Lowering the R1200R

Topics related to the ownership, maintenance, equipping, operation, and riding of the R1200R.

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badgertom
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Lowering the R1200R

Postby badgertom » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:12 am

I am 5'10" tall and by seat height is about 31.5". Since I feel more comfortable and safer with a lower seat I looked into ( a lower seat) and lowering the suspension. Ohlins makes lower suspension for the R1200R but at a price of about $ 1600 for both front and rear shock. I believe Wunderlich has the front and rear shocks for about $1,300. Are there any other options for lowering the seat ( or less expensive shocks) ?

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby Don C » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:19 am


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deilenberger
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby deilenberger » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:30 am

badgertom wrote:I am 5'10" tall and by seat height is about 31.5". Since I feel more comfortable and safer with a lower seat I looked into ( a lower seat) and lowering the suspension. Ohlins makes lower suspension for the R1200R but at a price of about $ 1600 for both front and rear shock. I believe Wunderlich has the front and rear shocks for about $1,300. Are there any other options for lowering the seat ( or less expensive shocks) ?

Your height is really immaterial. What's your inseam?

Certainly the low seat option is going to be cheaper (I believe David Brick is selling one for $150 - a bargain price..)

The downside of shorter shocks (including the factory low option) is usually they also reduce the suspension travel by the same amount they lower the bike. While BMW claims big numbers on travel - in reality, the front end with stock suspension has less then 5" of travel, and the back end about 4". The numbers they claim would only be true if the rubber bumper on the shaft was compressed 100% - and that's not going to happen..

There is one good reason to do it the way BMW and most shock makers do - that's liability. If they designed shocks that allowed for full suspension travel to remain with a lowered suspension (it's doable - I worked with Klaus at EPM Performance to achieve this on my bike with Hyperpro suspension) the chance of you grounding out the bike on hard cornering is greater - opening them up to liability. There is also the possibility of hard parts touching ON the bike that wouldn't with normal travel.. (Had that on a K100RT with a Works short shock..)

That said - these have never been an issue for me, and my lower suspension does retain the original factory travel (and Klaus and I made certain no hard-part conflicts could arise by mounting the shocks without the springs on them so we could easily fully compress the suspension..)

The Works/Ebay link that DonC provided is only for the rear shock. Doing one end and not doing the other is not a good idea. Luckily - that shock is NOT a shorter one. They spec it at 15" eye to eye. I just measured the stock shock length for someone else - and the rear stock shock is also 15" eye to eye. They do offer to shorten it - so the warning: If you were to only lower one end - the rear only lowered would cause very slow turn-in (I can detect about 3/8" change in the rear suspension, your butt may not be as calibrated.) If the front only was lowered - the bike would become unstable in a straight line and have very fast turn-in. You DO want to lower both ends the same amount to maintain the stock suspension geometry. I don't see that shock as a particular bargain, since the only adjustment is for preload.. there are no damping adjustments on it. YSS would be cheaper and have more adjustments (see Klaus), and Hyperpro for about $1,100 would be the full-boat shock with compression, rebound, sag/preload adjustments.

FWIW: I calculated the front to rear ratios of shock travel to suspension travel. Front is roughly 1:2 or so, rear is about 1:3 or so (from memory, I have the numbers at home.) So - you actually need different amounts of shortening for the suspension to maintain it's geometry. If you want to do your own calculation - measure the distance from the arm pivot point to the arm end (on the front - from the engine pivot points on the telelever wishbone to the ball-joint, on the rear from the pivot points to the center of the rim) and then from the pivot points to the shock mounting point. These are your ratio numbers.

Simple example - not real numbers - if your telelever arm was 36" long, and the shock mount was at 18" from the pivot point - the ratio would be 36/18, or 2:1. For every inch the shock moves the pivot point - and wheel - will move 2".

Anyway long explanation, probably more then you ever wanted to know.. I'd suggest buying David Bricks low seat first since that's cheaper, and most of us who owned a low seat found it almost tolerable for comfort. Apparently - non-intuitively - the taller seats were less comfortable.
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!

sondey
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby sondey » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:45 pm

Like Don said, what's your inseam?
I'm your height with a 30 inch inseam. I bought my bike used and it had the medium height seat. I was pretty sure I would get the low seat but after riding it I found that with the bikes low weight and low center of balance, I had no problem at stops even though I wasn't flat-footing it. In fact, I added an airhawk and sheepskin to ease the torture of the stock seat that is experienced on a long ride.
I now have the low comfort seat and it's a big improvement over the stock seat, in that I can do long rides in relative comfort. I still use my airhawk and sheepskin. But only because it increases the seat to foot peg distance, for added comfort.
So I'm suggesting you should try some other options since lowering the bike can be quite costly, and you have to know what you're doing. Some boots can get you closer to the pavement about an inch, if you're riding with a thin sole and heel now.
Paul Sondey - north Joisey

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby Tarmac » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:39 pm

Im 5'9" , my jeans say I have a 32 inseam, but they seem to lie about the waist size, so who knows? Anyhoo, coming off a DRZ-400SM, I've got no prob with the standard seat. I also have a low seat, and while it lets me get my feet down on the pavement better at stops, it cramps my knees and gives me a "little kid at the grown-ups table" feeling with respects to the handle bars. Can you say ape-hangers?

