Changing the Front Shock on a K1200RS
by Deryle Mehrten
Last month I changed out the rear shock on my ‘98 K1200RS. This month I swapped out the front shock.
Just getting to the front shock is the name of the game here. And once to it, getting it out of the front fork trailing arm is a tight squeeze.
First, remove the belly pan and both side fairings. Next remove the gas tank. I installed trick gas line fittings that make the gas tank removal much easier. Then remove the left air duct. Picture 1 indicates the screws that hold the left air duct on. I mounted dual horns behind the air ducts that I also removed to allow clear access to the shock.
Removing the front wheel, which requires unbolting the front brake calipers, and the front fender finishes off the body parts removal. You will need a small jack or lift to hold the front of the bike up.
Per the shop manual for the K1200RS the upper radiator hose should be removed. I was able to get around this by unbolting the front brake lines clamps. There are two clamps located on the back side of each of the front fork tubes and one on the upper frame. See Picture 2 and 3. By loosing these clamps the front forks will drop low enough for the shock to pull out without removing the radiator hose. It helps to hang the brake calipers from the bike using bungee cords.
Unbolt the bottom shock bolt first. The front trailing arm will want to drop down out of the way. Then remove the top shock nut. The shock has to come down far enough to clear the top radiator hose. With the brake lines unclamped the front trailing arm should go down far enough to all the shock to pull out.
Reassemble in the reverse order with the new shock. Be sure to tighten the three brake line clamps—one on each front fork leg and one on the frame.
The job of removing and installing the front shock took about twice as long as replacing the rear shock just because of all the body work and other parts that need to be moved out of the way.