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Thread: How can you tell if your suspension is shot?

  1. #1
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    How can you tell if your suspension is shot?

    How do you know if your suspension is done in?

    I have had the bikes 8 years and 9 years now, one is at 100,000 miles and the other has racked up 65,000, both are still on the standard suspension which I have never touched from the day I picked each bike up. We just load up and go, whether that is solo or two-up. There is no sign of a leak or anything, so I wonder what people have to do to their bikes to be able to break them in so few miles (I read one bike on 30,000 with the suspension knackered )
    Our bikes are an 1150 Adv 2-spark 2003 and a 2002 single spark standard GS1150 with the 42 litre tank (the older bike is a much stronger engine, faster, more willing and easier to ride. The Adv is more comfortable...what I really need is to put the old engine in the Adv clothing.

  2. #2
    Toubab Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    In all honesty, regardless of what (sensible) advice you'll get regarding measuring drops, loads, bounces to settle etc, the only way you will know for sure is by seat of the pants feelings.....ride a bike with new suspension, or suspension set up for someone as close to your size as possible, and FEEL the difference

    Looking on the up side, if you do buy new suspension, you'll either be over the moon with it or mildly disappointed....in the latter case, keep on with your old stuff until it's properly ready to swap out, and you won't have lost anything.

    My guess is that you WILL notice and thoroughly enjoy the difference.....on an '02 and an '03 GS with those miles on them, they will almost certainly benefit from a swap out

    (keep the OEM kit and get it restored BTW.......seal them up in greaseproof paper and keep them for the long term )
    सत्यमेव जयते


  3. #3
    I say .... (to all of you )

    Go and test ride bikes.

    Your dealer wants you do do that. It doesn't have to be on the back of interest in a new bike or model, it doesn't tie you into a sales pitch, your dealer gets demo bikes for you the punter to try.

    The benefit to you is immense. Constantly jumping on and off different bikes gives you a wealth of knowledge from tyres, geometry, suspension, different engine configurations, etc etc. It'll teach you what feels right, what feels wrong ...

    Your own bike could be a pile of shite But if its the only one you ever ride ...... you'd never know ....

  4. #4
    I test rode someone's 30k mile GS today after servicing it to find the standard suspension was awful compared to my own bike, I was glad to get back yet the owner's quite ok with it as far as I know

  5. #5
    I test slept somebodies cardboard bed the other day ..... God it was uncomfortable. And the blanket was really itchy but he just didn't know ... sheesh .... some people .....

  6. #6
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    I have been offered test rides by dealers I have dropped into, but I have never taken them up because I felt that as I had no intention of buying another bike it was rather false - plus I would be worried to death that I dropped it or did some damage that I know I couldn't afford to put right. My stuff has to last a long time - I still have (and use) my original Belstaff Trialsmaster, I bought it about 1980. It is fine.

  7. #7
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    If you bike has 100K on it and you think there is a possibility the shock is shot . . .then the shock is almost certainly shot.
    There can only be 11 and I'm one.

    My pics

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stolzy View Post
    If you bike has 100K on it and you think there is a possibility the shock is shot . . .then the shock is almost certainly shot.
    No, I don't think it is shot. In fact I think it is fine. It is what other people have been saying that has got me wondering. Any slow deterioration over the years I will not have noticed because I will have got used to it as I went along. That is why I asked the first question - in other words, what are the signs to look for? It smooths bumps pretty well I think, and I ride it as hard as I ever had, nothing like as hard as most on here, I know, but I am not a hero and I often have £10,000 or more worth of camera gear on the bike which I cannot afford to put in the hedge or ditch either!

    So, I ask again a different way: what are the signs to look for when assessing the condition of your shocks and suspension system?

    My tyres wear evenly, so there is no patter from duff shock absorption and it doesn't go "boing, boing" after a bump either - which is why I think they are fine. BUT, I now have my doubts thanks to all the advice.

  9. #9
    Son of Ah Knah Yee Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Rat View Post
    No, I don't think it is shot. In fact I think it is fine. It is what other people have been saying that has got me wondering. Any slow deterioration over the years I will not have noticed because I will have got used to it as I went along. That is why I asked the first question - in other words, what are the signs to look for? It smooths bumps pretty well I think, and I ride it as hard as I ever had, nothing like as hard as most on here, I know, but I am not a hero and I often have £10,000 or more worth of camera gear on the bike which I cannot afford to put in the hedge or ditch either!

    So, I ask again a different way: what are the signs to look for when assessing the condition of your shocks and suspension system?

    My tyres wear evenly, so there is no patter from duff shock absorption and it doesn't go "boing, boing" after a bump either - which is why I think they are fine. BUT, I now have my doubts thanks to all the advice.
    The chances are you have adapted to your deteriorating shocks and ride around their failings, certainly so if you don't feel the need to adjust it whether 2 up with luggage or solo.

    PUI since 2004


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    Wallowing, a harsh ride and visible deterioration like oil leaking...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drinu View Post
    Wallowing, a harsh ride and visible deterioration like oil leaking...
    Aha - thank you. I have none of that, so reckon they are fine...just as I thought.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr K View Post
    The chances are you have adapted to your deteriorating shocks and ride around their failings, certainly so if you don't feel the need to adjust it whether 2 up with luggage or solo.

    But I have never adjusted them....even when they were newish. Even with the old dragon and our gear on they have never bottomed out, or wallowed. Mind you, I go more carefully with precious cargo aboard than I do when solo.

  13. #13
    Son of Ah Knah Yee Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Rat View Post
    But I have never adjusted them....even when they were newish. Even with the old dragon and our gear on they have never bottomed out, or wallowed. Mind you, I go more carefully with precious cargo aboard than I do when solo.
    Well that's impossible: Either you suffer a spine jarringly harsh ride when you're solo or you are just so insensitive to the ride that it doesn't matter.
    PUI since 2004


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  14. #14
    So You've never adjusted your bikes suspension for riding between solo and two up ??

  15. #15
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    It's amazing how many folk don't. Let's face it, if it doesn't adjust by pressing the ESA button on the bars it can be a bit of a pusy.
    There'll be folk that don't adjust their tyre pressures either when two up.

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    If the bike rides like a pogo stick

    It's a fair bet shock(s) are not good.
    Me, I like a comfortable, wallowy ride, don't check tyre pressures in between replacing them, and can't notice any difference between any of the settings on the RT's ESA.
    If a tyre pressure drops, I notice it instantly in the handling.
    I know there are people out there who set their suspension up to the last, corner regularly on the ragged edge, and have to use the "dogs bollocks" of brake pads because none of the others are up to their riding capabilities,
    but I find a comfortable and relaxed, easygoing style of riding to be a nicer way to get about. No, I do not go slowly, but I am never near the (handling) limit, so suspension settings are not a priority.
    Maybe this is your situation as well.
    Myke

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