Öhlins Brings Semi-Active Suspension to the Masses

12/12/2012 @ 3:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Öhlins Brings Semi Active Suspension to the Masses ohlins semi active suspension shock 635x532

Enticed by the idea of having semi-active suspension on your motorcycle? Then the latest tech from Öhlins Suspension might be the thing for you, as the Swedish company has developed an electronically controlled mechatronic shock for existing motorcycles, starting with the 2011-2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

Developing the system first in the  World Superbike Championship, Öhlins is the first suspension manufacturers to bring the technology to the masses, though companies like Bitubo, Marzocchi, and WP Suspension have similar units that will be available next year as well.

This technology is nothing new in the automotive world, though 2012 marks the first time that semi-active suspension has made its way to the consumer-end of the motorcycle industry. Featured on bikes like the BMW HP4 superbike and the current Ducati Multistrada 1200 sport-tourer, the semi-active suspension designs come from a multitude of companies, but function in a very similar manner.

Reading inputs from the motorcycle, semi-active suspension units make rapid and minute changes to the damping settings on the suspension. The result is a more dynamic range of suspension performance, which adapts to the road and rider conditions. Essentally, suspension settings are no longer static, hence the “semi-active suspension” nomenclature.

With the Öhlins unit, a modified TTX36 MkII shock absorber is plugged directly into a proprietary Öhlins ECU, which then connects to the ECU on the motorcycle. Reading signals from the bike’s ECU, the Öhlins ECU then makes adjustments to the rear shock.

For now, only owners of current-generation Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R will be able to use the new Öhlins semi-active shock, though Öhlins intends to bring other semi-active suspension kits out for other makes and models. It is also important to point out though that Öhlins is not offering a set of semi-active forks at this time, only the semi-active shock.

Presumably a feature that will carry-over to other motorcycles, what is of note is that the Öhlins system detects which user-selectable riding mode the ZX-10R is operating in, and adjusts the suspension to meet that category as well (“sport” modes get stiffer suspension, while “road” modes get softer settings).

As the technology improves, Öhlins says that upgrade possibilities for the programming will be offered. Like all Öhlins shocks, the TTX36 MkII mechatronic shock is serviceable at Öhlins service centers worldwide, in addition to being completely rebuildable. Pricing starts for the Kawasaki ZX-10R unit comes in at $1,625.

Source: Öhlins USA

Comment:

  1. jeram says:

    thats not a half bad price for what it is!

  2. MikeD says:

    Call me CHEAP & ignorant but i don’t see how a $1625 rear shock is suposed to be for the masses.

    You know what a “shock” for the masses truly is ? THAT REDICULOUS M.S.R.P !!!

    But then u’ll hear me bitching about how a set of 4 KYB shocks for my old beater is almost $400.

    Danm you one percenters !!!! Jensen sure sounded like one when he came up with that title for this article.
    ROTFLMAO.

    Why not come out with a matching set of front Boingers too ? LOL.

  3. Sorry MikeD, this motorcycle blogging celebrity lifestyle has gotten the best of me.

  4. JohnM says:

    I just happen to have one of those motorcycles. Hrm.

  5. Damo says:

    I would rather roll that $1600 into a used CRF250 to convert to supermoto…just sayin.

  6. MikeD says:

    I have to say…Man, that thing is PRETTY TO LOOK AT ! Not $1625 pretty but still.

  7. Kyle says:

    Why is the pricing so outrageous to some? Have you guys checked the price on a regular TTX shock lately? It’s hardly an increase over that, pretty impressive I think.

  8. MeatyBeard says:

    While not inexpensive I am surprised at how relatively low the price is. I was expecting a price tag in the $3-$5k range. If you’ve looked into Ohlins suspension before you would agree. Good move.

  9. jeram says:

    Yep, I’ve got a nitron fully adjustable race shock on one of my bikes, it set me back 1100 bucks and its not electronicly adjustable, and the equivalent ohlins would have set me back atleast 1500-2000 bucks!

    So for 1600 this ohlins shock is a bargain…. if your fast enough to take advantage of its features!

    the 99% as you call them will never be in the market for an Ohlins shock… the 99% are fully catered for by the stock shock!

  10. Faust says:

    @ MikeD

    A standard TTX36 MK II shock is over $1,200 bucks. Of course it’s not for the “masses” as most people don’t put TTX shocks on their daily driver. Go to some track days, however, and you’ll see TTX shocks on all manner of track prepped bikes. This is the first unit of it’s kind to be sold as an upgrade item on a bike that wasn’t designed with one already. $1,600 isn’t bad for what it is, and you should really get out to some track days. It would blow your mind to see how much money people sink into their track day bikes, and beleive me when I say these people are not the “one percenters”.

