Rear suspension help- TFX 140 vs Ohlins BM836

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by hunterkey, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. hunterkey

    hunterkey Been here awhile

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    Sep 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    165
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    Portland, OR
    Anyone out there ridden, or owned both of these? My predicament is I was part of an Ohlins group buy in April, and after ordering this shock I've been notified it is backordered until October.... I'm doing the CDT in 5 weeks, and I think a new shock would really make the experience a lot better. I've ridden on a friend's bike (same as mine) equipped with the Ohlins, and it was like a magic carpet. Also, aside from Ted Porter's site, I had never heard of TFX.

    Can one expect similar results from the TFX? Or Should I hold out for 4-5 more months? Or is there another killer shock in the $800~ price range that I'm sleeping on?

    Oh yea, bike is a 1993 R100gspd, usually loaded down.
    #1
  2. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    I had a custom made shock from Works Performance. It was really great, bomb-proof. Rode it fully loaded through about 45 countries over 3 years. One rebuild in the middle of that trip, scheduled, as a precaution. Then it needed another rebuild and Works was out of business. Went with the Ohlins (R80G/S) and am happier than ever; it's WAAAY better than Works. Look up Cogent Dynamics in NC. They make the best custom shocks out there these days. I was going with them but they sold me the Ohlins as my needs were not as excessive as before. Great people to deal with. TFX, Fox and all that stuff is so-so. There is also Bilstein, Wilbers but none of those things hold up. Of all the failures I saw when traveling, shocks and final drives were the two main recurring problems. I paid $835 for my shock, set up and shipped out in 2 days from Cogent Dynamics. That was in June of 2018.
    #2
  3. Kiwiabbo

    Kiwiabbo Been here awhile

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    Talk to Ted Porter, he highly recommend the TFX over the Ohlins. He knows a lot about suspension and will set it up for your style of riding
    #3
  4. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    @hunterkey since you are in PDX, drop in at Steve Prokop. Great airhead resource in your area. He built a new engine for me last year.
    #4
  5. PaulBarton

    PaulBarton Long timer Supporter

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    I have owned/ridden both on oilheads. My 01 GS had Ohlins. They were freshly rebuilt when I got the bike. Compared to stock there was no comparison. I used the stock shocks when the Ohlins were getting rebuilt.

    When I sold that bike last fall I replaced it with a low mile 02 GSA with stock shocks. Really missed the Ohlins. Called Ted Porter and discussed having the Ohlins redone to Adv height but it wasn't cost-logical. So I discussed getting new Ohlins, Wilbers and TFX. TBH, I was leaning towards Wilbers as I believed they were the new cat's meow. All three were within pennies of each other. As Kiwiabbo suggests, Ted strongly recommended the TFX over both Ohlins and Wilbers. Based on my riding I went with his suggestion for the external reservoir on the rear. They really transformed the bike from the 33k Showa's. I wasn't able to do a "side-by-side" comparison but I would say the TFX were reminiscent of the planted feel I enjoyed with Ohlins on the GS.

    If I were to do it again I would make the same choice. I like the current TFX better than my previous Ohlins but they are both way better than stock. I'm not sure why Malindi refers to them as "so-so" a simple search on this forum will suggest otherwise but most of those guys are Ted Porter customers. For my evaluation, I was focused on Ohlins (because of previous experience), Wilbers and TFX (mostly because of Ted's suggestion and other inmates feedback). According to Ted, both Ohlins and Wilbers have fallen behind in the "Adventure" category which should still include your airhead GS. Supposedly Wilbers has/had something planned for release in this category but ...

    I'm sure the if I had called Cogent I may have formed a different opinion. They are equally regarded to Ted Porter and their focus is Ohlins.

