Öhlins goes to Dakar with Simon Pavey
April 5th 2012
Öhlins Racing UK is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with adventurer Simon Pavey to supply suspension not only for his next attempt on the legendary Dakar Rally but also for customer demonstration at his renowned BMW Off-Road Skills School.
The torturous Dakar event is seen as one of the toughest tests of man and machine as huge distances, sand dunes, river crossings, deep mud, rock strewn gullies and high sustained speeds all take their toll. Simon has competed in eight Dakar Rallies and Öhlins, through official service centre FTR Suspension, will be assisting his January 2013 attempt.
Simon will use Öhlins forks, shock absorber and steering damper on his specially prepared Husqvarna TE449 rally raid machine plus receive input on settings from the Öhlins factory. Öhlins has an interesting heritage in the Dakar including the famous Yamaha 2WD machine built in conjunction between the two companies. It is hoped the knowledge and experience of Simon and Öhlins will lead to a strong attempt for this coming year.
In addition to assisting his Dakar efforts, Öhlins and FTR will be providing Simon’s BMW Off-Road Skills School in Wales with the latest Mechatronic suspension for a R1200 GS demonstration model. This will allow riders an opportunity to experience this unique variable suspension system on the trails and challenging terrain. The School runs a fleet of BMW GS Enduro machines in Wales where it has exclusive access to a 4000 acre site.
The Öhlins suspension is a direct upgrade for BMW’s existing electronic suspension and utilises the OE BMW ESA user interface. The addition of Öhlins suspension brings with it not only improved damping characteristics but also a new ‘smart’ function. In Comfort mode, the Öhlins ECU monitors the bike’s speed and when it exceeds 80km/h automatically alters the suspension’s damping to a firmer ‘Normal’ setting. When the speed exceeds 120km/h the damping is further increased to ‘Sport’ mode, creating a more accurate ride. When the speeds decrease the damping reverts back to its original settings through the intermediate ‘Normal’ mode. This feature makes Öhlins’ ESA replacement system the World’s first intelligent suspension upgrade.
As well as the extra ride quality offered by Öhlins suspension, the system also allows riders to customise the spring rate on their bike through fitment of new springs as well as have their shocks fully serviced and maintained by one of the many specialist Öhlins Centres.
The Öhlins BMW R1200GS ESA replacement system is available from any of the network of specialist Öhlins Centres costing £2285.71 plus VAT.
Chris Witter, Business Development Manager, Öhlins Racing UK commented, “Öhlins started in the off-road World and we are determined to replicate our on-road success in the off-road sector. The Dakar is the ultimate test of our products and we are delighted that FTR Suspension has decided to support such a tough competitor as Simon Pavey. We look forward to assisting FTR and Simon Pavey in any way we can through the technical and engineering knowledge of our race department. We are also extremely excited about the potential of existing, or aspiring, BMW owners testing the Öhlins Mechatronics system at the Off-Road Skills School. You can read about the quality of Öhlins products, but the best recommendation is always to test the system yourself.”
Simon Pavey added, “We’re really excited to have Öhlins on board both for the Dakar and the School. For the Dakar durability and engineering excellence in all components is the key to finishing and the renowned plush ride should save me energy and fatigue. On the Off Road Skills side it will be interesting to see how the Mechatronics system alters the suspension and showcases this new technology for our customers. This is a great partnership to have embarked on and we’re looking forward to taking part in this two way feedback process.