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

  1. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myke Rocks View Post
    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

    You sound like the same sort of rider as I am. No, I don't adjusttyre pressures for load, they get 36 front and 42 rear and that only changes when the pressure drops and usually get an incling of that when I am pushing it about to turn it round - the front feels heavy, but I wouldn't feel it when I ride until the front gets down to about 20psi, then it gets a bit wavery on roundabouts.

    I don't have ESP, just the standard oil shocks the GS was supplied with - I wouldn't touch electric suspension with a barge pole (I DON'T CARE HOW GOOD IT IS, it is too expensive and too much to go wrong). Maybe getting someone else to ride my bikes would be the way to get an idea of what state they are in, pretty aweful probably - but they get me around. I rode down to Lake Como for one day of work - Bellaggio was the target. Left here Thursday evening, rode to Dover, caught ferry, had a nap on the ferry. Rode to Basel and got a B&B, rode to Bellagio Friday. B&B Friday night, did the work on Saturday, had dinner at Villa D'Este. Sunday morning saw the boats off and hit the road 10.30 Italian time, I was home here in Uttoxeter for 03.30 that night. I had my boating gear, my dinner suit/blck tie for the Saturday night dinner and all my camera kit - so not a light load, the camera gear alone is 19kgs. I used standard settings and standard tyre pressures. Just as I always have - how do you learn about all this stuff? I have only been riding for 45 years, it sounds like I have a lot to learn.

  2. #18
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    How can you tell if your suspension is shot?

    I have similar attitudes. I certainly don't get exercised the the odd psi of tyre pressure.
    But I do notice good or bad suspension. I don't like a tough ride and I like to know what they tyres are doing especially at the front.
    Any untouched shocks showing 100K will be shot. But if the bike lives on motorways or goes gently down A roads some riders might be happy enough.
    Wilbers state shocks should be serviced every 12K miles. Few bother (it's a major hassle) but we change gearbox oils at the same sort of distance. The shock is precision kit containing very little oil, but expected to do a tough job. It's no surprise (so called) non serviceable) shocks fail at 30K.
    08 R1200GSA
    76 Suzuki GT750

  3. #19
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    They would say that, wouldn't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bendy toy View Post
    Any untouched shocks showing 100K will be shot. But if the bike lives on motorways or goes gently down A roads some riders might be happy enough.
    Wilbers state shocks should be serviced every 12K miles. Few bother (it's a major hassle) but we change gearbox oils at the same sort of distance. The shock is precision kit containing very little oil, but expected to do a tough job. It's no surprise (so called) non serviceable) shocks fail at 30K.
    My current car has 150k on it. the shocks are good. Previous car (still in family) has 210,000 miles on it. Original shocks still good. Previous car had 650,000 miles on it. Front shocks were still good when it went to the great scrapyard in the sky.
    I agree they do a very good job with very little oil, but they are very reliable.
    You may, but I do not change gearbox, or for that matter, final drive oils as a matter of course. Bike has 40,000+ miles on it, and I have no intention of checking or changing either. No leaks, no problems.
    Myke

  4. #20
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    I'm surprised you don't notice some handling issues.

    The oil in the shock goes thinner as the molecular chains get broken up through repeated use. It also gets contaminated with microscopic wear particles. Both affect ride quality/damping. Anti-foaming agents may also break down through use.

    A shock service centre will replace the oil with fresh quality oil, clean and inspect internal parts and replace seals for new. If gas pressurised, a recharge will keep the oil from foaming when worked hard.

    If you are happy with your shocks, ride on.
    ADAM


    2008 R1200GSA
    2011 Yamaha Tmax

  5. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Rat View Post
    I used standard settings and standard tyre pressures. Just as I always have - how do you learn about all this stuff? I have only been riding for 45 years, it sounds like I have a lot to learn.
    With the 1200GS it's all written in the manual. Big, easily accessible preload knob for when pillion or luggage goes on. Takes 10 seconds to adjust.
    2005 R1200GS Classic. Remus De-cat and Hilltop remap.

