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Thread: Soft / Normal / Sport

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    Registered User K1600_gtl's Avatar
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    Soft / Normal / Sport

    So my question is simple.. does changing the ride on the BMW's with electronically adjustable suspension change the handling? or just the firmness of the ride? Is there any handling benefits to having it in sport?

    Discuss..
    2016 K1600GTL - All Optons
    2012 R1200R - Classic / ESA II, ABS II, ASC, Heated Grips, Sports Windshield, Computer. - GONE
    2005 Honda Shadow 750 Spirit - GONE

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1200RClassic View Post
    So my question is simple.. does changing the ride on the BMW's with electronically adjustable suspension change the handling? or just the firmness of the ride? Is there any handling benefits to having it in sport?

    Discuss..
    Suspension response should impact handling.

    Personally, have I found the ESA to be of value? No. It's a mediocre quality shock with an electronic farkle that seems to function erratically. Sadly, that farkle limits the owner to only one replacement option at this time. IMHO, a good aftermarket shock without the farkle would be significantly better.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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    Registered User temesvar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1200RClassic View Post
    So my question is simple.. does changing the ride on the BMW's with electronically adjustable suspension change the handling? or just the firmness of the ride? Is there any handling benefits to having it in sport?

    Discuss..
    I spent some time trying to figure that out my self. I find no difference in any settings. Am not sure if it even works.
    My solution to it is Ohlins, front and back. Just wondering what am i gonna do with all them wires, and switches...
    Maybe a garage door opener?

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    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    Perhaps it is different from bike to bike, but I found a significant difference in settings on my K1300S.
    Firmness properly adjusted significantly affects handling. How much the bike compresses the spring, how rapidly, etc, all affect how you and your bike travel over the road. To properly handle your bike in your comfort zone, you may prefer completely different spring and damping rates than I might - on your bike.

    I prefer a firmer damping setting and a sag setting at the sportier end of recommended settings. On my K1200RS, I have aftermarket and had it set firm enough for sag that when it was rebuilt, I got a stiffer spring. When I borrowed my buddies K1200GT one time for a two up trip, neither my wife or I felt comfortable enough because we simply could not get the spring set stiff enough for our liking. We kept dragging parts and we are no where near as heavy as he and his spouse. So we had to dial back our riding because the bike was not handling properly for us in that setting.

    For me, on the K1300S, I would set the spring at One helmet + Luggage for my solo riding, with no luggage weight. Depending on the road I was on for my commute, I toggled between all three damping settings. For the rough sections I was in either soft or normal if I felt like a spirited ride. For smooth roads in the twisties, definitely I was in Sport mode. Sport mode for Track use. Freeways, normal or soft depending on the quality of the road again. Riding two up, with no luggage, I used the 2 helmets + Luggage, never road 2 up with luggage, so I did not need the extra spring on that. The spring provides the support neccessary for the forces the bike (and you) are experiencing, the damping adjustments determine how rapidly the shock is allowed to react to an impact/bump, etc.

    On the K1300S, there was a significant difference in all these settings. Are they superior to aftermarket dialed in properly? Absolutely NOT. However, for me, they were very 'reasonable' settings and I was able to work with them. They were Very convenient. That is the real key, convenient. The greatest convenience that I miss after selling the K1300S is the Shift Assist. What a treat that was! I thought I was good with the clutch on the K1200RS, but wow, the Shift Assist was SMOOTH, my wife preferred it for sure.

    YMMV
    Last edited by 58058D; 09-09-2016 at 12:03 AM.
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >138,000 miles -- Black, 01/10/2000 to present
    Gone: White '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, Black '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, Red '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi, '06 Kaw 650R chrome yellow track bike sold http://www.seagullbb.com/

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by temesvar View Post
    I spent some time trying to figure that out my self. I find no difference in any settings. Am not sure if it even works.
    My solution to it is Ohlins, front and back. Just wondering what am i gonna do with all them wires, and switches...
    Maybe a garage door opener?
    If your bike has ESA........your choices might not include Ohlin or Wilbers. Call Ted Porter and get the info.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

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    Registered User temesvar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    If your bike has ESA........your choices might not include Ohlin or Wilbers. Call Ted Porter and get the info.
    There are a few threads replacing the ESA shocks with Ohlins, So i don't see where the problem may be. Can you be more specific?
    And i don't know who Ted Porter is.

  7. #7
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by temesvar View Post
    And i don't know who Ted Porter is.
    Ted Porter = www.beemershop.com

    Or, put another way, Ted Porter = Beemer Guru

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    Registered User temesvar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Ted Porter = www.beemershop.com

    Or, put another way, Ted Porter = Beemer Guru
    Great, thanks!
    I hope he doesn't read this, i must be the only one
    who doesn't know this!!

  9. #9
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    If your bike has ESA........your choices might not include Ohlin or Wilbers. Call Ted Porter and get the info.
    Have WESA shocks on my 09 GSA, Wilbers mated to my ESA motors.
    Have mounted a few sets of these

    Ohlins is/was doing a conversion using your ESA motor as well.

    Tractive, made in Holland,marketed by Touratech has a plug and play unit. Waiting on a set to arrive for a friends Wethead GS soon from Ted.

    Haven't done the fact checking, but another shock specialist said Tractive was behind the original BMW set up.

