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Old 04-10-2014, 06:33 AM   #1
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Reiger Factory Shock Test $1,400 Retail

Sad to say it took me this long to finally fit a Reiger Factory shock to the 2011 Raga 300. This one is from Stu at Jack's Cycles. Stu is the official Reiger Importer for USA. And yes, this really is a $1,400 retail shock! There will be few takers at that price, but some riders will seek out the best, and are willing pay the price. Some would pay for whole factory bikes, like Bou's, if those were for sale to us normal folk (they are not). I aim to find out if the Factory shock is really a significant step above the OEM Reiger. With the gaggle of adjustments, it'll take a while to figure that out comprehensively.

I will first documenting the mounting, springs, some settings, initial impressions, and later specifics on settings versus performance and differences from the OEM 2-adjuster shock.

Here are the two shocks, the stock 2-adjuster Reiger typical of Ragas on right, and the Factory version on left:



Yesterday was all-day prep for the upcoming 2-day in the canyon country just SE of Amarillo, TX. As you all know, I have mellowed the Raga, first with an Econo ignition module, then with 2.5 degree of retarding the timing globally by modifying the ignition pickup plat to slide move it relative to the flywheel. The bike just keeps getting sweeter and easier to ride. Now with this significant change of shock, I will have more than timing technical to fiddle with at the Texas event.

So what the heck is a Factory shock? More adjusters, two of which are unusual, and who knows what strange details inside, as no one I know of has been inside one. Here are the top four adjusters:



The remaining adjuster is the typical rebound adjuster at bottom of shock (some newer model GasGas bikes have the shock inverted, so that would be at the top).

Changing shocks on a GasGas isn't hard. Just roosen the air boot screw at the carb and remove the subframe. Then remove the top shock/muffler bolt and tilt the shock back. Then the swingarm can be tilted way down so you can access the lower shock bolt to remove the shock. BTW, that blue bolt is titanium. I have a few from discarded Otto Bock 4R31 prosthetic foot adapters from my prosthetic design and manufacturing years.



Though I could have just pulled the shock, I went ahead and did all the suspension pivot maintenance re greasing. I was there mid last year, and already they were no longer fully packed, so it was a good thing to do.

Buttoned all back up, you have access to three adjusters, the low and high speed compression adjusters, and the one rebound adjuster. The Hydrostop bottoming speed control and Bottom Rebound release speed control screws are masked by the carburetor and head stay, and not easily accessible. I can barely get at one, but it's better to just remove the subframe and upper shock bolt and tilt the shock back. The clicks are hard to discern if you struggle with adjusting. Here a photo of why:



Initial impression from yesterday's ride. Tighter feeling with similar adjustments than the original shock (more damping). Backed off on rebound 4 clicks. Better. It did work quite well during its first ride, so no problem with it messing with my head negatively in the event. I'll know more when I go full maximum on the two end-of-travel adjuster today to see what they do (and make sure they are working). When I was moving the shock by hand, and with the two adjusters set to maximum, I didn't feel any change, whereas the other adjusters, event low-speed compression, made big changes. Perhaps the Hydrastop and Bottom Rebound adjusters only work at fast shock shaft speeds? I rode a bike with another of these shocks last year, and the timer for slow shock release after a big, max travel hit was definitely working. It was a bit disturbing the first time I felt it.

motobene screwed with this post 04-10-2014 at 07:41 AM
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:13 AM   #2
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
About springs, the Factory shock came with a 72.5 N/mm spring (force in Newtons per millimeter). The standard spring for the Raga is 70 N/mm. Some previous Ragas used a 67.5. The post 2008 or 9 frame has a lower rising rate in the linkage, so a stiffer spring and a bit more damping is needed.

I fit the 70 N/mm spring to the factory shock. I measured the Factory shock as 1mm shorter, eye-to-eye, than the original shock, so I upped the preload a touch to .260" On the first ride, my steering acuity is where it was (just a tine bit of over steer when leaned), so I'll not have to further adjust preload, thankfully, as that is a pain.

Really heavy guys excepted, fitting stiffer springs or jacking the preload way up may seem the right thing to do, but it comes at a cost to handling and center of gravity. The Reiger Factory pdf states that high skills riders should use the next SOFTER shock spring. That's contra intuitive to street assumptions, and it shows there is more to this than is often assumed.

