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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all....I'm looking at buying an ES. I have read the "ES vs A" threads. I have a 09 A and not thrilled with the auto clutch. I'm 200lbs and my wife will ride once in a while for local trips. She is about 135lbs. I'm not a technical guy and have several Vstrom's and never even bothered to change the settings. I know, I know, but they all feel the same to me. Maybe the ES will be an eye opening experience.

My question---is the ES worth it? My concern is that the benefit to ME will be minor and will I regret it IF the shock fails somewhere down the road and cost $3k+ to get it fixed. IF that were to happen (as I have read about), the bike is destined for the junk pile. The repair would be much higher than the worth of the bike.

Thanks for your replies...
 

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Versys 1000, VFR800
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Thanks to major domo's initiative here, we have located a suspension shop in NJ that will rebuild ES rear shocks (~$300)........ EPM Performance.

Your '09's suspension is marginal for two-up..... you could benefit from either a Gen3 shock or an aftermarket. However, as FastPappy says, you should adjust what you have and see where you go.
 

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And while not unheard of, I don't recall many ES shocks failing either, at least not enough to scare me away from it anyway. (Watch. Probably just jinxed myself.) If you've read the treads you have a sense of when and where the system might be beneficial to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why not make sure the bike is properly set up before you make your decision. Just my 2cents. :unsure:

You mean my 09? Set up to me is either one of two positions. To be honest, I don't even feel the difference in the two. Maybe others with more experience on the bike do. That is one reason I'm not nuts in having a bunch of positions. Maybe better but I do appreciate everyone's response. One person on another thread said "well you never miss what you have not experienced." So maybe the ES will benefit my un-tuned butt.
 

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2018 FJR1300ES/2022 FJR1300ES
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If you ride a lot in varying conditions, it’s worth it. Set properly, neither is more or less capable than the other. One you just have to get off the bike and use a wrench and maybe a screwdriver to adjust settings.

My A was great. And both my ES have been great.
Hi all....I'm looking at buying an ES. I have read the "ES vs A" threads. I have a 09 A and not thrilled with the auto clutch. I'm 200lbs and my wife will ride once in a while for local trips. She is about 135lbs. I'm not a technical guy and have several Vstrom's and never even bothered to change the settings. I know, I know, but they all feel the same to me. Maybe the ES will be an eye opening experience.

My question---is the ES worth it? My concern is that the benefit to ME will be minor and will I regret it IF the shock fails somewhere down the road and cost $3k+ to get it fixed. IF that were to happen (as I have read about), the bike is destined for the junk pile. The repair would be much higher than the worth of the bike.

Thanks for your replies...
 

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Versys 1000, VFR800
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You're referring the two preload settings on the shock, Soft and Hard. Hard should feel harsher. However, you also have damping settings..... rebound damping knob on the bottom of the shock, rebound adjusters on top of each fork and compression adjusters on the bottom of each fork..... plus preload adjusters on those undersprung forks (I recommend you wind those all the way in). If you're on twisty roads and feel any pogo effects, your damping is in need of adjustment.
 

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I had one with the electronic suspension and could not tell any difference between settings. Changed it for the basic one without anything silly and very pleased with it. They are complicated enough without adding bits on.
 

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2016 FJR1300AK
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222 Posts
I too battled that debate for a LONG time and ended up going with the A bike.
The main reason I wanted the ES is for the USD (Up Sided Down) forks and how it looks. Standard forks just look old and dated to me.

But... I opted for the A, put a Penske fully adjustable rear shock on back and put Traxxion Dynamics AK-20 cartridges in front. To make me SUPER happy, I bought EVERYTHING for a USD swap and did that as well. Now, I have the look of the ES (minus the cornering lights) and the full adjustability and performance typically found on trackbikes.

Read stories of guys having issues with ES stuff and how much money it is to fix it.

Since you don't worry much about settings or changing them.... get an A bike... you'll be happy you did.
 
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If you intend to get an aftermarket suspension, the A is the clear choice. That said, I’ve got over 100,000 miles on ES’s. Zero issues.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either.
 

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I have a 20 ES and love having the ability to change the settings while riding. I'm impressed with how much difference there is when adjusting settings in the menu, as I do a lot of 2 up riding.
 

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2020 FJR1300ES
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I ONLY wanted an ES. There was no debating for me.
Over 30k miles so far on my '20 with nothing but joy.
 

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I initially wanted an ES; thought the tech was cool, easy to use... and then couldn't justify it for myself. After all, I rarely change suspension settings (once I've found a comfortable mark.) Even when riding two-up, all I usually do is throw that underseat lever to increase compression on the rear shock and away we go!
 

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You (the OP) says you can't feel any difference in settings? I suggest cranking down all your settings to full hard and go for a ride. Then set everything to full soft and take that same exact ride. You should notice a big change. If you still don't feel any difference, then it won't matter what bike you buy or ride.
 

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I only wanted the ES when I bought my 2016. I like gadgets, but really wanted the option to change damping while riding, as I go through a lot of different surface conditions where I ride. It's also nice to be able to switch to 2-up with the touch of a button, but that only happens 4-5 times a year, so it's really the damping that matters to me. Soft on crappy city streets or bumpy countryside roads. Standard or even Hard on those nice smooth freeways or twisties.
 

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...rebound adjusters on top of each fork and compression adjusters on the bottom of each fork.....
Well... on the right fork, anyway. :) (at least, on my 2014)
It still bothers me that one fork leg does all the 'heavy lifting' of the damping. It seems so unbalanced.
 

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Versys 1000, VFR800
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The OP has an '09, so has adjusters both sides..... the single side thing seems to be a trend these days on other bikes as well.... as long as the valving was designed to accommodate, shouldn't be much of an issue.
I just put aftermarket cartridges in my Versys, which had single sided..... now I have double sided, sorta. Compression on one side, rebound on the other... most aftermarket cartridges are the same way.
 

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The OP has an '09, so has adjusters both sides..... the single side thing seems to be a trend these days on other bikes as well.... as long as the valving was designed to accommodate, shouldn't be much of an issue.
I just put aftermarket cartridges in my Versys, which had single sided..... now I have double sided, sorta. Compression on one side, rebound on the other... most aftermarket cartridges are the same way.
I'll be damned, good to know!
 

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My unofficial survey of those who have ES bikes (not just fjr’s) says they really like them. Survey also says these are people with no understanding of suspension, how or why it works, and no desire to learn about it. (Its kind of a shame shame as it isnt that difficult to learn).

If that’s you OP, then ES is likely for you. I have ridden a few and do not like them, but at ~275# ready to ride I’m more than a bit out of the design range, I ride aggressively, and I’m picky about suspension - all my bikes have custom front and rear setups for my weight and style.
 
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