    On every model we have ESA on, both of us can tell differences, especially from flat boring but often necessary Comfort highway mode to Sport. On two bikes, you can feel the bike raise/lower between modes.
    And yes, some folks units didn't work ,more so on earlier versions but correctable for most.

    Have friends that are so used to non ESA Ohlins and others that they prefer no ESA when upgrading. I do not think it throws a fault code without them.
    ESA gives you on the fly adjustments...why not take advantage of that
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  10. #10
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    ESA Varies with Model Year - RT

    On my 2011RT, I was disappointed with ESA. The changes in mode were too subtle for my poor skills.

    Now, on my 2015 RT, the situation is far different.

    Preload settings do seem to make quite a difference, but the damping is the real delight, with some reservations.

    And, the throttle response changes with Rain, Road, and Dyna settings quite noticeably.

    For example, in Rain/Soft, one might want to avoid using Hill Start. Letting out the clutch results in the front end rising and eventually the hill start releases, providing you did not stall the engine. It freaked me out on my first ride after getting the bike, and scared me. No problem in Road and Dyna. Otherwise, the throttle response is much more restrained than say Dyna which is very responsive.

    The differences are easy to detect, even by me, someone who has never before had a bike with adjustable suspension.

    I believe the front suspension damping is also affected, but don't feel the effects as much as the rear.

    Finally, I believe there are also changes to how the ABS and ASC functions - full alert in Rain and more up to the rider in Dyna.

    All that for the RTW. I like it.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  11. #11
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Have WESA shocks on my 09 GSA, Wilbers mated to my ESA motors.
    Have mounted a few sets of these

    Ohlins is/was doing a conversion using your ESA motor as well.

    Tractive, made in Holland,marketed by Touratech has a plug and play unit. Waiting on a set to arrive for a friends Wethead GS soon from Ted.

    Haven't done the fact checking, but another shock specialist said Tractive was behind the original BMW set up.

    On every model we have ESA on, both of us can tell differences, especially from flat boring but often necessary Comfort highway mode to Sport. On two bikes, you can feel the bike raise/lower between modes.
    And yes, some folks units didn't work ,more so on earlier versions but correctable for most.

    Have friends that are so used to non ESA Ohlins and others that they prefer no ESA when upgrading. I do not think it throws a fault code without them.
    ESA gives you on the fly adjustments...why not take advantage of that
    To clarify, I think Porter was referring to the DESA set-up vs the old electronic adjustable shocks. Trust me, I was reaching for the Wilbers when Ted Porter's Associate said.....No. And pointed me at the Tractive as the only option....

    But, this should all be verified with Porter.......
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  12. #12
    Just another rider
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    Comfort/Normal/Sport - Bah Humbug

    I have a 2013 F800GT that has the ESA vers 1, frankly I can't tell the difference between the settings. I recently picked up a used-but-new-to-me '09 R1200RT that also has the ESA (vers 1?). I still can't tell the difference between settings. I admit I am quite a bit heavier than the test riders BMW used to develop the suspensions. Perhaps the newer version has improved?

    I am toying with actually spending money and doing the Wilbers WESA upgrade to the RT. Even at $1,700 (or whatever) it would be cheaper than trading in the '09 for a new R12RTW.

  13. #13
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    I do have to apologize for some of the confusion........I forgot that this posting was in the general Motorrad directory and not the wet-head directory. As such, the Pre-DESA ESA does have some alternatives for replacement. My apologies for the confusion. I assumed the question was directed a replacement for the DESA shock.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  14. #14
    Registered User temesvar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Ted Porter = www.beemershop.com

    Or, put another way, Ted Porter = Beemer Guru
    I am gonna fallow your advice and contact Ted Porter.
    I remember now, a while back,i bought the GS911 from him,
    had a question and he responded right away. Don't we all
    like that?

  15. #15
    wanderer
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1200RClassic View Post
    So my question is simple.. does changing the ride on the BMW's with electronically adjustable suspension change the handling? or just the firmness of the ride? Is there any handling benefits to having it in sport?

    Discuss..
    Yes But the value depends on your riding style and how fussy about handling your are.

    I have a 2016 R1200RS, so I'm talking abut that version of ESA.....there are several...so one should not over generalize.

    I use "Road" mode most of the time. I set the preload at one rider with baggage. The "road" mode provides the softest ride, moderate damping...easiest on the back side! On bumpy (frost heaved) secondary roads it does allow some "pogoing" i.e. post bump up and down motions. If you are riding hard, these motion definitely degrade handling,setting lines in corners, weight transfer, braking, etc.

    This is what the Dynamic setting is for....firms up dampening a fair about..makes riding aggressively in corners more predictable ...a definite plus. It is not so much pleasure on your back side or wrists, riding rough roads in this mode....at a relaxed pace. You have the harsh ride down side but do not need the handling improvement provided.

    Note, To my knowledge NO ESA system provide adjustable high speed dampening. Also note adjustable preload is NOT the same as optimizing the spring rate for you and your riding style.

    If you want the "best" handling buy Ohlins or Wilbers and take the time to adjust them (took me a month of riding) to your liking....but understand if you add passenger and or a lot of luggage....you have substantially knocked your setting way out of whack. ....and new settings take time to find.

    With ESA you push a button....pre load and dampening are change to your new load. Results will not be as good as Ohlins or Wilbers but it only took 5 seconds.

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