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fastlarry

How Does ESA work?

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fastlarry

I have had my 2016 RT since November, 2015, and I have never got a satisfactory explanation how ESA works.

 

1. Is it active? does it change spring  preload,  and damping depending on road conditions and speed? Does it do this (if it does) in all three modes?  I can feel the differences in throttle response in the modes.

 

2. Hard, Normal, Soft. Do these change spring preload? damping? both?

 

3. What does 1helmet, etc. do?  Rear ride height?  I can feel that change. Does it do it with preload or does it lengthen the strut?

 

The bike handles decently, in my opinion, but not as good as my previous Ohlins equipped machines.  Seems to understeer a bit; takes steering corrections in corners to hold line.

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szurszewski

There are some good articles on BMW’s site you can find with google, and lots of articles online as well - and videos. It varies by bike and type of ESA and not every article seems to have that correct, so be mindful of what you’re reading. 

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Paul De

It works by prying your wallet open wider which allows more cash to fall out.

 

Seriously though, I may be off on some of this but here it goes.

 

On the 2016 ESA, if you have the Dynamic ESA package and have the ride mode set to Dynamic, it is at least semi active, as it uses sensors attached the Telelever and Paralever arms to monitor stroke and ride height and then adjusts damping to maintain at least stroke to not become excessive or to little.  I do not think it adjusts spring preload, nor is it making real time adjustments continuously like a fully active system does.  I think the sampling rate is not fast enough for that.  In Normal/Road and Wet ride modes I think it is more of a dumb system that simple goes to the the programed presets for the damping and spring preload selected.

 

The helmets and luggage adjustment is spring preload only

 

The soft, normal and hard settings are for damping and I think the shocks maintain a specific relation between compression and rebound damping for each setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul De

I have messed with my 2015 dynamic ESA to try to achieve the very plush and well controlled ride my wife loved on my Oilhead with Ohlins.  At best I can get 90% of that ride quality.  For my wife she likes it when it is set up like a 1978 Lincoln Town Car.  Supper soft and boating, and that is set the ride mode to Rain or Road and the spring on 1 helmet+luggage or even just 1 helmet if I am just putting around with her (under 50 MPH).

 

I think the issue is the shocks on an ESA bike just don't have as sophisticated, or maybe as well sorted out, valving to match the Ohlins and you get a generic spring rate on the ESA system rather than springs tailored to your actual weight and typical load.   I think Ohlins, and other high end third party shocks excel at the relation of high and low speed damping valving, particularly on the compression side of things and a spring that more closely matches your typical loading.

 

That said the ESA suspension is pretty darn good and leaps ahead of the OEM shock that came on my Oilhead.  If the ESA system wasn't getting me to 90% of my perfect ride characteristics, I would replace them, but because it is so close to my perfection ride I will wear the shocks out before upgrading.

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Bob Woodsom

I have a 2015 with 80,000 Miles ESA just failed. code for front damper short circuit. Sure wish I didn’t have ESA now. Though it worked well I found myself using the same setting 90 percent of the time anyway.

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fastlarry

What is your plan, Bob? Notice a difference along with the error code?

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fastlarry

I've missed out a lot not setting ride mode to Dyna.  More settled chassis, and sharper turn in.  Don't care so much for the quicker throttle, but can get used to that.  I can't prove it, it's a secret residing in BMW's engineering department, but feels like some preload added with some rebound damping added, but not a lot. 

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