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Discussion Starter #1
Fred, I have a WP shock with the same valving as the riginal “production” valving that you arrived at with the WP folks after your initial prototype testing and my shock length is the same as the OEM.

After using your fabulous high tech “Rear Sag Measuring Tool” I realized that even the WP shock had too much initial sag so I Increased the preload by using an 11MM spacer under the spring.

I also determined that (particularly when 2 up fully loaded) I need to have the damping adjuster in the stiffest setting to avoid low speed purposing on fast bumpy sweepers. I don’t think this adjustment made any significant difference to the high speed damping. The WP engineer (Pierre) told me this adjustment just reduces the size of a hole through the piston. Thus the adjustment has VERY little effect on higher speed damping in either direction as MUCH bigger passages are opened up when a bump is hit.

With this setup (and the Traxxion AK20 forks) the WP shock performs very well in most situations and almost never bottoms even with aggressive fully loaded 2 up riding on bumpy roads.

My personal opinion is that the WP shock has TOO MUCH high speed compression damping (too harsh on sharp hits) and NOT ENOUGH rebound damping (to much kickback after dips, etc.). Thus the ride is not as plush as I think it could be and Gail gets launched off her seat when rebounding after big dips.

I know you are now using the Taxxion Modified Rear Shock/Spring. I also know you have a lot of time on the WP Shock and that you have had the compression damping reduced form what the original “production” valving.

I would like to stick with the WP set up (because I already have it) and because I think it should have a longer “life” between rebuilds than the OEM based Traxxion shock.

My questions to you (and anyone else that has experience with the WP shock) are:

1. Did you ever check the sag on your WP shock? - Did it need to be reduced? - Did you reduce it? - What effect did you notice?

2. How much of a reduction did you get made to the WP compression damping?

2. What was the effect of getting the WP compression damping reduced?

3. Have you made any other changes to the WP shock? If so what was the effect?
4. What other valving changes do you think might improve performance of the WP shock?

5. How would you compare the performance of the WP shock to the Traxxion modified OEM shock.

6. Any other advice or comments on the WP shock?

THANKS!
 

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I believe I did measure sag, and I think I even posted those measurements when using my high tech rear sag tool.

I had a hard time getting the Works shock properly dialed in. I could tell something wasn't right, but I never could really put my finger on exactly what it was that needed to be changed.

I thought at one time that maybe it had too much compression dampening, and not enough rebound damping. I sent it back and had them crank down the rebound damping and loosen the compression damping, though I have no idea how much they changed it. Pierre told me they pretty much had the compression damping maxed out on it. It did feel better when I got it back, but I was rather surprised at how much sag it had when I measured it. I found if I ran the pre-load up to decrease the sag, the shock became way too stiff on the top end cause of all the pre-load on it. Maybe they didn't use a high enough spring rate in the first place?? I know from talking to Pierre that the main problem they had is with the diameter of the shock. In order to make the electro-hydraulic preload adjuster fit onto the shock, it has to be the same diameter of the OEM shock. The diameter of the shock body dictates the piston diameter, which determines how much rebound damping you can get. They have maxed out the rebound damping and can't really squeeze much more out of it without increasing the diameter of the shock body. And they couldn't go to a higher rate spring, as they didn't have enough rebound damping to be able to control a stiffer spring.

But keep in mind that on a touring bike, you want more sag than you do on a sport bike, so in reality, the sag may not be all that bad. I am certain it is still far less than the sag from the OEM shock.

There may also be some issues with the settings between the high and low speed circuits, but I really couldn't determine which one was wrong, and if it needed more or less. The shock felt great as I increased my speed, and I really liked the way it handled when pushed hard, but it seemed a bit harsh at lower speeds. I think maybe the high speed circuit might be too tight?? Again, I never could put my finger exactly on what needed changed. I sent it back and forth to Works about 5 times, and I grew tired of the musical shock game after a year and a half.

When I installed the Traxxion shock, it was bliss from day one. I have not had to make one single adjustment to it, so this was a good thing. While it doesn't have the adjustable rebound damping that the Works does, it seems to be set just right. I don't miss constantly trying to "dial in" that rebound damping setting. I don't know what the components are like inside the OEM shock as compared to the Works shock, but my feeling is that the overall quality of the Works shock is better than the Honda unit, even after it is rebuilt by Traxxion. I think the Works shock has a lot of potential and could be a great shock, but I think they need to do some more track testing with it. One of the big problems is that they did very limited testing at their facility of this shock on an actual GL1800 and to my knowledge, they only installed it on one bike for one afternoon to test it and try to dial it in. I could be wrong, they may have done more testing on it in the last year, but I think they relied too much on feedback from folks like me (who aren't suspension experts) instead of actually putting it on a bike and taking it to the track themselves. The engineer (Pierre) who designs it, really needs to go ride it himself, as he is in the best position to determine what needs to be changed on it. For whatever reason, they never really did that. They wanted me to ride out to LA and let them test my bike, but I never made the trip. I think they used a girls bike from CA for a single day, but that was the sum total of their testing.

