I have just had the second LC in with suspension failure (in this case the ESA motor) so already that is starting to happen.
You can swap the K51 for the K50 - it does fit, it will have be re-calibrated at the dealership because the ECU thinks there is a some Xenophobic activity in the house!
Having just shopped extensively for second hand LC shocks - they are not an easy find - they are pricey second hand (around R10-12K) but that's because they are really crazy priced new (R39K) This is because you cannot buy it in kit form (i.e. just the ESA motor/shock/rebound actuator) it is the whole shock or nada.
N.B. please don't take the cheap seat route of replacing just the rear or front shock only - you will upset the whole geometry and rake and trail of the bike and make it handle badly.
If you replace the crappy standard suspension with the Wilbers, you won't have to worry about the height as the performance of the shock is way better than the standard and the spring rate and internal shim package is designed around your/your pillions/your luggage weights, plus your ride style. Plus WILBERS is the only suspension solution that works in conjunction with the BMW Dynamic ESA package so you will have all the original settings with the same buttons. Only now you will have the additional advantage of being able to adjust the compression and rebound damping rate - which is what causes the original shock to be so yuck if you try riding it hard.
This exercise will cost you around the 20K mark, but you will have way better suspension, like WAAAAYYYYYY better!
Please have a look at the data sheet attached to give you an idea how the WILBERS system works.
WILBERS DYNAMIC WESA SYSTEM EXPLAINED
With the huge growth in the market of the WILBERS Suspension WESA system, Customers and Dealers alike are asking for the product by name after seeing the proud owners of the awesome system at functions like the Bike Fest, Africa Bike Week and the BMW GS Eco Challenge.
To help ease your mind with what sounds like a really complicated and expensive system, I thought I would put finger to keyboard and give you good people a detailed description of the WILBERS WESA suspension. This should put your mind at ease so you can order this awesome solution with confidence!!
At Bling King we believe that you should never mess with what we term the “Big 5” – Skills and Training, Rider Gear, Tyres, Brakes and Suspension. These are all safety critical items and should never be comprised on!
WILBERS Suspension Solutions has been going in Germany for now over 31 years and they specialize in producing personalized suspension solutions for their customers as opposed to a mass produced shock that is supposed to work for everybody. To put this into perspective how could you expect the same ‘off the shelf’ shock absorber to be an effective solution for me at 82 Kgs and Joe Bloggs at 120 Kgs – it just can’t work for both of us!
WILBERS decided to rather hand-build tailor made shocks for the customers at their factory in Noordhorn Germany. Rather building them to the customers weight and ride style – this ensures that they get the right fix for their bike!
Then came along the now famous BMW Gelande-Strasse, which has virtually taken over the World in terms of motorcycle prowess! Only one problem – the vertically challenged amongst us couldn’t ride them because the GS was simply too tall for the average “kort gat”
Not a problem said Benny Wilbers, they had been supplying lowering solutions for all makes of bikes for eons already – so they started to produce reduced length shocks for the front and rear of the ever popular GS range. Then the R&D wizards at BMW AG came up with their next triumph – the ESA system – which, let’s face it is an awesome system. It did have its pitfalls for the more “hard core” riders amongst as the suspension was really built for the ‘average” rider. It really felt like it was under duress on technical sections, under heavy load and on routes such as the RED ROUTE. But in truth for the average rider that just does ‘dirt highways’ the new ESA shocks really did the job.
WILBERS, as part of their ongoing R&D program immediately saw the need for a solution in the areas that the OEM ESA system lacked, namely the height factor for the ‘vertically challenged’ and the quality level for the hard core tar and dirt riders. Their WILBERS WESA system was a major breakthrough for riders and Motorrad Dealers worldwide, as it was putting new riders onto the GS’s who previously couldn’t fit onto them. Problem was – it was never available in S.A until BLING KING was appointed official Importer, Dealer and Service Centre for S.A. at the end of 2009.
In order to qualify as an official Service Centre, BLING KING’s owner - Denver Biggs had to go over to Germany to the WILBERS factory for an intensive training program, where he expanded his race gained experience in the world of suspension. But more to the point – the fitting of the WESA system and WIBERS S.A. was born as part of BLING KING Motorcycle Accessories.
Then the next progression was the BMW LC (Liquid Cooled) version of the awesome GS. This new model come with all types of advancements in terms of electronics, part of these innovations was its ‘Dynamic’ suspension system from ZF.
