TracTive X-CITE-PA Rear Shock / F650GS Twin '08-'12
TracTive raised the bar in Adventure Bike shock design when their products were first unveiled. No shock manufacturer before has used such heavy duty components or more durable designs intended specifically for Adventure Bike use. Although this shock is a non-reservoir design, it is still one tough dude.
Note: for extended off road riding, a reservoir shock is recommended.
- Very high lift heavy duty hydraulic preload adjuster with 15mm of lift, which is 50% more than most brands.
The hydraulic preload adjuster on a manual shock is a separate hydraulic component that has nothing to do with the shock. It only adjusts spring tension using its own oil in an external separate assembly that sits on the outside of the shock cylinder against the spring. It allows you to set your sag by adjusting spring tension with the turn of a knob. Under the knob is a ram with a piston that pushes oil out of the primary cylinder and into the secondary cylinder where the increasing oil quantity displaces a piston and pushes it down against the spring, increasing the spring tension. The pressure inside the secondary cylinder can get extremely high as it holds down and maintains pressure on the spring regardless of load or terrain. Lesser brands often leak.
Adventure bikes carry a wide variety of loads since for many owners they are the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycling. They are often used for every riding condition from commuting to serious off road adventure and everything in between. Varying loads demand a high lift hydraulic preload adjuster that will cover a wide range of loads without blowing an o-ring seal even under the strain of off-pavement riding. I cannot count how many preloaders from other brands we have resealed in our shop over the years. In the old days we would often tell our customers to turn the preloader off as much as possible to prolong its life. The internal pressures can be too high when used in adventure bike riding or heavily loaded touring. TracTive solved this problem by developing the first high lift, low pressure, heavy duty hydraulic preloader. You can load it up, crank it up and leave it up. It can handle it. By design it has the ultra-high lift, high strength, exceptional durability, and low internal pressures to handle this kind of duty full time without leaking, unlike the preloaders that came before it. We are even known to install TracTive preloaders on other brands as customers grew weary of repeated failures of their preloaders.
- Stainless steel mounting bushings which won’t wear out of shape like aluminum bushings found on other brands can.
If your shock, like most, has round mounting eyelets, inside the eyelet of most aftermarket shocks is a spherical bearing. Pressed into the bearing are mounting bushings that your mounting bolts pass through. These bushings are often made of aluminum, sometimes they are high grade, sometimes low grade. The high grade bushings can hold up OK, but in some conditions any aluminum bushing will get egg shaped over time. They can also compress slightly after they are installed which means you can lose some torque on the bolt as the bushing relaxes and shrinks in width. If you don’t re-torque the bolts, movement in the shock mounting bushings over the bumps can cause them to become misshapen. At the least this can lead to noise and increased wear on the bushings and spherical bearings, at the worst this can lead to bent or broken bolts. TracTive goes the extra mile by using high grade stainless steel for their mounting bushings which means you don’t have to even think about any of these issues.
- Internal Floating Piston design which keeps the oil and gas separate, preventing the foaming found in emulsion designs which leads to damping fade.
A reservoir shock always has a separation piston keeping the oil and gas separate, it’s the nature of the beast. This is not true of non-reservoir shocks however, they can be Emulsion or Internal Floating Piston (IFP) designs. Emulsion designs allow the oil and gas to mix together, there is no internal floating piston keeping them separate. They work fine on the front of a Telelever bike for a variety of reasons such as the very low energy stored on the compression stroke in the very light front shock spring, which is then converted into very little heat on the rebound stroke, and the low leverage ratio and light valving which creates a responsive shock with little concern for overheating or oil foaming. This is not true on the rear however where the spring rate and leverage ratios are exceedingly higher, leading to thermal instability and oil cavitation (foaming) problems on rough roads, dirt roads and so on. We don't recommend emulsion designs on the rear of an adventure bike and TracTive has responded with their heavy duty IFP non-reservoir designs.
- Forged 6082 extruded one piece hard anodized aluminum cylinder for high strength, and heat dissipation that is far better than steel cylinders found on other brands. Plus the elimination of threaded junctions that can leak, and it won’t rust as it ages.
I’ll bet some of you reading this don’t even know your rear shock gets hot, sometimes very hot depending on conditions. I’ve often thought it would be good to have a rear shock temperature gauge on the display of adventure bikes. If you knew your engine was overheating you would stop and let it cool off right? But you could be riding on an overheating rear shock and yet you just keep going until it fades or blows a seal. They come to our shop for repairs with stinky burnt oil, we can always tell when they’ve been overheated. I have had riders call to ask why their rear shocks stopped working during a ride, and then starting working again after a lunch stop. Take a guess as to why (they overheated it).