  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miff View Post
    With the 1200GS it's all written in the manual. Big, easily accessible preload knob for when pillion or luggage goes on. Takes 10 seconds to adjust.
    I think it is the same on te 1150s - big knob to turn at the back, but I just can't be bothered to turn it. When the Dragon gets on the back, it goes down a bit further (Ok a LOT further!) but then I am expected to not ride the same way as solo and keep her from getting frightened and home in one piece. If I twiddled th eknob, it would ruin it for solo and probably be wrong for two up / loaded as well.

  7. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myke Rocks View Post
    My current car has 150k on it. the shocks are good. Previous car (still in family) has 210,000 miles on it. Original shocks still good. Previous car had 650,000 miles on it. Front shocks were still good when it went to the great scrapyard in the sky.
    I agree they do a very good job with very little oil, but they are very reliable.
    You may, but I do not change gearbox, or for that matter, final drive oils as a matter of course. Bike has 40,000+ miles on it, and I have no intention of checking or changing either. No leaks, no problems.
    Myke
    Hard to believe this, if you drive at any kind of reasonable pace on roads in Ireland. I changed the shocks on my MkIV Golf GT TDI at 60K miles, replacing them with Bilstein PSS9 coilovers. I well remember the relative lack of damping left in the OEM front struts and rear shocks. The nearside rear shock, in particular, had no discernible damping left. Similarly, I replaced the standard shocks on SWMBO's old Fabia vRS at about the same mileage to very good effect.

    As ever, since damping goes off progressively through time, it can be hard to evaluate on a day to day basis just how shot your suspension really is. It's the old boiling a frog trick... That's usually less true on motorcycles, where an absence of correct damping is usually felt more keenly as it induces bobs and weaves when cornering and seriously increased tyre wear. I changed the rear shock on my old '99 VFR800 at 16K miles, replacing it with an Öhlins because the OEM shock was very tired.

  8. #24
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    The old Merc turbodiesel estate I have just got rid of had 1,337,000 miles on it - I bought it with 887,000 on it (former taxi). It was still on the same shocks, engine, gearbox and even exhaust as when I bought it. Obviously, I don't know what was done prior to me buying it - the only thing other than tyres, oils & filters, brake pads and one set of discs I had to renew was the wiper motor! So those shocks clocked up at least 350,000 miles, and probably 100,000 of that towing the boat (over 1 tonne all up rig)

  9. #25
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    Crank the damping up to max and compare it it when set to minimum. Chances are there is no real difference. The shocks will be a lot happier for an internal clean and some new oil.
    At 100K they don't owe you anything.
    08 R1200GSA
    76 Suzuki GT750

  10. #26
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    My bike felt fine on her original shocks at @75k.

    By chance (well thats what I told my wife anyway) I ended up with a set of ohlines so fitted them, BLOODY hell what a difference.

    I hadn't realised the slow degradation.

    Best/cheapest advice I can give you is test an identical bike fitted with new/ish shocks and I'm 99% sure your reaction will be the same as mine.

  11. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by flatdog View Post
    My bike felt fine on her original shocks at @75k.

    By chance (well thats what I told my wife anyway) I ended up with a set of ohlines so fitted them, BLOODY hell what a difference.

    I hadn't realised the slow degradation.

    Best/cheapest advice I can give you is test an identical bike fitted with new/ish shocks and I'm 99% sure your reaction will be the same as mine.
    Same happened to me but at as low as 40k miles on my 1150. I didn't like the way the bike was handling, didn't quite know why, and asked a mate who is more "sensitive" than myself to ride it and see what twiddling could be done. So we swapped GSs for a short ride and when we set off i could instantly feel how much firmer but at the same time plusher his bike felt. Within a mile he was no longer in my mirrors. I turned round and he was sat with the bike looking at the shock. he said "the damn thing nearly put me in the hedge at that first fast right hander, How the hell have you been riding this thing!?!! "

    Put on Ohlins on the back and WOW!
    As the great philosopher Keating once wrote " Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it!" ------Amen

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  12. #28
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    Just revive this old thread. The 1150Adv has now clocked up 103,000 miles and is still on the original clutch and shocks and everything else other than consumables - 1 set of stick coils could be argued as not being consumables I suppose.

    last month I loaded up and went to The Faroes - I did as people suggested and turned the knob at the back to counter the extra payload. The bike rode happily and smoothed out bumps without trying topitchme out of the saddle, until i got home and rode without the extra load on the back - it was STIFF. So after a few rides like that, I remembered to turn the knob back down, only I turned it too far, because I couldn't remember how much I had turned it up. It went way to squishy, so I pulled in for fuel and remembered to give the knob one turn up again - perfect.

