Sunday, September 19, 2010


Öhlins!  Nothing more needs to be said...

The bike was feeling a little light in the front end on the Multiple Sclerosis ride.  Not too noticeable at slow speed.  But freeway riding was a bit nerve wracking with it feeling like it wanted to wander.  I initially figured (hoped) the front tire was responsible.  It was in need of replacement.  And the cupping that occurs on these tires can make it feel a little bouncy when its time is nearing an end.  I just happened to have one sitting in the garage, so I strapped it over the Pelican box on Tuesday to take her to the shop.

I have the equipment to change the tire myself, but wasn't really into doing that.  I would probably just have removed the front rim and dropped them off at the shop.  For $20 they would have changed it for me.  But this time I had a small wish list for the bike and couldn't see not just having them do it all at once.  The referenced wish list was repairing the broken throttle position sensor (from the MS weekend ride, but is another story), replacing the oil and filter (also from the MS ride), changing the tire and checking the front brake pads.

I waited around for the work to be done, then rode back to my place of employment.  It was pretty clear that the new tire didn't solve my problems and it was probably going to be a shock problem.  Well...if I was going to have to fork over for new shocks...why not up the performance a little?

Did a minute (as in small, not time) amount of research and weighed the options between Öhlins, Hyperpro and Wilburs.  Since I am not a patient person when my mind makes a decision to go for something, and Mr. Oilburner and I were kinda, maybe contemplating a ride on the Dragon this weekend, I wanted those shocks as soon as possible. Talked with my friendly, neighborhood supplier and he could hook me up with the Öhlins and get them in by Friday with 90% certainty.  I gave him as much of my vital statistics as was necessary, hedging on a couple of the questions, and mentally pulled the trigger on the deal.  These are not inexpensive shocks...

Friday rolled around and I had almost forgotten to expect their arrival!  Left work early to run some errands for the pup and suddenly remembered who I needed to call.  Turns out he was thinking of me too, and had left a message on the phone while I was in getting dog food.  They had arrived. 

I hightailed it to the shop, only to find Mr. Oilburner there when I arrived.  Surprise!  But he was only there to purchase another clear pinlock lens and wasn't about to carry my shocks home on his bike.  My supplier knows me well enough to know that I am not mechanically inept.  He just chooses to forget it regularly.  So it is with amusement that I listen to him ask me if Mr. Oilburner will be installing the shocks tonight, as we watch him ride away.  I turn to him and ask him why he would think that?  His mouth starts working, and you can see the look in his eye that he knows he is digging himself in deeper and deeper and just can't keep his mouth from uttering: "Well, you know, because you're.   a.    girl..."  I smirked at him because he knows he is in trouble and it is written all over his face that he knows.  He was just powerless to stop his mouth.  No harm...but I let him know that, while Mr. Oilburner will more then likely be helping, I will indeed be installing my shocks tonight.

As SonjaM says "It hurts a little to see that Beemer stripped to its entrails, even it is for the best possible reason."  But it has to be done.  And I would rather see loving hands doing the work.  Besides saving the 3+ hours in labor charges...

I have always been apprehensive about removing the fuel tank.  I've seen it done on an R1150R and was not relishing the task ahead.  Reading through the "shock removal" steps we were hoping to finagle our way around it.  Alas, no realistic way with the tools we had on hand.  However, I will say with certainty that it is supremely easy to remove the R1200R fuel tank, albeit with four hands.  The quick disconnects come standard on this model.  Unless the previous owner had changed them out prior to my owning her.  It was actually distressingly easy to remove it.  However, I am happy to say that the task no longer scares me.  And I would happily and easily do it again if necessary, especially to access the accessory light relay that someone kindly put under the damn fuel tank(!!).

Little tank looks a little lonely.

I'm not going into a step-by-step installation.  It is boring and I didn't exactly take pictures of the important steps.  Suffice it to say, it was an extremely easy job.  It does require some heavy duty tools...which we have in abundance luckily.  And Mr. Oilburner has the knowledge to use them.

The only snag came while trying to reinstall the fuel tank.  We were putting all of the connections back together and flipping it into place when we heard the dreaded little metallic tinkle of something sneaking loose and falling down through all those wires and metal engine parts.  We searched and searched. Shone flashlights in all the little nooks and crannies.  Set me to wondering how all of the sand got on top of the engine??  And why a hunk of tempered glass was sitting there too.  But we couldn't discover any parts that shouldn't be there, nor any parts that seemed to be missing.  We took a break to let our minds settled and set back in to looking.  Agreeing that we couldn't see anything we put her back together and zipped everything up.

