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  #1  
Old 03-30-2018, 04:00 PM
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Non ESA vs ESA

I did a search first, but can't seem to find anything. Maybe it's my keywords cause I don't believe this hasn't been discussed.

I had an 05 with ESA that I enjoyed. Kept it in 'comfortable' until the road got interesting, then switched to 'sport.' I am trying to be in the market for a new to me bike, and some of the K13's are offered Non ESA. This seems like a big deal not to have it, am I right? What are some experiences of those who've had both or Non ESA? The only thing I can think of is when you have a Wilbers or Ohlins installed. Is there a considerable weight difference?

Thanks guys,

Curt
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:23 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Curt, first thing to know about ESA is that it’s designed for a 180lb. rider, and that’s where it works best. I weighed closer to 290lbs. and it didn’t work so well for me, as the springs were way undersprung.

Those riders near that 180lb. weight generally like the ESA. The shocks need rebuilding somewhere in the 30-35,000 mike range and there are places guys have found to rebuild the OEM equipment.

I ended up putting on Wilbers and the bike’s handling went from tugboat barge, to scalpel precise. Simply an awesome transformation! I also added 31mm riser plates that you can find in our classifieds. I think the weight difference of whichever suspension you use is negligible.

In this thread, you can read about the shocks and the riser plates.
http://www.i-bmw.com/showthread.php?...ght=Minor+mods

ESA or non-ESA, whichever works best for you.
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2018, 04:32 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Awesome, thanks for the info and link John. I'm definitely on the other side of 180lbs, but I still felt it made a difference. I've been wanting those riser plates for a while, like to put those on the new bike for sure. So glad I kept my Sargent seat and bags!
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:49 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

My 2006 K12S came with ESA and I didn't get much use out of it, maybe because it was the first generation of ESA or my weight or both. My 2009 K13S came without ESA and I was just as happy with how the bike handled and didn't miss ESA at all. The benefit of non ESA is you have the option to add whatever aftermarket shocks you choose and the bike will handle better than with ESA or OEM standard shocks. The biggest down side to ESA is they are costly to replace but there are a couple companies rebuilding ESA shocks but I don't know the cost. With all that said my advice is to ride a ESA equipped bike and non ESA bike and see which one you like better.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:57 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Thanks Wellcraft, Good to hear someone not having ESA and liking it. I guess I'm wondering if as tightly that I'm going to have the shock wound on Non ESA in the twisties, is going to be super rough in the city etc. And I don't want to stop and get off etc. to change it.
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:04 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

A forum search will get you the threads where members discuss the rebuild options on the OEM shocks.

The major point is whether you do Wilbers, or rebuild the OEM shocks, the correct spring for your weight is crucial for making the K13 handle the way it was designed to handle.

My guess is that a non-ESA bike will sell for less, possibly offsetting the cost of your suspension upgrade.
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:12 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Quote:
Originally Posted by K12SBLUEBIRD
Thanks Wellcraft, Good to hear someone not having ESA and liking it. I guess I'm wondering if as tightly that I'm going to have the shock wound on Non ESA in the twisties, is going to be super rough in the city etc. And I don't want to stop and get off etc. to change it.

I never have to adjust my Wilbers, unless Iím doing 2 up riding, which I donít do with that bike.
They handle changes (wonderfully) in road surface, changes in riding Ďmodesí, i.e. twisties, or high speed highway cruising.