    It would seem, despite all the naysayers, that the adjustment still works fine. I don't doubt the shocks could do with a service and I think this winter I will do just that. Anyone know a good (not race tune) shock service man for BMW suspension?

  13. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Rat View Post
    Just revive this old thread. The 1150Adv has now clocked up 103,000 miles and is still on the original clutch and shocks and everything else other than consumables - 1 set of stick coils could be argued as not being consumables I suppose.

    last month I loaded up and went to The Faroes - I did as people suggested and turned the knob at the back to counter the extra payload. The bike rode happily and smoothed out bumps without trying topitchme out of the saddle, until i got home and rode without the extra load on the back - it was STIFF. So after a few rides like that, I remembered to turn the knob back down, only I turned it too far, because I couldn't remember how much I had turned it up. It went way to squishy, so I pulled in for fuel and remembered to give the knob one turn up again - perfect.

    It would seem, despite all the naysayers, that the adjustment still works fine. I don't doubt the shocks could do with a service and I think this winter I will do just that. Anyone know a good (not race tune) shock service man for BMW suspension?
    The Pre-Load adjuster (knob) changes the ride height only, helping to compensate for increased sag when extra load is applied.
    It does not adjust the level of rebound or compression damping so therefore does not make the ride either stiffer or softer those
    things are controlled by different adjusters (if you have them).
    Serviced/new reasonably adjusted shocks would probably be a revelation to you

  14. #30
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    It seems that there are a few of us with many years experience who don't feel the need to fine tune for every ride and every mile ridden.

    I have also been riding for 43 years and would have no idea if my shocks were worn. They seem fine to me and the ESA makes a difference. I adjust it for solo or pillion, check the tyre pressures when I remember (I have the monitoring system) and get it serviced when needed. It has 60 k kms on a 2013 LC and feels fine to me. Perhaps if I rode a new one I might feel a difference, but I don't feel the need to do so. Unless I see a leak or fell it bottom out or go super bouncy, I'll live with it and ride round gradual wear.

    I'm sure there are purists who would mock this attitude, but it works for me.

  15. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bristolsaint View Post
    It seems that there are a few of us with many years experience who don't feel the need to fine tune for every ride and every mile ridden.

    I have also been riding for 43 years and would have no idea if my shocks were worn. They seem fine to me and the ESA makes a difference. I adjust it for solo or pillion, check the tyre pressures when I remember (I have the monitoring system) and get it serviced when needed. It has 60 k kms on a 2013 LC and feels fine to me. Perhaps if I rode a new one I might feel a difference, but I don't feel the need to do so. Unless I see a leak or fell it bottom out or go super bouncy, I'll live with it and ride round gradual wear.

    I'm sure there are purists who would mock this attitude, but it works for me.
    Why mock? what goes for one doesn't always go for another

    I have ESA on my 2011 GS. and can tell the difference between all 3 modes not only me but, so can the Mrs.
    on the back! That's no bullshit either. She can pretty much tell me what mode the suspension is in.
    i have been riding for 52 years and have had all sorts of bikes with varying suspension set ups and without a doubt
    my riding enjoyment is enhanced by having a reasonably well set up suspension which means the bike is set up
    to suit the current riding mode.

  16. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushy View Post
    Same happened to me but at as low as 40k miles on my 1150. I didn't like the way the bike was handling, didn't quite know why, and asked a mate who is more "sensitive" than myself to ride it and see what twiddling could be done. So we swapped GSs for a short ride and when we set off i could instantly feel how much firmer but at the same time plusher his bike felt. Within a mile he was no longer in my mirrors. I turned round and he was sat with the bike looking at the shock. he said "the damn thing nearly put me in the hedge at that first fast right hander, How the hell have you been riding this thing!?!! "

    Put on Ohlins on the back and WOW!
    Exactly the same happened to me, but at 24k miles, put a set of Ohlins on and it was a huge difference, the back was much stiffer, yet all those bumpy roads dissapeared,

    actually I think we may be talking about the very same shock

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