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Old 04-17-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
BMWzenrider OP
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Question New Shocks for my R1200RT/Hannigan Rig - Experience/advice appreciated

Howdy all,
Have not been out and about as much as I would like for a while, but my front shock blew a seal on my trip to Ohio a couple of weeks ago.
So it is time for new suspenders...

Up till now I have been running the stock BMW ESA units on my 2005 R1200RT,
and the stock (and pitiful) Progressive 12-series unit on the Hannigan LT.

I have really liked the ESA. There is a definite difference in ride/handling when you go from comfort to sport settings.
So I decided early on that I want to retain that function.

----------
Searching for used/takeoffs of the stock BMW front shock, I found one available for around $200 shipped.
It looks pretty good, but with unknown mileage from a bike that a salvage yard picked up. So condition is not certain.

----------
I could also get the current stock shock rebuilt and even get a custom spring & revalving job done on it if I wanted.
I followed some of the links provided for rebuilders in another recent thread, and that option would cost anywhere from $170-460 each depending upon options/addons.
So to do the pair would cost around $900 to get them rebuilt with custom springs & valving on both.
And while I would then have new seals, fluid, and possibly better valving and spring rate. The body of the shock would still have all of the current miles on the bore & shaft, etc.

----------
The third option would be to go with a pair of aftermarket shocks to replace the stock units.
There are three options that I know of as far as complete aftermarket shocks which retain the ESA function: Hyperpro, Wilbers, & Works.
(Ohlins has ESA units for the GS, but not the RT)

Hyperpro & Wilbers are both made in Europe and have a 5-year warranty.
Works is manufactured here in the good ole' USofA but with only a 1-year warranty.

Quoted prices for a custom setup pair of new shocks for my bike are:
Wilbers - $1260 (incl. tax from local dealer)
Hyperpro - $1790 (incl. tax from local dealer)
Hyperpro - $1500 (plus shipping to/from NJ {Klaus})
Works - $1800 (plus shipping to/from CA)

----------
Wilbers talks about being able to do setup of sidecar suspensions on their website and in their print catalog. So they may be able to get a good balance to the suspension if I also go for an upgraded shock on the third corner. (Which I will probably do regardless of which vendor I go with.)

Of course, reading reviews online, it sounds like Klaus has done pretty well with helping others get their sidecar suspension set up as well.

I could not find any references to the people at Works having done much if anything with sidecar setups before.

----------

SO....
I am wondering what the collective experience of the inmates has been with any/all of these options?

Has a rebuilt stock unit lasted as long as the original, and can revalving the stock work as well as a custom aftermarket?

What about specific experiences with any of the brands of aftermarket units?
Good, bad, comparisons?


-----------

TIA!
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2005 BMW R1200RT w/Hannigan-LT sidecar
2002 BMW R1150RA
In Memoriam: Harley, 1993-2010 You will be missed.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:47 PM   #2
davebig
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Karl
Not everything has been covered but allot has here :http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781891
This gentlemen has WORKS :http://advrider.com/forums/member.php?u=73261

My personal .02 I just ordered Yacugar from Ted Porters Beemer shop, Yacugar is a brother to Hyperpro more former White Power Dutchmen. Steel bodies and bigger shafts 16mm vs 14 of most others.If you haven't got one of Hannigans swaybars go see Claude or see him anyway his are bigger than Hannigans.The bar acts as a spring and relieves the shock of some of its load.
My CSM GSA has Ohlins with 82 k on the shocks that manage quite well, but Mikepa's stories of self destructing Ohlins made me nervous, and they do have aluminum bodies. Depending on trail mods if you have a reraked lower triple clamp that lengthened the wheelbase you may have a longer lever depressing the spring.DB
Spent a bit of time on your blog, this obviously is not your first rodeo and I'm betting that huge chair would really benefit from a swaybar,and Dedone style trail mods(shorten telelever move ball joint mount) seems to need less spring, your an engineer and obviously in this for the long haul you'll eventually work this all out.
From the Milwaukee area ? I love Milw what a grand old city used to watch allot of bicycle races on the east side, Bastille Days, German Fest, good food, we Minnesotans with our repressed Scandinavians are never as much fun as Milwaukee !!!! LOL
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davebig screwed with this post 04-17-2013 at 07:08 PM
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:27 PM   #3
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I got Hyperpro from Klaus for the bike, I also got a YSS from him for the car. I gave him the weight for each wheel, and he did a pretty good job of spring selection, based on my limited experience. I know it changed the handling significantly, and the wife's unprompted comment was "It so much smoother, what did you do?"
If I were doing it again I would have popped for the remote preload adjustor for the front shock.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #4
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davebig,
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I had read that thread that you linked to, and had digested all of that info.
I was leaning away from the Ohlins because of that thread, and then found out that they don't make an ESA compatible shock for the RT models anyway.
AFAIK, Yacugar does not make a unit that retains the function of the ESA either.

