hot for the Ohlins on the AT? Read on...

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Greg the pole, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. RustySpokes

    RustySpokes Ordinary average guy Supporter

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    You can feel it when riding once it gets bad enough. In my case I can feel it the worst on pavement with small imperfections, the fork binds up and the front end bounces up and down following the pavement instead of moving to absorb the bumps and dips. It's maddening. I find myself dragging the front brake to compress the forks out of the sticky spot, not a good solution at all.

    Off pavement the bumps are big enough to force the fork to move, for now.

    I've been backing off preload and compression damping in a fruitless effort to ride around the problem.

    I think I'm going to bite the bullet and do the ATAS uppers and lowers with new springs and a revalve, hopefully that will work for the long term.

    My bike has just under 25,000 miles, fork seals were replaced once and I've rotated the tubes several times.

    On the plus side the forks are so bad I hardly notice the shit rebound damping on the rear shock...
    #61
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  2. Mr.Black999

    Mr.Black999 Been here awhile

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    Do people clean there seals that have stiction issues?


    #62
  3. Iowa_ADV

    Iowa_ADV I like pie Supporter

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    Been too busy with work and other life requirements to read or post much........Just saw this thread started by Greg. My thoughts......

    ~ Pure respect for Greg. I have no doubts about his experience or review.

    ~ I don't ride my AT nearly as aggressively as Greg, or many of you.......My AT is my gravel road, forest road and double track bike. When it gets gnarly, i.e. muddy, rutted, rocky, deep sand, etc.......I opt for my DR.

    ~ I bought my Ohlins forks from Cogent and they set them up for me.

    ~ I have had none of the issues Greg has experienced.......No thunking or leaking......and I have never peaked inside to see if something bad is happening.

    ~ For me, the Ohlins have been the bees knees. They did exactly what I wanted them to do. The ride is superb and thus far.......All good.

    ~ So would I buy them again.....Yes, I would.

    ~ But again, compared to Greg I probably ride my AT like a noob.......The forks get a little work, but nothing serious.

    :beer
    #63
  4. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    I regret not buying a KTM 1090.

    When I bought my barely used 2016 AT for $10500 I thought I was getting a good deal. Barely used 1090s were about $12500 at the time.

    Now you can get a low miles 2017 AT for $8000-$8500, vs a low miles 1090 for about $11k.

    My AT (15,500 miles) is probably only worth $7k now.

    Poor resale value + the massive amount of $$ that I've already put into my AT trying to bring it up to my expectations = this bike will be a lot more expensive than owning a 1090 would have been.
    #64
  5. Lost Cartographer

    Lost Cartographer Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    This is exactly what mine was like, and I would do the same "brake check" to break them free so they would start moving again. Maddening is the perfect description.


    It will improve your forks from 'terrible' to 'mediocre' and lighten your wallet by more than $1200. Still too flexy (but better), still bind up (but better), still follows the road and isn't compliant (but better). The tiny 20mm diameter fork pistons sure aren't helping, nor are the giant bleeds in the tiny pistons, nor is the craptastic low speed adjustment mechanism. These forks were crappy on a 220# MX bike 30 years ago, but they are complete dogsh1t on a 575# ADV bike.

    Hindsight being 20/20 I should have gone SSS and lived with the single front brake.

    Maybe the MY2020 will have better components.... but I won't ever find out, as Honda is not getting any more of my $$ after owning this bike.

    EDIT - my spokes are rusty too.
    #65
  6. ballisticexchris

    ballisticexchris Long timer

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    Thanks for the review Greg. While an expensive lesson, I applaud you for getting someone to help you find a solution and get the suspension dialed in.
    #66
  7. Motociclo

    Motociclo Long timer Supporter

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    The bleed is cetaiinly way to much.
    Comp adjuster on forks doesn't do much worth while. They are actually better off being closed or 1 click out, they are that crap, but the 20mm valves aren't that bad overall.
    Ohlins uses 30mm valve in a single leg for comp, and it is a mid valve setup doing most of the work. They still have a base valve.
    But in grand scheme of things, the Ohlins valve is only 12% bigger than combined Showa 20mm valves.
    Can be tuned well, just need better forks!!!!

    ATAS tubes are better option, but will never compare to Ohlins.
    I am in similar thought, i would be hard pressed to give Honda more cash next new bike.
    #67
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  8. ameen

    ameen Adventurer

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    I have been using the Ohlins forks now for a little over 15k miles and will be adding another 10k or so over the next couple months. Mine is a '17 base model and after about 7k miles on the stock forks the stiction issues really started to get to me.

    I am on a long tour (UK to Vietnam) with a friend who purchased the '18 ATAS and is nice to be able to compare them side to side. Actually when I rode his, it what made me realize how shit my base AT forks had gotten.
    For some context, we are both quite loaded with luggage, running the Ohlins rear shock (with the heavy spring). So our main difference should olny be the forks. Oddly in the seat and motor department the '17 AT and th '18 ATAS have very different personalities.