Why is this? I donít know the technical reason, but I suspect itís because they are specialized, high quality after market shocks. The Ohlins I put on my KRS behaved the same way.
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Current Bikes-The Perfect Combination
'15 R12GSAW 'The I-BMW Pussy Bike'
'09 K1300S 'fits me like a glove' with Wilbers
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'04 K1200RS with Ohlins (traded for GSA)
'11 F800R (traded for GSA)
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:20 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Rear spring of k bikes are more a joke than a spring. I have esa but feel the difference only when driving alone and no bags (im exactly 180lb with gear). When girl rids with me no difference felt- bike handling becames more like a boat than a bike. Not happy with it. The rear seems not working properly to me. Front is ok, no complains. Saving money on wunderlich rear.
If to trade to k1300 i would chose the one which is in better condition and whatever the esa.
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:14 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Hey Curt. I have a 2008 k12r with ESA. I have just replaced it at 55000 miles but only because I was gifted a set of Wilbers. I weigh 220lbs and always ride on Ďnormalí with a rider and helmet and when my wife got on board - two helmets. This was the only time I changed the settings and would suggest that it would be the same with manually adjusted shocks once you got them set up. Now there may have been a gradual degradation in shock performance over time but I never noticed it. I had no problem riding the bike in the same way as I did when it was new. When I replaced the ESA I noticed that there were no leaks on either front or rear shocks and the adjustments were quite noticeable. I would probably still have them fitted if it wasnít for my generous friend. So - ESA or not? I think if the bike you want has either you wonít go wrong.
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Old 03-30-2018, 07:17 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

So Curt, what prospective bikes are you eyeballin’?
Links?
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Current Bikes-The Perfect Combination
'15 R12GSAW 'The I-BMW Pussy Bike'
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Past Bikes
'04 K1200RS with Ohlins (traded for GSA)
'11 F800R (traded for GSA)
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2018, 08:59 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

I had Wilbers front and rear on my previous '99 R1100S...can't say enough good about them. When I traded it off for my '11 K1300S (w/1148 miles and ESA) I noticed a definite reduction in ride quality. When the ESA Boingers are worn out I'll upgrade to a set of Wilbers...they're really that good!
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2018, 11:40 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Jargon: I didn't realize that with aftermarket shocks you don't need to change the setting as much as with ESA, that's good to know. You can kind of set it and forget it until riding two up, nice!

IceColder: That's good advice. Decision should be more the condition of the bike than about whether or not it has ESA.

Capt Howdy: I need friends like you have!

R111S: Thanks for the info about the Wilbers. Really looking forward to trying them.

I'm looking at these bikes right now. I honestly have always started my search for whatever I am buying way before I could actually purchase the thing I was interested in. It's always about the money!

This is "Bobby's" bike: https://missoula.craigslist.org/mcy/...536035241.html

https://bozeman.craigslist.org/mcy/d...537370091.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/mcy...542880896.html

I think these bikes are well priced. I'm amazed looking at K12's/K13's online. You would think these guys believe their bikes are gold plated. I've seen 05's priced at $7500! 09's over $10k! The K12's seem to be worse offenders than the K13 owners.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:57 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Curt, I have had overwhelmingly good experiences dealing with members from this forum in the short time Iíve been here. Iím sure Bobbyís bike is everything he states that it is, plus, itís the best color for a K13S...

Good luck to you both.
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Current Bikes-The Perfect Combination
'15 R12GSAW 'The I-BMW Pussy Bike'
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Past Bikes
'04 K1200RS with Ohlins (traded for GSA)
'11 F800R (traded for GSA)
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:05 AM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Up until several months ago, I vehemently said I would not accept orange as a color... but dog gone, it's been growing on me more and more. Funny, when you start seeing yourself as the owner of something, some of the things that turned you off become more attractive.

Yes, Bobby is a good guy. From the pictures the bike looks amazingly well cared for.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:17 AM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Mine is Lava Orange. You should see it in direct sunlight...you must get 5-6 different shades of color...

Not to mention it’s unique and you might never see one again in person...I’ve only seen 2 in 7 years since I’ve had mine.
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'09 K1300S 'fits me like a glove' with Wilbers
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'04 K1200RS with Ohlins (traded for GSA)
'11 F800R (traded for GSA)
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:39 AM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Quote:
Originally Posted by K12SBLUEBIRD
I'm definitely on the other side of 180lbs, but I still felt it made a difference. I've been wanting those riser plates for a while, like to put those on the new bike for sure.

Curt, if you are the right side of 180lbs then, IMHO, you definitely do not need riser plates.

The K12 was a slow steering bike in the tight stuff and some fitted riser plates which would have sharpened the steering.

The K13 has a slightly sharper steering head angle than the K12 and also a 55 section rear tyre as opposed to the 50 section rear on a K12.

