Ohlins versus Stock Suspension (R1200GS)

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by BeeMDub, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. BeeMDub

    BeeMDub Banned

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    How much better is the Ohlins than the stock suspension? I understand differences in adjustability and rebuildability, but I'm looking for a more qualitative difference.
    Will I notice that the Ohlins is that much better and smile to myself at the $1500 well spent on every ride?
    I bought my R1200GS used this summer (its an 05) with 3k miles on it. It has 6k now. I was planning on waiting until I notice the stockers getting a little worn before replacing them, but if it'll be night and day, I'll do it now (before I head out for a 2 week trip on 9/17). I put Ohlins on my 02 RT at 18k miles and I noticed a big difference. Some of this was because the RT shocks were tired, but it felt more stable than ever and two-up (or loaded) adjustability and performance was outstanding.
    Thoughts?
    #1
  2. Gringa

    Gringa Adventurer

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    Basically you answered your own question with your comment on your R/T.
    Yes, it is the same night and day as long as they are set up well. Look into the new PDS generation rear for your 12GS, it has rebound AND compression adjustability. If you plan on keeping the bike, yes, worth the bucks.

    Salut
    #2
  3. Borracho

    Borracho EDDIE WOULD GO

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  4. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

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    Twice on one ride I bottomed out my OEM shock (cranked to the max) riding two-up with my wife. Second time I wasn't even pushing hard - hit a bad bump in the road and it darn near pitched us into a ditch.

    Ohlins f/r went on at 8,500 miles. This is now the third bike I've put Ohlins on in a row. Sadly, I think that when I buy a bike from now on I'm just going to factor Ohlins into the purchase price right at the start.
    #4
  5. horseman

    horseman Adventurer

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    If your GS is an 05 it has WP shocks on it. While these are better than what is used now, they are not Ohlins and you will still see your moneys worth in difference.
    #5
  6. Paul Mihalka

    Paul Mihalka Old Fart

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    On my R1100RT I went with Ohlins. Tremendous difference in ride quality. They got rebuilt a few times, but it still saved money compared with buying always a set of stock shocks.
    On my R1150R I replaced the originals with R1150R Rockster shocks that are a step up and I got them for almost no money. If I still had the bike, It would have Ohlins or Wilbers or something.
    On my new to me '05 R1200GS I still have the stock White Powers, which are better than any stock suspension on my previous beemers, but eventually they will go too.
    Qustion: On my R1100RT the rear Ohlins was adjustable in length without any special ordering. Simply loosen up a lock nut and turn the bottom mounting to adjust lenght. Is that still so on the R1200GS Ohlins?
    #6
  7. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

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    Depends on the shock. There are two Ohlins rear shocks: one has the ride-height adjustment nut and the other doesn't. Depends on which shock you ordered.
    #7
  8. BeeMDub

    BeeMDub Banned

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    Yes, the stockers are WP pieces (noticed when I was scouting the upgrade). I do appreciate the Ohlins, but right now I'm leaning toward waiting until I notice some degredation of the stockers or encounter some situation where I think the Ohlins would be "that much" better. Hopefully, this situation isn't one where I'm sliding along the pavement toward a ditch :eek1.
    I am going to splurge on new tires. Again, the stock Trailwings only have 6k miles on them, but the rear is getting a little flat in the center and they are at least 3 years old. Plus, they pale (IMHO) in comparison to the Tourances I've run in the past. [Good bang for the buck here!] I've been having fun sliding my SM bike around, but my GS squirms a bit without trying. I've got a set of Tourance EXPs on the way. [Sorry, Hijaaked my own thread.]
    #8
  9. MotoJim

    MotoJim Been here awhile

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    I just returned from a 4.7k 8 day ride on my R1150GS Adv which has Ohlins on it.

    After I returned, the next day I jumped on my '07 R1200GS Adv and went for a spin. I thought 'What happened to this bike, the suspension is so harsh'. I felt like I was on a pogo stick. Every little bump was felt.

    My new Ohlins for the R12GS Adv were supposed to be here yesterday. Damn, they didn't show up and I had planned the long weekend allowing time for installation and adjustment.

    I'm one of those people who acclimates to the bikes suspension. After a while it just feels normal. Because I had not ridden the R1150GS much I was thinking the maybe I could live with the suspension on the R12GS Adv and had some slight misgivings about having ordered the set of Ohlins.

    Not now. If you can figure out a way to afford them, go for it now. It is the best money you can spend on a bike.

    Jim
    #9
  10. johnjen

    johnjen I've Been Resigned

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    A tweaked hi-tech suspension system affects ALL other aspects of how the bike runs. Often in ways that are hard to predict AND in ways that are unforseen. The trick is getting them dialed in properly for you and your riding conditions.