Im already dragging hard parts on the bike in the turns (see the pics I posted from my last track day), so I can't imagine that lowering the bike is going to do anything but make you drag a peg, stand the bike up, and run head long into oncoming traffic.

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=21313

My recommendation, get used to it.
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby daveyator » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:02 pm

I'm 5'11" with 31" inseam. I've been round and round with the seats. I sat on a low R12R it was way too low. I tried the stock standard seat, Bill Mayer saddle, Low comfort seat with lowered pegs, high comfort seat with lowered, and finally high with standard pegs. The high with standard pegs is turning out be the best combo (I think lol!). All the low seats make hot spots because you don't sit as flat or are just cramped or both. Yes the high seat is a touch tall feeling as I can barely flat foot but I'll take the increased ride comfort. In other words don't be too quick to lower your bike.
I finally got got an RT!
'11 R1200R Classic, '07 R12R, '99 R1100R. Gone but not forgotten

Either/Or
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby Either/Or » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:29 pm

How much do the oem shocks run? How involved is instillation (is how many hours labor would it cost me?)?

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby deilenberger » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:36 pm

Either/Or wrote:How much do the oem shocks run? How involved is instillation (is how many hours labor would it cost me?)?

New OEM shocks make Ohlins, Hyperpro, Wilbers look like a bargain. They do appear used on Ebay and the BMW-MOA fleamarket with some regularity. I haven't seen the shorter BMW shocks appearing used yet, but it's just a matter of time.

Installation is about 20 minutes for the rear (no bodywork has to be removed..) and perhaps 45 minutes for the front (the side panels under the tank have to be removed, the tank bolt removed, then the tank can be moved back about 3" to access the top shock mount nut.) Less then 1 hour for both.
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!

PhilSB
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby PhilSB » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:57 pm

I'm 5ft6in tall with 27in (well nearly) inside leg. I have the low seat option and manage fine with it. I am careful when manoeuvering and hate stopping on a steep cambered road or a slope. The problems of being a shorta**se!

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby mikes » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:01 pm

Hi All, I thought I would give my take on lowering a R12R 07 model. I around 5.7" and have the factory low seat from new. I lowered my R1200R after 6 months of research and finally went with a set of Wilbers lowering kit by 35MM. I must say that received outstanding support from Wilbers in Germany and the local distributor. I have the side stand and center stand lowered to suite and all work well. The new shocks have been on the bike now for around 8 months and have done around 15K. After 8 months of tinkering its about as good as it is going to get. Happy with the setup but I would probably not do it again. The big issue for me is how harsh the ride is. I'm not an expert but I have had plenty of expert help to sort out the ride quality. When all said and done I achieved what I set out to do and I am flat footed and from that point of view its great. So if you feel more comfortable and safer on a lower bike then I say go ahead. You will just have to accept the compromise .... it is what it is. Was it really worth the time and money for me?......not really but I had fun. BTW - I lowered my R1150R by 10MM, fitted a lower seat and played around with the seat bracket spacer and achieved a similar height but got a ride quality by far.

Cheers and food for thought
Mikes
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02 R1150R
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby deilenberger » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:18 am

mikes wrote:You will just have to accept the compromise .... it is what it is.
Sadly,Mike, actually you don't. You simply have to find someone really interested in avoiding that compromise.

The standard technique of lowering an R12R is to make shorter shocks. No real way I know of other then lower profile tires will achieve this. Almost all manufacturers also shorten the travel of the shock (and suspension) by the amount the bike was lowered.

I assume you mean 35mm lower bike when you talk about your lowered suspension. That's roughly 1".. BMW overstates the travel of the stock suspension, roughly by 1" - claims of +5" front suspension actually work out to closer to 4.25" in reality. The claimed travel would only be true if the rubber bump-stop was capable of being compressed to no thickness at all. It isn't - and that limits the actual suspension travel. If you lowered the bike by another inch, that leaves you with only 3.25" of front travel. It's easy to measure your actual travel. Put a tie-wrap not too snuggly on the fork leg above the slider. With the bike on the centerstand push it down to the top of the slider. Go for a good bumpy ride. Put the bike back on the centerstand and measure the distance between the bottom of the tie-wrap and the top of the fork slider dust boot. That's your travel. It wouldn't surprise me to find out it is 3" or LESS.

You are now bottoming out the shock.. which is causing the loss in ride quality. It doesn't have to be that way (although you'll find the exact same compromise by BMW with their short suspension) if you have a REAL custom set of shocks made.

Turns out - shocks can be shortened and retain the travel the stock shock has on the R12R, by about the amount you did. Some bikes can't - and manufacturers are hesitant to do this since it also could result in the bike touching down at speed when cornering (the full travel but shorter shock lessens ground clearances when the shock is fully compressed.)

