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Indy Dave

ESA Replacement PT. 2: A Long Suffering Drama

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Indy Dave

Hot off the  wheels   heels of my 2010 R 1200 RT purchase last November, Yours Truly planned a ESA suspension replacement for the 34K RT. Having replaced my 2005 RT with a WESA system from Wilbers at similar mileage, I knew that it was both time to replace and that the rewards that awaited me once the new system was installed would be smile producing. :18:  :bike:

Riders and friends were consulted, debates about progressive vs linear springs, ESA vs NON ESA conversions and preferred brands. This is not to open up those debates or conversations again. And I state here I have no opinion on the progressive vs linear spring debate. I also state here that I could not be happier with my Wilbers ESA on my 2006 RT.

 

Having said all of that, I did something rather uncharacteristic for me - I strayed away from Wilbers and I decided to go with a Hyper Pro "ESA" system due to some differences in the Hyper Pro Shock vs the others. Hyper Pro uses a larger shaft ( if memory serves).  I'd had the normal phone conversations with the well known East Coast suspension guy and he took my information and ordered my shocks. My credit Card would be charged once the shocks arrived from Holland. At that time, I'd be notified and could send in my old shocks and in 2 days they would be shipped back to me with the new bits.

 

I get a phone call that tells me my shocks are in, so I send mine right off. Only to discover that my shocks had NOT actually arrived. After a lot of "In's and out's and what-have-you's" my shocks are finally shipped on out on  .... Dec 24. :5146: Lot's of back and forth emails and polite apologies for the delays... but now they are on their way here!

 

I install the new system and am immediately struck at how much difficulty I'm having riding the bike well at speed, plus the thing bounces me off the seat. After several days of trying to learn the new suspension, I commit to 2 full days of riding in Southern Indiana where the roads are more curvy and hilly. After day 2 I have a handle on how to ride the bike and have a great day of riding and I'm comfortable with how the bike handles at speed. :18: But it still kicks me off the seat and rides very rough. I try to live with the harsh ride, but after almost literally being bounced off the bike, I decide things have to change. Long story shorter - there was a lot of back and forth with the dealer and time was ticking away. In talking to other suspension dealers, it comes to light the HyperPro doesn't list a ESA system for my 2010 RT! For me, that seals the deal and I'm not interested in working with this dealer anymore. The Manufacturer is willing to have the shocks sent to them and they will see what's up or the dealer will refund my money.

 

For the record, the official HyperPro position on the ESA2 system for the RT is this:

 

The RT shocks are what we call “hydrid shocks” since they contain both hyperpro items and OEM items.

This takes quite some knowledge of the importer, that not all importers have.

Therefore it is not listed in our general pricelist.

 

So, according to Hyperpro, they do make and list a ESA2 system for the GS, but they don't list a RT ESA2 system for the above stated reasons.

 

So I returned the shocks and got a full refund for shipping and all. And the dealer was very cooperative in sending needed parts that originally were thought to be no longer needed.

 

To sum up:

1. The HyperPro's seemed to handle well enough - once I made a few adjustments to my inputs. I think one can expect to have to make some adjustments on any new system, so no big deal. Looking back, I don't remember any handling issues once I adjusted. One thing is for sure. I certainly didn't have the kinds of handling problems I'm currently having with the HyperPro's replacement.

2. I would not hesitate to use HyperPro shocks again - this seems like a very isolated issue. Factory support was exceptional.

3. The ride was the main thing here and the SAG figures indicted some deficiencies - which happens.

3. My eroding confidence in the dealer, the lack of timely communication and the many delays in getting the shocks was the real deal breaker here. And this was all before learning about the HP ESA2 RT potential issues. Sending these back to HP in Holland probably would have fixed the issues. But then I would still be left to deal with the original dealer for rebuilds, etc and I wasn't interested in that.

4. In the end, the only real cost to me was time, and lots of it. And a whole lot of frustration! START was rapidly approaching. The dealer refunded all of my money and worked to get the right parts for Plan B.

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blalor

I have HyperPro shocks on my '07 RT, and one on my '98 VFR.  The ride could be a little more plush on the RT, but it's well-controlled.

 

Carry on… 🍿

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Indy Dave

ESA or standard?

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blalor

Standard.  My bike didn't come with ESA.  I got the "telelever box", so it's not tuned to my weight and riding preferences, but apparently those are within the parameters of the that setup.

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Indy Dave
Posted (edited)

 

 

I went through a lot of hoops on my end trying to make things better. Of course this is the Winter, so it's not like everyday is a riding day. The first week or so I was able to get some riding in and then I was away Ceder Key and then another trip got me into Feb. Now with clear roads, I could start riding it again.  I swapped wheels and tires from the 06 to the 2010. Then I mounted new tires on the 2010. The biggest thing was the continued slow response from the East Coast. Which led me to contacting HyperPro and again talking to other suspension folks, looking for ideas and suggestions about the issues.

 

Mr East Coast has been in business a long time and I know many riders who have been happy with him. Had I been kept in the loop all along, this probably would have gone a different way. But from start to finish, trying to get information was always a challenge. No communication about the delay in my shocks - I had to pry and repeatedly ask for updates throughout. 