The net effect, and I'm a 200lb rider, is that the K13 steers fine even in the really twisty stuff.
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Old 03-31-2018, 06:53 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Quote:
Originally Posted by K12SBLUEBIRD
Up until several months ago, I vehemently said I would not accept orange as a color... but dog gone, it's been growing on me more and more. Funny, when you start seeing yourself as the owner of something, some of the things that turned you off become more attractive.

Yes, Bobby is a good guy. From the pictures the bike looks amazingly well cared for.

i wanted no bike that WASN'T orange...:-)

found one. love it.
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Old 03-31-2018, 07:12 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Hadnít heard that about the steering head angle, thanks Welshman.
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Old 04-03-2018, 05:12 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

I had a K12S with esa and currently ( for 8 years and 34k miles) a K13S with esa. I live in NH where the road could turn to shit around the corner, (more than likely going way to fast) and think esa is the balls. I think it depends on where you live and how you ride.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:22 AM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

You have some great responses to your question. I think that the ESA is always worth it and would think that you're less likely to find a K13S without it.

I agree about the 180# comment, that's the sweet spot for ESA. I'm 165-170# with gear on and find that the ESA works nicely for me. There is a noticeable difference between the Comfort and Sport setting with the Normal setting performing closer to the Sport setting for me.

I had EPM build my shocks and springs (Hyper-Pro) and move the ESA components over. I didn't care for the factory set up, particularly on the track. It also allowed me to lower the bike more than an inch which makes dropping into corners a bit quicker.

All that to say, if you find an ESA bike that you like buy it. If not, the Wilbers option is a top notch solution, as many folks have pointed out.

Let us know how you do.
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:53 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

The stock ESA shocks are not of particularly high quality and in my view the feature is really more of a gimmick than anything else. A set of Wilbur or Ohlins shocks will perform much better in all modes and do not require all the ESA electromechanical hardware that will eventually fail, and when they do naturally BMW did not consider replacement or rebuild costs... that's your problem. I don't know why that instead of ESA BMW simply doesn't provide an option for a factory upgrade to Ohlins/Wilbur/etc... well, actually I do... the option for quality shocks can invoke a 'does that mean the base shocks are cheap?' reaction from the buyer, plus the ESA system is a gee-gaw that salespeople can talk up.

Bottom line, throwing a set of quality shocks at a bike without ESA will yield better performance than OEM ESA so it's certainly an option.
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:23 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

i just did my first ride after replacing the ESA system with wilbers.

I ain't going back!!!!

while suspension is overall firmer than the stock ESA, it absorbs bumps without drama. the stock ESA always felt under-dampened. just a bit of a float even when set on "sport".

wilbers way better. i left all settings as they were set from Ted's. will have to start playing with them a bit. taking the bike for a track day next month.
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:34 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlytle
i just did my first ride after replacing the ESA system with wilbers.

I ain't going back!!!!

while suspension is overall firmer than the stock ESA, it absorbs bumps without drama. the stock ESA always felt under-dampened. just a bit of a float even when set on "sport".

wilbers way better. i left all settings as they were set from Ted's. will have to start playing with them a bit. taking the bike for a track day next month.
Pay someone at a race shop or at the track to set your suspension for you. Best $50 ever spent.
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Current Bikes-The Perfect Combination
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'09 K1300S 'fits me like a glove' with Wilbers
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'04 K1200RS with Ohlins (traded for GSA)
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:17 PM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Thanks for the feedback guys! Glad to hear it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:05 AM
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Re: Non ESA vs ESA

Quote:
Originally Posted by millers
The stock ESA shocks are not of particularly high quality and in my view the feature is really more of a gimmick than anything else.
......
Bottom line, throwing a set of quality shocks at a bike without ESA will yield better performance than OEM ESA so it's certainly an option.


As far as I know BMW used WP ESA units but when they sold Husqvarna to KTM - owner of WP - in 2013 the deal with WP was terminated and BMW switched to Sachs. It is likely that the earlier WP units are of a higher quality (and easily overhauled) than the later Sachs shocks.
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