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  #1  
Old 5 Nov 2007
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R1200GS suspension

Hi there,

I have just rode to Nairobi on my 1200 from Moyale. The problem I had is that both of the suspension units have failed! The front began to leak just after the gravel (or rock) road between Moyale and Marsabit and the rear cooked itself between Marsabit and Isiolo! So I rode the last 400 km on a R1200 pogostick!! Has anyone else had this experience and if so how did you go with warrenty? The bike has 10500 km on it now so is still relitivly new.

Let us know who has had suspension probs with this bike and what you have done. Has anyone any experiance with Ohlins on the big Bavarian Milk Wagen?

Cheers
Ivan
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  #2  
Old 6 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
Let us know who has had suspension probs with this bike and what you have done. Has anyone any experiance with Ohlins on the big Bavarian Milk Wagen?

Cheers
Ivan
Hi Ivan
Sorry to hear about the problems. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help in Dubai. I bought some Öhlins from eBay for my GS specifically to avoid what you've encountered. I haven't fitted them yet but it seems like a good choice.
Stephan
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  #3  
Old 6 Nov 2007
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Wink You might find the link useful

Ohlins on the R1200GS
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  #4  
Old 6 Nov 2007
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The Moyale-road has killed plenty of shocks (same goes for Dongola-Wadi Halfa).
No you have the great opportunity to get real shocks on your bike. The Øhlins make it handle a lot better!!
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  #5  
Old 8 Nov 2007
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Yes Ohlins!

Hey Guys,

Yes that is the way I have gone. I am getting a set of Ohlins from Australia this week and will fit them. I have asked BMW for warranty but heard nothing back so far, normal for warranty claims!

There is also another R1150GS Adv in Nairobi with the same problem. I really don't know why BMW don't fix this problem but I suppose these days most riders never go off the tar on their 1200's?

Cheers guys, I will let you know how the Ohlins go.

Ivan
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  #6  
Old 11 Nov 2007
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The R1200GS has been built for European road conditions and hence the suspension fitted is designed for paved road surfaces only. I am not sure BMW will even look at your warranty claim as the bike was used on road conditions it was not really intended for in the first place.
Both Ohlins and WP makes suspension that are designed to withstand the hard abuse of off road conditions.
Just keep in mind that even though the Ohlins suspension will be a lot more reliable and will improve handling, it will still not make the 1200GS a proper off road bike.
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  #7  
Old 12 Nov 2007
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More info!

Hi there,

Here is an update for you that you may find interesting? I am at present in Australia and yesterday was at the BMW dealer here in Perth. Anyway I was talking to them regarding the suspension of the R1200GS and how several units that I know of now in Africa have failed. Anyways, they told me that hey have not heard of any units in Australia failing (typical BMW answer) so I thought? So while looking the bike over I see that the Australian model in not fitted with White Power suspension as is my bike but here they have Showa shocks fitted! Now this maybe why they are not seeing the problem in Australia.

Another thing that I have found out is that BMW have done away with the Power assisted brakes on all models in Australia too!

Just some trivia for you.

Cheers
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  #8  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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Angry Another GS Failure?

Okay, this is nuts. We all read the ads: "RTW=GS" simple terms here. Those of us that choose to suscribe get the machine and... all the problems that go with it. I really need to ask why we put up with such nonsense. If Ohlins do a better job than BMW stock, then why aren't they BMW stock? If Tourtech ceramic clutches do a better job, then why aren't they spec'd?? This is a beat yer' heart out machine and it comes with a beat yer heart out price tag! Something's amiss here! Tell me I'm nuts.
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  #9  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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Showa is the stock item fitted by BMW, so I presume the failing models to be of the same origin. WP makes two different shocks for the GS models one for road use and one for off road use.
It makes perfect sense that a suspension designed for high speed on tarmac will not be very good at handling rough stuff and the performance of an off road shock will be lousy at high speeds on a speedy track or highway.
BMW GS's are mostly used only on tarmac and can do speeds in the excess of 200Km/h.
One must keep in mind that the BMW engineers will rather consider the safety of highway users that make up the bulk of their clients even the average GS rider, rather than the odd fool that want to venture with these bikes into places with hardly a descent road.

As far as the ceramic clutch is concerned, the guy that sold you the concept is bullshitting, they are not an improvement to the standard clutch. The clutch plate is a wear item and will have to be replaced after a certain amount of use or abuse. The clutch is made up of three main components. The cheapest to replace is the clutch plate. When a clutch plate need to be replaced after it is worn down by normal wear and tear the other two parts should still be in good shape.
When using a ceramic clutch which have less contact surface than the standard clutch it will be more prone to slipping than the standard clutch meaning that although it can survive more abuse than the standard clutch, it will eventually destroy the pressure and spring plates which are a lot more expensive to replace.

