Friday, October 26, 2012

YSS Shock Review

You know that feeling when your bike just isn't riding right?      Last fall, my 1992 K75S was starting to get sloppy despite new rubber and new front wheel bearings.   It appeared the tired OEM shock was ready for replacement.

I wanted a good shock at a reasonable price. Reading through various online forums for recommendations, I was surprised how many options were available. Ultimately,  I noticed a lot of positive comments about a particular guy named Klaus at a retailer called EPM Performance.     So, I gave him a call and Klaus walked me through a few options, including the YSS ME 302-360 I eventually ordered.  

Here's what the new YSS 302-360 shock looks like compared to stock.

As you can see, the YSS monoshock is adjustable for pre-load like the original.     The adjustment isn't notched like the OEM shock, so you can really dial it in for the weight you're carrying and conditions.      The spring is also progressively wound.  Fit and finish on the new shock can only be described as excellent, it's well made and attractive.      But how would it perform?

The picture above shows YSS on the left and the OEM shock on the right.      At first, I thought the YSS shock was missing its rubber bushing.   It turns out that the bushing has an aluminum collar on it, hiding the rubber from the elements and lending a cleaner appearance.     Very nice.

Installation was very easy, once you've got the luggage carrier out of the way, it's just a couple of bolts.    Just be sure to support the swing arm so it doesn't drop all the way,  pulling the rubber boot away from the front of the driveshaft.    Also be sure to torque to spec.

Once installed, I took it on a few canyon runs and adjusted the pre-load.  I also took the opportunity to flush the fork fluid so I was starting with a fresh set-up.  

Road trip to Santa Fe

Since installation and fine-tuning, I've put a few thousand miles on the bike and I'm extremely pleased with the shock's performance.   Compared to the shoddy and well worn OEM shock, the bike rides better than it ever has before.  It's just taught enough on the twisties to soak up imperfections and keep good contact with the road.    It's just soft enough on the long stretches to easily absorb larger bumps with a nice feel, but no jarring.     It feels like a new bike.

The Numbers
This review is unbiased.   I didn't tell Klaus or his assistant Michelle at EPM that I would be reviewing the shock.    I simply called and asked him for my options.  Unbeknownst to him, I also tried shopping for the shock internationally as authorized YSS retailers are pretty rare in the United States.   I like to price shop and know I'm getting a good deal.   Nothing came close to the price EPM offered and Klaus has a very good reputation in the BMW community, so I went ahead.    

Out the door, I paid $248 for the shock (which included $29 for shipping).    If you buy one, keep in mind that I ordered the ME 302-360, which is about 10mm taller than stock.    The shock is also available in stock height, the ME 302-350 and may even be available in a short shock.     Klaus also stocks Wilburs, Hyperpro, and other options.  

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