Look what showed up...
I needed a new back tire before heading further north and called BMW of Denver to see if they could fix me up in a rush. They said "Come On Down" (and Bring Your Wallet). Since they had to pull the rear wheel for the tire install I asked if they could also slap the rear Ohlins on at the same time. Martin in service squeezed it into the schedule and they turned it around quickly. Beautiful, slick dealership and staff were friendly and professional.
When I walked in to the parts area I did a serious double-take. Lo and behold Jessica who used to work at Lone Star Cycle in Austin was behind the counter smiling at me. My brain went weird for a sec! It was cool to see her and quite a surprise.
Rode back to my friends house with the new Ohlins on the rear - the ride and handling was SIGNIFICANTLY better even with the flabby original front still on the bike. Swapped in the new front and did a test ride. Holy cow what a difference! The front no longer dives and the bike feels completely different. I was used to the bike settling when I climbed on but now it sits much taller... I'll have to be a bit more cautious when stopping.
The suspension feels stiff in comparison but Dan set them up for my weight and gear. The attitude of the bike is more aggressive and it carves a tight line. Slow turning is much better and I can't wait to see how it handles in dual sport stuff. Absolutely a different bike to ride now. Woohoo!
The downside to all this is that I had finally developed a pathetic pirouette / slo-mo mount / dismount routine to get on and off the bike... Now with the extra suspension height it's like raising the bar for a pole vaulter. Maybe I can do it and maybe not.... I'll find out this morning when I hit the road for the mountains.
Thanks for the comments!
achesley - that might have been you - I saw the Strom Tues west of Sweetwater area. Glad you had a good trip !