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Re: Shocks

In a message dated 12/2/2003 11:06:25 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
robert.silas@xxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
The real comparison would be if a new OEM shock would be changed to a new
Ohlins or similar ones.

I have done just that: Bought a new R1150GS, ordered a set of Ohlins at the 
same time and installed them a few weeks later when they came in. In my 
subjective opinion, ride and handling are improved by about 30%. Is this enough to 
justify the $1,500 or so expenditure? Probably not. Would I do it again? In a 
heartbeat. Here's why.

I rode my '95 R1100GS for 86K miles before I traded it in early June of this 
year for the 1150. When the 1100 had about 25K miles on it, it was quite 
apparent that the stock shocks were shot. I installed Works Performance shocks 
primarily because the factory is located within a few hours of my home and I knew 
that if I had set-up problems, I could go right to the source if necessary. 
Just after I bought them, I learned that Works Performance can also supply 
shocks that are shortened by means of using shortened shafts. Feeling that this 
would be ideal for my 5'8" height, I talked to a factory technician about how 
this advantage might be obtained. Because I had already installed the standard 
length shocks, there wasn't much that could be done without additional hassle 
and expense, which at that time, I did not want to incur. The technician 
suggested that I could back off the preload collars on both shocks to achieve a lower 
ride height. I did this and was thoroughly satisfied with the results. I 
never dragged or banged any part of the bike while riding, and ride quality was 
substantially better than the worn-out stock shocks. The only disadvantage, if 
it can be called that, is that due to the lowered ride height, the bike now 
took a bit more effort to raise on the center stand. I chose not to have the 
center stand shortened for resale purposes.

After about 30K miles on the Works Performance shocks, I sent them back to 
the factory to be reconditioned and have the shorter shafts installed. This was 
relatively inexpensive if I recall correctly, something around $100 per shock.

When I bought the R1150GS, I knew what I would eventually be doing to it over 
time to make it 'mine'. Rather than wait for 25-30K miles to install 
aftermarket shocks, I figured I might as well put them on right out of the starting 
gate and enjoy the superior ride and handling, plus obtain the lowered ride 
height made possible by installation of shorter shafts. Reworking the Ohlins to 
install the shorter shafts increased the price by about $100 per shock, but was 
a worthwhile expenditure in my opinion.

So far as choosing one brand of aftermarket shock over the other, I am of the 
opinion that just about any aftermarket shock, set up properly, is going to 
be superior to the stock offering and probably not very different from one 
brand to the other. I chose the Ohlins because of the remote pre-load adjuster on 
the rear shock. With the Works Performance shocks, I had to pull the rear 
wheel to gain access to the preload adjustment collar with the wrench. This was 
not a major issue, since I could usually do it in my garage on the night before 
taking off on a trip with a full compliment of luggage and pillion partner. 
However, having the convenience of the remote adjuster was enough to tip the 
scale in the direction of the Ohlins this time around.

What it boils down to is that sooner or later, if one keeps a bike for an 
extended period of time or puts a on a lot of miles in a relatively short period 
of time, the expenditure for a new set of shocks is inevitible. Therefore, 
since it is not a matter of IF, but simply one of WHEN, I chose to bite the 
bullet and make that inevitable expenditure NOW. 

Hope this helps.

Gary Prickett
Mission Viejo, CA