'13 f7gs - fork and shock springs

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by vasuvius, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. vasuvius

    vasuvius wannabe something ... don't know what

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    I'm thinking of upgrading the fork and shock springs on my f7gs this winter. Bike has 21k miles now. I don't like how the front dives and the rear seems to be getting squishier of late. Or maybe I've just been riding harder over potholes.
    I've been reading a lot of threads on the topic and there's some wonderful information.
    At this point I'm possibly leaning towards the Hyperpro progressive springs kit and wondering about the Ricor Intiminators (sp?). Should I bother with the fork springs or just get the Ricor Intiminators ?
    I don't plan to do any serious off-roading. At most some fire roads.

    What's the difference between what Touratech sells (at a premium) and what the Hyperpro dealer sells ? There's a $100 price difference. I can clearly see 'hyperpro' on the Touratech pic.
    https://touratech-usa.com/Store/Touratech-Progressive-Fork-Shock-Spring-Kit-BMW-F700GS-2013-on
    vs
    http://epmperf.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/HP-Progressive-Springs-6-2017.pdf (bottom of page 3 lists price for f7gs)

    Rider details: 160 lbs, < 20 lbs gear weight. Mostly commuting into the potholes of Jersey City. May do some touring in a future life when I have more spare time. I don't need or want to lower the bike.

    Thanks, V.
    #1
  2. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

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    Hi Vasuvius,

    I'm doing similar changes to my wife's '17 F700GS (factory low suspension). Note that I am setting her bike up for our upcoming trip through Central and South America - so the bike conditions are loaded panniers, top case and rider with full ATGATT.

    First to answer your question (or give my spin on it anyway): From my experience with both Touratech and Wunderlich - many of their products are just "re-branding" of other companies products, so I expect that the springs from Hyperpro and Touratech are the same, given your observation.

    Second: Her is my experience so far w/ setting up front/rear on the F700GS:

    I have already installed Race Tech's gold valve emulators in the front forks, which are similar in function to the Ricor product. This made a noticeable (big smile) improvement in the overall feel of the front suspension - the bike feels much more "planted" to the road. My wife is not an aggressive rider and often when I do something that I think makes a difference to ride/handling, she doesn't always notice. But with the Gold Valve Emulators - even she said "wow." So that was a definite plus. The Ricor product should do similar from my understanding.

    However - that did not really change the magnitude of fork dive on hard braking (just the rate of that dive). And there is to much dive - I've got to fix that. I had some communication with Ted Porter and one of the Tech's at his shop about this, and their input was that fork oil level is a major knob for adjusting fork dive. Essentially, the air trapped above the top of the fork and the oil level becomes a "spring" as that air-volume becomes compressed during fork compression. As Ted told me "With that air pocket, you basically have an adjustable progressive rate spring built into every fork", and his tech said same thing in a separate conversation. You can tune that by changing the fill level of the fork oil. The tech suggested I try increasing fill level to 130-120mm level (I believe 145mm is the OEM fill level) and expected I would notice a big improvement in dive. He emphasized that the right spring-rate is needed to get proper static-sag and riding geometry, based on riders weight, and with progressive rate springs, you still have to get the initial spring rate right to get proper sag. He said that they aren't opposed to progressive rate springs (and they sell progressive rate springs) but in principle he felt you could get to the same place with a fixed-rate spring and adjusting oil level. After talking to them, I noticed that Race Tech makes this same point in their tuning guide; see "Tuning Variables" table in following:

    http://www.racetech.com/page/title/Emulator Tuning Guide

    So for the F700, I decided to try to stay with non-progressive springs. Based on Race Tech's input, I recently purchased 0.8kg/mm springs - but after talking with the folks at Ted Porter's Beemer Shop I and doing some more research, I became convinced that was going to be to stiff and would not give proper ride geometry (static sag) for her weight, and I returned those for 0.7 kg/mm springs (Stock is 0.62kg/mm) which just arrived. I will keep the Gold Valve emulator settings and (stock) oil-viscocity I have now (seem to be working) and adjust fill level to see if the new spring rate and higher fill level give the reduction in dive that I'm looking for. I'm recovering from back surgery so it will be a few weeks before I can install the springs.

    All that said: On her previous ride, an F800ST, I installed the Gold Valve Emulators, Hyperpro progressive springs and increased oil viscosity and was very happy with the result - my take away is there are many ways to improve over the stock setup! Hard to go wrong I think.

