Touratech has done it again, helping the already capable GS platform become more capable. The latest version of its Plug & Travel EVO suspension for the R 1200 GS/A and R 1250 GS/A fully integrates into the complex electronics of BMW’s legendary adventure motorcycle.
But before getting into all the reasons why the Plug & Travel EVO system is better than ever, here’s a quick refresher on BMW’s unique Telelever front suspension.
The Telelever system isolates the two functions of suspension: to keep the wheel aligned and to absorb bumps. Every other motorcycle uses a fork to do both of those jobs, which means it has to be big and thick to have the necessary strength. Still, because of the demands of adventure riding, the long suspension travel introduces a lot of fork dives when braking.
With the Telelever system, there’s still a fork to damp some bumps and vibrations, but its primary duty is to keep the wheel aligned as it travels down the road or path.
A semi-trailing arm connects the fork to the frame and has its own shock and spring—this is what’s responsible for the bulk of the suspension duties. The stock components are pretty good, but BMW has to make concessions to suit a wide variety of riders and conditions. That means there’s an opening to improve them, and that’s what Touratech Suspension has done.
The latest GS models also feature semi-active electronic suspension, which gives them greater flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. But they can still be better. Touratech has already improved on BMW’s suspension before, but here’s how the latest version of the Plug & Travel EVO suspension ups the ante once again:
Making changes to the character of the shock and handling of the motorcycle is easier than ever with the finger-friendly dial that’s numbered from 1 to 15. No more counting clickers or turns, you’ll know right away what setting you’re on and can adjust quickly when venturing in the dirt or coming back to the pavement, no tools needed.
New Hyper-Flow piston
Inside the shock body, there’s a completely new version of the Hyper-Flow piston, which is critically important to prevent foaming and cavitation—no matter the weather conditions or riding terrain, which in turn provides consistent and reliable damping. Who doesn’t want that?
Low friction seals
Shaft seals aren’t the most glamorous components of any suspension system, but they are the unsung heroes of the suspension world. With the new EVO suspension for the GS family, these new seals reduce any stiction on the shock shaft, allowing it to flow freely and smoothly. This allows the precision damping to be unobstructed resulting in pure performance.
New electromagnetic valve
This is a big one. The engineers have taken everything learned over the past 10 years of shock development and put it into this all-new electromagnetic valve that pairs perfectly with the electronic suspension software from BMW. When you scroll the thumbwheel on your GS and ask for a change, the valve will understand it perfectly and the valve will respond with precision and consistency in demanding situations. Not every aftermarket upgrade for the Telelever will do that.
That’s no ordinary bumper
While not as exciting as the electromagnetic valve, the bumper at the end of the shock shaft isn’t just your run-of-the-mill bumper. It has been specifically engineered and uses a proprietary shape and unique polymer structure to achieve a perfect ramp rate that progressively slows the travel at the end of the stroke. Why should you care? Because what you feel as the rider, especially if you hit a big bump or land from a jump, is better control as the shock will use every millimeter of its stroke to smooth out the ride.
Updated preload adjuster
BMW’s electronic suspension has a powerful ECU behind it, but the pre-load adjustments can take time. The new preload adjuster on the Plug & Travel EVO system is a powerhouse that implements pre-load changes lightning fast compared to the stock shock.
Optimized for auto leveling!
Auto-leveling is one of the best suspension innovations in recent times. Not only does the Plug & Travel EVO system retain the factory auto-leveling system—it’s optimized for it! Unlike other aftermarket systems that can’t handle auto leveling, this system is specifically designed to play nice with it, resulting in incredible performance.
One-piece shock body
The one-piece shock body is machined from a single block of aircraft-grade aluminum. This ensures maximum strength, stiffness, and also enhances reliability by eliminating common failure points.
All the travel
Adventure bikes need suspension travel, and they also need to be able to use all of it. It seems odd to say, but not all aftermarket shocks keep the GS’s full suspension travel. You don’t have to worry about that with the Plug & Travel EVO system. You can still use all the travel on your GS/A.
Plug & Play Integration
We all know what a pain it is when the electronics on today’s motorcycles aren’t happy. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about that with the Plug & Travel EVO kit. All the dynamic suspension settings, features, and ride modes work seamlessly with the bike and the shock. Not only do they work with all the factory settings, they actually work better and over a broader range of adjustments!
Touratech offers lowering shocks to adjust your seat height for those who want to reach the ground with ease. Just remember that if you decide to use a lowering shock, your side-stand and center stand may need to be modified or changed to accommodate the lower posture.
Touratech really has done it again with the Plug & Travel EVO suspension kit. Improving upon the standard Telelever suspension is not for the faint of heart, but Touratech Suspension accepted the challenge and made this latest kit even better than before.
Designed specifically for the growing complexities of the R 1200 GS/A and R 1250 GS/A, the kit loses none of the functionality BMW intended while giving the rider a more comfortable ride and enhanced feeling of confidence, no matter how hard they push the bike or how rowdy the terrain gets.