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Re: Ohlins, Wilbers and Works, Oh my!

- - ---- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Silas" <robert.silas@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <oilheads@xxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2005 8:00 AM
Subject: Re: Ohlins, Wilbers and Works, Oh my!

> It's not that I doubt others opinions, I just would like to know,
technically, mechanically, what goes wrong with shocks.  I assume the RS'
shocks are oil shocks, so if they don't leak, the preload and the dampening
adjustment still work, what went wrong???


In shocks, there are always different levels of performance available. The
quality of the valving etc will affect how it performs and this also has a
dramatic effect on how a bike (car) feels with a different shock on). It's
probably the single component that can most change the way your bike feels.

To me, that's not a problem. Just a  fact. A better shock will perform
better and thus feel better.

What is a problem is when an OEM shock is purported to have an unusually
short life. Across many lists, it seems that riders accept this as a given.
I don't. There is no reason for it. If it does occur, it is the result of
unusually poor specs.

> Can it happen that shocks are OK for 3-4 hours of riding but after that
they are not acceptable?? (as one of the response stated)

Yes. This is heat-induced fade. When the shock cools back down, performance
returns. This just means that you are working the shock slighly outside its
performance enveloppe. If this happens frequently, then the fix is a higher
performance shock. In off-road situations, where the shock goes through
sustained high frequency and high amplitude cycles, heat will cause them to
fade. Better ones are more effective in resisting this.

> Or, am I just lucky with my Beta-bike???  In the beginning BMW may have
provided better shocks. I am 165 lbs, no passenger but the boxes are heavy,
the Corbin Rambler seat is also heavy.

This may have something to do with it. I weigh approx 160lbs. So my shock
doesn't work as hard as a rider that weighs 230lbs, for example.

But one thing is for sure. Putting on better quality shocks will make a bike
feel way better.

Montreal, Canada
CBR 929

My experience with my 97 RT is that the front shock gradually deteriorated
until it had lost much of its dampening ability by 15k.  I replaced the front
shock with a Works, and the back stock shock was o.k. until about 40k, when I
replaced it with a new Works.  Presently the ride and handling equal or exceed
my expectations.  So my recommendation is to replace the front shock first.
When you are dissatisfied with the handling, you can always replace the back.
But just the front may satisfy you. Why not give it a try?  I have no idea why
the front shock wears out prematurely, and the rear lasts a reasonable time.

I have ridden them all, and the Works and the Wilbers are about equal in
quality.  In my opinion, the Ohlins are fine, as well,  but they are not worth
the premium price that you pay, unless you count the yuppie factor of having
the most expensive shocks at the Sunday breakfast meet.  You get the same
technology and the same quality in the Works or the Wilburs.  And Works and
Wilburs will build the shock to your specifications.  And they both offer
expert rebuilding facilities right here in California and New Jersey,
respectively.  And they both will last a surprisingly long time before a
rebuild is ever necessary.
There is a certain amount of subjectivity involved.  Happiness and
satisfaction are largely a state of mind, determined by the individual.  Do
you tour, or do you race at Pocono?  Do you ride with squids on Ninjas, or do
you ride with other mature riders?  Etc.