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Straight Up - Ohlins vs Works


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Is there any feature to really discriminate between these two brands of Shocks? The Works are about 20% less and so far I see no driving reason for Ohlins. Comments?

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Bragging rights? If it costs more, it must be better. As a BMW owner you should understand this.

grin.gif peter '73 R75/5, '04 R1150RA

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I had Works shocks on my RT. I had their standard Front shock, and the "ARS" rear. At the time, I was doing about 50/50 2-up/solo so the ARS feature was a big selling point. Basically, it is two springs, a hard and a soft, stacked on top of each other. There's an indexed "cup" that you can rotate to one of three positions, and it determines how far the soft spring can compress before the hard spring takes over. The result is that I was able to switch from solo to 2-up in about 30 seconds by just rotating that cup 1/3 of a turn. With a normal shock, I'd be sitting there cranking the remote preload adjuster forever, or I'd be getting out the spanners to turn the preload collar nut.


Aside from that feature, I think the ride quality of the Ohlins is a little bit better. The differences are pretty minute and may just be my imagination, but I felt like the damping on the Ohlins-equipped bikes was a little bit more controlled and progressive than my Works-equipped bike.


Another thing that I'd seriously consider, is the Wilbers shocks, which give you compression damping adjustments at both ends in addition to preload and rebound damping. The Works and the Ohlins only give you preload and rebound damping adjustments. I haven't personally ridden a bike with Wilbers shocks, but the owners that I've talked to have been very happy with them.

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Is there any feature to really discriminate between these two brands of Shocks? The Works are about 20% less and so far I see no driving reason for Ohlins. Comments?

I have a Works rear shock on my K100RT (a so-called "triple spring Steel Tracker"). Bought it a year and a bit ago. Here is my experience....


- When I received the shock it was slightly wet with oil. The external reservoir fitting on the shock body had weld porosity and was leaking.


- In addition, the end of one of the main spring didn't fit properly into the adjustment cup, and ground away at the aluminum cup when the shock was compressed.


- I returned it (at my expense) after one day of use, for repair.


- They replaced one spring and the shock body.


- The replacement after 6 months was already rusting. The plating was absolute crap.


- The spring stack (3 springs in a stack, which is itself a rather dumb idea) causes the adjustment lever (located between the lower and the middle spring) to sit slightly crooked. This is caused by ends of the springs not being "square".


- The new shoch body may be rusted, but at least it doesn't leak this time. Unforunately, when the suspension is compressed, it makes a "grunch grunch" noise as a result of the crooked adjustment lever (and its plastic bushings) rubbing on the shock body.


- The braided hose that connects the reservoir to the shock may be made of stainless, but the fittings at each end are made of cheap zinc plated steel and are already rusted.


- Through all this, the conversations I had with Works made me wonder if they weren't all just a bit spaced out there. No one seemed to know what was going on.


In summary, I am disppointed with Works' crappy quality, and the unprofessional attitude to their products I experienced.


By the way, this Works shock was to replace an old one of the same type which I rebuilt several times. All 3 springs broke at different times. To be fair, it was a really old shock. But Works had no way of identifying what springs were on it, even when I sent them the dimensions (spring diameter, wire diameter, length and number of turns). They kept sending me the wrong springs. Also, when I ordered a seal kit, the seal was the right diameter, but the O-Ring that goes right behind it on the same shaft, was the wrong size.


So my opinion of Works? They apparently run an amateur show.



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I have the Works shocks installed as well on my 1100RT (with the ARS feature that Russell described) and have gotten very good service out of them. Big step up over stock but then again just about anything is. Have sent them back once for rebuilding and the service and turn-around was fine. I don't have enough time on Ohlins-equipped bikes so I can't make a direct performance comparison. Doing that is pretty difficult in any event since minor differences in setup can make for significant differences on the bike so accurate comparisons would require some caution and a good methodology.


The only factor that I would really place in the Ohlins' favor is brand recognition... you might get a better price for them on resale if that is in your future plans. And I would consider the adjustable compression damping on the Wilburs to be a very desirable feature (albeit at a step up in price.) Other than that I wouldn't anticipate an enormous performance difference between any of the the better aftermarket shocks.


It should also be noted that the Works line of shocks for the oilheads are their premium line and are a considerable step above some of their other products. I consider the design, material, and workmanship on the Works shocks that I bought (admittedly several years ago) to be excellent and easily equal to or better than the competition, including Ohlins.

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No personal experience with Works (I'm an Ohlins guy) but I have heard from a good source that the works shocks tend to need a new 'Shaft' (that may not be the right term) when rebuilding, which is an added expense that Ohlins does not have at rebuild time. Something to check into. FWIW.

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How many miles should you consider a rebuild of a Works shock? I have one on my R1150RS on the front, also used it on my R1100RS, has maybe 34K miles on it total, no leaks visible, still "seems" to perform well.

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I'm ashamed to say that I didn't have a rebuild done for about 7 years and 50k miles... but that's way too long and the seals were really starting to leak at that point. I wouldn't recommend going longer than 36k miles/3 years on any shock.

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How many miles should you consider a rebuild of a Works shock?


I don't know if there's a recommendation or not, but I got about 25K on mine in a year before I started noticing slightly degraded handling.

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I bought the Hagon shocks from Dave Quinn:


because of a post on this forum.

They were less than a grand with the remote preload adjuster. Works makes you send in your rear shock so they can scavenge the stock adjuster. This is kind of a pain if you want to do the swap in one pass.


BTW Service from Dave Quinn so far has been excellent.

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