Given how well the Traxxion is dialed in from the start, I have not reinstalled the Works shock on the bike in over a year and a half now.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fred, THANKS a bunch for your extensive reply! If you don't mind I have a couple of "follow-up" questions.

In your reply you said "I sent it back and had them crank down the rebound damping and loosen the compression damping, though I have no idea how much they changed it. Pierre told me they pretty much had the compression damping maxed out on it." Did you mean to say that the REBOUND (rather than compression) damping was maxed out?

Does the Traxxion/OEM set up feel more "plush" or less harsh on sharp bumps than the WP?

THANKS AGAIN!
 

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Hi Sam,

I hope you don't mind if I chime in with some more info for you.

I can't say we have found anything wrong with the quality of the parts of the OEM Honda shock that could be changed to improve it. It is very strong and durable.

We have measured the stock steel bodied shock from many bikes with 100,000 miles or more, and have not found any wear inside of them. Most of the shocks we service still have the factory cross-hatch on the wall of the bore!

The Works shock has an aluminum body, and while that is fine for racing, I don't think it is good for a high mileage, low maintenance application like the GL. I wouldn't recommend this, unless the shock body was hard-coat anodized, which the Works shock isn't.

I have never seen an OEM shock with a leaking seal either. Not that it hasn't happened to someone, I am sure. But I think if you can put over 50,000 miles on a shock with no wear or reliability issues, then it will be hard to improve upon that standard.

Having said that, how they perform is another issue. Most aftermarket shock companies are in the business of making "OEM Replacement" shocks, not OEM Upgrade shocks. So they will typically base their damping curves off of the stock shock.

The OEM shock is exactly how you describe: Too much high speed compression, and not enough high speed rebound. It sounds like the Works is the same way.

Fred, if you want to send yours to me, I can run it on the dyno and send you a graph. Also, I will rate test the spring for you, and let you know what's on there. Your assumption that the spring is too soft sounds accurate, and it's very perceptive that you noticed cranking the preload up makes the ride quality go down.

You want to have a spring that requires very little preload; this allows the ride to remain plush on top, and yet the spring will have enough rate to support the bike over big bumps and big dips, and with gear and passenger.

The Progressive 460 is modeled after the stock shock as well. (We got one in last week for testing). They do fit their shock with a stiffer spring, although you may be surprised by it's rate and function.

The Progressive spring is marked "1000/1200". This would lead you to believe it was progressive in rate from 1000 pounds per inch to 1200 pounds per inch.

Using two different digital spring rate testers, we found that their spring was quite linear and actually fell in the middle of those numbers, around 1100 pounds per inch. It should work pretty good.

For the techies, we measure GL shock springs by preloading them in the same manner the GL shock would at "0", and then compressed them 1" and take a reading, and then a second inch and take a reading. This is all the GL shock will ever move the spring until the shock bottoms.

The stock shock spring is 900#/in.

The Progressive spring was 1050# at 1", and 1120# at 2". We would call this a straight rate 1100# spring here.

I haven't had a Works spring here to test. Maybe Fred will send his over.

8)
 

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Max, according to Works it is a 1050 spring.

I think the problem with their shock is that they never got the damping dialed in properly. It also sure seems to have a lot of sag, but when I tried to decrease the sag it became way too stiff up top.

I never could put my finger on the problem but I know something wasn't right. I also got the same wallowing effect Sam refers to when riding two-up and loaded at speeds over 75. And when you turn up the rebound damping adjustment, it has the side effect of also slightly increasing compression damping, so it helps the rebound problem, but then makes the shock feel stiff and harsh.

For my money, I think you are better off with the Traxxion rear shock.
 

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I've now got about 8K on my WP shock and I (guess) I'm happy with it. I must admit, however, that I haven't performed any diagnostics on it yet (e.g. sag measurements, adjusting rebound damping setting). I also have the Traxxion AK20 forks up front and with the AK20-WP combination I don't ever remember bottoming out fully loaded and two- up.

My experience with WP the organization, however, is another story. It took them months to find my OEM shock after acknowledging having received it ... and then several more months before returning it ... and when I finally got the WP shock back and installed it, the preload adjuster didn’t work and I got a flashing adjustor malfunction alert. After disassembling the preload adjuster I found this ...

