Friday, June 27, 2014

Morren Motorcycles / Hagon shock absorbers

Below you can read about our visit to Morren Motorcycles and how they helped us sorting out a suspension problem with Hagon shock absorbers, or you can go straight to the Nomad-ADV suspension website.

Update: Despite the good service we've had from Morren Motorcycles  as you can read below, the Hagon shock absorbers simply were not up to the rigours of travelling. Having literally broken two of them in half we had to conclude we needed something much better. We have since switched over to YSS and have not looked back.

Extract from our post 'All our gear after two years on the road, January 2015' Hagon shock absorbers
We have replaced the Ikon shock absorbers on our Bonnevilles for Hagon after a pretty drastic failure of the previous fitted Ikon shock due to a manufacturing fault. Manufacturing faults can happen but Ikon's refusal to honour warranty as well as a general lack of interest to sort out the problem it caused us, made us look elsewhere. We found Hagon through Martin Morren Motorcycles. Rita is the shockabsorber expert and suggested not to take the most expensive one, but the simplest…! She custom made them to our weight and damping preference at no extra charge and the end result is that we now have a suspension system that works far better than anything we had before. The Hagons have a unique damping system that works progressively; soft at little 'bumps' and progressively stronger on bad roads. They really give us the best of both worlds and without the need of endless adjustments. I know it sounds too good to be true, I thought the same thing, but it actually works and very good too. We've covered 23,000 km on them as I write this and the increased comfort is very welcome! Handling has improved too.

Visit to Morren Motorcycles who supplied the Hagon shock absorbers 

Morren Motorcycles has been around for as long as I can remember. It's one of those places that has stood the test of time and has survived for more than 40 years. Marten and Rita Morren sell parts for classic English motorcycles, especially for Triumph twins and triples up to 1983. Real motorcycles as Marten and Rita call them. As a young man growing up in The Netherlands I made the mistake of buying one of the worst 'real motorcycles' ever made: a 1971 650 Triumph Bonneville T120, the early oil-in-frame model. I can honestly say that there hasn't been a component on that bike that didn't need replacing… and quite a few of them more than once! Looking on the net for shock absorbers to replace the failed Ikons on our current Triumph T100s I was surprised to find Morren Motorcycles is still around. Assuming the business would now be operated by their son or daughter, I was proven wrong. They recently even expanded the business!

When the Ikon shock absorber failed and Ikon's warranty turned out to be useless, I looked for alternatives. Bitubo and Öhlins look nice but the fine threaded nut adjusters for setting the pre-load on a twin shock like the Bonneville are perhaps not a good idea in dusty, muddy and salt spray conditions like we have. What I was looking for is a simple no-nonsense shock absorber that can be used outside, rather than just look nice. So I sent an e-mail to Hagon… in fact I sent 3 e-mails requesting some basic information I couldn't find on the website and received no reply to any of them… 

As a visit to the Netherlands was coming up I contacted Morren Import via e-mail, explained what we are doing and that I was looking for new shock absorbers for our T100s. Rita Morren replied straight away and suggested the basic Hagon shock would be our best option. Usually a salesperson will try to sell you the most expensive option, not Rita. She'll suggest what she thinks is the best option for you, which in our case was the most rugged one. She also wrote that they come with a written 2-year warranty that is valid world-wide. 

For some reason shock absorbers come with 100 different pre-load and damping settings these days. Our experience is that we use 3 at the most: solo, solo plus luggage and pillion. The adjustable damping on our Ikons hasn't been touched at all after the initial setting. The most basic Hagon has automatic compression & rebound damping which adapts depending on compression speed. Hagon also offers 3 different dampers: soft, medium and firm, so you can still have them as you want. 

We asked Rita if we could drop in, try a set of Hagons and get them setup for our weight, luggage etc. She agreed and we thus went to the small town of Barneveld, world famous for its chickens. Morren Import is operated from home. Rita has an enormous amount of different springs and damper units in stock and we could literally build the shock absorber we wanted. We opted for a black body and black spring, they are also available in chrome, stainless, top half-shroud, full shroud and fully enclosed. She knows her business and quickly made a set of Hagons for Jeanette's T100 and a different set for mine as I carry more weight (both personally and in gear…). Both were spot on first attempt! As we would be using them a lot and under harsh conditions she suggested polyurethane bushes. 

As the shock absorbers were quickly sorted, we had more time to look at the many classic racing motorcycles they collected over the years. A special Triumph Trident caught my eye… as did a Manx Norton (still one of my favourites)… then I spotted a F1 Norton Rotary…(!) Mind you these priceless and unique racing bikes, each with their own history, aren't in a showroom. They are simply parked in the business, covered in a fine layer of dust, waiting for the next classic race outing. The signs on the wall date from better times, when bikes were still bikes. As I'm writing this Marten and his daughter are in Italy riding the Moto Giro d'Italia. Both are of course on a Triumph! 

Marten's workshop isn't a sterile clean and brightly lid laboratory, like is unfortunately the norm with modern bike shops. Instead it's a collection of workbenches which are permanently covered in tools and parts. A place where you can get your hands dirty. A workshop like it should be. Where you can trip over parts that are strewn all over the place or hit your knee on a huge conrod from a boat. There are dark dungeon like areas with row upon row of cabinets filled with parts for a wide variety of British motorcycles. As you can see in the photos, parts are still kept in stock here. Just look at those handlebars hanging from the ceiling, simply beautiful!

Morren Motorcycles used to be Triumph dealers when Triumphs still came from Meriden, they obviously know their Triumphs. This long history in dealing in British bikes shows in the brands they sell too. All the classic names are represented: Hagon shocks, Lucas, Amal carburettors, Lockheed brakes, Doherty, Gown and Dunstall and Megaton exhausts, Quaker State Oil, Avon tyres, Norman Hyde, Rob North frames, Newby and Hayward belt drives, Morgo pumps, Boyer ignition. They also manufacture special parts for racing bikes for instance.

Morren Motorcycles is one of those places that you simply have to like. A good old fashioned motorcycle shop, just like it should be. Out of the blue Rita even offered us soup for lunch…! The Morrens love motorcycles, particularly British motorcycles, but they have shock absorbers in stock for virtually every make and model of motorcycle. Try them, you won't be disappointed. Contact Morren Import by clicking on the logo at the top of this post.