    Bottom line is if the Ohlins are backordered until the rainy season, the TFX should not disappoint. But Malindi's suggestion to reach out to Steve Prokop is sound. You could also check with Chesire Motorsports they are a well-respected independent BMW shop.
    #5
  6. BOOTLACE

    BOOTLACE Bikie Scum. Supporter

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    Hyperpro.
    #6
  7. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Hmmm... Cogent Dynamics builds their own shocks, primarily. They resell Ohlins but the parts are shipped from their supplier, who does the setup based on Cogent's discussions with you. My conclusions on shocks comes from research I did earlier on forums in Europe. I'm all for supporting BMW places but I am a critical buyer; when 50 people all reccomend always the same retailers I get weary. They will sell what they have. My G/S engine was built in Holland, the bags in Germany, the frame (HPN copy) in Canada, wheels by Woody etc. Steve Prokop is a gem. Wish I knew about him 20 years ago. I'll look up Cheshire, a new name to me. Btw, the best head rebuilder I have ever worked with is http://haywardperformance.com/
    and about half the price of the other two or 3 people who always get named :D
    #7
  8. BicyclebBob

    BicyclebBob Been here awhile

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    I went with tfx on my build. Have not put miles on them yet though. There are people’s besides Ted Porter using and recommending them.

    44A62E64-CFA7-41EA-89B7-BED15C9AC0EA.jpeg
    #8
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  9. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer Supporter

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    YSS?
    #9
  10. blaine.hale

    blaine.hale Long timer

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    YSS. Best bang for your buck. I've had Ohlins, Wilburs, YSS and they all feel the same to me but the YSS are miles cheaper. Chat with Ted Porter.
    #10
  11. hunterkey

    hunterkey Been here awhile

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    thanks everyone! Seems like anything will be a significant upgrade. Gonna pick ted's brain some, and see what I can get before this trip in 5 weeks. Anyone else on here done the CDT on an airhead?
    #11
  12. sky44

    sky44 Gummikuh

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    CO
    just to piggyback on this thread...
    i see yss has a ~500 dollar GS shock... Is this hydraulic preload worth having? I don't do really any 2-up riding, but i do carry ~100 lbs of gear on my bike sometimes.
    #12
  13. photorider

    photorider Been here awhile

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    Let us know what you decide to go with
    #13
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  14. Kiwiabbo

    Kiwiabbo Been here awhile

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    When I talked to ted about it he said no, they are not a good design. The shock is good. I have one and wished I had put the preloader on as I do lots of two up as well as solo. However he talked me out of it.
    #14
  15. blaine.hale

    blaine.hale Long timer

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    This is what I got and it's been really great: MZ366-365TRL-05 YSS Z Series Rear Shock / Rebound, Length & Threaded Pre-Load Adjustments / 81-87 R80G/S 1 $389.00
    #15
  16. aptbldr

    aptbldr easy rider

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    Suggested simplified shock selection:
    1. Fit.
    2. Spring rate (fit)
    3. Damping to & fro'.
    4. Bells, whistles & brand names.
    Proposed: a mechanically excellent shock, incorrectly sprung, will provide an inferior ride compared to a mechanically ordinary shock, correctly sprung.
    #16
  17. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    And it truly gets even better when you consider the interplay with the front suspension as well. A day of experimenting with more or less fluid in the forks and some spacers can make your life much happier.
    #17
  18. sky44

    sky44 Gummikuh

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    Can't beat the price.... They're rebuildable too right?
    #18
  19. akabeton

    akabeton Adventurer

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Oddometer:
    897
    Location:
    British Columbia Canada
    I put the basic Ohlins BM051 on my GS about 20,000 miles ago. The difference was like night and day.
    I had it set up to my requirements and I only adjust it on the rare occasion my wife is on the back.
    I’m very happy with it, was bought from a vendor on here, in a group buy. It was around the $500 mark shipped. I have a friend who got the top of the range fully adjustable version and he’s never touched it.

    I ride about 60% road and 40% fire and forestry service roads.


    https://www.propilotsuspension.com/index.php/bmw-r80gs100gspd/
    #19
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  20. hunterkey

    hunterkey Been here awhile

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    Sep 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    165
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I went with the tfx140 with hydraulic preload adjustment.

    Beemershop is an authorized Ohlins dealer, and they pretty promptly recommended the tfx shock. Apparently the valving is better, and they are generally built a little better. One of the big selling points for me was the maintenance cycles being drastically less than the ohlins.

    I'lll report back after I ride it.
    #20