Overheating is a common problem on rear adventure bikes shocks, and it can lead to leaks and damping fade, plus it reduces the life of the damping fluid requiring more frequent service. Rather than using the less expensive steel cylinders seen on other brands, TracTive uses a more expensive high quality hard anodized forged aluminum cylinder which has high strength and is able to shed the heat far better than steel. But TracTive didn’t stop there. Most shock designs have a cylinder that is threaded at the top so it can be used in a variety of applications by simply screwing on a different cap. However there is an o-ring that must be used to seal that junction. Leaks are rare in a threaded cylinder junction but they do happen, so in as many applications as possible TracTive uses a one piece cylinder where the top is literally part of the cylinder. There is no threaded junction at the top and therefore leaks there are virtually impossible. TracTive thought of everything in their quest to raise the bar in motorcycle shock design.
- Heavy duty low friction reinforced seal heads for best leak free performance and extended life between rebuilds.
Shock manufacturers buy many of their parts from specialty suppliers. Some sell shims, some sell knobs, and of course there are a variety of seal heads on the market for a variety of different shock applications. A snowmobile shock needs a different type of seal head than a street bike shock for example, due to the wide ranging temperatures involved. There are expensive heavy duty reinforced seal heads available and cheaper standard duty seal heads. TracTive spared no expense on the seal head design. Yes they are more expensive to purchase, and this adds to the cost of the shock, but in case you haven’t figured it out yet, TracTive’s intention was laser focused, cost of parts was not the first consideration. Their low friction long life reinforced seal heads are the best available and will prolong the life of the shock, providing leak free performance longer than other brands who choose to use the more “bean counter” friendly conventional seal heads.
- Best piston rods in the business which are 16mm micro finished, induction hardened, quenched and tempered CrMoly steel. Beware of smaller piston rods on adventure bikes, we have seen them break.
Do you remember the introduction of the liquid cooled R1200RT in 2014 and the worldwide Do Not Ride order issued by BMW? The piston rods were too small at 14mm and they were breaking. Brand new bike, brand new shock, breaking in half as you rode it. I probably don’t have to tell you that this is not a small concern. The shock piston rod has to be the right size. It has to be small enough, and have the high polish required to reduce drag and maintain good responsiveness as it travels in and out of the seal head, but large and strong enough to withstand the intense loads. Bad things happen when a shock piston rod breaks. You won’t have this concern while riding on TracTive designed 16mm piston rods. They are made of the best material, I’ve never seen one break. They are hardened and micro polished to glide through the seal head with minimal stiction, or as the Dutch say less “Stick-Slip”.
- Setup by the experts at Beemershop for your weight and loads.
Okay, this is where I get to brag about the people involved in setting up your suspension. We are not the type of business that sells everything and specializes in nothing. We are first and foremost a suspension company. I (Ted) have been in the industry 40 years at the time I wrote this, Jeff on our team worked at Fox Racing, designing and testing suspension for 25 years before he joined our team. Casey, in the shipping department, also worked at Fox Racing. If you have a problem with a suspension product purchased from us, we have the knowledge and experience to resolve it. If your shocks or forks need to be rebuilt or revalved, we can do it. If you have some outside the box condition that needs an outside the box approach, we are capable of that. It’s what we do, it’s what we know. On top of all the knowledge and experience, we also regularly attend suspension training provided by the world’s top suspension manufacturers throughout Europe which keeps us abreast of the latest changes in the constantly evolving world of motorcycle suspension. Some shops will just keep selling you the same products year after year. Because they don’t keep up, they fall behind. We keep up. We've also invested heavily in suspension equipment such as high end vacuum filling machines, spring raters and so on, not to mention the pride of our shock room; our Roehrig Shock Dyno. Did you know that some companies selling shocks don’t even own a shock dyno? We feel we are uniquely positioned to give you the best suspension purchasing experience and after-sale support possible. Your suspension will be setup for your loads and conditions by the highly qualified hands at Beemershop.
- Fully rebuildable.
It means more than you might think. You might have heard that BMW stock shocks are rebuildable, but they are not “fully” rebuildable, far from it. Although the original BMW stock shocks were not designed to be rebuilt, in some cases certain replacement parts can be sourced. Sometimes you can replace the seal and bushing inside the seal head, but the top out bumpers are not available. Sometimes you can get a complete seal head, but when the separation piston was installed, the body was crimped so you can never remove it to replace those seals. And in most cases there is no way to re-charge the nitrogen without drilling the body and installing a nitrogen valve of some type. These so-called rebuilds of stock BMW shocks can be quite half-(other word for donkey). TracTive shocks are 100% fully rebuildable. All service parts are in stock. However having said that, due to their very durable materials and designs they will go longer between rebuilds than other brands. Riders have been known to put 40k miles or more on their TracTive shocks without any service, and TracTive says riding as long as 40k miles between rebuilds is acceptable depending on usage and as long as there are no leaks.
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