Yes, I have about 64,000 miles on this bike now, about 50,000 miles with the Hannigan attached.
I did add a spacer on top of the stock front spring to increase preload when I built my trail reducer mod. That (and careful design of the reducer) kept the front ride height correct.

I have been wanting to upgrade the shocks all the way around since day one, but I am a bit of a cheap bastard so waited till one of them wore out before diving into the options too deeply.

The one thing that I decided early on is that I want to retain the function of the ESA (electric suspension adjustment). It is so nice to be able to switch the damping on-the-fly in order to tighten it up when approaching a nice set of twisties, and then drop it back into comfort mode for cruising through towns with broken up pavement.
Unfortunately, that does limit the options out there for me. But surprisingly, the ESA compatible units are not any more expensive than the non-ESA shocks. And that makes the cheap bastard in me happy.

-----
One other question that I have been toying with is going with the lowered suspension option to get a lower center of gravity for better cornering.
The downside is less ground clearance when I bomb the fire roads and remote gravel roads which I also enjoy.

The Labrador Highway last summer got a bit rough in some places.
The scary part is that you could be running along at a decent clip on a smooth stretch, then all of a sudden there is a field of chuckholes or rocks.
Hit a couple of holes or rocks that caused me to pull over to check for bent wheels...



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2005 BMW R1200RT w/Hannigan-LT sidecar
2002 BMW R1150RA
In Memoriam: Harley, 1993-2010 You will be missed.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobmws View Post
I got Hyperpro from Klaus for the bike, I also got a YSS from him for the car. I gave him the weight for each wheel, and he did a pretty good job of spring selection, based on my limited experience. I know it changed the handling significantly, and the wife's unprompted comment was "It so much smoother, what did you do?"
If I were doing it again I would have popped for the remote preload adjustor for the front shock.
Hiya Bob,
Yes, I remembered when you were getting your rig set up and had found your thread as well. Was hoping that you were still hanging around and would chime in with your experience so far.

How many miles do you have on the Hyperpro/YSS shocks now?
Had any issues at all?

Did you get the remote preload adjuster on the sidecar shock?
And did Klaus give you any recommendations on how many miles before he recommended getting your units rebuilt?
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2005 BMW R1200RT w/Hannigan-LT sidecar
2002 BMW R1150RA
In Memoriam: Harley, 1993-2010 You will be missed.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:19 AM   #6
davebig
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Sway bar !!

Karl
Your use cries our for a swaybar with the esa if you must, the nice thing about the bar is they can be preloaded and really help.Warning you'll then want an automotive tire in front you'll have allot more cornering power.DB
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebig View Post
Karl
Your use cries our for a swaybar with the esa if you must, the nice thing about the bar is they can be preloaded and really help.Warning you'll then want an automotive tire in front you'll have allot more cornering power.DB
Hannigan sidecars were designed with the help of a wind tunnel to help reduce drag as well as side-blast hitting the driver of the tug.
One of the things they do to reduce drag is have as smooth of a bottom to the sidecar as possible by hiding the frame up into the underside of the fiberglass body.
You can see the molded channels running across the bottom of the body in this photo.



SO.... Finding somewhere to put a swaybar would be a huge challenge without actually cutting up and reglassing the bottom of the body.
I am not willing to give up any of my already limited ground clearance to run a bar underneath the body/frame.

-----
Originally I was not looking for a bike with ESA because it was a new and untested technology.
But when I was putting this rig together the only R1200 I could afford was a salvage vehicle, so I took what I could get.
And even though I didn't initially want it, after having used the ESA on this bike/rig for nearly 5 years, I decided early on in the current decision making process that any replacement must retain that function.

