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I have tried to be positive about ESA...but.....


On the way out to Gunny, We were loaded to the hilt, and I had the suspension as 2-up, sport. In the corners with dips, the bike was still mushy...wallowing. Not impressed.


Well, tonight I went to adjust it out of the 2-up preload for a solo ride, and the friggin' thing won't adjust.


Yes, I know the procedure for adjusting preload on ESA.

1) bike running in neutral

2) momentary ESA button push in to display current settings

3) then ESA button pushed for more than one second to toggle through preloads.


The shock, and display simply do not toggle through preloads as it had done before, it just stays stuck in 2-up....stupid mode. confused.gif


The only thing I CAN adjust are the damping settings...comfort, normal, and sport seem to work.


I pulled the connector to check for an open circuit at the preload section on the shock, but got 4.9 ohms.


Here we go...to the dealer with a whiz-bang computer shock, and the mechanics scratching their collective heads.


Ya know what, technology sure is nice when it works, but if you're gonna sell this stuff....aw never mind....guess I'll call the dealer and see what month he can get me in.

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Hi, Scoot-


How many miles? I wonder what is going to happen when all these ESA bikes wear their shocks out. They seem to be horrendously expensive to replace, and are they covered under the warranty? Should be.


Another thread here asked if the computer system would do some wierd stuff if the shocks were changed to regular and the ESA left unplugged.


Wilbers on the way.



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Frank, wave.gif


Fourty-four hundred (yes...hundred) trouble free miles. smirk.gif


I would think this is a warranty failure, as the shocks are not worn, they are just broke. smirk.gif


Whatcha gonna do for the fault codes generated when replacing the ESA's with non-ESA's (Wilbers)? I was in on the other thread asking this same question.


I was talking with Ken H. about this, and we figured that maybe a dealer could flash the bike to a non-ESA bike.


Know any dealers who you trust to do that? Or better yet, know any dealers whose LAWYERS will let them do that?


I am hoping this thing will work out, and I'll get it fixed the first go 'round.... wink.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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I’m assuming loaded to hilt had nothing to do with it?


If you put 1200 lbs on it, it might break?


Just asking, don’t get mad…

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What...me mad? wink.gif


No, we were well within the quoted load capacity....60 pounds under from my most pessimistic estimates.

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Have had my 2005 RT with ESA for nearly 14,000 miles, well over 10,000 two up with luggage, both side cases and large top case full. No problems and no wallowing that I, at least, can detect. Bike seems to handle great one or two up.

I wouldn't corner it hard in the "comfort" setting tho.

So far I'm a happy camper. wave.gif

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Seems I'm waiting until after the 4th weekend to drop off the scoot. eek.gif I kind of figured that, as the dealership is closed from Friday afternoon until next Wednesday.


The way the scoot behaved last night (I thought I had a rear tire puncture...pressue was fine though), I guess it's sitting in the garage until then.


Oh, and I asked the service manager if they have had any ESA failures to work on...nope! Great, they can learn on mine then. thumbsup.gifgrin.gif


Fingers crossed here. Is there an external controller unit for the shocks, or are the electronics built in? Maybe it's the controller, not the shock?

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My ESA went out coming back from a trip from Utah to California. We were traveling two-up, fully loaded, when the setting got "stuck" on Solo. It would switch from Comfort/Regular/Sport, but with all that weight, it was a miserable ride, since the shock was bottomed out all the time frown.gif


When we got back, I took it into my local shop, and they were able to clear out the "fault" from the ZFE computer, and it worked fine again.....


....Until two weeks ago when it did it again. Wouldn't switch out of Solo. Took it back to the shop, and this time they couldn't clear out the "fault". Since they were booked up, I set up an appt for a more thorough look-see, and rode it home. Then the ESA button wouldn't communicate AT ALL with the rest of the system, and the shocks were locked up rock solid. Let me tell you what it's like to ride the Calif freeways 85 miles with NO SUSPENSION!! eek.gif


Trailered the bike back to the shop the next week, and there it sits. They said that they would throw parts at it until it worked the way it should. They said it would be fixed under warrenty....As we speak, we are waiting for a new rear ESA shock to be shipped from the Fatherland, since there are none in the States.


I realize that the "weak link" in this system is that the suspension is "electronic", and therefore more prone to failure than the traditional mechanical/hydraulic setup. And I know that to be completely comfortable and confident in the suspension, I will eventually have to go to Wilbers (like my 1100 RT thumbsup.gif) or öhlins.


