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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, I have a left steering kick on my 1999 K 1200 LT, and it feels like it does it when the front suspension compresses. I am running Metzler 880's front and rear. The rear is new, they will both need replacement when the rear wears out (2 to 1 ratio).

Ever since I got it, the bike makes a truly sick sound when I hit any bump over about 3" high at speed. It's not the usual solid rubber bumpstop sound I am expecting. It sounds more like metal on metal, and not straight on.

Also, there was some thick oil fluid running down the left side fork, but in my incredible genius, I washed it off, and now it's gone, not to reappear. Steering stabilizer?? Left fork??

At first it was barely noticable, but now, going over an elevated bridge (with successive compressions) is downright dangerous. The whole bike starts to wobble.

Basically, to describe the wobble, when the front suspension compresses, I feel a [now] strong left hand kick in the handlebars. If I have both hands on the bars and am ready for it, and it's a single bump, it's no big deal. If there is more than one bump, or I'm not ready for it, it'll spook 'ya.

Opinions???? Is this the "head shaking" that I hear about??
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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14,254 Posts
I would check the fork bridge to make sure it is secure on both forks. The shock system is a single unit on the telelever that attaches to the fork bridge at a ball joint (also could be worn or loose). The rear piviot of the telelever has two sets of bearings that also could be worn causing the left "kick". The wobble you have read so much about is hands free deaccelerating through about 45 mph. The handle bars will shake left and right.

If you have over 25-30K on the bike the front shock is most likely shot ( the clunk you hear). The fork tubes are merely sliders and do no shock action, any oil there is for lubrication only.

Give it a good inspection as all these items should be tight or it is not a safe ride.
 

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+1 to everything John said, but I'd bet bad shock. Do you know how many miles it has on it? That sick sound you hear when you hit a bump may well be the bottom of the front cowl hitting the top of the front fender; check for bumps or scratches. The oil was most likely shock hydraulic fluid; if it leaked past the upper seal it was getting pumped out of a little hole near the top of the shock, and it may be that the hole happened to be oriented to spit that oil on your left fork. I think it is possible that the only front suspension component you have working right now is the coil spring. If it is the shock, prepare for sticker shock for a new one. But it will be worth it, the bike rides like a dream with new shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay, I'm sold, I'll replace the shock. This bike is newer to me, I've never changed the shocks (20,000 miles), and it had 50,000 on it when I got it. The guy before me took meticulous maintenance notes, and if he did change the shocks, he didn't document it.

So: Ohlins??? Factory??? What's the cost/benefit of each??? Should I do the rear at the same time???
 

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Yikes! 70K on the original shocks? Definitely time to change them both, IMHO. (Although I had 54K on mine when I changed them, and wasn't convinced that I wasn't wasting my money. Until I rode on the new ones.)
Brand? OEM are the least expensive I've seen, but only by 300 - 400 bucks, and they cannot be rebuilt. (Well, the rear can be rebuilt by at least one guy in Canada, but he has about a 4 month backlog of work.) That means that you tend to try to stretch the mileage until you are riding on worn out shocks because you don't want the hit of buying a new set. Ohlins are very good shocks, from everything I've read, and can be rebuilt, so you don't have to replace them every time. However, they are pricy. You used to be able to get Wilber shocks, which can be rebuilt, but the owner of the company screwed the only distributor in the US, who always has been a good friend to the LT community, so right now I don't think you can get them in the US. There are a couple of newer companies, whose names I don't remember, that have LT shocks. At one point not too long ago there was some talk of doing a group buy, but I don't know where that went. Do a search on shocks and it will give you leads to follow up on the Net. Good luck.
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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14,254 Posts
Actually the Ohlins can often be had in a group buy for just a bit more than the stock shocks (list 278 F and 783 R), I tagged onto another sport rider group buy and got them for 1,120 delivered. It pays to check the other lists from time to time.
 
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