Later, while taking measurements and moving her around a metal clip tumbled off of somewhere.  Looks like we had found the culprit.  I think it might have been a clip for the fuel pump plug/electronics.  I'll need to remove the side panels to take a look and see what can be seen.  Later...  LOL.

I took her out for a post-installation ride check and all was peachy keen.  I was only intending to go around the corner.  But I took a right instead of a left.  Then a left and another right.  I realized I didn't have my phone, if something went wrong, nor my driver's license, if something else went wrong.  It was late, I rode sanely and enjoyed the new feel.

I had sworn to Mr. Oilburner during installation that I was never going to tell him if these were good or bad because I wasn't about to let him covet mine and want to purchase some for his. So I just shrugged my shoulders and see-sawed my hand to his questions of "How are they?"  I could see the disappointment in his face and wound up spilling the truth out.  It would have been difficult hiding the truth anyway with the smile that was again plastering my face whenever I ride this beauty.

See a little yellow and gold peeking out?

Yes, we did ride the Dragon.  Yes, it was great.  :)


  1. Now the new yellow and gold needs to be polished;-)

    Nice that you are willing to take tasks such as these. Most would look at the rats nest of wires and cables and take it to the dealer.


  2. Yeah, I can see you smirking at the dealer. Good that he recognized that he was being a chauvinist, but ... well, bad that his mouth was out of control.

    It's a bit worrisome, there being extra parts. I mean, sure, there always are when working on the computer, but ... well, on something of that magnitude it'd frighten me a bit more.

  3. Hi Richard,

    You are correct. Strangely enough there isn't any "guard" on the rear shock. I'll either have to fashion something together by cutting the one from the stock shock. Or purchase a hugger to help keep gravel at bay.

    I'm willing to take just about anything mechanical on. The wiring is a completely different story!! That just downright scares me! Gremlins hide in wiring. :-)


  4. Hi David!

    Good thing my supplier is a friend. He could also have been egging me on. So he wasn't shocked when I slapped him and feigned mock indignation. It was just so funny to watch his face knowing that he just couldn't stop his runaway mouth!

    Yes, worrisome to have that little piece sitting there taunting me. At least it is only a line/wire routing clip.


  5. Hi Lori
    True machine-owner bonding is consumated with the tank off!
    So it's a metal tank on the R12R? I had an R1100R before my GS and this bike had such a sweet running engine - the 15GS in comparison sounds and feels like a bag of nails at 4,000 rpm,
    Are you a qualified mechanic or did you pick it up self taught like me ? I watched my Dad as a youngster -he was great at dismantling but virtuallynothing was ever put together again!
    Best wishes Nikos

  6. Lori:

    I wished that I had Mr Oilburner around as I am reluctant to take anything apart for fear I would end up with left over parts later. I can think that the factory would install parts that were not needed but it happens. On my bike you have to "lift" the tank to access the top spark plug and then there's the problem of taking off the plastic surrounds and hope you don't break the plastic tabs.

    As for spilling the beans you know that women weren't designed to keep secrets

    why would you mount your GoProHD on the right (throttle) side when your clutch side is "more" free. was just thinking out loud

    Wet Coast Scootin

  7. I am glad the "shock therapy" cured the front end wandering and that "Unbearable Lightness of Being".

  8. Boy, I wish I could pull the trigger that quickly on a set of shocks. I've been agonizing for months over the suspension on my bike. I seriously can't afford any mistakes.

  9. Hi Nikos,
    Your father and my brother sound like peas in a pod. :) I remember one summer he took his 10-speed apart to paint it. I don't believe I ever saw it back in one piece again.

    I am a mechanic first by necessity. My first auto was 10 years older then I was. I was responsible for fixing what I broke and what fatigue broke. :) I loved that car! And secondly, I just can't trust garages. Seems they lie or break more then they fix most of the time.

    That said, still working the courage up to perform my own valve adjustments. I know it is easy...just haven't done it yet. :)

    Why do you think the GS runs so much rougher? Just the nature of the differences? Or some tuning issues? How does the K75 compare to those two? ;)

    And yes, the tank is metal. :) Lovely, heavy, dentable, scratchable metal. Not that anything happened to it. LOL.

