Saturday, August 24, 2013

The return of the Bitubo

The Bitubo front shock is back (was it gone ?), but there's something new about it ... Let me explain that a little.

The first time this shock was put on the front end, the main idea was to replace the 20 000-mile old Showa. Expectations were big : not only the Bitubo was supposed to work as a new part, but its higher specs - spring preload, compression, rebound and length adjustments - would mean nice improvements over the Showa's behaviour. But once fitted, the reality was sadly different. As soon as the brakes were grabbed, the R1100S wobbled like it could never regain balance again. The overall setting was too soft and not a single adjustment seemed to temper the ride. Though a complete setback admission, at that time the stock Showa was put back on the bike for the rest of the season.

And then 2 months ago, I resigned myself to do something about it and did contact suspension guru Eric Delcamp. His company Delcamp Energie is known to build among the most advanced shocks in France. They provide suspension units and services for rally cars and the Pro Twin challenge. We talked about the Bitubo and what could be done to improve things. Eric wasn't very keen on modifying what Bitubo had designed, but agreed to have a look at it and service it. He also asked a few questions about the Showa that he would agree to prepare. 

Fast forward a couple of weeks later, Eric called back to tell me he had put the Bitubo shock on the testing bench. The result was rather embarrassing ... for Bitubo that is. The shock wasn't working properly as if something was stuck in there that was preventing the shock to properly apply any sort of damping. Before calling that a complete failure, Eric decided it was now certainly worth to open the shock not only to repair it, but also to apply his magic to the internal components.

The shock was back home from Eric's facility before we moved house, so with very little time to fit it on the BMW, it's still unknown whether it's working properly or not. I'll figure it out later this month.

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