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Ohlins, Wilbers and Works, Oh my!


>>re:  Q:  Do all aftermarket shocks require 12,000 mile rebuilds? A:  I
figure that 25K is about the norm. (Bill)

>Gee, the Konis on my '84 RS have been on there since 1985 and certainly don't
require rebuilding.  It's at 76K miles now.

>My friend has run his R1100RT with OE shock from 10K to 35K miles, most 2-up,
in the past few years and that shock's not a leaker either.

>While 25K might be a ballpark figure for Chevies, it's certainly not for the
likes of BMW and Mercedes in the cage world.

>What gives?  One would think the price paid for aftermarket motorcycle shocks
would ensure longer life.  It certainly isn't the weight of the vehicle, so
... ?

>Kent Christensen

I bought a set of Ohlins when my '99RT hit about 25K.   The difference was
staggaring.   They were better riding and the behavior on bumpy curves was
really confidence inspiring.

I had those rebuilt once at around 48K by Petersen in California even though
they were working fine.   They worked better before the rebuild than after.
In addition, Petersen basically lost the shocks.  I had to call after 8 weeks
(they'd promised 10 day turnaround).   I used those on the bike until I traded
it at 62K.   I put a set of newer OEM shocks from another bike on this bike to
trade it and kept the Ohlins.  Sent them in to an Ohlins dealer in
Murfreesboro, TN for rebuilding and changing to fit my '04 RT.  In the
process, I got a proper rebuild and the shocks were back to working like they
should.  They've been on the '04 for most of the 20K I've got on it now.  I
didn't see a need for rebuilding this year.   The bike is very comfortable and
handles like it's on rails.   I'm planning a Hex-Head purchase this year.  I
doubt that these shocks will convert yet again, but I'll certainly ask the

Things that Ohlins has going for it...great damping and brand recognition.
You can put a used set on the internet and sell them in a week.   Everyone
knows what they are.    They are well made.   They are not cheap, but you can
mitigate that a bit by buying from Wolf BMW in Canada.  They get them a bit
cheaper up there.  NAFTA says no duty on them into the states and Wolf says
any order over $500 gets free shipping.   No sales tax because they're out of
state...obviously.  The parts for rebuilding are actually available to the
dealers, so you can get yours rebuilt when you want.

Adjustability is only rebound damping front and rear, spanner preload adjust
in front and remote preload in the rear, like stock shocks, but they really
adjust a noticeable and useful amount. Just a click or two of rebound damping
makes a difference.

Things Wilburs has going for it.   FULL compression and rebound adjustability
front and rear.   Great workmanship.   Dealers, although not many, are really
into it.   Tom Cutter being a great example.   Lower cost.   I've heard great
reviews from owners around here.

Then there's these Bitubo shocks.  I know nothing about them.   Except that
they're made in Europe and Max Moto seems to be the only dealer.

All that said, the stock shocks on the '04s are awfully good.   I really
didn't feel an immediate need for new shocks.   Just had them fitted to the
new bike because I had them and because I could.   The rear stock shock is
heavy, but it works well.  Not rebuildable, however.

I won't rebuild until I start to feel some decay in performance.   One point
of getting a good set of shocks is that you CAN rebuild them and you can feel
a significant difference.   It's possible to run as far on an aftermarket
shock as a stock one...some people are satisfied going 80K on them, but you
defeat the purpose of having great quality damping when you do that.

- -TB