-----
If I had the money, I would have gone to Brock and gotten a custom built rig made up using some ideas that I have for a 2wd rig with reverse using a motor with serious power & torque.
But the current rig is what I could afford that would meet most of my wants & needs.

Right now I am looking at whether it is worth the money to upgrade to aftermarket shocks vs. just buying the used stock unit for $200 and seeing how much farther the rear one goes before it blows a seal.
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2005 BMW R1200RT w/Hannigan-LT sidecar
2002 BMW R1150RA
In Memoriam: Harley, 1993-2010 You will be missed.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:04 AM   #8
Bobmws
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobmws View Post
I got Hyperpro from Klaus for the bike, I also got a YSS from him for the car. I gave him the weight for each wheel, and he did a pretty good job of spring selection, based on my limited experience. I know it changed the handling significantly, and the wife's unprompted comment was "It so much smoother, what did you do?"
If I were doing it again I would have popped for the remote preload adjustor for the front shock.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWzenrider View Post
Hiya Bob,
Yes, I remembered when you were getting your rig set up and had found your thread as well. Was hoping that you were still hanging around and would chime in with your experience so far.

How many miles do you have on the Hyperpro/YSS shocks now?
Had any issues at all?

Did you get the remote preload adjuster on the sidecar shock?
And did Klaus give you any recommendations on how many miles before he recommended getting your units rebuilt?

Hi Karl,
I've run about 4200 with the new shocks. No issues at all other than a few adjustments on preload and damping to find the best setup for me. No remote on the sidecar shock, but accessible by pulling the wheel, unlike the front in the telelever, hence the comment on remote for the front.
I'm going to add a spacer on the top of the front shock for a bit more front height next time I have the tank off , will see if it affects the steering mod.
*I* won't be bombing any potholed dirt roads, but with time and experience I'm becoming a bit more aggressive on the street.
Klaus recommends rebuild at 25k, shocks at the time of purchase included the first service. Again, my shock duty is probably less harsh than yours, so service periods may vary.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:00 AM   #9
davebig
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Karl
I agree with all your points but there's room in the tunnel for a bar to tie the swingarms together, being an old bicyclist I like the aerodynamics and understand moving through air easily is a real economical aid you must have a electrical engineering degree and like the torque available in an electric motor.Hybrid sidecar rig electric assist for passing and reverse not unlike the Honda Civic hybrid .Sidecars are in there infancy in the US if look at what they do in Europe.DB
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:06 PM   #10
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A couple of stray thoughts on swaybars: there's no reason you can't use u-joints in a swaybar installation. Also there's all sorts of ways to transfer motion, such as chain and sprocket systems. Swaybar can be positioned behind tub, I've seen several mounted that way.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:56 AM   #11
daydream
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I am currently researching the same topic. I have talked to Herman at hermanusa.com. They sell Wilbur shocks made in Germany. They are excellent shocks. He has a product called WESA which utilizes your current ESA activator attached to their shocks. Good shocks with ESA You could also look at hermanusa.com.

Tom
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:50 PM   #12
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I have a 98 R1100R / Hannigan Astro Sport that I hooked up last year. I replaced the shocks with a custom pair of Hagon shocks purchased through Dave Quinn. The price last winter was $450 or $650 (with remote dampening adjustment). I had to provide weights for myself, my passenger, sidecar, luggage etc. After a year and 10,000 miles I am very pleased. They are also rebuildable.
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:36 PM   #13
Melrone
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Karl: Bert here. Hey I went through Works Performance with great results..They were the cheapest price of all the after market shocks and did me right..Claude is redoing my rig. Found out my s/c shock was bent. After a call to works they had all the specs on file did a full rebuild for under $100 can't complain. give them a call seewhat they can do for you...
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:11 PM   #14
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Go with Works. Not only do they make them themselves, they have built many specifically for sidecars and they understand sidecars. I would stay away from some "hot shot" shock tuner who specializes in rebuilding someone else's shock. If the guy is so good why isn't he making them himself? If the shock he's re-doing is so good why is it needing to be redone? Oh yeah, they have been building them for over 40 years too.
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