  11. David says:

    I can upgrade to a complete set (that’s FOUR) of fully adjustable coil over shocks for my Corvette for 1600 bucks.

    Just saying……

  12. Telford says:

    Unless the motorcycle is getting wet, the word is DAMPING, not dampening. That even applies to cheap shocks.

  13. Damo says:

    @faust

    Yeah I have seen SV650’s with about $20k worth of kit on them in New Hampshire.

    Me personally I try to find a stock bike that suits my needs and riding style and try not to sink too much money on it. For instance Ohlins seals don’t stand up well in cold temperatures, my regular morning commute is done at below 20 degrees Fahrenheit on the regular, so most performance shocks are a no go period.

  14. meatspin says:

    it really is a nice looking piece of kit. Its useless for the type of riding I do, but I’m glad someone has gotten this out to market.

  15. GeddyT says:

    Telford beat me to it. Dampening =/= damping.

    Jensen, you’re a motorcycle blogger. To quote GOB Bluth: “COME ON!”

  16. MikeD says:

    After a couple of reads and the xamples put forward by Faust and Jeram i see how it’s priced “reasonable” for what it is.
    Well, is a good thing that they put this out there for the ones that can afford it and make proper use of it.

    Hopefully it won’t take 30 years for this “new” technology to become more feasible/mass produced/ mainstream in most production bikes 250cc and up.
    Semi-active suspension truly for the masses. LOL, who a my kidding…this will probably remain as xclussive and overpriced as the Queen’s Butt.
    I don’t see any Corollas or Civics wearing anything similar YET…LMAO.

  17. Faust says:

    @David

    Yeah, maybe for standard stuff, but try upgrading a vette to the MAG ride ecu controlled semi active suspension and it’s a 2k factory option on an already expensive car. If you want to upgrade to say, the the Eibach Multi Pro R Z51 setup, then you are looking at 3k. Of course you can get a less advanced product for less money, we all understand that, but you are comparing apples to oranges. What we are talking about here is technology that has never been sold as an aftermarket upgrade before, and represents the most advanced unit in it’s class. If it doesn’t fit your riding needs, don’t buy it. I’m sure some vette owners are perfectly happy without MAG ride suspension too, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same as coil overs(or as good). There are those out there that say that they are unwilling to spend extra money on lighter rims because they don’t need them (me, for example) but I wouldn’t sit here and try to make the case that stock rims are as good as lightweight forged units because that it clearly false, get it?

    Just saying……..

  18. David says:

    @Faust…..”Yeah, maybe for standard stuff, but try upgrading a vette to the MAG ride ecu controlled semi active suspension and it’s a 2k factory option on an already expensive car.”

    …standard stuff..you say. LOL…you should look at the underside of a Corvette sometime. They still run with leaf springs.

    In my post I mentioned upgrading. That would mean ripping out the leaf springs and adding performance coilover adjustable shocks. You can get quality performance coil over shocks from someone like LG for 2 grand. These are the most common track car upgrade for the Vette.

    Here: https://www.lgmotorsports.com/product_info.php?cPath=603_604&products_id=2176

    Or even a slightly lessor price coilover from Stance for 1400.00. Either way, it’s a big improvement in handling for a much more reasonable price for four shocks compared to 1600.00 for one Ohlins shock.

    The Ohlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES) uses faster-reacting hydraulic valves to adjust shock settings where the Magnetic ride system found as an option on some Corvettes is fully magnetic. So if your trying to compare the Ohlins to the MAG ride, then……fail.

    I’m not slamming the quality of Ohlins anyway. I have Ohlins on both ends of my dirt bike(because I found a great deal) and love them.

    All I’m saying is I think that’s a high price to pay for one shock, even if it is electronic controlled.

    So I guess I’m just saying……I ain’t a one percenter…..my fail. lol

  19. David says:

    I wish we could edit our post.

    BTW, the Eibach Multi Pro R Z51 setup is 2358.00.

  20. Faust says:

    Not from Ecklers it isn’t. And since this model is only a few hundred dollars more than the standard TTX, then is it really that absurd? If you don’t want to pay the money, then don’t pay the money, because I certainly won’t. But your arguments are a little off. I compared Ohlins to the MAG because there really isn’t anything else comparable bewteen the two vehicles that could even draw a comparison. The fact that cars and bikes are so different alone makes your initial argument invalid. Like comparing the cost of an Aprillia RSV4 engine to the cost of a car engine and trying to draw a valid conclusion. It just doesn’t work, no matter how many times you say “fail” it doesn’t make what you are saying valid.