Dick McWay and I (H Marc Lewis) both took delivery of Öhlins 46PRCS rear shocks for our Yamaha FJR1300's on the same day. Collectively, we wrote this Web page to document how to do the installation.

I put the corrected and augmented step-by-step instructions at the end of this page...

Here's what came in the box from Sweden. The shock, a new bolt for the lower attachment point, a generic Öhlins owner's manual, an FJR1300-specific installation manual, a couple stickers, and a sticker on which to mark the preload, compression and rebound damping settings.

Here's all the tools I used (I assume Dick used a similar set). This project requires more different tools than even the EFI-Sync!

Dick wrote:

OK, all installed. Some points I'd suggest. I used the centerstand set up on 3 pieces of 3/4 plywood. [I did the same thing, raising the centerstand by a little over 2" -- HML]

I think the extra height is needed just so the shock will clear getting it out the bottom.

I undid the dogbones from the opposite end of what is shown in the instructions since once on the centerstand I could not remove the bolt - interference deal - just loosen the other end. No biggie, that went OK. These need to come down so old shock will clear - the space is otherwise narrower than the shock diameter.

Remove the 3 nuts holding the preload guy to the bracket. Then take the bracket off - 2 screws each side. BTW - if you have compressor and air ratchet it sure speeds things up as some of these screws only give you a quarter turn of room. Then I removed top and bottom bolts of shock and it slid right down.

On the subframe the idea is you have to lift it up quite a bit to make room to slip the new shock in from the right side opening under the tool tray. Take the 2 screws out of the bottom mounting point first. Take out the rear most of the 2 screws on each side of the upper mounting point. The front screws will be the pivot point. (I think step 9 is not correct, you have to take one of the screws out on each side).

I also took out the cross bar at the rear of the tank otherwise it looked like there would be some interference there when swinging subframe up.

Also, you need to take the 2 bolts out on each side that attach the rear foot pegs (not mentioned in the Öhlins supplied instructions).

When installing the new preload adjuster, first put in the rearmost screw and tighten to about 1/16" gap. Slide in adjuster and then install front screw and snug up. [In the photo above, you can see that I chose to use a regular 6mm bolt and lockwasher instead of using the stock allen-head bolt like Dick did -- HML]

I used a ladder and a 2x4 strut to prop up the subframe. Caught it under the Givi rack which is pretty secure. [I had my wife hold the subframe up for me during this step -- HML]

[Here's the right side of the bike, with the subframe loose, ready to have it raised some more so the shock can be inserted from the right side. For this step, remove any spacers you have under the rear wheel, like the 4x4 in the photo above -- HML]

[The new Öhlins compared to the dirty OEM Yamaha shock. I didn't have a scale, but the Öhlins is definitely lighter. Oh, and the Öhlins raised the rear ride height 5mm (3/16") over the OEM shock -- HML]

HMarc's Impressions

As of January 5th, 2003, I've now ridden my FJR for about 200 miles in 40° F. temperatures with the new Öhlins rear shock. I have to admit the change is nowhere near as dramatic an improvement as was mounting Öhlins shocks (front and rear) on my 1995 BMW R1100GS. I attribute that to the quality of the OEM Yamaha shock, which I believe suffers primarily just in being sprung a little too softly.

But the Öhlins is an improvement, increasingly so as I get the sag, damping compression and rebound dialed in for my weight and riding style. I've made several incremental changes, and each has been an improvement. When I reach what I think are the final settings, I'll have to try riding a stock FJR so I can give a point-by-point description of the differences. I expect to be able to do that by early spring, 2003.

Step-by-step Mounting Instructions

  1. Put the motorcycle on a stand so the rear wheel is clear of the ground. Make sure it won't fall over. If you use the centerstand, you will need to put a 2" spacer under the stand to achieve the necessary clearance to remove the stock shock.

  2. Loosen the original spring preload adjuster by first removing the bracket and then remove the preload adjuster from the bracket. There are two allen bolts holding the bracket on each subframe rail.

  3. Loosen the link arms from the triangle link.

  4. Loosen the shock absorber attchments, first the lower bolt, then the upper bolt.

  5. Remove the shock absorber downwards, through the hole in the swingarm.

  6. Remove the seat and the side fairings (Panels 'E' and 'F').

  7. Loosen the rear brake fluid reservoir.

  8. Remove the two bolts (on each side) holding the passenger peg brackets to the rear subframe. [this step is omitted from the directions given in the Öhlins mounting instructions]

  9. Remove the rear bracket of the fuel tank so that it can be lifted upwards to provice clearance for the rear subframe, when it is pivoted upwards too.

  10. Loosen the upper bolts (two on each side) attaching the rear subframe. Remove the two rear-most bolts.

  11. Remove the lower bolts (one on each side) of the rear subframe.

  12. You will need to swing the rear subframe upwards in order to insert the Öhlins from the right side. Swing the rear subframe upwards and either prop it up somehow, or have an assistant hold it for you.

  13. Insert the lower end of the Öhlins through the right side of the rear subframe, and wiggle the upper end into place. You will have more room to do this if you have the rear wheel resting on the floor (or the stand).

  14. Attach the upper bracket of the shock absorber. Torque to 64 Nm (46 ft-lbs).

  15. Attach the lower bracket of the shock using the Öhlins-supplied bolt and nut. Torque to 40 Nm (29 ft-lbs).

  16. Fit the link arms back to the triangle link. Torque to 48 Nm (35 ft-lbs).

  17. Remount the rear subframe and the rear gastank bracket.

  18. Reattach the brake fluid reservoir.

  19. Reinstall the side panels, and seats.

  20. Mount the Öhlins hydraulic preload adjuster on the left side, in the same holes as the bracket used. The rear-most bolt hold is slotted to make this easier. Use the orignal allen-head bolts, or you may find it easier to replace the rear-most bolt with a conventional 6mm bolt and lockwasher.

  21. Set the sag (using the preload adjuster) to 5-10mm from the fully extended position. Set the compression and rebound damping to suit.

In September, 2005, Jim Moore wrote:

I didn't use a ladder and 2X4 to prop the rear end up. I used a nylon strap with ratchet hooked to an eye bolt in a garage ceiling rafter and the other end hooked to the rear rack. Just positioned the bike on the raised platform so the rear rack was directly under the hanging strap. That allowed me to slowly ratchet the rear sub-frame upward until I had sufficient clearance to slide the new shock in. Used the ratchet to let the rear sub-frame down slowly.

Used a hydraulic jack and small 2X4 block to slightly raise and lower the swing arm to make removal of the lower shock bolt easier. Just relieved the pressure. Same to install the new lower bolt. Used the jack to move the swing arm until the bolt holes lined up on the lower shock attachment point to make installation of the new lower bolt easier.

I did not remove the bracket at the rear of the fuel tank. This step isn't necessary. The rear sub-frame rotated sufficiently without any adverse pressure.

For those who have ABS FJR's you need to remove the two bolts that secure the ABS unit to the bracket that holds the original preload adjuster right after you remove the original preload adjuster switch from the bracket.

The new bracket provided in the Ohlins kit is bolted in place on the right side first with the original bolts. Next secure the ABS unit with the two original bolts (right side).

The new bracket is secured on the left side with the bolts going through the preload adjuster mount, and then through the new bracket into the sub-frame. Two bolts were supplied in the Ohlin shock kit for this purpose.

I noticed an immediate positive difference in the rear suspension during my test ride. Will do some additional tweaking, but I am pretty happy with the results thus far.

Couldn't have done the job without your great instructions.

Jim Moore

Copyright © 2002, by H. Marc Lewis and Dick McWay. All rights reserved.