So much for being the beta tester for the latest and greatest. And good thing I held on to my trusty R1100. To be bikeless would be awful.

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FWIW, I too have experienced multiple apparent "communication shutdown" events with my ESA system. When that happens, the ESA button appears to be disabled and the system is stuck wherever it was last set. No visual indication is provided. This has occured after I have pressed the ESA button multiple times such as cycling quickly through the damping settings more than once. I have found that, on my bike, waiting for about 10-15 minutes without pressing the ESA button will allow the system to reset and return to normal operation.

My guess is that there is a disable function built into the system to protect either the shock adjusting mechanism or to protect from a bad switch.

From your description, your issue may be more involved, but I'm curious if you or others have encountered this "feature".

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Ken, Michael, thanks for the information.


And Ken, any informed information on the ETA for that new rear shock fron Germany?

We have a ride scheduled for about 5 weeks from now, and frankly I'm a little unsure that this will be working by then....maybe not even diagnosed properly by then from various reports here.


I do not think that the "mode" being shown in the display is idincative of where the shocks are really set either. From the loose feeling I had coming from the rear of the bike last night (like I said, it felt like a tire going down), I am not entirely sure WHERE the shocks are set.


Funny thing, this ESA. When I was looking for a bike last November, I was looking for a non-ESA. They were very scarce, and I thought with all the two-up riding I do (maybe 60% now), that the ability to switch between preloads, and rebounds quickly might be kind of handy.


Now, being w/o the scoot over the 4th weekend and beyond.....does NOT seem very handy. dopeslap.gif


K.I.S.S. will apply in future m/c purchases...

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Jeff if you had just bought a ST1300 like I was trying to convince you to...




BTW, a new (at least revised) ST13 is due out next year...

Funny thing, I bought the RT because of what I deemed better suspension over the ST13 on my test rides...and less weight.


If I throw those ESA shocks as far as I can...that will decrease the weight even more. clap.gif

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Was a good move not buying an ST1300 At least 3 police forces in the UK have withdrawn theirs from service following the deaths of two police officers after unexplained crashes. We are seeing more and more reports in the UK motorcycle press about ST1300 with an intermittent weaving problem at around 90mph. I seriously looked at one and am really glad i went the R12RT route!!! Have ridden up to just over 130mph two up with luggage and top box on continental motorways with no weaving problems at all. Bike can be a little affected by side winds when passing lorries, but that isnt unusual given the 'bow wave' that comes off some of them.

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I had a ST13 for a year and a half, and tried to find the weave...2-up, and 124mph. No weave...so I tried again. No weave then either.grin.gif


Still no weave.

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Am really pleased you didnt find the weave!!!! Mind you was a good idea to keep looking for it :-)


I wonder how the adverse publicity in the UK press is affecting ST13 sales at the moment. Maybe if you are in the market for one this is a good time to buy if they are having difficulty shifting them, as discounts may be heavy? How do you rate the R12RT in comparison Jeff??... my only grouch is how bloomin uncomfortable the seat on my RT is after about an hour... I had always dreamed of owning an new RT and imagined it would be a fantastic comfortable tourer...just isnt so until the seat is sorted. Had a great weekend in Belgium on the bike last weekend, but it was a literal pain in the arse getting there :-(

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Lest we get into a hijack of my own thread...


The ST13 was a bit heavier, with a wonderful powertrain. The suspension of the RT won out this time (how's that for irony?) dopeslap.gif, and the lighter weight, along with the cruise control sealed the deal.


AFA the RT seat, I sent mine out to Russell, and Barb loves the pillion, but my seat still needs a little adjustment. It is fine for the season, and Russell has agreed to tackle my "issues" at the end of our riding season up here...around mid-late November. Russell is a wonderful company to deal with in my book.


Now, back to the ESA. I'll post late next week, when/if I learn anything by then. smirk.gif

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Trailered the bike back to the shop the next week, and there it sits. They said that they would throw parts at it until it worked the way it should. They said it would be fixed under warrenty....As we speak, we are waiting for a new rear ESA shock to be shipped from the Fatherland, since there are none in the States.


I realize that the "weak link" in this system is that the suspension is "electronic", and therefore more prone to failure than the traditional mechanical/hydraulic setup. And I know that to be completely comfortable and confident in the suspension, I will eventually have to go to Wilbers (like my 1100 RT thumbsup.gif) or öhlins.