[/img]

I photoshop’d Fred’s photo of his preload adjuster to illustrate what WP did ... they reversed the plunger on the worm gear ... it was jammed so tightly against the worm gear housing that I had to pry it loose ... also the hydraulic unit was only half full and the hydraulic line was off orientation by about 45 degrees ...

Incidentally, after 8K this summer, my preload adjuster won’t engage until 10 on the scale whereas last spring after I serviced it, I got full engagement from 0 to 25 .... I wonder about the seal ... if it's leaking, I'm not sure where I can get a new seal ... back to the garage this winter.
 

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flgarrity said:
My experience with WP the organization, however, is another story. It took them months to find my OEM shock after acknowledging having received it ... and then several more months before returning it ... and when I finally got the WP shock back and installed it, the preload adjuster didn’t work and I got a flashing adjustor malfunction alert.
I experienced similar problems with them and the electrical connector on my actuator was broken when I got it back from them.
 

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The electrical connector is a VERY delicate part, and seems to get broken if not packed properly for shipping. We have replacement sensors here, but they are expensive. Not as expensive as buying the whole shock of course, but still a lot more expensive than just packing the shock properly!

We once bought 5 shocks from a trike shop and they just threw them in a box, and 2 of the 5 connectors were broken by the time they got here.... :x
 

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Italian Stallion said:
Max,

After reading these posts, makes me very happy to have made an appointment with you for May 14th, 2007. Looking forward to meeting you.

Mike T.
I'm booked in exactly one week ahead of you and, based on the discussion here, I'm looking forward to it more than ever.
 

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My experience with WP the organization, however, is another story. It took them months to find my OEM shock after acknowledging having received it ... and then several more months before returning it.
Wow, sounds like that company doesn't really want the Gold Wing business or for that matter anybody's business. That's quite a contrast to how Traxxion does business. I sent my rear shock to Traxxion and had it back 8 day later ready to reinstall it on my bike and the preload adjustor was perfect.

 

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Interesting thread

I have a Race Tech front end and a Works rear.

Initially I had an 1100 lb rear sprin but now have a 1400 lb and the ride is so much better. I ride solo but fully loaded fuel cell etc. LAst ime through the weigh scales I was 1341 lbs. I am 6 4 tall 245lbs

Works customer service has always treated me well. When I got back from Alasaka this June I had hit a large dip at an unusually high rate of speed and that combined with about 1,000 mile of rough gravel roads and really tough construction produced a leaking rear shock. That 6,000 mile trip completely wore out a brand new set of 880's

I air expressed my rear shock to Works and they gave me a one day turn around on a rebuil. I just received a second rear shock from Works (1400 lb) to keep as a spare. I plan to switch out every 25-30k miles, at the same time I will refresh my fork oil and seals

I agree with Fred that doing both the front and rear makes a huge difference.

YMMV

Bill Watt

Vancouver, BC
 

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Before a HUGE misconception develops here... :shock:

Everyone needs to understand that the name of the spring means NOTHING in relation to your setup or how much weight you carry.

So don't go weigh your bike and then ask for a spring of that rate.

To be clear, because your bike weighs 1200 pounds doesn't mean you need a 1200 pound spring.

It is sheer coincidence that the spring rates on the rear of a GL are close to the GVW of the bike. Than never happens.

8)
 

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Max McAllister said:
Before a HUGE misconception develops here... :shock:

Everyone needs to understand that the name of the spring means NOTHING in relation to your setup or how much weight you carry.

So don't go weigh your bike and then ask for a spring of that rate.

To be clear, because your bike weighs 1200 pounds doesn't mean you need a 1200 pound spring.

It is sheer coincidence that the spring rates on the rear of a GL are close to the GVW of the bike. Than never happens.

8)

Exactly, the load of your bike, how you ride, the tires you ride with, etc all are part of this equation.

My bike is sprung quite firmly compared to most on here but suits me extremely well for how and where I ride. Please note that I have also had the front forks redone so that there is upgraded compatability front to back

I have moved up in spring weight twice to get to the set up that I wanted.
 

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It was actually MY bike that Works used and they had it for more than 2 months. I have no idea how much they tested it but I know I made the 3 hour round trip at least 4 times.

Yes, it did take me several go-rounds to get the rebound where I wanted it but since getting it right, I absolutely love the shock. I think the bike finally rides the way it was meant to - much more "sport" than the stock shock could possibly provide. The undercarriage of my 03 was completely thrashed but my 04 has no such 'wear marks'. :wink:

I'm certainly not a technical expert but I do ride a lot and in varying conditions so I love being able to adjust the shock accordingly.

YMMV
Lisa
 
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