X-CHANGE is a modular suspension solution for BMW ESA products for onroad and allroad use.

The TracTive R&D team in their WP past developed BMW ESAI and ESAII. TracTive additionally has developed dynamic ESA solutions for several high-end powersport brands worldwide. TracTive is therefore experienced in electronic adjustable suspension and certainly specialised in BMW electronic suspension from 2004 till now. Suspension service companies can become TracTive dealers and order the technical parts needed for ESA1, ESA2 or dynamic ESA replacement and service. For example Beemershop USA and ESARepair in the Netherlands.

Why would one want to upgrade one’s ESA suspension? After all, it is already electronic and alters damping or spring preload on the fly. The latest dynamic suspension even alters its damping or rideheight dynamically and automatically. So why upgrade?

Like all stock suspension, the ESA stock systems have been developed by the motorbike manufacturer for the customer with average length and average weight. Only a few of us are average. There will always be a need to optimise the suspension for rideheight and spring rate. TracTive offers a range of springs fitting different weight and loading categories. TracTive also offers lowering dampers, and in some instances it is possible to use longer shocks to increase road clearance. Since the products are tuneable, it is possible to update the damping or to optimise spring preload.

After sufficient mileage the stock suspension starts wearing out. This is a slow process so the customer does not immediately feel this deterioration. Except for loss of comfort and handling, it ultimately may become dysfunctional (leaking, not functioning) and create a dangerous situation. Please check this video for a detailed explanation. In these cases, an overhaul or a new original shock is required. It is difficult to service the stock ESA suspension safely; only very experienced suspension professionals should be trusted this task. Original BMW shocks are pricey and not always available. The TracTive shocks come with a heavy duty design for serious loading; 16mm induction hardened CrMo piston rods for increased durability. The electronic adjustment is as good as indestructible. The shocks are completely serviceable, so upon proper maintenance these shocks will benefit from an endless life.

ESA stock shock absorbers consist of
– a damper with adjustable damping by a stepper motor (ESAI, ESAII) or a dynamic solenoid valve (dynamic ESA). The driver can select sport or comfort damping mode that correspond to soft or hard damper settings, fixed settings in case of stepper motor adjustment, programs in case of dynamic ESA.
– a spring, tuned to an imaginary reference driver of 80-85 kg including gear.
– a spring preload (ESAI) or spring rate adjuster (ESAII) system. ESAI is a DC motor version of the typical handwheel that many rear shocks have and allows for automatic increasing or decreasing of the preload on the spring. ESAII does not really have a manual equivalent, it allows to shift automatically between different spring rates by combining two different springs (a conventional steel spring and a CELASTO rubber). Although different systems, these are mostly abbreviated to EPA (Electric Preload Adjuster), mostly only for the rear shock.

TracTive has developed a modular system to replace one or all of these modules: the X-CHANGE ESA suspension system. The damper, the spring and the EPA can be replaced independently. In most cases the original stock EPA can be kept, but in some cases it can also be left out or maybe replaced by a manual hydraulic PA. This makes the X-CHANGE system a more cost-effective, high-end replacement solution than buying a new original shock.

Available models X-CHANGE

ModelMYstandard25m lowerRemarks / options
F750GS18-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, only rear shock is electronic, EPA available
F850GS18-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, only rear shock is electronic, EPA available
F850GS A19-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, only rear shock is electronic, EPA available
R1200GS04-12ESAIVVvarious springs available, EPA available
R1200GS13-18dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, EPA available
R1250GS19-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, EPA available
R1200GS ADV06-13ESAIVVvarious springs available, EPA available
R1200GS ADV14-19dyn ESAVVvarious springs available, EPA available
R1250GS ADV20-dyn ESAVV various springs available, EPA available
R1200RT05-09ESAIVVvarious springs available, manual hydraulic PA available
R1200RT10-13ESAIIVVvarious springs available, manual hydraulic PA available
R1200RT14-19dyn ESAVVvarious springs available
R1250RT19-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available
K1600B (Bagger)17-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available
S1000XR15-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available for rear, front cartridge in one leg, optional decorative cover available with PA for other leg
R1200R15-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available for rear, front cartridge in one leg, optional decorative cover available with PA for other leg
R1200RS15-dyn ESAVVvarious springs available for rear, front cartridge in one leg, optional decorative cover available with PA for other leg

The TracTive shocks outperform the stock shocks in comfort, but also in handling. This is due to the specific damping setup with wider damping range and the electronic components used. For ESAI and ESAII we use the most reliable stepper motor available on the market. In stock shocks the stepper motor is installed in the lower eyelet. This is susceptible to water ingress inside this eyelet, the motor rusts and the damping adjustment does not function anymore. TracTive has installed the stepper motor safely higher up inside the shock absorber body.

The ESAI stock EPA is based on DC motor technologies available in the 2000 to 2005 time period. The preload adjustment is at the absolute maximum of the DC motor capability. When the stock EPA is being replaced, TracTive uses a bulletproof EPA based on the latest technologies. Please do check availability of EPA for your specific model. TracTive has not been able to develop a replacement EPA for all motorbike models.

For dynamic ESA the most stable and fastest valve on the market is used: the TracTive DDA valve. The electrical properties of the TracTive DDA valve are identical to the stock shocks, so there is no issue with the motorbike management system. Contrary to many of the stock dynamic technologies, the TracTive DDA valve has been developed for use in motorbike applications and has a large adjustment range in the shock absorber low speed range. This creates more comfort and more handling than the original shocks.

In case one would like to purchase an X-CHANGE shock absorber and use the stock EPA, the stock shock absorber needs to be sent to an X-CHANGE suspension service company. This trained partner has the tools to disassemble the stock shock absorber.It is a relatively simple operation as shown in this conversion video . In below picture is shown how a BMW R1200GS 13- shock is being replaced with a spring fitting to the weight of the rider and with a shorter shock for a 25mm lower rideheight.

Contact us for the nearest X-CHANGE partner.

Note:
The TracTive X-CHANGE shocks have not been developed with the best off-road properties in mind. An example is the shock absorber housing, which is made from a high strength steel. This allows for a thinner wall thickness so that the outside diameter of the shock absorber is compatible with the stock shock. As a drawback, cooling of the oil is less effective, leading to less thermal stability of the damping. On itself the performance is not worse than the stock shocks, as these are also based on steel bodies, and then often on less oil volume than used in TracTive shocks. These therefore also overheat and show less damping after a short time offroad. We do realise that some of our customers would like to order TracTive shocks because of our experience in Adventure and offroad applications. These customers we kindly ask to check our eX-TREME product line, as there is a full line Plug&Play shock absorbers with extra canister and aluminium shock absorber housing for optimal thermal stability.