Paralever/telelever - if it's so good, why only on BMWs?

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Paralever/telelever - if it's so good, why only on BMWs?

If the telelever/paralever suspension system is so good, how come only BMW use it in mass production?

Also, why is it so good? I've read the usual about the front end separating braking and suspension forces thereby making the bike more stable (?) but what is so different about the rear from the more common set up?

Beancounter wrote

If the telelever/paralever suspension system is so good, how come only BMW use it in mass production?Also, why is it so good? I've read the usual about the front end separating braking and suspension forces thereby making the bike more stable (?) but what is so different about the rear from the more common set up?

Weight?

'cos BMW have the patents

Bigger Nige wrote

'cos BMW have the patents

bingoplus they're the only people who have made "odd" ways of doing things work because they're less concerned with huge numbers of sales.actually - the Paralever system was developed (not sure who "invented" it) by Arturro Magni - he developed it for Guzzis initially.

Oh, didn't think it would be that simple So what is so different about the rear suspension? I've only casually glanced at the BMWs parked around and the set up looks virtually the same as on a Hornet for example.Would the system work better for race bikes?

Paralever's simply an extra torque arm running below the driveshaft which counteracts the usual rear-end rise a shaft driven bike suffers on acceleration. It's also used in a similar way by modern Guzzis.Telelever - it's most likely down to weight, as it will always weigh more than a conventional set-up. It is clever though - it's very stable, has extreme rigidity and where a normal tele's steering quickens up under braking and loses stability, the Telelever actually slows the steering because of the only slight change in geometry. Also, raising the front of the T/lever bike quickens the steering. Telever forks operate on a fulcrum, not in a straight up & down fashion.As to this thing about 'lack of feel', well a well-known World Championship endurance racer said: 'The reason there's no feel, is because there's nothing wrong'. T/lever is very similar to the SaxTrack system designed by Nigel Hill and campaigned by Alan Cathcart on the Sax Triumph. Telelever was designed by another Englishman, Hugh Nichol, in 1981. Also, during the Boxercup races, riders were surprised at how late & hard they could brake on the T/levered BM's as opposed to normal tele-forked bikes.It's a good system, is very simple (the geometry's the clever bit) and extremely reliable. No seals to go (the forks contain oil only as a lubricant) and the shock can be changed in under 5mins. It does take some getting used to, but once accustomed it's great.

It's not the suspension, it's the shaft drive.Have a closer look...essentially it has a hinge in it with what looks like a brake torque arm underneath.When the wheel moves up, it doesn't rotate inline with the swing arm like a conventional shaft drive, it stays parallel to the road.Anyway, here's a good descriptionwww.largiader.com/paralever/

Thanks folks, much appreciated

Beancounter wrote

So what is so different about the rear suspension? I've only casually glanced at the BMWs parked around and the set up looks virtually the same as on a Hornet for example.

A classic case of comparing apples and oranges. If you must make comparisons, compare the rear suspension and in particular, the swing arm / shaft-drive set up of a current oil-head boxer, ie a 1200 or of a K1200S with an early air-head boxer or any Moto Guzzi. Then ride an early shaft drive Bee Emm or any Guzzi back to back with a modern Bee Emm. Note the lack of shaft "jacking" when moving off from rest or under torque reversals. The issue is that BMW have refined the whole rear suspension / shaft drive system so that torque applications have the minimum effect on suspension performance and in the process they've succeeded in maintaining something much closer to a constant wheelbase than could be achieved by a simple swing arm.

Bigger Nige wrote

'cos BMW have the patents

They don't. Saxon (Sax-Trac) had the patents. Or more accurately Nigel Hill had the patent - and was paid out by BMW when it transpired that they had 'stolen' the idea 10 or so years ago. Expect more from the R1200 'Hossack' suspension - since at least they waited 'till the patents expired before purloining that (better version) of the idea.

Having looked at it, all I can say is they haven't thought of anything. They've just stolen well established ideas from the car worldClever though.

Schtum wrote

The issue is that BMW have refined the whole rear suspension / shaft drive system so that torque applications have the minimum effect on suspension performance and in the process they've succeeded in maintaining something much closer to a constant wheelbase than could be achieved by a simple swing arm.

Cathcart says it torque steers. Ideally you would have a parallagram with two arms each side and separate from the drive shaft. I think that is more like Magni's design.

FJSRiDER wrote

Cathcart says it torque steers.

Perhaps...but that's only by virtue of the torque reaction and reversal making the bike lean in one direction or the other. What BMW have more or less succeeded in doing is removing the rise and fall of the rear suspension which was caused by the pinion trying to climb the ring wheel in the rear bevel drive of the original solid swing arm models. Now about this trip to Scotland you're planning on making.....

