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"K13S/R" Technical Q&A K1200S/R Technical Questions/Answers

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  #1  
Old 08-29-2016, 12:31 AM
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Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

I have owned three KS bikes... an '05 with ESA, an '08 with non-ESA, soon exchanged for Ohlins (this bike eventually met an untimely death), and my current '09 K13S with stock, non-ESA shocks. When the time came to replace shocks on the current K13S, I merely installed my barely used stock K12S non-ESA, but perfectly adequate shocks from the previous K12S... different part number, but identical shocks.

By the time the second pair needed replacement, my options were to replace them with aftermarket... Ohlins or Wilbers, or seek a more reasonable suspension expert to do a rebuild on the stock shocks.

I have a thing for not settling for less than the best, so I contacted Lindemann Engineering, a premier west coast suspension firm, famous among racing circles for their amazing suspension work. I spoke to Ed Sorbo at LE, who is the president and managing expert on all things suspension, and we discussed my suspension needs, based upon a multitude of criteria.

Fortunately being within fairly close distance, I was able to ride the bike to him and leave it for the work to be done.

Although he is constantly swamped with work, he did ALL the work, including removing, rebuilding, and reinstalling the awesome new suspension in less than a week, even though it was not urgent... it was incredible, like drive-through suspension service.

His analysis was... the stock BMW spec valving, front and rear on the WPs was a joke. The front spring was good, but the rear was inadequate, even at my 165 lbs. He completely re-valved and rebuilt both front and rear shocks. He installed new, external inlet valves into both shocks to replace the nitrogen, and installed a new 750 lb rear spring.

His work is impeccable, and transformed the handling of the bike!!

Ed Sorbo of Lindemann Engineering is a suspension genius... I believe his work is superior, and his fees are very reasonable...

Oh yeah... he also rebuilds ESA shocks... you can't go wrong with Lindemann Engineering!! I will never again pay outrageous prices for new aftermarket, big name suspension when this master is merely a phone call or email away.

http://www.le-suspension.com/
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Last edited by Kneedragger : 08-29-2016 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:43 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

I spoke with Ed a few years ago about the way the suspension locked up on me over sharp edged bumps on my K12. Part of the problem is as you mentioned the antiquated damping pistons in the shock. I had heard they were a WP design from 1986 (feel free to correct me on this). That, in combination with my weight (150 #) and the progressive nature of the linkage caused the suspension rate to rise too quickly for by bodyweight to push the oil through those pistons so it would lock up and kick me around. At the time Ed's solution was to keep the shock at the top of the linkage travel with a stiffer spring but I felt that would be an incomplete solution so I started looking at the linkage.

From my sportbike experience I found that a linear linkage is better in some respects and many of the racers go that way to make the behavior of the rear end more predictable over a wider range of travel, the tradeoff is carrying capacity. So I started looking at other linkages and noticed that the K12 linkage is very similar to the one on my CBR929RR. I had also swapped the 929 swingarm for a CBR954RR swingarm. The 954 has a very different linkage, more linear, the side plates are almost symmetrical. So I put the 954 linkage on my K12. With the stock K12 dogbone and the 954 side plates the bike sat way too low so I started fooling around with different dogbones. I tried a 120mm dogbone and the height was better but still too low. I made some test links out of some cheap aluminum stock to work out the ride height and did a wheel travel:shock travel ratio and the 954 linkage with a 110mm dogbone. This gave me an almost linear ratio between wheel travel and shock travel. The thing with the Honda linkage is that instead of being 2:1 like the BMW it's 2.5:1 which means it gives me more leverage over the shock. Problem solved, the rear end behaves much better and doesn't kick me around. Where can you get a 110mm dogbone? Why the CBR600F3 (maybe F2, it's been a while). Other than time the whole thing cost me about $70. I still think I want to have the shocks rebuilt though. The front could use some work.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:57 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneedragger
Installed a new 750 lb rear spring.

Mind checking that spring rate?
750 lb per what length deflection?
Most springs are rated in lbs per inch.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:08 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Jim helped me setup my first fairly serious go at aftermarket suspension many moons ago. I had a 1998 K1200RS that I put Ohlins on and needed help dialing in. If I recall he was in the Bay Area (at least at the time) I took a ride out that way and he was the first person to show me and explain sag, preload and damping. Helped me dial that bike in just perfectly. Good people, but I don't think I've ever met Ed. Guru's are always the best, they don't do 100 things good, they do a few things perfectly.

P.S. Sales pitch inbound! If anyone needs a just about brand new set of stock shocks to send to Ed; I happen to have a pair F&B on the classifieds. Only 600 miles on them, non-ESA of my 08 K1200S

Almost new shock set

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Old 09-07-2016, 06:14 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

This thread should be made a 'sticky', as it is an awesome solution for the OEM suspensions on our aging K bikes.

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Old 09-07-2016, 07:58 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by jargon
This thread should be made a 'sticky', as it is an awesome solution for the OEM suspensions on our aging K bikes.

Good idea John & done!
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:32 AM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneedragger
installed a new 750 lb rear spring.

When I reread this, that seems a bit crazy. Are you sure? If you don't mind, how big are you? I just upgraded from a 571Lb shock to a 656Lb and it's just right, very little preload, I'm about 250lb in gear, lots of hydrolic room for luggage. What's your rear free/rider sag now?

