Lowered GSA versus Electronic Suspension on "Minimum"

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by stevejack, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. stevejack

    stevejack Adventurer

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    Almost ready to order the 1250 GSA but I have a question regarding lowered suspension. 5' 11" with around 31" inseam (in my riding boots) and I'm able to put the balls of my feet on the ground, but can't flat foot.
    I ride on lots of rutted gravel tracks and am concerned about getting my feet down on uneven ground, I prefer to be able to get both feet flat when I'm off road.

    The dealer says that setting the electronic suspension on "minimum" would be all I need, and not to get the lowered suspension.

    I'm going to organise another test ride next week to try it out, and then place my order - but what are the negatives to riding with the electronic suspension set on minimum versus the actual lowered suspension option?
    #1
  2. Sarang

    Sarang Adventurer

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    I guess the damping will be set to a minimum? So the ride will be soft. I am not a fan of that "min" setting. But I ride in India and the roads are very bumpy. So maybe here, the bouncy under-damped ride is something I don't enjoy. I keep it to Auto.
    If you are 5'11, you should be just about fine on the GSA even on bad roads.
    Why not get the 1250 GS HP version? That's nice

    You may also want to consider the resale value of a lowered GS/A in comparison with the regular height. Most buyers would want a normal height.
    #2
  3. texas_aggie

    texas_aggie Been here awhile

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    ESA controls preload separately from damping. Go sit on the bike again and set the preload to the "single rider with no luggage" option. That will be the lowest position. At 5'11", I'd bet you're fine.
    #3
  4. Bikerboy108

    Bikerboy108 Pat from Jersey

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    Same measurements here... bought the 18 low suspenion GSA...traded in my 14 regular GSA... not that I had Big issues with the 14 BUT the 18 just gives me a little bit more confidence with getting feet down off road or off camber stops etc. IMHO better to get low and set suspension up higher than get regular and set suspension/dampening low ad soft which I think gives you less handling options... ie bottoming and soft dampening
    #4
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  5. filterwrench

    filterwrench Been here awhile

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    If your on bumpy roads most of the time it will only take around 50 000 kms before your stock suspension needs a rebuild. I would use the stock suspension for a couple years then upgrade to suit your weight and height.
    #5
  6. Dug89

    Dug89 Amenmoto.com

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    My experience on my 2018 with the High, auto and low settings on the rear shocks: In road mode and ride set to low, the bike feels under damped. It feels wallowy on the road. If I set it auto or high, that feels goes away. I am guessing that the shock is operating at the most compressed section of the shock and has reduced compression damping. It does not feel good on the highway. I would use low in the city but not on the highway or certainly not offroad.

    I have not tried ride low and ESA on Dynamic yet.
    #6
  7. elcabong

    elcabong Been here awhile

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    I concur. I have a GS low and those options that @Bikerboy108 mentioned above is spot-on. At least for me anyway.
    #7
  8. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    I've owned a '15 GSA and a '17 GSA. Both regular height. I currently have a 17.5 GS and I find it much easier to ride on rutted gravel and fire roads. On the GSAs I would put the suspension in the min setting and put my Sargent low seat in the lowest setting. That got me lower but not low enough. Putting a GSA in min when you have fully loaded bags and another bag on the passenger seat is not ideal.

    I have a '19 GSA on order and I finally convinced myself to get the low version. My dealer doesn't have problems selling the low version whether new or used.

    I figure it's simple supply and demand. Less demand for the low version but also much less supply. I'll know in a couple years when I go to sell my low GSA but I suspect I will be able to sell it quicker and for my full asking price. There won't be five other bikes just like it on Fleabay for less.
    #8
  9. cpallen

    cpallen Nearly Adventurer

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    I am about your height and inseam and have a '16 GSA Low with the standard height seat. I can just about flat foot it with the suspension on 1 rider + luggage which is how I generally roll. I have had no complaints and only one issue. I loaded it up with about 5 bundles of firewood and managed to chew up the outside row of knobs on the rear, left side TKC 80 riding back from town to camp. It contacted the edge of the inner fender, most likely several times. Everything looks properly aligned and IDK if this would have still happened on the standard suspension under the same settings and circumstances. I assume that if I had upped the preload to 2 riders + luggage that it wouldn't have happened.

