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AltRider and Ohlins USA Work Together for the BMW F 800 GS

Dec 07, 2010 // The AltRider Garage //

We’ve worked with Stacey Berger, the off road manager at Ohlins USA, for quite some time, making sure people get the right suspension setup. It’s not about just buying the right product, it’s making sure it is set up for you and your riding style -- both the valving and spring rate. When the guys at Ohlins wanted to start a special project we were excited to help out. For a few months, they have been developing their first full on solution for the BMW F 800 GS, and we were invited to help them to get it dialed in.

AltRider's Jeremy LeBreton removes the forks from the BMW F 800 GS to send to Ohlins USA

The F 800 project has been underway for quite awhile. Ohlins USA Senior Technician Eric Knight said, “The biggest challenge  in creating these for the F 800 is the bike is so versatile. It’s really hard to make a good all around product that matches all the different uses of the bike. But the big thing is that we created something tunable and user-friendly.”

So what have they come up with?

The Ohlins Rear Shock for the BMW F 800GS

This shock offers superior anti-bottoming protection, as well fully adjustable  compression and rebound. The overall ride quality is improved thanks to the lower gas pressure that is achieved with the remote  rear reservoir, which helps increase the life of the shock, its durability, and gives a more supple ride with compression control. You’re going to notice the dampening quality, too.

The rear remote reservoir, being made of aluminum, acts as a heat sink and provides additional oil capacity which translates to a much cooler operating temperature. This is important when you begin to push the bike aggressively -- the cooler temperature allows the oil to retain its viscosity and, more importantly, it minimizes any aeration.  This means the shock will not fade during high speed gravel road runs or even repetitive hard jumps.

Ohlins USA BMW F 800 GS shocks forks

Ohlins USA BMW F 800 GS shocks forks AltRider

Ohlins USA BMW F 800 GS shocks forks AltRider

Ohlins USA BMW F800GS forks shocks progressive straight spring rate AltRider

 

The Ohlins Front Forks for the BMW F 800 GS

With this upgrade, Ohlins is replacing everything but the outer tube and the fork bottom. You’ll go from a nonadjustable to fully adjustable setup.

The right tube provides rebound, and the left one provides compression (the fork caps are labeled). Ohlins went with a straight rate spring. Why not progressive? Everyone is used to hearing about the benefits of progressive springs. The reality is compression can be moderated so much more elegantly with fluid dynamics vs. mechanical.  In a two stage progressive spring, when you push through the stroke the second stage compression resembles the compression of a truck spring (harsh) -- while an improvement over stock, it is noticeably harsher compared to controlling compression with fluid.  

We’ll be debuting the Ohlins F 800  shock and Fork setup at the Seattle International Motorcycle Show, so be sure to check out the AltRider BMW F 800 GS. If you have questions, you can come by our booth and ask -- we’ll be at #447. We will bring the full setup to the Long Beach show as well.

Although no shock is perfect for every person on every ride, Ohlins USA has done a great job on this one.