Thank You
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Old 09-08-2016, 02:54 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Charlie. Thanks for this info. I too have a 09 non-esa bike that I need to improve the suspension of. I'll being waiting til the winter but will definitely call them.
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:42 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Great info...anyone ever had stock esa's reworked there?
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:56 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

When I bought my K13 w/ESA back in '11, BillG was buying a K13GT with ESA. He promptly replaced his ESA with Olins (I think), and I got his GT ESA shocks. I conned him into installing them too!
It was just what the bike needed for my, ahemmm, more mature frame.
Still works fine too...and when I trade the bike in soon...very soon, I'll have new take off ESA shocks for the buyer.
Thanks Billy!
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:54 AM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

With just 20k miles on my 2010 K13S the front shock puked it's oil on the floor after the commute to work this morning. I was thinking I would address suspension work next off-season, Murphey had other plans.
I need to dive into the options now. I'm not a regular knee-dragger so I think the stocker is fine for my needs.
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:40 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

If you look at the price of a stock shock, you'll quickly opt for an aftermarket set.
I put the Wilbers from Ted Porter on mine.
http://www.beemershop.com/SUSPENSION_CENTER.html
http://wilbersamerica.com/?utm_sourc...m_medium=email


Others have installed Ohlins.
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:05 PM
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Post Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Here is another optional. They have an ESA compatible shock that allows you to adjust the damping and compression for each of the three settings. It doesn't hurt that I'm local to them. My shocks are getting tired, but I have a lot of other expensive stuff to do first. Plus I just had to buy a new battery and went with an EarthX EXT36C.

http://www.epmperf.com/
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Old 06-09-2017, 02:29 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

I think I can have the original rebuilt at EPM for under $300 USD. Wilbers w/o ESA are over 500 each end.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:13 AM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

You did not mention your application.
If you regularly change loads the ESA is a good thing to keep.
If you are like me and commute or ride alone ESA is not that useful.

I have a K1200s with Wilbers completely dialed in. Also a K1300s with Ohlins that I am still fiddling with. I suggest reading "A shocking tale" thread from start to finish. There is a fair amount of BS in there but some real wisdom as well. I will emphasize here what I found with two shock replacement projects. THE DEALERS AND MANUFACTURERS WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT SPRINGS. You have to tell them what you want. Even then you will get statements like "The front spring does not affect ride". If you commute and ride on rough roads your wrists will tell you when your front spring is too stiff. I consider this a ride issue.

I have ridden a rebuilt ESA bike and would pay the extra for Wilbers or Ohlins if you don't need ESA.

Consider if you ever bottomed out the stock shocks. If not, you need stock spring rate or softer. In my case I needed softer and told the supplier of each set of shocks. Both the Wilbers and Ohlins came with "race" or "occasional two up" springs that were uncomfortable to commute on. Neither had the sag set correctly from the dealer. Both sets of shocks got a free spring replacement on the rear, but I had to remove and replace the shock.

This is a big expense, take some time finding out how to do it right the first time.
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Old 06-10-2017, 04:38 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOA
You did not mention your application.
If you regularly change loads the ESA is a good thing to keep.
If you are like me and commute or ride alone ESA is not that useful.

I have a K1200s with Wilbers completely dialed in. Also a K1300s with Ohlins that I am still fiddling with. I suggest reading "A shocking tale" thread from start to finish. There is a fair amount of BS in there but some real wisdom as well. I will emphasize here what I found with two shock replacement projects. THE DEALERS AND MANUFACTURERS WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT SPRINGS. You have to tell them what you want. Even then you will get statements like "The front spring does not affect ride". If you commute and ride on rough roads your wrists will tell you when your front spring is too stiff. I consider this a ride issue.

I have ridden a rebuilt ESA bike and would pay the extra for Wilbers or Ohlins if you don't need ESA.

Consider if you ever bottomed out the stock shocks. If not, you need stock spring rate or softer. In my case I needed softer and told the supplier of each set of shocks. Both the Wilbers and Ohlins came with "race" or "occasional two up" springs that were uncomfortable to commute on. Neither had the sag set correctly from the dealer. Both sets of shocks got a free spring replacement on the rear, but I had to remove and replace the shock.

This is a big expense, take some time finding out how to do it right the first time.

My needs will vary from one up commuter to two up cross-country travel with luggage. I'll admit that the lion-share of my miles are solo but I would like not to sacrifice the adjustability. I've never had this caliber of a bike before and actually was content with the basic suspensions of older rides. Now that I plunked down the big bucks, part of that coin is for an on the fly adjustable suspension, it seems senseless to dispense with that option.
I would rate myself as a 7/10 riderskill/courage level so looking to get track-like performance that I won't likely use on regular street riding leans me back to touring and load adjustability also. If the upgrades inspire more confidence and I have balance in tuning that is satisfactory for the variables I may be persuaded.
At this point in my knowledge base, the want to get it back on the road quickly and not spend a lot of cash and time sorting the thing out, I elected to stay stock and rebuild the original.
Thanks very much for your tips and comments.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:17 PM
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Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

Well said, you made the right choice for you.
Before you disassemble your bike, check your static sag. If it's at all close you are all set.
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:32 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Rebuilding K13 and K12 shocks

I got my front shock back from EPM with about a 2 week turn (with shipping time). Install went per the service manual and I'm back on the road. $284 for the repair shipped. Of course we had some of the best weather of the year while the K13 was down but the ol" VFR was happy to get the exercise.
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