BMW RNINET SCRAMBLER
Putting the squeeze on the Scrambler’s soft suspension
there comes a point in every ownership experience where you begin to notice your bike’s suspension action. What I’ve noticed with the Scrambler is that it feels harsh over sharpedged bumps—think pavement lips, potholes, or speed bumps— but still strokes excessively under heavy loads or over bigger hits. Imagine hard acceleration or braking, mid-corner dips, or any number of obstacles you might encounter while scrambling off road. Those characteristics are classic examples of too-soft springs with too much preload. All that preload means it takes a lot of force to initiate movement, but the suspension still strokes a lot over big hits because the overall rates are too low for the rider’s weight.
The first step in fixing things is sliding in the proper springs. With Race Tech’s help (racetech.com) the correct coils were selected for my 175-pound weight. Compared to the stock springs the recommended rates are significantly stiffer, but to achieve the desired rider sag called for a little more than half the preload that had been compressing the original coils. The result? Better small-bump compliance and slightly plusher action at the top of the stroke, plus better overall support and control while accelerating, braking, and cornering.
Cost-wise, this was a very economical upgrade. The springs were just shy of $250 and wouldn’t be hard to swap out at home if you have a shock-spring compressor and a way to support a suspension-less bike. If you want to pay Race Tech to do the work it’ll run you another $215, but that includes a full fork rebuild with new seals and oil. That’s quite a bit cheaper than the $1,400 or so that an aftermarket shock and cartridge kit would cost, and that price doesn’t include installation.
True, the work I had done doesn’t add adjustability or address the lack of compression damping (in the fork) and rebound damping (in the shock) like custom suspension parts would, but the ride quality and handling are better. And if I want to get even more performance out of the fork by improving the damping, Race Tech’s own Gold Valve Emulator is only $170.
wrist Ari Henning
msrp (2017) $13,000
mpg 39 mods Fork and shock springs
update 3 wrist Ari Henning
msrp (2015) $5,499
mods Coolant thermometer