    So did your footrest hold up? :)


  10. Hi Bob,

    Women weren't designed to keep secrets, be good at mathematics, be successful scientists, mechanics or CEO's. Yet more myths debunked!! :)

    So you know what needs to be done to get to the hidden parts, think you might ever want to try it? I'll lend you Mr. Oilburner for room, board and garage space for his bike. He doesn't take up much space. ;)

    And I wondered why I put the GoPro on the throttle side myself. And what I came up with: if I install it on the left all wide angle shots will be of oncoming traffic and road. On the right side I at least have the side of the road and trees. Given the suction cuppy attachment, I will give it a try on the left and see what it comes up with.


  11. Priceless, Keith. Absolutely Priceless! I wish I had thought of those. So completely appropriate. :) -Lori

  12. Hi Stacy,

    I understand the difficulty in the decision. The decision is infinitely less difficult to make when your shocks are going bad and you have to make some decision. So the choice was to spend a lot of money on stock shocks or spend a lot more for high performance shocks. :)

    If you don't need to replace your shocks yet, you have the time to continue researching and debating. But if/when you do decide to upgrade, you will not be disappointed!!!

    I do understand the sticker shock too. If I had thought too much about it, it might not have happened. I do think you will like them, tho.

    Good luck!


  13. Lori

    I will be adjusting the valves and end float soon on my GS - hope this may be the start to curing roughness - have you seen this article -

    The K runs like a gas turbine engine - completely different character! (i.e. smooth!). I liken the R to a Sopwith Camel WW1 fighter aircraft - shakes rattles and rolls.

    The foot peg repair lasted out and Mrs Nikos mounted from the other side for safety as it seemed to bend quite a lot.


  14. Hi Nikos,

    Thanks for the pdf link. That will be great!! The writers is hilarious.

    Don't forget to sync the throttle bodies. That did wonders for mine.

    Sopwith Camel vs turbine engine. LOL. I can see that. It is interesting listening to K riders and why they don't like R's.

    Glad the fix lasted out. I did forget to mention that I was glad Mrs. Nikos wasn't hurt in the ordeal.

    Have fun with your adjustments! :)


  15. Great upgrade! I look forward to the day my R1200R has its own set of Ohlins.

  16. Lori

    How did you synch your throttle bodies?

    I'm thinking of buying a F650 single too....just to get that lawnmower feeling (sorry Sonja only joking).

    The water cooled single would be better for off roading in Greece where the poor R was getting all hot and bothered (not too mention the weight).


  17. Hi LumpyCam,

    You and your bike will love them! BTW, beautiful R12R you have there! :) -Lori

  18. Hi Nikos,

    See if you can get to this link of TB Sync. I'm not sure if you have to be an MOA member to get to the forum or not. Let me know and I can see about copying it off to html and emailing it to you. I have also seen a post on the r1150r boards about making your own syncing unit with hoses and water or oil. I'll try to find it if you are interested.

    You are thinking of putting together my dream garage of cycles. I also keep thinking about one of the 650GS'!! I know the R is capable on dirt roads. But as you said, the weight and the height would be prohibitive for me. -Lori

  19. Lori:

    such a decision, "R' or "K", I like "R's" but so much maintenance and old school technology, or the turbine feel of a "K". and I also like the smaller F650GS, I sort of like the Lawnmower sound but I like Yellow and Sonja already has yellow. I need to find a PINK one to match the colour of my Crocs

    Wet Coast Scootin

  20. Lori - thanks - link worked OK (I think that i once registered with MOA without having to apy anything)

    Bob - just buy some pink spray paint - that way you can paint the tyres too!

  21. Hi Nikos,

    The way the site was sounding, it was like you had to have an acct in order to see anything on the forum. So glad it is visible. I know Don keeps saying that if you adjust the valves properly you shouldn't have to do a TB sync. Talking with my dealer they always perform a TB sync at my service intervals. Circular thinking would say that they obviously aren't adjusting the valves "properly" each time if they also do a TB sync. So maybe a compromise would be to do the adjustment to your liking and determine if you need the TB sync. But it also couldn't hurt to learn how to do it once and see if there is a difference. -Lori

  22. Hi Bob,

    I know that I have seen them around, there just aren't many pictures of them. But I did find this for you to whet your appetite or give you inspiration. I think you might enjoy the attention a pink motorbike would give you. :)

    Or you could still get a yellow one and give it "character" with polka dots or strips or two tone it! :) -Lori