Tech Talk: Telelever sus­pen­sion

BMW’s de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce telelever on the R1100RS in 1993 was rev­o­lu­tion­ary in terms of the re­ac­tion it got on the dealer’s show­room floor.

Motorcycle Monthly - - Tech Talk - Words by: Bruce Wil­son Pic­tures by: Mor­tons Me­dia Ar­chive

THe TeleleveR sys­tem was far from per­fect as an al­ter­na­tive to con­ven­tional mo­tor­cy­cle forks. Take the fac­tor of un­sprung mass for ex­am­ple. Back in 1993, putting telelever on a mo­tor­cy­cle meant nearly 2kg more mass than you had on a tele­scopic front end (along­side the R1100RS were the K se­ries bikes that had con­ven­tional forks but the same brakes and wheel in the front – weight dif­fer­ence was 1.8kg).

Th­ese days the telelever set-up isn’t quite as clunky as the orig­i­nal forms of the idea, but it’s still a given that if you go for telelever over con­ven­tional forks on a mo­tor­cy­cle then you’re go­ing to have more un­sprung mass up front – and in terms of han­dling then that’s not what you want on a bike.

If it wasn’t then you’ve got to think that a clever com­pany like BMW­would have this sort of funky front end on the bikes it makes where han­dling on the limit is of para­mount im­por­tance – the S1000RR or HP4 Su­per­bikes, for ex­am­ple.

But that’s not to say that telelever doesn’t have benefits. The sys­tem sep­a­rates the two func­tions of wheel guid­ance and damp­ing/sus­pen­sion, sig­nif­i­cantly im­prov­ing ride com­fort on smooth (ish) roads.

The func­tion of wheel guid­ance is still per­formed by the ac­tual fork, con­sist­ing of two struts with slid­ing and fixed tubes. This de­sign with the great­est pos­si­ble over­lap en­sures a high level of sta­bil­ity.

A trail­ing link at­tached to the front of the frame sup­ports the fork and front wheel. A cen­tral strut is re­spon­si­ble for sus­pen­sion and damp­ing.

Fur­ther benefits of this de­sign, with telelever stan­chions smaller in di­am­e­ter than con­ven­tional tele­scopic forks, are the weight ad­van­tage and an ex­tremely re­spon­sive per­for­mance. The low un­sprung masses and the quick re­ac­tion of the sus­pen­sion make for ex­cel­lent road con­tact over bumpy sur­faces.

The telelever sys­tem al­lows ge­ome­tries that min­imise div­ing dur­ing sud­den brak­ing, giv­ing the rider im­proved feed­back.

So, no brake dive is a big ben­e­fit to most road rid­ers and with the ad­vance of elec­tron­ics in mo­tor­cy­cle brak­ing (think of ABS for ex­am­ple) the beauty of telelever is that it can be much more fine tuned than con­ven­tional forks.

The elec­tronic brain that looks af­ter the an­tiblock­ing sys­tem (ABS) can be more finely tuned and even though when the ABS sys­tem is ac­ti­vated it causes lots of puls­ing brake move­ments there are no pitches for­ward.

The telelever is the mech­a­nism that works the wish­bone-bit sited be­hind the front forks.

Out and about on the telelever and you can feel the min­i­mal front dive work­ing.

The sys­tem works from a cen­tral sin­gle shock, like a rear set-up.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.