Whilst innovative and awesome, the system has weak points. It is designed to dynamically change the preload and rebound rate hydraulically depending on the terrain that the average rider encounters……..did I hear average? Yes, once again, if you are riding outside the norm like we do in this country, then you will find the system somewhat lacking. The rate of feedback is too slow for the terrain and as a lot of hard riders are reporting “wooden” or “lack of feel” when riding the LC really hard in technical conditions. Not a problem for WILBERS, as they had gained huge experience with the Dynamic package on the HP4 (remember WILBERS runs BMW AG’s IDM SUPERBIKE race team in the German Series) The HP4 whilst being a road bike – has the same inner workings as the LC suspension.
However, WILBERS had to come up with something special to fix what was lacking in the original system. They used their on-track experience and developed the integrated feedback adjustment. This changed the whole system and now the rider can set his own individual feel of how the shock needs to work whether in off-road or sportive setup! With the newly developed feedback adjustment on the compression reservoir you decide for yourself how strong the feedback of your suspension elements is going to be. You can reach the maximum comfort (original BMW) in the soft-adjustment setting.
22 click adjustments on the canister enables you to increase the feedback step by step providing you with more feel for the surface conditions! The feedback adjustment also offers considerably more reserves for off-road-riding without losing comfort or response behavior
The WESA Dynamic Feedback is, as usual, built individually referring to riders´ weight, loading situation and operation purpose. It does not matter if you weight 50, 80, 100 or 120 kg, if you are riding with additional loads such as passenger or luggage – we only need to have the right information so that we can fulfill your special wishes and pick the right spring rate and internal shim stack accordingly to increase your riding safety!
WILBERS DYNAMIC WESA comes in various forms, for the R1200GS LC ESA model it has two varieties:
Normal Height (the same as the OEM system) then 35mm and 70mm Lowering
For the R1200GS LC Adventure ESA model it also has four slightly different versions:
Normal Height (the same as the OEM system) then 35mm, 55mm Lowering and 80mm Lowering
As an example – I am 172cm (5’8” in old speak) and I have lowered a customer’s 2014 R1200GS LC Adventure by 55mm lowering and I literally sit flat-footed on this bike with a standard saddle, so even if you are shorter than that, you can still fit on an Adventure with only 50mm lowering with a lowered seat added.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The beauty of the WILBERS WESA system is the fact that it works totally in harmony with the BMW CANBUS and all aspects of the OEM ESA system are retained.
The GS/GSA ESA front and rear shocks comprise of: The Hydraulic Pre-Load pump, the shock strut, the shock spring and the rebound damping actuator at the bottom of the shock. With the WILBERS WESA solution the shock assembly is dismantled, the shock strut/damper and the spring are replaced with new tailor made WILBERS units. The great part of this conversion is that the original BMW Hydraulic pre-load pump and the rebound damping actuator are used in conjunction with the WILBERS shock strut and spring. This means that the original functionality through the ESA handlebar switch is retained and the WILBERS WESA is not intrusive to areas such as the CANBUS wiring etc, which would render the BMW Warranty null and void!
What you are left with is an ESA bike with superior suspension capabilities that is actually hand built to your weight and height and has all the original ESA functionality – only one thing to add, the smile factor when you take your bike for a ride! Your Enduro Pro mode can now be used to its fullest extent, where before you would have suffered weave and twitch in fast bends and turns.
A concern that a lot have is the diminished ground clearance that lowering the suspension will create, bear in mind that this is compensated by the fact that the suspension is now of a far better standard and the sag and compression damping is a lot better!
Again a live example is that I rode “ORANGE ROUTE 3” at the GS Eco Challenge and those that know me know that I don't ride softly and even in those hectic conditions (up mountainsides and a lot of rock crossings) my Adventure barely even scraped the sump guard – and finished the route without any damage to the bike!
Once you have determined which WILBERS WESA solution will suit you (and by all means please phone if you need further advice) then you simply fill in the attached ‘Shock order fact sheet’ – e mail that to me, pay your 50% deposit and we will order the shocks from Germany.
The order takes only 3 weeks to build in Germany and once the shocks arrive I inform you and then you can have the original shocks removed, either at your local BMW Dealer. Or you can bring the whole motorcycle to our Service Centre at 27B River Road, Rivonia Jhb. We then replace the BMW struts and springs with the awesome WILBERS WESA As a side note, everybody who has had their bike lowered with the Wilbers WESA process has been managed to sell their bike on the first day of advertising – goes to show.
If you get the job done by a BMW Dealer, he simply sends us the shocks; side and main stands and we will do the conversion and return to him for re-fitting
PLEASE NOTE: - Since the bike is now lower the side stand and the main stand will have to be cut, shortened and re-welded, this is not a problem as we have a fully qualified and competent engineering shop who has done many of these stand conversions for us. We also powder coat the stands to return them to that original factory finish.