So much for being the beta tester for the latest and greatest. And good thing I held on to my trusty R1100. To be bikeless would be awful.


It’s always comforting to hear “its covered under warrantee”. You’d think a high-end company like BMW would give you a loaner… Mercedes does. In any case its only right these things are covered under the warrantee it would be even better if they could fill the void when keeping a bike for weeks or months for something that’s their flaw.

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Jeff -

I had exactly the same problem on my '06 RT. The only info my dealer could find was that replacing the shock usually cured the problem. They ordered one for me and it took them 3 part numbers before they found the most current iteration of the ESA shock. My service guy said that the potentiometer was failing and was not replaceable. Hopefully BMW has it right this time with the third version of the shock. I just got back from the dealer and all is back to normal. The invoice shows part number 33537675105 at $1450 plus labor. I'm glad it's under warranty.


Good luck.

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Thank You for the heads up. thumbsup.gif

I'll have to buy you a slab o' pie @ Norske Nook sometime!


I will print this information, and see if it will help my dealer with the diagnosis...and getting the correct version of the shock if needed.

Also would you divulge your dealer, in case mine would like to talk with them? My service manager told me point blank that they had yet to do any ESA diagnosis eek.gifbncry.gif


Do you remember how long the shock took to get here after ordering?


Also, did you notice any "mushiness" in the rear suspension upon failure? Mine feels as if the rear tire is going down on pressure, even though the tire p.s.i. is fine. I thought at Gunny this thing felt weird, and maybe the problems were starting out there.

There may be multiple problems here.

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Jeff -

My dealer is Mischler's in Beaver Dam. I've been dealing with this issue for about a month. However, Mischler's was trying to get info from other service departments (there's an RT in Chicago with the same problem) for a couple of weeks. The shock arrived a couple of weeks after it was ordered. It only took 45 minutes to replace the shock but then it unexpectedly took over an hour to reset the computer on the bike.


I didn't notice any mushiness in the ride when it was stuck on 2-up. It was just a really harsh ride when going solo. I did notice some mushiness just before I discovered my problem but it was probably more related to the 1 1/2 inch nail I picked up than the ESA. smile.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife and I just got back from a dinner ride. I went through the adj. procedure before we left, but didn't look to see if the indictor flashed as normal. Part way to our destination the bike felt like it was sitting too low. When I got home I check the indictor which showed 2up but when I tried to change it the indicator would show the different settings but wouldn't flash as it normally does. I don't think it's changing the pre-load. This is bad, since I'm leaving for Vt. Wed. with wife and camping gear. By the way, my bike has 21k miles and has worked perfectly till now.

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Sorry to hear of the ESA gone kaput! bncry.giffrown.gif


Your symptoms are not exactly as mine were, but it sure sounds as thought the electrons are not co-operating on your scoot either.


That is one major problem as I see it w/ ESA. It can be just fine one second (i.e. leaving on your trip), but a mile down the road, it's just junk. The advantage of an Ohlins replacement all mechanical system would be that there should not be a sudden failure, rather a gradual decline in performance over the long haul. And THEN the Ohlins are rebuildable.


Oh yeah, an update on MY repairs...


1. The bike has been in since July 5th.

2. I called finally on the 12th, because NO ONE from the dealer's service department had called with any progress report.

3. The service manager informed me the parts are on order. I asked for what parts, he says" I dunno for sure, it was a sensor or something in the shock, but they might have ordered a new shock. I dunno, the tech. and parts took care of it."

4. So he had no idea exactly what was ordered, and he had no idea of when the parts (whatever they are) will be in to finish the repair.

5. He just told me they would call when the bike was done.


That's where I am at.


I have been eyeballing the bike ads on eBay and locally for a used VFR or VTR (gotta be RED), if that means anything. wink.gif

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I'm sorry to hear of your problem, but as a retired Auto dealership parts and service director of many years, I don't understand why your bike needs to be there if they don't have the parts. I have always tried to have the techs diagnose the problem and if parts have to be ordered and the vehicle is usable, give it back. I have been riding for a LONG time and my experience is that it's hard to find techs that can really diagnose the problem, without just throwing parts at the vehicle. My bike is rideable but I don't feel good about leaving on a 700 mile trip (on back roads w/pass and luggage including tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, pillows, chairs.

