Ohlins fitted - report (longish)

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By Redlionfalco on Saturday, August 03, 2002 - 12:29 pm:  View Redlionfalco's Profile Search for other posts by Redlionfalco Edit this post

Fitted an Ohlins AP840 (Mille type) last weekend. Unfortunately, despite the gorgeous weather, I�ve not had too much opportunity to try it out. However after a hundred and fifty miles or so my initial feelings about this mod are very positive (not unexpectedly so). I wont go into the fitting details as others have extensively covered this, but suffice it to say there were no difficulties encountered. I measured the toped out, static and loaded dimensions of the old standard Sach�s shock before removal so as to give some reference point prior to fitting the AP840. The Sachs has covered just over 11k miles and whilst appears to be in good condition, I have noticed that it has become a touch more compliant than I remember it to be. With the old unit out I measured the length from centre of eye to centre of eye (not actually so easy to do) and found this to be 316mm. The AP840 has a length of 321mm with an adjustment of +5mm/-1mm thus giving a range of 320 � 326mm.. Because I am already somewhat vertically challenged I set the AP840 to the minimum 320mm. Also as I have already dropped the front by 1 extra line (4 rings now showing) which I felt made a dramatic difference to the feel of the bike � much faster turning, so I did not want to sharpen up the front too much more. With length set the AP840 was fitted in the reverse of the removal of the Sachs without problem. On measuring the toped out length I found this had increased from 469mm to 480mm � an increase of 11mm. I then adjusted the hydraulic preload adjuster so that the loaded sag was 37mm. (the range given in the Ohlins handbook was 30-40mm.). With this amount of preload the static sag was 7mm � within the 5-10mm range given. The compression setting was set to 12 clicks out from full hard, and that for rebound 14 clicks from full hard � as per standard specification. After a short 10 mile ride on some well known road it was obvious that the rear end was too firm for the road (probably about right for the track though), so I backed the compression out another 4 clicks (making a total of 16). I have now done about 150 miles with these settings and whilst they may not be perfect they certainly seem to be pretty close. I�ll maybe experiment with the rebound to see if a bit less makes an improvement. What I did find early on was that the front forks seemed a bit too firm so I have gone back to standard setting of 1.5 turns out from full hard (from 1 turn out). This has made a big difference, as it seems now to match the rear much better than before.
So from a riding point of view how does it feel?
Both the feel and the handling are improved considerably. It�s hard to put into words but the change although significant is also very subtle. The ride over lumps and bumps is a lot more composed, cornering gives a feeling of being much more planted (both front and rear) although I�ve not tried any high speed sweepers yet, there seems to be more feedback and the rear feels like its hugging the road surface a lot better than before. On one section of road which had just been resurfaced I hit a slippery patch when doing about 70 on a medium right hander which caused a small slide from the back end which would normally have given me an immediate 140 pulse rate, however it now felt almost controlled and caused little or no deviation from line (but I wasn't brave enough to go back and try it again). The bike also seems to be more comfortable, I�ve moaned about the seat being too firm for my boney arse many times before on long runs � we will have to wait for another long run to see for sure. The raising of the rear has further sharpened the steering a little, which has complemented the previous improvement from lowering the front. The only downside for me is that the seat height has increased by about 10mm (14mm if you look at the figures, but it doesn't feel so much as this)which I have to say I have adjusted to qickly.
So is it worth the expense? Well it depends on how you see the £560 that a new AP840 will cost you (less if you can find one used), if you can afford it the simple answer is a big yes because from what I�ve seen so far this will increase your confidence and corner speed far more than a few extra HP from the engine department. Of course Ohlins AND more HP would be even better.
The before and after settings are as per the table below and are based on a rider weight of 82Kgs.(13St 2Lbs). Please note that it is the difference between the numbers that matter � not the numbers themselves. The numbers in brackets are for the Sachs.

Toped out.....480mm (469mm)
Static...... 473mm (450mm)
Loaded........443mm (429mm)
Static Sag......7mm ( 19mm) Recommended...5-10mm
Loaded Sag.....37mm ( 40mm) Recommended...30-40mm  

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