As far as I can see, the 'rise' of the rear wheel is caused by jacking. I.e. there is a coupling between lateral forces (or in this case longitudinal, 'cause the suspension's turned 90' compared a car) and vertical motion. Pretty much exactly as it says on BN's link in fact. BMW have moved towards a double wishbone/parrallel arm (indeed, the name 'paralever' suggests so) type set up to get around this. Exactly as cars did 40-50 years ago.See the Mercedes 300SL or VW Beetle rear suspensions for details.

FJSRiDER wrote

Cathcart says it torque steers.

Crapcart talks thru his cloth cap half the time...

ZRX61 wrote

Crapcart talks thru his cloth cap half the time...

True. I know he did managed to crash an Alligator, broke his ankle and has never published the article....

This post is far too technical.................truth is paralever/telelever is nothing more than a restrucured Zimmer frame, which conveniently is the next step up from a Beemer

But we should all remember that this conventional set-up we've become accustomed to was invented by BMW. So my guess is, that in about 50 years we will have this telelever paralever on our sportsbikes while they come up with yet another idea, that we then proceed to slate and say how good this t/lever p/lever stuff is.

Bikerrob wrote

But we should all remember that this conventional set-up we've become accustomed to was invented by BMW.

It was? ya sure about that?

ZRX61 wrote

It was? ya sure about that?

I don't know any more, maybe im thinking of someone else?! Theres definately doubt in my head now!!

ZRX61 wrote

It was? ya sure about that?

ok not invented , but the first manufacturer to use them on a mass produced motocycle .... i think

number8 wrote

ok not invented , but the first manufacturer to use them on a mass produced motocycle .... i think

Ya sure it wasn't Velocette?

number8 wrote

ok not invented , but the first manufacturer to use them on a mass produced motocycle .... i think

"The traditional telescopic fork came from a 1935 BMW design that included hydraulics. After BMW, Norton developed a similar system in 1939, Matchless in 1940 and Ariel in 1941 (Ford, 1989:65)."From here: splashmedia.co.nz/users/britten/art3.html

ZRX61 wrote

Ya sure it wasn't Velocette?

I've just checked out a history of velocette and can't see anything about them inventing the first telescopic forks??www.velocetteowners.com/history/history.html

ZRX61 wrote

Ya sure it wasn't Velocette?

what they said .... sure it was bmw

Well that was fun

Sure was

FJSRiDER wrote

Cathcart says it torque steers. Ideally you would have a parallagram with two arms each side and separate from the drive shaft. I think that is more like Magni's design.

You mean like the famous endurance racer 'Nessie' from the early seventies?

RiceBurner wrote

bingoplus they're the only people who have made "odd" ways of doing things work because they're less concerned with huge numbers of sales.actually - the Paralever system was developed (not sure who "invented" it) by Arturro Magni - he developed it for Guzzis initially.

Thanks. I thought I'd have to wade thru pages before someone mentioned that

zzzak wrote

You mean like the famous endurance racer 'Nessie' from the early seventies?

Quite.That is a chain drive (Laverda triple powered) bike developed by Mead and Tompkinson in the '70's for endurance racing.

Dirtybill wrote

Thanks. I thought I'd have to wade thru pages before someone mentioned that

And so it comes round. BMW have gone back to a telescopic (USD) fork for their new off road HP2 thingy

Reets wrote

And so it comes round. BMW have gone back to a telescopic (USD) fork for their new off road HP2 thingy

Oi loikes that HP2,very tasty.

Beancounter wrote

If the telelever/paralever suspension system is so good, how come only BMW use it in mass production?Also, why is it so good? I've read the usual about the front end separating braking and suspension forces thereby making the bike more stable (?) but what is so different about the rear from the more common set up?

As a recent convert to BMWs, albeit an old R1100 GS bus I can say this, that even after 3000 miles I still can't get used to the telelever set up. Its not that it's a problem or 'owt, but I just can't get any feel from it?This may well be the apples and oranges scenario as my former bike was a KTM supermoto. But with a lightweight bike like the ktm you can feel twitches and change in travel when lent over etc. For me there is a lot more feedback from the front end coming back through the bars to you. I just don't get that feedback with the BMW. It's vague and I don't feel comfortable with the bike lent over.I am not for one minute suggesting it shite though, as plenty of riders are comfortable with it and as we all know some people can kill tyres on these the same as a good sportsbike rider can on their bike, IYSWIM. The point I'm making is the telelever set up wont suit everyone and if I haven't got used to it by now, I doubt I will.

Of course BMW's are going to have different feedback...from a technical point of view, they have 'proper' feeling. I.e you're actually feeling the steering though the bars. With a conventional set up you're feeling the effect of weight transfer on the suspension geometry for the most part...Just takes time to convert I suppose.

