Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
Joni Mitchell sang “that you don’t now what you got – till it’s gone.” The same train of thought can be applied directly to the suspension on your motorcycle.
When bikes roll out of the showroom, for the most part, they are suspended by basic shocks and forks - nothing too special here.
After 10,000 or so miles these stock units, and their usefulness, slowly begin to fade away. The key point here is “slowly.” Like the proverbial frog slowly boiled in water - you don’t know it’s happening till it’s happened.
Sometimes the best way to realize that your stock suspension is heading south is to put on a new pair of shocks.
Yes, we know we’re talking big bucks here, especially when it is a leap of faith. But, just like the “Oh my God” feeling you get when you replace your tires - replacing your shock or shocks in our BMW R1200GS’ case - will show you just how poorly your bike was handling, for now it will be handling far superior.
With a year and a half of hard riding on our 2009 GS we thought, although the bike still felt great, that new shocks might make a huge difference in the machine’s performance, handling and comfort.
There are a number of alternative suspensions on the market these days, some better known than others.
When time came to change the shocks we talked to the folks at EPM, in Manalapan, NJ, Well-known mavens of motorcycle suspension. They recommended suspension components from the Dutch company HyperPro.
Hyperpro has developed the new 3D shock and is able to guarantee 100% quality because their shocks are manufactured totally in-house.
All of the light-weight billet aluminum parts have been CNC machined in the Hyperpro factory in Europe. They control the entire process insuring the highest quality. And, quality is what high-end suspension is all about. Thus the booko bucks.
These shocks are really stunning to look at and handle. In fact, when we first received the HyperPro shocks we just let them sit up on the shelf like fine purple pieces of motoart.
As we said there are a number of well-known suspension companies around the globe - Ohlins, Penske, Works – but we went for HyperPro and here are the reasons why.
It begins with the way they are designed, created and finished. With HyperPro shocks the compression and rebound damping are both completely adjustable with high and low speed adjustments for compression damping. They use a use a rising-rate full progressively wound springs for better absorption of small bumps and pavement "chop" while still offering good control on bigger bumps or for higher rates of speed.
The shaft has a larger diameter than the competition allowing for more strength and more oil displacement, which allows better fine tuning of damping. The larger diameter also allows for greater durability. We have seen some shafts have critical failure- usually in critical areas that can be fatal - and we never want to be stuck somewhere because the shaft on our shock has bent or snapped.
With HyperPro shocks the length of the 3D shock can easily be adjusted by specifying the LA option on most of the shocks; and the Hyperpro 3D shock utilizes bladder technology in the reservoir to separate the oil from the nitrogen gas. Other manufacturers use a floating piston. A floating piston has to overcome stiction before it can react. A rubber bladder does not "know" friction and reacts smoother and faster to pressure changes. This allows for smoother and faster reaction over rough surfaces.
These springs comes in a bright purple and it’s hard not to notice when approaching a bike that it is shod with HyperPro technology.
Once installed the fun really begins.
As great as any shock will be they will only do their job correctly if the suspension is “dialed” in for the rider. When you order your shocks from EPM there will be a number of questions. Riding style, your weight – things of that nature - and there is a reason for this.
Klaus Huenecke. Mr. EPM.
Klaus is renowned for his expertise in all types of suspension technology. When you buy your suspension from EPM, you get the benefit of this tremendous experience. And when you order a Hyperpro shock, it will arrived already set up based on Klaus's experience; which means most customers will barely need to make any adjustments to get the best suspension performance.
Still we couldn’t leave well enough alone. After a few thousand miles we began to play with the settings.
Since the installation the HyperPro shocks - that were already light years beyond the stock suspension – we began to make small changes to the shocks and things began to change – for the better. At one point both front and rear units really ‘clicked in’ and the ride became even more impressive.
Since then the GS has responded better, been far more comfortable and has a very “planted” feel over all sorts of surfaces and weather conditions.
To steal from myself - the difference between the stock OEM suspension and the HyperPro suspension is more than night and day – it is more like a dark stormy winter night and a bright warm summer day. And, who doesn’t want to ride on a bright warm summer day?
EPM has HyperPro suspensions for most modern machines and they even have other applications for older machines with their YSS- series shocks.
Be aware that high-end suspension like HyperPro are not cheap and, depending on machine these shocks can run any where between $600 and $1,000 – but if you are serious about riding, and do not have another fun cash-sucking habit like sailing or flying, then invest the cash. You will be shocked at how much better your motorcycle’s ride will improve.
To find out more call Klaus at EPM toll free at 877-786-6543 or to see if they have suspension for your particular machine log in at www.epmperf.com.