OK, so before I get going, I need to say up front that this is as much a philosophical question as it is mechanical. Secondly, it probably makes sense to get the facts on the table:
- 26,000 miles (10 years) on the stock shocks
- No known mechanical issues with current shocks - no observed leaking, at least, but performance-wise I have nothing to compare to
- I'm about 160 lbs, and only occasionally carry luggage in side cases; never a passenger. ever.
- Most riding is day-trips, some travel, little to no commuting.
- Typically ride 4-5K miles per year, so I'm not a road-warrior, by any means.
- Had the bike 3 years, and have no plans of selling/trading it anytime soon.
Now, some philosophy.... I try to prioritize my investments along the following lines (and actually even succeed sometimes! )
- Mechanically necessary to keep the bike running, and remain legal and safe. e.g. tires, battery, brakes, routine maintenance, etc.
- Comfort and convenience items - things like my Sargent seat, side cases, touring windshield, etc. May have an incidental impact on safety by reducing fatigue, discomfort, stress, etc.
- Pure performance improvements. (none yet)
- Cosmetic stuff. (i.e. stickers :-)
At this point I'm pretty certain the shocks are not a "category 1" item. Also reasonably sure they're not in #4. That leaves 2 & 3, or some mixture thereof. For whatever reason, I've been looking at the standards - Ohlins, Wilbers, and Hagon - and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth dropping $1,200 - $1,800 on them. Any idea if I'd notice an improvement or difference? If so, would Ohlins or Wilbers be putting "a $10 saddle on a $5 horse"? Should I just wait unitil I have problems with the stock shocks before even worrying about it?
So - let me know what you think. I realize this isn't scientific, so there's probably no 'wrong' answers. Thanks, everyone. And Happy Friday!