will act as if it has no spring at all.

Currently riding a 2003 K1200LTC
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post #7 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 8:07 pm
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

you are describing exactly what will happen with collapsed springs which are too weak to support the bike and load, lots of people have replaced just the springs

the front and rear Hyperpro progressives are under $300 for the pair

with new springs my bike leans properly on side stand

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #8 of 14 Old Sep 1st, 2013, 11:11 pm
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

There is just not a lot of movement in the front suspension. Travel at the wheel is only 4 inches and the shock strut only moves 2.2 inches. It is a harsh ride stock and I had them soften up my Ohlins the last time I had them rebuilt.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #9 of 14 Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 11:54 am Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
you are describing exactly what will happen with collapsed springs which are too weak to support the bike and load, lots of people have replaced just the springs

the front and rear Hyperpro progressives are under $300 for the pair

with new springs my bike leans properly on side stand
Thanks for the confirmation.

I'll follow your suggestion and check it by lifting the bike with an engine stand, is there anything particular to look out for? a certain amount of travel?

Regarding replacing with hyperpro progressives do you have a part number I can google so I can confirm getting the right ones?

Again thanks everyone for your input, it's greatly appreciated.
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post #10 of 14 Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 1:12 pm
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

John answered your question re travel

know who sells them in the USA, they are Dutch, you should be able to find a distributor over there, they only make a standard set and a progressive set for the LT, I put the progressives on my bike

they are online, there is a product list and a distributor link

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #11 of 14 Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 2:11 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45
John answered your question re travel
Doh!, missed that comment.

Thanks again.
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post #12 of 14 Old Sep 4th, 2013, 6:36 am Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Hi,

Just did the suggested tests and there is a lot of travel, therefore as pointed out; soft springs. Thanks everyone for explaining.

So I'll be looking at getting some hyperpro progressive springs (might do the back too), a company called calsport sell them over here.

Would it be worth checking the shock too? If so what's the best way of testing?

@Gary45
Do you have any advice from when you replaced your springs? Any short cuts, gotcha's etc?

Many Thanks.
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post #13 of 14 Old Sep 4th, 2013, 9:23 am
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

the shock is a gas strut same as most cars - with the spring off it should be hard to compress and slow - resistance - when it is fully compressed if you let go the shaft should slowly extend fully and stroke should show even movement

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #14 of 14 Old Oct 24th, 2013, 5:57 am Thread Starter
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Re: Front suspension seems very hard

Hi Guys,

I thought I'd post an update regarding this.

I've now had both shocks changed and it has made a huge difference.

In the end I bought hyperpro springs from http://calsport.co.uk/ they were 89 per spring with free p&p. however they were made to order and took 12 days to arrive.

Once received I just dropped the bike off at a "mate of a mates" motorcycle garage and said he could keep it for 2 weeks to work on it (I was working away anyway). This cost me 150 in the end including fitting a brake hose that he found was leaking (I supplied the hose).

Total cost?
328 ish

Was it worth it?
Hell yes, it feels like a completely new bike.

Hope this helps someone else.
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