Besides ceramic clutches are real cheap to make but once they are sold to the GS rider the price are stupendously inflated. They should cost about half the price of the BWM stock item.
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  #10  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Seaton View Post
Okay, this is nuts. We all read the ads: "RTW=GS" simple terms here.
Hehe, well at least a lot of drivers drive RTW with the BMW so in that way it makes sense.
If you take a look on most RTW-trips today the 1200 GS might be the right option because most people skip Africa, Australia and Russia and drive on pretty “good” roads. In the future there will be even more tarmac on the route (unless a war brakes out in Iran or Pakistan..)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Seaton View Post
Those of us that choose to suscribe get the machine and... all the problems that go with it. I really need to ask why we put up with such nonsense.
Same goes for Coca-cola ads. I drank Coca-cola for several years before I realized that it didn’t give me a nice tan and a lot of beautiful girlfriends.
But I agree…

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Seaton View Post
If Ohlins do a better job than BMW stock, then why aren't they BMW stock? If Tourtech ceramic clutches do a better job, then why aren't they spec'd?? This is a beat yer' heart out machine and it comes with a beat yer heart out price tag! Something's amiss here! Tell me I'm nuts.
The GS is produced for the masses and how many of the bikes are used for hard trips? Would it be right to design the bike for 2% (?) of the users? As GSWorkshop says modification like this will often mess with handling in higher speeds.
Good parts are expensive and most people will not pay what it costs, most people think the bike are very expensive already.

On the other hand it is probably impossible to agree on “what’s best”. I think solid spoke rims 18” and 21” is best. I like leather seats and solid subframes and I want a single brake-disk-setup in front and a drum rear-brake and I want suspension tuned for my needs..

Some people say Showa is nice, other says it is shit. It’s the same with WP but in the case with WP it might be because WP has decreased quality (and cost) on a lot of models the last years.

So for serious offroad-use I think that the 1200 has to be modified, for a “standard RTW” it will do just fine.
A friend of mine tried to buy a 1200 Adv without suspension, rims, exhaust and ring-antenna because he was planning a serious trip and planned serious modifications. Sadly it was not possible.
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  #11  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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False advertising?

gsworkshop,

One must keep in mind that the BMW engineers will rather consider the safety of highway users that make up the bulk of their clients even the average GS rider, rather than the odd fool that want to venture with these bikes into places with hardly a descent road.

So I am a fool for riding my GS off the road? Have you ever read the BMW website, it says that the frame can take any abuse and the suspension can handle nearly any road!

When you’ve been at the top for 25 years, staying there can be tough. But this is the
challenge that the BMW Motorrad engineers accepted, when they set out to ensure
that the R 1200 GS would be the world’s best touring enduro, leading where others can
only follow. This is a motorcycle that follows in the tradition of its illustrious predecessor
by being the ultimate motorcycle on and off the road, but at the same time is significantly
different from the earlier model: this is parti cularly felt in the 12% weight reduction
and the 15% increase in engine power. These are just some of the qualities that make
it easily the best BMW touring Enduro of all time – just as easily as it reaches the most
remote parts of the planet. Off-road it provides precisely controllable power, on the
asphalt its agility is striking. And it hardly accepts any limits, which is why it has proven
capabilities in a country in which the most diverse climate zones and powerful landscapes
make everyday life an adventure – Peru.

When your hunger for freedom becomes insatiable,
this chassis does whatever you want it to.

Gravel, potholes or paths across petrified lava used to be tough for any rider
and bike. All that changes with the BMW R 1200 GS: it has specially modified
versions of the patented BMW Motorrad Telelever and the BMW Motorrad
Paralever with WAD spring strut (travel-related damping). The rear wheel drive
and torque support have been specially designed for the BMW R 1200 GS.
The entire unit is extremely light, yet highly robust. So even where there is no
road, you still have excellent riding conditions.


Is this false advertising then?
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  #12  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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I am afraid you might be touching on a nerve there, but don't accuse the guys of false advertising. They are only selling their product and it will almost always be illustrated to offer more than it really is.
The fact is that a really experienced rider will be able to take this bike into just about anyplace.
Just look to see what South Africans do with these bikes on the GS Challenge, skills challenge.
The thing is that this track is only a couple of hundred yards long, but what will happen if you ride it like this for more than two months at a time.
The question is will it be the easiest, most comfortable and reliable option?
At the moment no manufacturer is really building bikes for this purpose though. All of the current models is a compromise on something that is safe and fast on highways with basic off road capabilities. (What the bulk of the market is asking for.)
If you want the best for the job you will have to look at some seriously modified bikes in the line of what is used on rally raids.
These bikes will have good fuel range, brilliant suspension, large diameter wheels and with most of the cosmetic trim reduced to make mechanical maintenance and repairs possible on route.
You would not like to drive most of them over 150Km/h on the highway tough but in the desert and rough stuff they are unbeatable.
The only company that are building these rally raid models for the average tourer based on the BMW models is HPN Germany, and only based on the older airhead type boxer for the very simple reason that they are simple to modify and simple to maintain and simple to repair.
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  #13  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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Get the right spring for your load

Just make sure you get the right strength of spring on your Ohlins. I put one on the rear of my GS1150, the standard 140 spring was way too light for the weight I was carrying and ended up putting the 180 spring on which helped a lot. The light spring will bottom out under heavy loads on crappy roads and will more than likely damage the innards of the Ohlins. I had to have quite an overhaul done on mine by the time I'd ridden from Argentina to L.A.

As for the front, I blew fork seals about twice on my trip whereas the KLR650 I was riding with didn't blow any. Groan.
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  #14  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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If you need help to get your shocks fitted , whatever you choose )) there is an excellent mechanic in Nairobi called Chris and he runs a camosite called JJ's. Maybe you konw about him already but if you dont , his number is +254 722752865

best of luck
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  #15  
Old 15 Nov 2007
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Already.

Hey there, Yes my bike is parked up at Chris's place now. I will take the shocks back and fit them there before I continue to Tanzania.

The shocks have been set up by Biketek in Sydney by a guy who has a lot of experience with them. He has also set up the valving to make it handle corrugations better as well.

Will let you know how it goes.

Cheers
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