I did this working with Klaus Huenke of Hyperpro/YSS. We designed Hyperpro shocks for my bike that maintain full travel. Nothing on the bike is in conflict with full compression (tested by mounting the shocks without springs so the suspension could easily be fully compressed for testing.) Retaining the stock suspension travel with the better grade shock actually improved ride quality, and handling "feel"..

Since I'm not a 10/10ths rider (more like 6/10ths on a fast day) - I haven't had a problem touching down when cornering. Someone like Joe Finn would be unhappy with my solution.. I'm not. It works for me.

The point being - all suspensions are compromises - but they can be balanced against each other to achieve what the rider wants, given a creative engineer doing the shock design.

Best,
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby sky_sailor » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:04 pm

At 5'6" with a 29" inseam, the only bikes I can flat foot, with both feet, are built by H-D. So, that's off the table.
I don't get lowering a bike, any bike, by the width of a .40 S&W round to make much sense. I've trained my ass (not the donkey, the other one) to shift slightly when required. I'm a little cautious on gravel and slopes, but other than that....adapt.
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby deilenberger » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:09 pm

I like your sig Lyle: "When in doubt, chicken out..."

Your 29" inseam has at least 2" (perhaps 3") on mine, and it's not always possible to "adapt"..

As I'm somewhat known for saying - YMMV.. and this is for sure one of those cases.
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby mikes » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:00 pm

Hi Don, I take on board your comments and accept what you say. The real problem for me here in Sydney I could not find an engineer to help sort out the ride quality with the lowered Wilbers. Had plenty of engineers (bike experts "so called") that would take the money but the outcome was far to painful and expensive.

Cheers and thanks for your comments.
Mikes
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02 R1150R
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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby geoffm » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:00 pm

Don; 1st post

I am a tad confused on reading your comments re the lowered shocks, you seemed to indicate
that you lowered your shocks without compromising travel, Is this so? or did I get this wrong

Does the factory lowered shock on the r1200r and the new r1200rt loose the travel by the amount
the shock lowers the bike

Is it possible to lower shock without compromising travel, ? shortening case etc.

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby ContraMoto » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:46 pm

You can create a shock with which the bike sits lower when static, and that will go as much lower from there as a stock shock. That is, both lower and with the same travel as before. BUT -- when that shock is at full compression, the bike is going to be awfully close to the tarmac. You have to know what you're getting into and understand the implications.

You can order a Wilbers setup like that from Ted's Beemershop.

You should try a low or extra-low seat first, IMO.
'07 R12R Black w/stripes
North Cali

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby geoffm » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:10 pm

Thanks for those comments, appreciate it, I actually have allready fitted Wilbers, some months ago
and although happy with my footing, have compromised travel too much, at about a 40mm reduction in height, probably could have got away with say around 1" and not opted for 2", I got the 2" reduction to be safe, but have since realised the short fall's, of harshness and bottoming out on odd occassions, got caught in other words

I have learnt a fair bit about static sag, rebound and pre-load, and have all this on the Wilbers
I also have the lower seat which I find not too bad , the main reason I opted for full flat foot on the ground plus a bit, was because a lot of touring I do with Wife on board and full panniers,
"a heavy load", but of coarse with all the extra load, that drops the bike a good inch or more anyway, you could say "I've leant a lot the expensive way" anyway know I'm wiser

Thanks Geoff

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby Neil » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:54 pm

If any one is in the same situation I have for sale in for sale a set of HYPERPRO shocks that lower by 1 inch or 25mm

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby geoffm » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:07 pm

Yes as mentioned I have the Wilbers but I did noticed those, was it only $500 the pair,

I wondered exactly what models they were, and what features they had , looked like
they had manual preload, and click damping, wasn't sure about, a preload fluid adjustment
on the rear

I was tempted to think about those, but it's hard to know exactly how much they've been shotened
they looked about the same as my Wilbers just viewing the pix, I realise this is difficult to know
unless the manufacturer had the exact specs of exactly what they did lower the bike by

Geoff

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Re: Lowering the R1200R

Postby deilenberger » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:14 pm

geoffm wrote:Don; 1st post

I am a tad confused on reading your comments re the lowered shocks, you seemed to indicate
that you lowered your shocks without compromising travel, Is this so? or did I get this wrong

Does the factory lowered shock on the r1200r and the new r1200rt loose the travel by the amount
the shock lowers the bike

Is it possible to lower shock without compromising travel, ? shortening case etc.

Geoff,

Yes - that's what I said. The compromise you then have is at full compression the bike will be closer to the ground, which if you're doing high-speed (high-G's) cornering might be a concern. You might touch down earlier. The factory short shock does loose travel in the suspension equal to the lowering, which can make it feel somewhat harsh over bad bumps.

2" is WAY too much lower IMHO. I lowered mine about 3/4".. with 2" you're only left with a few inches of travel front and rear and will very likely find the ride much too harsh. Depending on how Wilbers did the lowering (sometimes they use an internal shim to limit the extension of the shock) you may be able to get that changed to a more reasonable number.
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!


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