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! )
  1. Mechanically necessary to keep the bike running, and remain legal and safe. e.g. tires, battery, brakes, routine maintenance, etc.
  2. 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.
  3. Pure performance improvements. (none yet)
  4. 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!