    JJ
    #10
  11. BeeMDub

    BeeMDub Banned

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    Dangit MotoJim, just leave me be in my rationalized, $1500 richer world!

    I do feel the "harshness" of my 05 GS. My 1150s stock were definitely more plush too, though decidedly not as sporty. Why can't BMW put Ohlins on a $16k bike?

    Back on the fence...

    :huh
    #11
  12. Mike M

    Mike M On the Left Coast...

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    I waited until the stockers began to feel worn but (at least in my case) it was a slow degradation and I didn't want to wait until they broke down, so I went to Ohlins at 9K miles.

    I cannot say that there is a "tremendous difference in ride quality" as mentioned, but maybe that is due to the signficant life that I had with only 9K on my stock shocks. However, the plushness and overall handling of the bike is clearly improved.

    I thought I would be sporting a big woody after I rode the bike for the first time after installing the Ohlins but it's not like that....I think it will take a while to fully appreciate the benefits of these shocks. I think I'll be happy with the investment.

    My 2 cents...
    #12
  13. johnjen

    johnjen I've Been Resigned

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    As has been said numerous times, in order to get the full benefits from hi-tech shocks you also need to dial them in. If all you do is install them and figure that will be enough there is a whole nuther level of performance waiting to be found. See section #2 of GSOIA in the Hall of Wisdom.

    JJ
    #13
  14. Motorrader

    Motorrader Been here awhile

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    I just installed a new pair of Ohlins on my 2007 R1200GSADV. Having done this before with my other motorcycles, because the cushy, average BMW shocks are historically, and still mediocre, I didn't wait for them to wear out. The difference is so dramatic that you won't believe it. Youre BMW will now handle like a firm sport bike on rails. No wallow or twitchiness in the front end anymore. For instance, a moderate 55mph sweeper on the interstate at 85mph is extremely sure footed even with buffeting from other vehicles. If you are a non-aggressive rider, it might not be that dramatic for you. You feel the road with Ohlins. I wouldnt describe it as a smooth, isolated ride. It's a tight, confident precision feel: a little stiffer, with lightning fast rebound recovery and non jarring but accurate compression for the conditions. My wife who rides with me all the time, describes it as more road feel, but more confident with an "on rails" feel. As a side note, I had a 1994 1100GS that I put only a front Ohlin's on leaving the rear stock. The handling was suberb...in fact I think the front shock is the most important with regard for handling on these bikes. The problem with the rears however, is they fade more easily and become choppy. That might not be the case with the newer GS shocks with reservoirs. If I was on a limited budget, and wanted a tremendous improvement in the handling, installing a front Ohlins would be the way to go.

    Kurt
    #14
  15. DRTRDR

    DRTRDR Adventurer

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    On the Ohlin's website there are 2 sets of shocks one standard and one for lowering the GS. There is also listed a rear BM 543 without a matching front. The BM 543 is quite a bit more pricey. Does anyone know details on this shock? The Ohlin's website gives no real info other than the basic specs.
    I have an 07 GS and am looking at suspension options.
    #15
  16. Peka

    Peka Long timer

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  17. NC Rick

    NC Rick Cogent Dynamics Inc

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    We are an Ohlins Dealer. The more expensive rear shock for the GS has an external reservoir with an independent compression adjuster, is length adjustable and uses a secondary damper piston and chamber to give a position sensitive damping profile. The lower end shock may be a good fit since it costs less and the Ohlins front shock has none of those features anyhow. We have upgraded the front shocks to the Team Motorrad Race Bikes so that the also have a remote reservoir with adjustability. Those mods are available through the team.

    If you replace the stock shocks before they are shot, you get a nice performance improvement, a set of shocks that will last forever with regular service and if you sell your bike, swap the shocks back and sell the Ohlins set to another rider with a great retention of the shocks value. By far the most cost effective performance mod.
    #17
  18. DRTRDR

    DRTRDR Adventurer

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    NC Rick thanks a lot for the info. Greatly appreciated. I think I am going to go with the 543 rear.
    #18
  19. DRTRDR

    DRTRDR Adventurer

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    I talked to Ohlins' shock tech today about the BM 543. They stated it cannot be installed without removal of the cannister. I know 11XX GS owners have removed the cannister in the past but what about warranty issues? Would like the 543 but won't risk warranty for it. The local dealers are all closed on Mondays so any experience out there?
    #19
  20. Nitzo

    Nitzo Long timer

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    I love my ohlins. My stock bike felt ok with just me on it, when I would put the gf on the back, it felt like a 64 ford ford wagon thru the turns. I just spent a long weekend riding the nc mountains (new ohlins on) and couldn't be happier with the new shocks........... Still , the best farkle is the kaoko.
    #20