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The bike is "rideable", if you like an over-sprung ride. It's a tad stiff and "rear high" for me.


Initially, it was "we will get to it as soon as we can". So, I left it there...after a week I called, as they didn't.


Now, from what others have said, a shock from the fatherland could be a two week proposition, so I am maybe a week out.


A trip out to the dealer and back (and then out and back again when the MAYBE correct part comes in) is usually not just a walk around the block with Barb and my schedules, so in this case, we will give it another week.

At that point, I will have to re-assess.

Work's just nutz, O.T. reigns supreme, and it looks like Sunday rides for a while when the bike returns. eek.gif

Funny thing, I am not REALLY missing the RT, just scouring the ads for the VFR to be a stable mate.


My work schedule leaves little time to pick up a Viffer, but if I see one, I'm buying.

A VFR would then be the "sport" side of the stable, and would leave the door open next season to analyze how the RT is doing, and possibly getting a more "tour" oriented type of scoot if things don't work out w/ the RT.

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I wish mine was stuck in the stiff setting. Right now it's like a low rider. As far as a better touring bike goes, for me, there's none better than an RT. I've owned a K12LT and it's just too big and heavy. We'll good luck with whatever you decide.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's baaaaaack! clap.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifclap.gif


Ok, the scoot's repaired as of yesterday, and I picked it up tonight. cool.gif


I will first like to thank everyone's input, and most were right that the shock was toast. At least the electrical portion of the shock was toast. It sounded most likely the culprit was the sensor that reports back what position the shock is in. A simple potentiometer?

Most likely, but it cost BMW a complete shock...I sure am glad this was warranty. smirk.gif

This was the first ESA issue and shock replacement that my dealer has done, and they did just fine!

The bike feels better than it ever has since new, and I am convinced there was more gone on this shock than the pot. The rear feels glued to the road, where before it felt ....wallowy?


I had used a dealer in my area before when I had my '02 then '04 RT's. I had not very good luck with the communication there, especially between myself and the service department back then. So as not to single them out...their's was a four letter name beginning with an "L" and ending with a "s". I left the BMW fold for a while after some of my experiences there.


Now, this go round ('05RT), I bought from a local dealer named Leo's. grin.gif

After getting my bike back this time, everything was buttoned up tight, no scratches, the bike was clean after sitting there 20 days to get parts from the fatherland.

The suspension works, the banjo bolt recall performed, the ABS wiring re-route accomplished...and they even had my saddle in the high position where I ride. thumbsup.gif


There has been a turn around there (at Leo's), and I am a happy camper as the wrench there I always ask for is just the nuts.


As I have always been one to be a bit pessimistic about the outcome of dealer workmanship, I must admit if this continues, I may change my tune.


Gawd, it sure feels good being "back in the saddle" again.

OOOOHHHH baby! wink.gif

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The bike feels better than it ever has since new, and I am convinced there was more gone on this shock than the pot. The rear feels glued to the road, where before it felt ....wallowy?


Kind of backs up a theory I've had for a while that there is quite a variation between the OEM shocks and (I suspect) the later ones are better.


I've ridden 3 other 1200RTs (2 ESA and one non-ESA). They were all different to each other and, regrettably, all better than mine - they just feel more composed and the set up between the front and rear feels better. Not that I am unhappy with mine; its just that I know what could be even without going down the Ohlins, etc. route.

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I sure am glad this was warranty. smirk.gif
This time at least. smirk.gif


I know what you mean. If this would have been a WEAR failure, I would have had to pay. confused.gif


I might just have to park it, and look at it, so as not to be liable for a future shock replacement. wink.gif


Seriously, knowing my bike replacement intervals...another year and the ESA is headed bye-bye. I just need to find a buyer who looks at ESA as an asset, not a future $2000 liability.

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I just need to find a buyer who looks at ESA as an asset, not a future $2000 liability.
Well that shouldn't be too difficult as a lot of folks around here seem to feel that way. wink.gif
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  • 2 weeks later...

An update on my situation. When I took my bike to the dealer the tech didn't try it before he connected it to the computer. No fault codes. When he tried it afterwards it worked. I left the setting alone until after our trip, it worked fine for the trip. I just had the need to change the setting and the preload portion didn't work. Went straight to the dealer and by the time I got there it started to work again. The worst kind of problem, intermittent. I'm starting to get discouraged with this option and don't know if I would recommend it, although it's great when it works properly.

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