I may experiment fitting the 2-adjuster Reiger to my 2010 Econo, which now has an Ohlins. It has the previous linkage which rises faster and is more abrupt feeling. On that shock I will fit a 67.5 spring (the softest one I have access to), but it may still be too stiff. If I am not mistaken, the -09 spring on the Ohlins is 50 N/mm. We shall see how the Reiger works. I think the wide and actually useful damping adjustment range of the Reiger shock will absorb the older linkage rate. If nothing else, fitting the Reiger to the 280 will allow me the luxury of servicing the Ohlins some time, as it has been 2 years since I had it apart to repair a blown seal.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:50 AM   #3
laser17
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Having the high and low speed compression damping is "from what I hear" the real major benefit that most "top" riders enjoy. That way, the riders can run a soft spring /fast shock for improved compliance and traction and still not bottom out hard on the splatters. I think you have to be WTC level to get the bang for the dollar out of the other adjustments, but they sure are cool.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:50 AM   #4
mung
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My 12 Raga 300 came with 70 spring.I tried a 75 and even for my 250 pounds it was very stiff. Went to a 72.5 and that spring has worked very well.In your pictures I see that you have the little aluminum spool looking piece at the front of your side stand.I took mine out and used a shorter bolt and now the back of the side stand tucks in much better and is out of the way.Thought I might give you something else to play with.
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by mung View Post
My 12 Raga 300 came with 70 spring.I tried a 75 and even for my 250 pounds it was very stiff. Went to a 72.5 and that spring has worked very well.In your pictures I see that you have the little aluminum spool looking piece at the front of your side stand.I took mine out and used a shorter bolt and now the back of the side stand tucks in much better and is out of the way.Thought I might give you something else to play with.
The Factory manual has the below table and comments for springs, but they are wrong on their spring recommendations for heavier riders. You bear this out at 114 kg and the 72.5 spring. An 80+ N/mm spring would be ridiculous for you.

We used to make this same mistake in prosthetic feet, using a more linear extrapolation between foot settings and patient weight. We missed a 'wobbling mass' effect and other aspects and later revised our settings to be quite non linear regarding device stiffness and patient weight:



Thanks. I'll look at the side stand. Mine whacks the plastic disc cover when I flip it up, and when Ihit obstacles hard. I wish it would not and the 'clack' is distracting.

motobene screwed with this post 04-10-2014 at 11:13 AM
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:38 AM   #6
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by laser17 View Post
Having the high and low speed compression damping is "from what I hear" the real major benefit that most "top" riders enjoy. That way, the riders can run a soft spring /fast shock for improved compliance and traction and still not bottom out hard on the splatters. I think you have to be WTC level to get the bang for the dollar out of the other adjustments, but they sure are cool.
Maybe I mentioned it, maybe not, but when compressing the shock shaft by hand yesterday I was stunned by the huge difference the low-speed compression screw made. Not at all what I expected, as the compression adjusters typically only meter a small percentage of oil that is displaced by the shock rod during compression. Typically the compression adjusters barely do anything. Typically minor changes compared to the rebound adjuster, which directly bypasses the rebound stack in the piston.

On Reiger shocks the adjusters really do have a wide range, and on the rebound you can go from glue slow to a pogo stick with the rebound adjuster. Contrast this with a older 4RT Showa shock which goes from glue slow to slow.
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:13 PM   #7
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
OK another settings iteration and some ride time. This thing does work! Is it worth that kind of money? I don't know how to answer that. I'll know more after the 2-day event. What I do know now is:

Quality increase of the rear suspension action is very noticeable. Much more plush, controlled action. The Hydrastop and Bottom Rebound return timer are working. You can hit big stuff and the rear end doesn't react in an uncontrolled way. It will rebound to unweight and rotate the bike forward, but it just feels much more right.

I've been calling the Hydrasto and Bottom Rebound end-of-travel functions, but because I could not feel them stroking the shock by hand at end of travel, full turned up (zero turns out), they may be more dynamically triggered. The manual says Hydrastop is at end of travel, and on the Bottom Rebound they don't have a graph (but it does say 'bottom'). Hard to know exactly when things are happening because things happen fast.

I'm now set up good enough to ignore at the event, or fiddle with further.

Here are my settings so far:



Got a few more things to do on the bike and have to pack. Catch you all next week.
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:40 PM   #8
laser17
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Nice report. Now we expect a win with all that tech under you!
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:18 PM   #9
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by laser17 View Post
Nice report. Now we expect a win with all that tech under you!
I think with a calmed bike, better suspension, and my frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) on the mend (I have 2/3rds the range of motion back!), I fully expect to get back to the Econo days where the guys were more worried about me

I slowed the forks a bit to balance with the shock. Rode some more, then backed off 1 click on the forks and shock to generally speed things up. This is a different feel. I'm still wrapping my brain around it. Should do me good, as the last two things I identified as points takers: the powerful engine, and the suspension reacting to bigger hits too much, will be addressed in the weekend's event. Now if I could just swivel my skull open and tweak my brain....

motobene screwed with this post 04-11-2014 at 06:17 AM
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:09 AM   #10
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Overall my bike was deadly effective last weekend. One major improvement was the Reiger Factory shock. After recent poor rides, I've got my mojo back. The shock helped for sure. More control is how I could describe it.

There was a very fun 4th gear WFO hill climb about 100 feet high. If you were shy on the throttle there was no way you'd make it up. It required blasting through some shallow trenches mid way up. I gritted my teeth expecting them to be knocked out, but poof, I was through and on my way up, every time. All cleans there.

I've still got to fiddle more, but so far I'm very pleased.
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:20 AM   #11
laser17
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Glad to hear you like it! Nice riding too!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:04 AM   #12
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
Oddometer: 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by laser17 View Post
Glad to hear you like it! Nice riding too!
Thank you!

There is no substitute for a bike you have great confidence in, and that hasn't been true some of the time with my Raga. The now much smoother and less powerful motor (and a very calm throttle hand) helped me stay hooked up when many were taking points losing traction.

The shock wasn't a huge world of difference, but definitely an improvement.
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