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Re: oilheads-digest V2 #70

Some two thousand miles ago I decided to replace the stock shocks on my '01 
R1100RL (the last BMW that looks like a BMW, i.e., black with white pin 
stripes and wire wheels; certainly a collectable oil head) with Ohlins. The 
bike had about 29k on the original dampers and always had something of a 
heavy and sluggish (at low speeds) feel and a somewhat unstable almost 
skittering feel at high speeds (say over 75mph). Once installed and 
fine-tuned for my height and weight (this was done at the time of 
installation and then re-done after about a thousand miles of back road 
riding), I can say that the cost (around $1400 installed and fine tuned) 
was certainly worth it. The handling improved dramatically, both at low 
speed (where the bike felt as if it had lost 75 pounds) and on 
twisties--especially those with rough or uneven surfaces. The bike's 
handling is simply transformed. It leans in more predictably (and a bit 
quicker) and the steering is far more neutral. It stays planted on bad 
surface back roads and one often has that "as if it were on rails" 
sensation on sweepers. At highway speeds it is more stable. I suspect that 
the degree of improvement has to do with the fact that the stock shocks on 
this model (rather like those on the R1150R) are not the best that BMW 
offers; i.e., that BMW has scrimped on its entry level R bikes. The 
originals are not Showas as on the RTs. I've ridden the R1100R of a friend 
with Wilbers and the effect is comparable; same with a friend with a 
R1100RS (this one with Ohlins). So I think that in many cases--but 
certainly if the shocks are worn out or nearly so-- the change is 
significant and the improvement dramatic. Whether it's worth it, money 
wise, is usually a personal question. But if you like to ride hard and have 
the bucks, my opinion (with the aid of hindsight) is that this is something 
of a no-brainer.

George Panichas
'01 R1100RL
'05 FJR 1300

I have friends who have At 04:47 AM 3/22/2005, you wrote:

>oilheads-digest        Tuesday, March 22 2005        Volume 02 : Number 070
>In this issue:
>     Suspension Dampers
>Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 06:20:05 +0200
>From: "Clive Liddell" <cliddell@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Suspension Dampers
>My OEM dampers are only now "breaking in" and my bikes are feeling just as I
>like - smooooth.  R is at 77000km and RT is at 57000km.  Oh, and I wear my
>tires out on the sides before the middle on both bikes with no handling
>problems (or any leaks so far).
>BTW in common with any vehicle from Europe the OEM front and rear Showa
>dampers are oil under Nitrogen pressure (assisting in preventing foaming).
>[Tom said the Ohlin rear was such a design and the front Ohlin was an oil
>emulsion design??]
>I ask the question: Why would a manufacturer compromise his product for the
>proverbial ha'pence worth of tar.  The Showa dampers MAY not have quite the
>performance of some better marketed makes but IMO they are very far from
>being inferior to any of them.  Unfortunately, Showas are not produced in
>gaudy colours nor do they have as many bells and whistles - however I
>actually never look at my dampers except when I wipe the bugs off my front
>damper and spring while washing the bike.
>Clive Liddell
>Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
>'96 R850R ~77kkm
>'01 R1100RT ~57kkm
>End of oilheads-digest V2 #70