    Other than this little mishap I don't suffer from any ill effects underway, and appreciate the lower height when stopping, mounting, and dismounting.
    #9
  10. stevejack

    stevejack Adventurer

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    Excellent replies, thanks everyone this all helps a lot.

    I have absolutely no issue on the road, I don't mind putting a single foot down and have no worry backing the bike up on bitumen. It's only on uneven off-road sections and loose gravel that I'm worried, I have trouble enough on my v-strom when the gravel gives way under my boot as I try to walk the bike backwards or something.
    On my strom I have lowered pegs and a taller sargent seat, so I do like to keep the seat to peg distance as large as possible. Going with a low seat is a last resort, but that said I haven't tried it on the GS yet, it might be fine.

    Thanks again for all your replies, I've definitely got some more thinking to do.
    #10
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  11. gsbuster

    gsbuster Been here awhile

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    I'm 5'8" with a 29" inseam and riding a standard height 1250GSA.
    I ordered the bike with a BMW Low comfort seat and can flat foot one side or the other quite easily, just not both sides at once.
    I usually ride with the suspension set to Auto - Road.
    If i need to maneuver on a bit of uneven ground I usually stop and quickly shift the suspension into MINimum.
    I recently just installed the little Wunderlich seat lowering widgit which has lowered the front of the seat another 10mm which makes it even more manageable.
    #11
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  12. stevejack

    stevejack Adventurer

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    Do you notice a large difference with the suspension set on minimum? Does it lower it by an inch or so, or is it much less than that?
    #12
  13. NZRalphy

    NZRalphy I'm not half as good as I think I thought I was

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    Nagh it won't do it for you... there is no front spring (height) adjust on these bikes (the air cooled GSA had front n back height adjust) so you can lower the rear but that will be strange setting. also low/soft is no help if you are loaded up.
    #13
  14. gsbuster

    gsbuster Been here awhile

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    With the low seat and the suspension set on minimum I can flat foot it on both sides at once. I'd say it lowers it by about an inch.
    I find it quite manageable and I'm at least 2" shorter than you are.
    If I'm facing down hill and I need to back up and I cant get enough force with my legs I just get off and push it backwards.
    I've been on two extremely rutted and rocky dirt rides so far and kept it upright the whole time with it set on Enduro - Auto. I had to stop a couple of times, once to do a u turn on a narrow track and once to negotiate a nasty rutted section. I stopped and put in in minimum so i could paddle with my legs when I had to.
    Off road and with the suspension set in Enduro - Auto, the ride handling and bump absorption is nothing short of first class.

    I wouldn't consider getting the low version if you do a lot of dirt riding because you will be sacrificing suspension travel and ground clearance which will really diminish the off road performance of the bike.
    A GSA full of fuel with a 90kg rider on it weighs about 350kg so that extra suspension travel is a necessity.

    This is my 5th GS/A and it is by far the best.
    #14
  15. striker3636

    striker3636 Been here awhile

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    Found this in the newly posted 2019 US 1250 GSA owners manual. Answered some of the questions I had when deciding on lowered or not. Just did a cut and paste of text, its page 128 in the manual if you want to read it yourself. BMW seems to confirm less clearance in cornering and possibly reduced ride comfort, which has been a great source of debate in other posts.
    Manual is here... http://www.bmw-motorrad.com/com/en/.../services/manuals/manuals_main.html&notrack=1
    Specific info on the Dynamic ESA settings is at page 72 and more technical info on it at 151.

