this is the promised thread on how i fitted my shiny new wilburs to my 1200GSA.

hopefully i can point out some of the pitfalls that i found. i think i avoided most of them


this is most of what i used. there's a few more that got put away before i thought of taking the pic.

don't panic, you don't actually need a windy gun

torx bits in T20, 25, 30, 45, 50 all get used and are essential.

you should also look at the bit marked * lower down.

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read everything before starting if you're choosing to use this as a guide.

it is just a guide. it's not 10 commandments. it's not "the right way to do it", it's a record of the way i did it.

a good look at the "disclaimer" might be a good idea at this stage too

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note: bike is in "winter trim" (jan to dec) ie. covered in ACF50 then ignored, so is a tad grubby. never mind, makes the shiny blue shocks stand out more


remove pannier rails

left hand pannier rail needs to be removed, if fitted, or the silencer gets scraped as it comes off.

remove the larger torx bolts from the main fixing point

take the loose M6 bolt out from the back of the pannier mount/crosspiece.

then this one. there's a spacer behind it, so make sure you take it out before it falls out later & gets lost.

undo this screw and collect the spacer behind it & remove left hand pannier mount.

remove silencer

i took the heat shield off, but looking at it now, that might not be necessary. you may want to take the opportunity to clean behind it. if you do, look out for the odd wire mesh spacers that fall out.

these fit on the 2 forward screws, which are longer than the screw at the back

loosen the big silencer clamp bolt where it fits to the cat, then take out the silencer mount bolt where it attaches to the frame. wiggle can out & back & it will come free from the cat.

undo wheel bolts & remove wheel.

jack up final drive.

undo lower shock mount.

this is VERY well loctited in, my windy gun would not move it, nor would the puny ratchet handle shown in the pic. good sized breaker bar is what is needed.
it makes a horrible creaking and groaning as it comes free. ignore, be brave, press on (or heat it).

edit: the bmw dvd-rom manual calls for the use of a hot air gun on the swingarm before loosening that bolt. not mentioned in the earlier cd-rom, but a good idea.

undo top suspension mount & remove strut. replace with new shock.

slight problem

wilburs fitting instructions show the remote preload adjuster fitted here.

this is clearly not possible if you have bmw pannier frames fitted. i tried other places...

this one,

but the access to the knob is very limited and i rather think the rear wheel might clout it.

i nearly fitted it here, which is very neat,

but the knob would fill up with water.

there are only a few positions possible due to the length of hose & it's reluctance to twist and i finally settled on this location,

...which is fairly neat & the hose is unstressed. note how it goes through the gap in the frame tubes, that keeps it well out of the way of the paralever top strut.

hose needs zip tying to the footrest hanger.


remove seat

remove tank cover

tank side covers off. rear bolt (20mm).

front bolt, just behind forks (12mm).

pull the cover off. it's now held by this push fit thing into grommet shown on frame. use silicone grease on reassembly so it doesn't pull the grommet out next time

beak to tank top cover screw (16mm).

remove tank cover

undo the filler cap bolts & remove filler cap. take off tank cover & place somewhere that you won't step on it

stick a bit of rag or similar in the open tank filler neck.

remove crash bar cross brace

to get the front shock out, you need to remove the alternator belt cover. to do that the OEM crash bar cross brace must be taken off.

remove the two upper crash bar fixings above the cylinders (one each side).

then the larger screws holding the bars together at the front.

then the smaller ones.

prise the bars apart until the cross piece can be removed. be careful that the cross piece upper fixings don't scratch anything in the process. don't lose the thin plastic separator washers that remain on the main crash bars.

make sure the back wheel is in (you want the weight at the back). move the jack to under the sump to just take the weight of the front end.

remove the front shock lower bolt: again, very, very tightly in, but no loctite called for in spec

shock can now move forward slightly, giving a gnats cock more room to get the belt cover off

remove belt cover

undo the 5 screws holding the plastic cover on. 3 machine screws at the lower end, 2 self tappers at the top.

pull the bottom of the cover away from the engine & pull the rubber noise damper thing out from inside. cover will then have room to get out.

top mount

little bit more tricky this one. when you attempt to undo the top mount nut, the shock body will try & spin inside the spring so you can't hold it

you might just get lucky & undo it by getting a socket on it & turning quickly. i cheated & put the windy on it, which still span the shock initially, but soon got the nut off

*now i know most people reading this are not going to have access to air impact guns, so you will have to do it differently. i suggest knocking up a replica of what the proper tool probably looks like.

you'll need a deep 15mm socket and a grinding wheel to cut out a slot like this.

this will enable you to turn the nut while holding the shock with an allen key through the slot.

you may also need to move the tank back slightly for access. i can't cover that as i didn't actually need to do it

anyway, you've removed the nut. you can now move the bottom of the shock back & down, then bring the shock out top first between the fork legs.

next problem is that the new wilburs is a different shape & will not go in where the old one came out

to get it in, you need to extend the fork legs slightly. either jack up the sump,or cinch the rear end down with a ratchet strap like this.

you do not need extend the fork legs much. VERY IMPORTANT keep an eye on the front brake hose, make sure it does not get tight as the legs drop.

shock will now slip in easily. fit top & bottom mounts as per torque values required.

top nut is easier to do up, than get off as wilburs unit has a 19mm hex underneath top mount which a spanner can be got on as long as it's thin enough. my manky 7mm thick Bedford fits a treat, my shiny 8.7mm Britool does not.

torque wrench just gets on the nut with a std. 15mm socket. a deep one would be better, but i don't have one.

bottom mount is straightforward. no loctite in spec but optimoly TA paste is called for on the bolt head.


this is not what i'd call an easy job. be sure you can do it, and get it right. get it wrong, and it could kill you.

these are important components you need to mess with. IT HAS TO BE RIGHT.

double check the torque values etc. i got mine from an out of date bmw cd rom, they may have been changed, i don't know

if in doubt, get someone qualified to do it for you.

this not a guide as such, more a record of how i did the job on my bike. maybe it will just tell you, you don't want to do it yourself.

most importantly, if you do the job and it all goes tits up, it's NOT MY FAULT. best i can do is make an offer for some of the wreckage. maybe