Rear Shocks for BMW GS Tugs

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by mikepa, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    Do any BMW R1150GS or R1200GS hack pilots have a source/reco for after-market rear shocks? After having had my share of bad luck with Ohlins:

    [​IMG]

    . . . and been on tours with other riders who suffered the same problem (Ohlin makes a fine street/track shock, but the open-ended aluminum housing can mushroom on a hard impact, and the result is, the shock opens up and pukes its oil and innards as you can see above), I've hung in there with the stock OEM shocks, as they, at least, don't come apart.

    However, their spring rates are too low for a loaded-out hack, especially if run "with abandon" off-pavement. I had a conversation going on for a while with the Wilburs rep, but it never went anywhere, though they welcomed me to stop by the plant in Europe for a "custom fitting". Same with Hyper-Pro.

    With the spring preload max'd, the stock front shocks seem to hold up just fine, never had a problem with them. And, after having the tub's shock self-destruct on a ride down in Patagonia, Jay and the crew at DMC out-fitted my R1150GS/Ural rigs with a twin-shock set-up on the tub's trailing arm (notice the nice Velcro-d dust covers they also sewed-up for me) and I've never had a failure since, and even if one failed, I could limp along with the other:

    [​IMG]

    But, the rear shocks have been a weak point. If no one has a source and reco for replacement rears, has anyone found alternative springs, or anyone who will rebuild, revalve and/or re-spring a stock shock?

    Thanks,
    #1
  2. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa Hack Pilot

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    I called and talked to Claude at C Stanley Motorsports and he directed me to Stig Pettersson of PPS Racing.
    Link below.
    He does the Ohlins and sets 'em up for use on the GS.
    I just finished an install today of my new shock.
    Haven't yet tested it off-road.
    Good luck.

    http://www.ppsracing.com/
    #2
  3. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    Appreciate the reco! Stig has a great rep. I had him re-build a set of Ohlins when I guided tours for GlobeRiders (Stig was a GlobeRiders sponsor at the time). Stig has certainly built some good shocks with higher-rate springs for a number of GS riders I know for their two-wheelers, and they're happy with his work.

    The problem is, given the far-heavier sprung weight of a hack and kit, the "shock" load on the rear wheel is pretty huge compared to a "bike", and I just haven't been able to steer around every pot hole, rock and rut on my travels :cry.

    The photo I show is of a Ohlins that was built for me by Stig. . . .

    Best,
    #3
  4. KCDakar

    KCDakar What are we waiting for?

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    :huh Nice to know that this is what I have to look forward too... :cry
    #4
  5. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    Not to worry! It's not a sure thing. My only reco for those with Ohlins is, run-up your spring pre-loaded with the threaded adjusters where you can, and never max spring loading via the remote hydraulic adjuster (on the latter, I've seen three of these come apart, and those all on two-wheelers - not a distaster, but you lose whatever pre-load you had dialed in).

    Best,
    #5
  6. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa Hack Pilot

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    Whoa, you do some serious off-road riding.
    I've heard good things about Wilbers but have no personal experience.
    Good luck with it.
    #6
  7. DirtyDR

    DirtyDR Dana

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    Have you thought about getting the stockers redone? I don't know if you are talking about the Showa on the 1150 or Showa or WP on the 1200 but I have heard lots of good about rebuilds by Lindemann, http://www.le-suspension.com/shock-services/ . I have 91,000 on my 1150 and when I get back from Alaska this Summer I will have them rebuild the stock Showa on the rear. The front Showa on the 1150 is not rebuildable.
    #7
  8. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Sorry, I can't give you any advice based on personal experience. But, like others, I keep my ear to the ground and sometimes you just hear stuff. The first thing that comes to mind is Penske shocks. I keep hearing that they are built a little different and perhaps a little more solid. The second is that I keep hearing about a shock service near us, GP Suspension, in Portland. Interestingly, their two main product lines are Ohlins and Penske so they should be able to talk intelligently with you about the relative sturdiness of the shock options for those companies. Seems like here on ADV we hear about Ohlins and Wilburs and HyperPro all the time. But not so much Penske. Might be worth a phone call. If you were going to ride down to see them in person, I might like to tag along.
    #8
  9. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    Hello Mike. So am I right is saying that your shocks are bottoming out? Either totally or maybe reaching total coil bind ?

    If this is the case, as it seems to be, what more could be done while staying within the stock mounting parameters other than more spring rate? Valving would follow that but the spring is what holds the thing up.

    Could a rubber bumper help? Within the shock spring or maybe externallly mounted?

    Remounting of shocks with a longer travel?

    The shocks that Stig has been doing lately for us are longer than the stock GS12s More so like the GSA models. I have heard no complains thus far.

    Adding a second shock the the rear suspension? This has been done. I may do it on my own 1150GS as another experiment.

    We do have some other ideas in the works that are totally outside th ebox..which can be 'normal' around here lol.
    #9
  10. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    #10
  11. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    I was guiding a tour across Eurasia once, and a client on a Triumph Tiger had his bike fitted with brand-new Penske that were fitted with custom springs for him. He broke rule #1 for those going on a long-haul tour, never install anything new just before shipping your bike or heading out. Install everything a couple of months ahead to test and debug it.

    Anyway, his rear Penske blew its seal about 3K miles into the trip. In short, I've seen Ohlins, Penskes, Wilburs and Fox rear shocks fail on these long ride. They either melt their internal seals, rod seals, or in the case of the Ohlins, come apart. The only shocks that have never actually failed are the OEM shocks. The issue I have with them is, they're too softly sprung, and their rebound dampening goes south pretty quickly.

    But, better a soft/bouncy shock than non at all, so, I do appreciate the link for GP Suspension. That gives me two possible sources for having stock suspenders rebuilt via this forum for having the stock suspenders rebuilt, two more than I had, thanks to all for the shared wisdom!

    Best,
    #11
  12. Andrew2

    Andrew2 Team 250

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    Hey Mike,
    a few of us over here have had our OEM shocks revalved and a heavier ( 18kg ) spring installed.We've also had preload spacers made up.I believe mine is a 25mm spacer ( could be a bit more ).Mine now is spot on with the preload adjusted at about 1/3 to 1/2 way in the adjustment range.

    Cheers
    Andrew
    #12
  13. twintwin

    twintwin Been here awhile

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    Interesting, any one konws where we can do this conversion / rebuilt in the US?.
    #13
  14. DirtyDR

    DirtyDR Dana

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    Didier,
    Lindemann will redo the stock Showa for you, posted in my other post above:
    http://www.le-suspension.com/shock-services/

    There are a couple of other places in the U.S. that redo stockers but Lindemann is the only one I know about personally.
    #14
  15. twintwin

    twintwin Been here awhile

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    Thanks Dan for the info and linky, my new R1150GSA rig with L.L. will really appreciate the upgrade, plus looks like much cheaper than an after market shock.
    #15
  16. DirtyDR

    DirtyDR Dana

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    Je t'en prie Didier.
    #16
  17. Melrone

    Melrone Been here awhile

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    I did mine through Works Performance in California.They did a fantasic job with no complaints.They were cheaper than the other companys...
    #17
  18. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    Hi Mike, Nice to see you back on ADV rider.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    866-638-1793
    #18
  19. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    We have ued Works Perfomance for various applications also. Great folks to work with.
    #19
  20. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist

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    Hola Jay!

    Mr. COB's most excellent photo on the ADV home page has me re-inspired to acheive a work-life balance more biased towards the "life" side of that equation. FYI, all of the work your team has done on my rigs has held-up perfectly. Hope to come down and check out your new digs one of these days.

    Best,
    #20