While this back and forth is going on, I look for a plan B. With 1 month until START, the pressure is on. I call back Herman at Wings and Wheels, and he'd be more than happy to hook me up with a set of Wilbers. HOWEVER, Wilbers is currently consolidating production facilities and will not be shipping out any product for 3 or 4 weeks! :4331:  So I call Mr. West Coast and talk to an informative employee.

 

OK - This could really turn into a epicly long post - here's the cliff notes version.

 

1) After a few more calls, I agree to buy the Tracive system.

 

2) The shop owner returns a voice mail I'd left, unbeknownst to him that I'd called back and sorted the issue with his employee.

 

3) Shop owner details the very few number of parts they need for the Tractive system. GREAT!

 

4) When I call a few days later to advise the parts are on the way, the owner wants to review my info. This info was taken by another employee, so this was his first time seeing it. Given the no 2 up and narrow weight variances I make, he wants to do a system for me that accounts for those narrow weight variables. I do not need all the adjust ability of the Tracive system. He suggests 2 options: 1) Going to Wilbers, but changing the OEM Wilbers Progressive Spring to a Linear spring using his charts, not Wilbers. "This will make your bike handle just like your 2006 Wilbers". 2) He also presents going totally non ESA and gaining more adjust-ability. I tell him I have to think about it. I thought this was very odd, as from the get go, his shop had been pushing the Tractive insistently. I figured they had sold my Tractive shocks and now faced with my deadline, the Wilbers was the only way to get this done in time. But Who knows? It could be any number of things and we'll never know. The shop owner himself had lost sight of how this switch from Tractive to Wilbers came about (until I later documented it for him).

 

5) I call the next day and agree to do the Wilbers ESA, following his suggested linear spring and using his charts, not Wilbers. If it's going to be like my 06, how could I not be happy?!

 

6) OK, great! Oh yea, now we need to have more of your old suspension sent to us, and BTW - this will ride a bit harsher than your 06 Wilbers ESA due to different valving.

 

7) Once the shop gets the additional needed parts, they turn them around the same day. I'm sent photos of the shocks. They arrive with days to spare before I leave for START. I install them, but do not have time to do anything but an around the block ride.

 

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL!

 

But not so fast. . . .:16:

 

EDIT: When I told him I had 'to think about it" I was deciding between  his manual VS ESA system. In the end - While I like the additional adjust-ability a manual system offers, I can't see myself pulling over in the rain on a gravel road and making adjustments.

Edited by Indy Dave
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Highway41

Can't hit the Like button; would seem inappropriate.  Was attracted to the Tractive shocks but no more.  Wilbers worked great on my '05 and '10 and this winter will go on the '13 courtesy of Herman.

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Indy Dave

The Bumbling BackRoad Riders™ had planned to meet in Dillard and as I headed out, not only was I met with flooding all over Southern Indiana (Dead End Dave) but the bike has no bite upfront! The front end decompresses on acceleration and the bike understeers considerably! And the headlight is acting like it thinks I'm Commissioner Gordon and it's the Bat Signal in the dark night sky.

 

This will not do! I struggle the entire week and at one point in the midst of a decreasing radius curve - I go all in for a minute on the brakes, as the bike isn't responding enough to my inputs and I think I'm going to run off the road. From then on, I limited myself to 2nd gear in the twisties and when in chasing mode so I would not get ahead of myself and the light front end. The other issue is that the bike does not absorb the backroad bumps like my 06.

 

Back home now, sag figures are figured and it's decided to add some preload to the front and add a larger spring on the rear - although still not as big as the rear spring on my 2006. Remember that 'I can make it just like your 2006' comment from the West Coast shop guy? Me too! Seems odd that we're not using the same spring! But He has His Charts, and I still have faith.

 

After some back and forth the shocks are sent back. Again, time is of the essence here, as the Clean Living Hoosiers trip is right around the corner! The West Coast Shop is responsive and I get the shocks and install them a day or two before departing - so again untested.

 

By the time we stopped in Madison, IN for lunch on the very first day of my 10 day trip, I was on the phone to Herman at Wheels and Wings to get his opinion on what was wrong. :87:Not being the person I got the shocks from (because Wilbers wasn't shipping due to consolidating of facilities) - and he didn't have a set in stock), there isn't much he can do. But he's a nice enough guy to listen and offer some opinions and advice. When I call, he answers with "Hello Dave!"

 

One of the issues here is that The West Coast Shop has kind of gone off the reservation with this setup - they've changed the Wilbers recommended spring for my shocks - so what the bike needs now is anyone's guess. And this shop is not a fan of the progressive spring - so when I suggest we go to that - which is what the factory engineers designed the system for- it's a non-starter with this shop.

 

To be fair - The bike IS IMPROVED. But it's still light up front when loaded and it still under-steers. Uphill Switchbacks? Forget it! It still takes more effort to turn, and when adding more input mid turn, I feel like I'm wrestling the bike. And the ride isn't changed one bit. By comparison, the 06 is on rails. But unloaded I can push the bike some and it has some more front bite (without luggage) with this bigger spring. Improvement is good.

 

But this is still not what I paid for. In the back of my mind I begin considering selling the bike and keeping my 06!

 

Once I got back from my trip, forward progress is reduced to a snails pace.

 

 

 

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Indy Dave

** INTERMISSION **

 

Waiting for disposition . . . Shocks are back on the West Coast.

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