    While I dont *think* he is having any stiction issues on the ATAS yet, there is a noticeable amount of flex compared to the rock solid feeling of the Ohlins front end. Valving and adjustability is also much better with the Ohlins over stock.
    Me and my friend talk about this often on the road (its a 6 month trip after all...): Starting over, would I get a ATAS to start (and have no option for an upgraded fork) or again get the base model and deck out the suspension.
    Each time, I would stick with the base model and get the Ohlins suspension. Maybe a 2018 for the better midrange and foot peg brackets...

    When extending, there is a small *pop* as it tops out, but for me, its not a big deal. I will rebuild the suspension when I return in a few months and am curious to see if there is the same wear Greg is seeing. I dont know how hard I ride in comparison to everyone else, but I am in Tajikistan and have been slamming the bike though some trails _waaaay_ harder than I ever though was possible with a bike this size.

    All in all, I would buy them again. Even is I see some wear, I will hold judgment until I start having noticeable degradation in performance. For me, it is head and shoulders above even the ATAS suspension.
    #68
  9. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    Thanks for that.
    The oh's don't have a top out spring, just a rubber bumper. Not sure how yours is not clunking.
    The re-worked top out sorted it for me.

    Granted, it's all in how you use the bike. I'm off on the Idaho BDR tomorrow, to thrash the bike for a week! can't wait.
    Like I said, as long as we can ride, be healthy, and happy, the rest of this is all noise.
    #69
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  10. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    good comparo, thanks for that. Ride safe.
    #70
  11. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    he's got the same forks and gets a lot hotter under his collar about it. I'm just along for the ride with my credit card:D
    #71
  12. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    Don't get me wrong. I'm pissed with the forks, even more pissed with the Ohlins.
    buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut... the rest of the bike is damn near perfect. Zero issues.
    Will ride as is, and see how and if it deteriorates.
    The trade in value for my AT on a new 1090 is horrible. I'm talking maybe 8500 for trade, on a bare bike, then have to flog all the extras separately.
    The biggest thing is, that the 1090 is not a guaranteed sure thing either. Yeah the suspension would be great, but it's a big KTM and I simply do not trust them.
    Grass is greener, everytime, then you get over the fence, and promptly plant your foot in a fresh dog turd...

    For now the AT keeps me grinning, does what i need it to, and takes me where I want to go. More important, it comes back under its own steam.
    #72
  13. Greg the pole

    Greg the pole There are no stupid questions, only stupid people

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    tought to explain for me as I'm not super technical...but basically the fork feels like it sits in one spot.
    Where I noticed the OEM fork most, was on washboard. It basically stayed in one spot, and never moved away from it.
    I'm familiar with good suspension due to my repeated attempts at riding a dirt bike. With good suspension you can feel the difference when changes are made.
    proper sag is a huge thing, proper springs, and the other usual stuff, comp and rebound experiments.
    I did experience that with my revalve of the front forks, and re-spring, made a big difference, but after some use..I want to say 5k km the forks started loosing their shine.
    After getting warrantied 2018 regular AT forks, I took the expensive route to Ohlins hoping for the fixall.
    #73
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  14. HerrDeacon

    HerrDeacon Been here awhile

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    Thanks guys for the explanation, appreciate it. Only my first season with my AT and haven't noticed anything yet but will keep an eye out.
    #74
  15. gve.mcmlxxiv

    gve.mcmlxxiv 2016 Africa Twin DCT No.272

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    I’m kinda glad I went with the cheaper route with ATAS uppers after reading this. I almost got the ohlins. I can at least treat the upper tubes as an infrequent consumable.
    #75
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  16. MillennialFalcon

    MillennialFalcon Improvement starts with self

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    ^ yeah that's my plan as well. If I have to spend $1k on new ATAS upper tubes every three years that's not the end of the world if the rest of the bike is perfect which it is. Well except for the dreaded valve service, can't wait to do that or get it done - yikes!
    #76
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  17. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    I am waiting till snow flies to do mine.be between 18 and 19k by then.Just don,t have time now to do it now.Weather is to perfect to have bike down right now.
    #77
  18. MillennialFalcon

    MillennialFalcon Improvement starts with self

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    My first valve check won't be until late 2020 early 2021 and I hope I'll have found a reputable independent shop that's had 5 years of AT work by then to do mine. I'll take off all the armor for them but let them have at it from there.
    #78
  19. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    Good idea,when I brought my bike in for warranty I left the heeds on.Stupid mechanic left them on but pulled tank.He said it took 2 guys to force tank back on.Chipped a shroud doing it.All over a left bad switching left cluster that plugged in down there.
    #79
  20. zoro

    zoro Been here awhile

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    What's stopping us from removing the anodising from the ID of the tubes via honing or some other method and running the forks with no coating?
    What is the actual source of the stiction?
    What's creating the resistance to move?
    FYI i have zero experience with fork internals, interested in the replies though.
    #80