    Safety information Rider's Equipment

    WARNING

    When cornering with lowered motorcycles, motorcycle parts can contact the road surface sooner than normal. Accident hazard

    Carefully test the clearance of the motorcycle in an inclined position and adjust your riding style accordingly.

    Test the clearance of your motorcycle at an angle in safe situations. Remember to take the limited ground clearance of your motorcycle into account when driving over curbs and similar obstacles.

    The lowering of the motorcycle shortens the spring travel (see the chapter "Technical Data"). A possible reduction in the accustomed driving comfort may result. Especially when riding with a passenger, the spring preload should be adjusted accordingly.

    WARNING

    Accident hazard

    Reduced clearance in inclined position Motorcycles with lowered running gear have less ground clearance in all positions than motorcycles with standard running gear.
    #15
  16. RobertJ

    RobertJ Adventurer

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    Seems pretty straight forward that a lowered suspension version vs. a standard height would have somewhat less ground clearance? The comfort question can only be determined by the rider and is certainly subjective. It never ceases to amaze me how many "warnings" are listed an every owners manual. Job security for corporate lawyers.
    #16
  17. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

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    I have a low suspension '17 GSA. It rides and corners and handles beautifully. I keep it in the low normal config, or low soft when I'm going slowly on rough terrain. Contrary to fantasy, the GS/GSA isn't a high clearance enduro bike. It's meant for roads... paved, gravel, unimproved, two-track... roads. Yes, that some people use them and can ride them as if they were enduros is interesting, but a 530 lb to 570 lb or more motorcycle is not the tool of choice for challenging offroad riding. Certainly the bike will work on any road that can be covered by a factory Jeep Wrangler, and I challenge anyone to come up with a road that an intermediate rider could handle on a regular GS/GSA that they couldn't handle on the low suspension variant.
    #17
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  18. stevejack

    stevejack Adventurer

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    Alright so I took a long test ride today on the 1250 GSA. With my measurements (5'11" with 30" inseam [31" in boots]) I found it very easy to flat foot both sides with the ESA set to minimum.

    I had no trouble at all on the minimum setting, will definitely get the standard GSA.
    Not sure what the seat was set on, I forgot to check, but in any case I know that the bike itself is easy enough for me to handle.

    A couple of other obeservations:
    The windshield buffets my Arai XD 4 helmet on anything but the lowest setting. I do have a long torso compared to my inseam, but still it was a little disappointing. I'd need an aftermarket screen if I want any extra wind protection.
    The test ride was during a 37 degree Celsius day. I was worried about the heat on my feet, but it didn't bug me at all really. Yes it was warm at times, but it wasn't annoying to the point that I was distracted by it.
    It was actually easier to ride around the twisties than my DL650 V-strom. This really surprised me. The GSA handles extremely well for such a big unit.
    All in all a great bike, I think I'll order one.
    #18
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  19. elcabong

    elcabong Been here awhile

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    Congrats! An awesome ride whether it's a standard or low model. You won't be disappointed.

    Before you buy a new windshield or add something like a MRA windshield extender, may I suggest you research and then consider adding a pair of Tinu's windshield extensions. Very low cost alternative as it changes the windshield angle to a more upright position which throws the airflow higher over the helmet. I think the GSA windshield is a very good windshield made so much better with these extensions at least for me and a few other inmates.

    FWIW, I purchased an aftermarket windshield and although it helped I still had remnants of the buffeting because you cannot change the angle of deflection unless you buy something like a Madstad windshield. Just an FYI.

    https://www.shapeways.com/product/4...r1200gs-a-13?optionId=57436623&li=marketplace

    Here's a link to this thread: http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...to-increase-windshield-default-angle.1082239/
    #19
  20. Jbrjbr21

    Jbrjbr21 Been here awhile

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    If rutted gravel tracks are your normal ridding I'd get the lowered one. Keep a full comfortable seat. You don't need all the travel of a GSA for a rough road. I'm 6 foot and have wished many times I'd gotten a lowered GS over standard height.
    #20