    On shocks: The reason I got in touch with Ted Porter to start with was for the rear shock. Following Ted's recommendation, I have purchased this TPX shock from them.

    http://www.beemershop.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=140-0564-00HPA

    Ted is very bullish on the TPX products, and he gave me the whole history of the company and their shock design. I should have it in a few weeks - about the time I'm recovered enough to work on the bike again! I'll post an update when I've made the changes, and I am interested to hear what you decide to do, and what your experience is with the result. And I can't say enough about the experience of working with Ted Porter's Beemer Shop; highly recommend. You could call or email them and ask about their recommendation on progressive vs standard springs based on your situation, and see what they say.

    http://www.beemershop.com/Ted_Porte...ts_All_Brands_Sales_Service_Installation.html

    Jim
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  3. vasuvius

    vasuvius wannabe something ... don't know what

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    Thanks Jim for the great write up. I'll probably be doing more research on this topic for the next month or so before I decide.
    The Race Tech fork spring rate calculator recommends a 0.8 kg/mm for my weight while the stock is 0.57 kg/mm on the stock springs. I imagine this explains why I feel the front end dives too much.
    I think I have a lot more reading to do :-)
    #3
  4. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Your emulators don't have any inertia function in them, do they?

    Plain from marketing speak you'll get the softer more compliant front with the thinner oil, but due to inertia mechanism will get a stiffer front under braking with the Intiminators.

    Something to consider if one doesn't have either product yet.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  5. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

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    Not sure I understand what you are saying here. Can you elaborate a bit?
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  6. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

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    Hi Morfic.
    I'm guessing you are referring to the internal valve (which I think Ricor calls an "inertial valve" or some-such) used in the Intiminator. For sure, Racetech's Emulators do not use such a valve - but the Emulator damping is certainly dependent on the compression rate. One thing I like is the adjustiblity they provide - which for some may be a draw back! The Emulators come with three different springs of different rates, two hole (std) and four hole bleed plates (low speed damping) and then you can adjust the pre-load on which ever spring you select. Here is a video that explains how they function in some detail.



    All that said - from what I've read the Ricor product offers great improvement in damping as well, and is easier to install. I came across the Emulator before I had read about Ricor's product - not sure which way I would have gone if I had been aware. But since I was so blown away by the Emulators first time around, I decided to stick with what I knew with.

    One of my sons came this weekend and helped me (still recovering from back surgery ..) do the front end suspension upgrades on my wife's F700GS. Huge improvement and a lot of interesting details and discovery which I will post in a followup, shortly.

    Jim
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  7. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Nice, until you're not.

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    I can't contribute anything on the rear spring options, but I'd add my vote for an emulator, whichever brand you prefer. I did this to mine two seasons ago, after I realized that I was so leery of the bike's tendency to dive under braking that I was hesitant to use it to its full potential, even in an emergency. The difference the mod made for me was night and day. I had to add some preload to the rear to balance the bike back out, but otherwise it lost nothing in terms of ride quality. Meanwhile, during some training last fall, I was able to use 100% of the front brake with no loss of control... even at 80kph, the rear wheel only lofted a few inches.
    #7
  8. Flashdog

    Flashdog Long timer Supporter

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    I installed the Ricors on my 13' F700 and replaced the oil with what they recommended. I'm 200 lbs plus gear.
    The front end is much more forgiving on washboard sandy dirt roads. And it doesn't bottom out on potholes and other square approaches. Very happy.
    It might sound crazy but, I'm happy with the stock rear shock.
    #8
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  9. vasuvius

    vasuvius wannabe something ... don't know what

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    Did you replace the stock fork springs as well ? Or did you just install the Ricors on the stock springs ?
    #9
  10. Morro

    Morro like a ship in the night

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    Same as flashdog. '13 f700gs no replacing of anything just drop in the Ricors and oil as they recommended. Stock rear shocks ok with me too. i am a lot heavier and with gear adjusted the rear preload until I felt happy with the ride. Could not be happier.
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  11. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Keep in mind my lingo may be a tad off as I didn't grow up talking about bikes in English, I'll edit/amend if anything needs clarifying:

    The Intiminators behave differently if the compression comes from road conditions than if it comes from brake input.
    With the thinner oil they would be much softer and take on irregularities with a faster response.
    Usually when you put a thinner oil you'd also get more brake dive, BUT, the Intiminators due to their innertia mechanism are stiffer under braking.

    So you get a softer/faster responding front end while riding and a stiffer one when braking.

    Only reason I haven't put a set in yet is that I like to put off bigger projects like changing spark plugs or anything else not easily accessible ony bike. (I haven't figured out yet how to prop up the bike so I can compress the spring then fish out the circlip and how to pump the oil out (although apparently they do have "transfer pumps for that) as I do not want to dump them by inverting them)

    So I'm hard set on Intiminators being the best choice, just waiting on another ripple in asphalt making me order them as I find ripples in asphalt bring out the worst in them, feels more like they swing around headstock than compress and expand along the fork’s axis, a rather disgusting feeling.