Reets wrote

And so it comes round. BMW have gone back to a telescopic (USD) fork for their new off road HP2 thingy

I think (as you well know) that that is because Telelever is crap off-road and too heavy for a "proper" off-road bike.Hey - no-one ever claimed Telelever was perfect.

Taipan wrote

As a recent convert to BMWs, albeit an old R1100 GS bus I can say this, that even after 3000 miles I still can't get used to the telelever set up. Its not that it's a problem or 'owt, but I just can't get any feel from it?This may well be the apples and oranges scenario as my former bike was a KTM supermoto. But with a lightweight bike like the ktm you can feel twitches and change in travel when lent over etc. For me there is a lot more feedback from the front end coming back through the bars to you. I just don't get that feedback with the BMW. It's vague and I don't feel comfortable with the bike lent over.I am not for one minute suggesting it shite though, as plenty of riders are comfortable with it and as we all know some people can kill tyres on these the same as a good sportsbike rider can on their bike, IYSWIM. The point I'm making is the telelever set up wont suit everyone and if I haven't got used to it by now, I doubt I will.

Keep at it - it took me well over that mileage to feel properly comfortable, and I was coming from a Stiff-front ended ZXR400 - from a very light, very twitchy motard the Telelever WILL feel VERY "remote".But stick with it and you'll get used to it.

Mr. Dazzle wrote

Of course BMW's are going to have different feedback...from a technical point of view, they have 'proper' feeling. I.e you're actually feeling the steering though the bars. With a conventional set up you're feeling the effect of weight transfer on the suspension geometry for the most part...Just takes time to convert I suppose.

For me it's not at the point of braking or release of the brakes. It's more when I'm lent over and riding through the corner. On my KTM I'd feel undulations ripples, drop always, all of these sensations as the suspension travel changes. But I get hardly any of this on the BMW. Ok, the BMW suspension units are adequate at best, but even with an Ohlins set up I'm not sure things would improve?As you say, the BMW set up maybe correct and you're getting true feedback and not geometry changes. But I feel that the geometry changes by suspension travel are what provides at least part of the feedback for me?

RiceBurner wrote

Keep at it - it took me well over that mileage to feel properly comfortable, and I was coming from a Stiff-front ended ZXR400 - from a very light, very twitchy motard the Telelever WILL feel VERY "remote".But stick with it and you'll get used to it.

Oh I wouldn't get rid of the bike over it. It's not that much of an issue for me at all. I'm not a particulary quick rider. The Supermotos were making me a quicker rider due to their lightness and "flickability" and their cofirdence inspiring suspension. I just miss that when leaning the BMW over, especially in the wet.I'm encouraged by your comments that I will get used to it. Mind you it took over a 1000 miles to get half used to the sheer weight of the BMW after the skinny little motards, so I guess the suspension will take a while longer.

Taipan wrote

Oh I wouldn't get rid of the bike over it. It's not that much of an issue for me at all. I'm not a particulary quick rider. The Supermotos were making me a quicker rider due to their lightness and "flickability" and their cofirdence inspiring suspension. I just miss that when leaning the BMW over, especially in the wet.I'm encouraged by your comments that I will get used to it. Mind you it took over a 1000 miles to get half used to the sheer weight of the BMW after the skinny little motards, so I guess the suspension will take a while longer.

Exactly. In a way I was lucky because on my ZXR I was already used to VERY late braking and not much dive (the ZXR400 forks are really very good) so the transition to Telelever wasn't too bad. I totally understand what you mean about the "remote" feeling within corners though. There IS feedback - it's just very different to what you're used to and you need to "relearn" it a bit.

Reets wrote

And so it comes round. BMW have gone back to a telescopic (USD) fork for their new off road HP2 thingy

I wonder what they currently use on their GS singles?Can you remember?

Bigger Nige wrote

Can you remember?

Do I care ????

Reets wrote

Do I care ????

well - obviously a little bit - cos otherwise you wouldn't post provocative little posts like:

Reets wrote

And so it comes round. BMW have gone back to a telescopic (USD) fork for their new off road HP2 thingy

I don't really count the singles as 'proper' BMWs so was thinking of the bigger engines

Four days ago I was hit by a good size buck who was concealed in a ditch while waiting for an opportunity to dash across Bull River Road (Montana) -  I never had any warning, didn't brake - he hit me just between the front wheel and right cylinder head - I was traveling about 70 - I saw him just as he hit me - a millisecond before I would have hit him dead center a second later he would have hit me dead center - there was some fairing damage (several hundred $) - I was not pushed aside nor was there any indication in the front end that I had just been hit - I noticed in my handlebar mirror the deer was violently thrown to the side of the road my right stock mirror was loose hanging on the side from a safety strap I had attached - I sped up to notify my friend to stop so we could check out my bike - I was unhurt - that's why I ride  BMW w/paralever construction - Biull Ouimet

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