First, for the riders, a little suspension history.

Back in BC, the rear Continental air shock was swapped for Ohlins. The front forks were swapped for WP 48mm’s, plus a new big lower clamp and (in Atlanta) the springs were swapped for progressives.  I detoured my route specifically to see Bobby at BMW Atlanta, owner of two (!) HP2s and perhaps the most respected mind, according to ADV, on the HP2 subject in the States. He de-bugged the hardware and gave me adjustment instructions to think about. The real work had to be done by riding it, obviously.

So I’ve been trying to dial it in. Even by Texas things were still not close, with a dead front end feel, and me pretty much blaming myself for not showing the confidence needed since my injury in the spring. But I also knew that I was having to make serious allowances, airing down to an extreme, shedding all weight, picking off-topic lines, jacking rear preload, whatever, to get the front to bite. But really I know nothing and needed help, bad. So I called Bobby again a few days ago with tales of woe. We ran through everything. Finally he left me with two things to check and one thing to change, patiently walking me through the theory, and I did as instructed.

As I rolled into Farmington yesterday there were dirt roads, ungated, leading off into the hills that looked perfect. As in sand. My recent, but not in the past, enemy.

Today, despite the promise of what’s just a day or two ahead, down the road, I took the day off to ride the roads I’d seen coming in. And things couldn’t have been better. Fixed – I have a front wheel again.

The roads I picked were packed and, on the larger ones to the BP oil/gas works all around here, graded flat, like snow, with berms off to the sides. But sand. My nerves were a bit tattered after something as straightforward as the Oldore sand washes making me feel a bit of an idiot. Off we went. And guess what, the ride was Velcro, as it should be. It was the rear rebound causing the problem with the front, exactly as Bobby said.
Softer graded sand after an hour or so and still as easy as pavement on this very pretty road in the hills

So we went sightseeing. Over this bridge

And beside this bridge – ATV tracks led me out on a scenic river bed and back to it. I was expecting quicksand to China.



Beside some deep cuts

A good day.


4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Alex Elgard,

    I don’t know,do you reply to these comments? It seems you are having the time of your life on these bumpy dessert roads. The only time I did anything like this was when I went to southern Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in my M.G. I have read other travel blogs, yours I like as it includes your experiences and pictures not just descriptions of the different places you are seeing. You keep saying we, are you referring to yourself and your motorcycle? What kind of bike is it? Seems like this trip is engaging your on many levels, that is wonderful! Keep me posted.

  2. Tom,

    so what did you do to feel the front again? Sounds like you messed with the rear somehow to make the front talk back to you – I’ve got same problem and have run out of ideas, but I’ve been only messing with the front… What do you know about the rear that i don’t?

    • Hi Tom,
      Bobby did an upgrade to the front, replacing the springs with progressives. He then backed of the preload to get the geometry correct, I presume taking the overall length of the replacement WP tubes down to the 900mm of the original ‘zokes. He upgraded the oil and set the front compression and rebound mid-range. So really, all he did up front was to get the forks and geometry back in range. When we talked last he emphasized that adjustments to the rear is where he always starts, if the front is set in the zone and if the front is not there. And the first thing we did was crank down the rear rebound by 4 clicks. 4 is a lot and you’ll know immediately if it worked. Try it. I think the theory goes that adding a faster and more positive response to rear rebound, forcing the rear up off compression pushes the front down, or if not, doesn’t allow it to unweight as much. That’s how I see it after drawing it out on a piece of paper, but I could be wrong. All I know is it worked. Bobby can go through it with you, give him a call, he likes to chat on the phone!
      Let me know how it works out.

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