    But maybe after I pay for new tires and 12k mile service which is due probably before 2018 comes to an end.
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  12. slowfall

    slowfall Been here awhile

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    Hi,

    I just noticed this thread. I upgraded my 2013 F700GS's suspension several years ago. Unfortunately, I do not have much time, but I will say this:

    Get the rear shock from Ted Porter, based on whatever he advises you to do, after discussing with him what kind of riding you will be doing.

    At the time, he steered me towards a Yacugar shock with hydraulic preload adjuster and dampening click-ring. The Yacugar is beefier than some if the others and made sense for my weight combined with my pillions weight as well as my riding two up with luggage and single off-road.

    Get the race-tech gold valve emulators from RaceTech after letting them know some of your riding characteristics. They will give you the proper advice in regards to spring-rate. They are phenomenal! In my experience, much better than stock and much better than progressive springs. The emulators work as described above by Jim.

    The suspension upgrades turned my F700 into an awesome on- and off-road bike, one and two-up, even traveling.

    Enjoy!
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  13. Flashdog

    Flashdog Long timer Supporter

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    Ricors with stock springs. 5 wt oil, I think.
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  14. Flashdog

    Flashdog Long timer Supporter

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    My brother mounted a Yacugur on his R1150gsa. Says its amazing.
    #14
  15. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

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    I promised a more detailed update after my fork upgrade on my wife's 2017 F700GS. Here is the final configuration;
    • Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators, gold spring, three turns (installed earlier)
    • Race Tech 0.7kg/mm springs
    • 12W oil, 130mm (~600ml)
    As an FYI, from my research, BMW has changed the spec on the fork oil weight for all models with telescopic forks to 11.5W from previous 7.5W. This change was made in 2015 and is retroactive. See (for example);

    https://www.bobsbmw.com/store/product/bmw-fork-oil---grade-115w-one-liter

    Living somewhat "in the boondocks", all I could find locally was 5W and 20W, so I mixed these two using a weighted ratio to get 12W (rounded up to simplify the numbers). I don't think +/- 1W or so is that critical - if I could have bought 10W I would have just gone with that. FYI - lot's of info out there on how to mix different oil weights to get desired final weight, fairly straight forward.

    Fork oil level. Before draining the forks, I measured the fill level at 180mm, and when I drained and measured volume, it was only 380ml. I could not find a spec for fill level but I found a fill volume spec of 550ml. This was same for both forks so at least it was consistent! Interesting thing; I found this same situation (factory fork fill below spec) when i did the forks on her previous bike, an '08 F800ST - see post #20:

    https://f800riders.org/forum/showth...arket-fork-springs-for-factory-lowered-F800ST

    The thing both of these bikes have in common is that they have the factory low suspension option which may have something to do with this finding. But only difference in fork for low suspension is the damping rod height, and I can't imagine that the volume difference between that and standard is 170ml, but maybe.

    Results: As I mentioned in an earlier post, after installing just the Race Tech emulators, the ride was much improved - the bike felt much more "planted" to the road. However - there was still way to much dive when braking. That is what led me to the higher rate springs. After installing the new springs and filling the oil as stated above, the dive is greatly improved - night and day. But I honestly wonder at this point if I could have got there just by raising the oil level, given how low it was and the role that plays in front end dive. And I worry if I made it to stiff - she is happy, and I've ridden it around town a bit, and it seemed fine. But the real test will be on some wash-boarded, rutty dirt roads where I can really give the suspensions a work out. But I'm recovering from back surgery and am on a "tarmac only" riding regimen for a few more weeks, so will have to wait a bit to test that. But I feel we are withing "tuning range" of optimum (oil level, gold valve spring setting) if in fact we are not already there. The overall improvement is huge.

    My take away and advice: I think it is hard to go wrong when it comes to making an improvement in the front end suspension. Use the Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators or Ricor Intiminators to improve the dynamic performance, and for front end dive during braking, before changing springs I would check oil level and play with that. I was told that even 10mm has a big impact on amount of front end dive. I worry that 130mm I used may be a bit extreme - but advice I got from one person was that even 120mm would be ok. But as I understand, as you increase the fill level, you are decreasing the amount of "free travel" in the front suspension before you run out of air-gap and you suddenly your handlebars are rigidly connected to the road. In principle anyway. Would like to hear experience of others with varying oil fill and any positive/negative impact experienced.

    Jim
    #15
  16. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

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    Thanks Jim, I'll be referring to this thread in the late spring when I service my sig other's 2013 F700 forks. I may just go with an oil change/level, bypassing the emulators, etc, until I see how this works. FWIW I have 'lowered' her bike by raising the tubes up in the triples and softening the rear preload. She seems very happy with the bike and I've ridden it enough to know it feels fine, even though I outweigh her by 100#. We ride these bikes 15% off pavement and the remainder is spirited riding on fun roads.
    #16
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