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Thread: Low chassis RT

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Oregon & Arizona

    Low chassis RT

    I am vertically challenged so I am considering purchase of a used low-chassis RT. I know I am giving up ESA and heated seat and I belive I am OK with that. Is there anythjing else I am sacrificing that I may not be aware of.? Clearance, handling.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Hiawassee, GA

    Low suspension

    I have up my regular suspension for a low suspension RT a couple of months ago and couldn't be happier. I'm able to handle the bike so much better and feel much more confident. You won't lose a thing at speed and gain all the control when coming to a stop.
    2007 R1200RT, gone
    2009 R1200RT, gone
    2014 R1200RTW, GREAT

  3. #3
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    moved to Hex/ mentioned ESA and heated I am guessing post 2005 models
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and SABMWRA Prez

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Oregon & Arizona
    Thanks Steve

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Westchester, N.Y.
    I don't think you give up anything, I test rode them both extensively before buying the low suspension model. I like it very much after putting nearly 6000 miles on it this season. It's a great bike and let's face it, when you put your foot down you need to reach the ground comfortably.

    The only thing I do miss is the heated seat, but looking on the corbin site it looks like I can buy a plug and play heated low seat for around $600. I'm going to give it some thought before going there, but that heat sure is nice up here in the North East!

  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    I believe you're giving up one of two things (and I haven't looked at the specifics to see how BMW lowered the chassis, aside from knowing it's shorter shocks..) If this wasn't the case - BMW would offer the bike with only lower suspension.

    There is no magic here. Doesn't matter who did the lowering - one of two things must happen:

    1. If BMW lowered the bikes by simply making a shorter shock (one that doesn't extend as far at full extension) - you lose suspension travel equal to the amount the bike was lowered. This can result in a harsher ride and resulting less control on rough surfaces. Many aftermarket shock makers take the same route, simply adding a spacer inside the shock to limit it's full extension.

    2. If BMW lowered the bikes by making a shorter shock with the same travel as the original shock - you retain the original travel, but you may experience hard-parts hitting the ground sooner then with the standard suspension. If you are a real 10/10th's rider - this can be a significant safety issue, hard parts touching-down in a corner tends to lift the rear wheel off the ground resulting in a lowside crash.

    3. It's possible to compromise - somewhat less travel with a somewhat lower fully compressed suspension. What you can't have is BOTH.. where the bike is lowered and has full suspension travel AND full ground clearance at full compression of the suspension.

    My WAG - BMW went route #1 - it's safer in general. Since the ride is noticeably harsher over rough stuff - people would tend to slow down. There is no more tendency to touch hard parts down in corners since the minimum ground clearance doesn't change over standard suspension. Less possibility of a lawsuit.

    Simple way to test - put a tie wrap snuggly on one of the fork tubes (the shiny part above the sliders) on the front end. Push the tie wrap down to the dust seal on top of the slider. Go for a ride looking for rough pavement.

    When you come back - with the bike on the centerstand, measure the distance from the bottom of the tie-wrap to the top of the dust seal. That will be your fork travel. On an unmodified suspension bike - BMW normally spec's around 5" of travel on the front end. That's theoretical (ie BS) since they discount the rubber bumper on the shock shaft (meaning they do the calculation as if it's not there, but it is, and it makes a difference.) The real world travel is around 4".

    If you get 4" of fork-leg showing between the two - then BMW went with route #2, which would surprise me. If you get less - then BMW either went with #1 or #3. I'd be interested in knowing what numbers people get with that measurement - it would tell us how BMW lowered the bike.

    When I had my custom lowered (about 1") Hyperpro shocks made, originally we went with scenario #1. I found this too harsh for everyday riding on NJ's crummy roads. So - back to Klaus I went, and he re-engineered the shocks to give me the original travel back - still lowered (and only after making sure no parts of the bike hit each other at max compression, done by putting the shocks in with no springs and moving them through the full range of travel.)

    For me - who is not by any stretch of the imagination a 10/10ths rider - this is perfect. I've yet to have touched any hard parts down on the bike, and it's back to being comfortable to ride.

    YMMV - as may your suspension travel..
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    South Kentucky
    Don't know about the factory lowered but I had my 08RT lowered with Wilber shocks approx 10mm lower than factory lowered.

    All the lowering being done with shocks

    The bike handles better and the isn't rough on bumpy surfaces. I touch down sooner in a tight turn.

    I'm touching down with the front of my foot I need to adjust how my foot sits on the pegs and everything will be fine.

    I also have more confidence in the turns because the bike feels more planted. This may be because the original shock (front) had 33000 miles on it and was on it's way out.

    It's hard to actually pinpoint if the Wilbers are just higher quality shocks or just the fact that they're new.

    At any rate I like the change and the Wilbers are rebuildable. And I get to keep the ESA and heated low seat.( I may go for a heated standard seat)

    The original rear shock was changed out at 14000 miles because the ESA stopped functioning. I had the Wilbers put on at 33000 miles
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

  8. #8
    Hi Grey Goose - another thought - I'm a short guy as well, like the security of feet on the ground. I had the cobbler add about 5/8 - 3/4 inch to a new pair of Sidi Canyons, also did the same with a pair of 7" Cabela's Outfitter boots. Way cheaper than shocks (around $50-$60 per pair of boots), I'm nearly flat-footing (close enough), and I lose nothing on the shocks/travel/clearance, etc. - works great.

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