On the R, and only on the R, there are reports of rear shocks failing and needing to be rebuild. It’s hard to figure out hard numbers, but there are a few. Just to be clear the issues are of shock leaking oil, broken seals, not broken shaft or “exploding shock” as you can read online.
There is a theory going around incriminating the catalytic converter: it is really hot, and very close to the shock, so it is possible that it is heating up the oil or the seals, thus causing the failure. Some facts however don’t align very well with this theory:
- This failure is only on the R, the S model is not affected at all. If the catalysts were in fact “boiling the oil inside the shock” as I’ve read it in place, there would have been failures of the S shocks as well;
- There is at least one example of a failing shock absorber on a bike with the catalyser removed from day one. Ergo, the catalyser in that case was not to blame;
- As bikes get more mileage, failure rate should have increased. This is not the case, the bikes with failing shock absorbers are all low mileage (less than 2k, very new).
This seems to indicate that the issue is probably not the catalyser but more likely a default on some shocks with a problem from the factory.
I started a discussion thread about it there to try to gather more facts. Thomas Rosenwirth also recommends cleaning up the seals regularly if you ride off road.
Camel ADV sells a product to protect the shock from the catalyser heat that may help keep the shock working temp to be lower.