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ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment)

In the BMW K 1200 S the first electronic chassis adjustment function in motorcycle construction celebrated its premiere: ESA. This optional feature enables the rider to adapt the chassis of the motorcycle ideally to his riding style, the load of the motorcycle and the road conditions in question.

Using a button on the left handlebar panel, the rider can vary the suspension and damping characteristics of the front and rear suspension strut. Adjustment is effected in two steps by means of a control unit in the central electronics system.

In the first step, the rider sets the pre-load of the spring mount according to the motorcycle load (solo; solo with luggage or passenger, with luggage and passenger). An electrical motor performs the adjustment function which is only possible when stationary for reasons of functional efficiency and safety.

In the second step, the rider selects the damper setting appropriate to his riding style: here, Sport, Normal and Comfort modes are available. The setting of damping characteristics can also be undertaken while riding. In the front ESA strut, the rebound damping is adjusted, in the rear strut both the rebound and compression stages are adjusted. The actual adjustment is performed by step motors directly at the damper. The electronic systems selects the damping rate which is appropriate for the spring rest selection: thus suspension and damping characteristics are always perfectly matched. Since the rider can combine all three modes for load and riding style, a total of nine different adjustment programs are in fact available to him. A display on the info flatscreen in the cockpit indicates the currently selected program.

The advantage of electronic chassis adjustment with ESA as compared to conventional mechanical adjustment of spring pre-load and damping characteristics lies in the constantly harmonious co-ordination between all chassis components. The rider also saves awkward and time-consuming fiddling with tools: instead he can make adjustments conveniently by a press of the button within ten seconds. This makes it possible to adjust the chassis within a very short time, for example when taking a pillion along at short notice or in the event of a sudden change in road surface characteristics.

With the ESA system, BMW Motorrad gives the riders of the K 1200 S, K 1200 R, R 1200 R and R 1200 RT a convenient, fast and simple-to-operate instrument for optimum chassis adjustment allowing them to exploit the full potential offered by a modern chassis. In this way ESA system, which is unique in motorcycle construction, represents an efficient contribution to achieving more safety and comfort on the road.