Shocks are intrinsic to the performance of a Harley bike, and you need a good one for maximum safety and comfort at rides. Identifying the best shocks for Harley Davidson can be a bit tricky because they are not one-size-fits-all. Each Harley model is unique, and not all shocks work with all models. So, you need a guide to know what shock is suitable for which bike. We deployed different experiments to find a perfect-match shock for every series of Harley, and the result is as under:
Best Shocks for Softail (before 2017) – Progressive 422-4002C
Best Shocks for Softail ( 2018-Up) – Progressive 465
Best Lowering Shocks for Harley – Progressive 412-4080B
Why Did We Choose All Those Above?
Every selection comes from a judgment, and the decision to include a product on the top list for Harley Davidson shocks above was based on careful analysis. Since performance is one of our key issues, we decided to go with well-known, highly rated brands by people who used them on their bikes.
Our focus is to provide you with unbiased information about some of the most reliable Harley shocks. We also focused on brands that have a top reputation when it comes to performance and quality. Last but not least, we tried to figure out the maximum compatibility of a shock to different series and models of Harley motorbikes.
Best Shocks for Harley Davidson – Top Table (All Models)
Why H-D Motorcycles Need Special Shocks?
Harley motorcycles are different from the rest, and they differ significantly in their performance. Naturally, the quality of a shock is critical for optimal performance.
As we said earlier, different models have special needs, so you need genuine Harley Davidson shock absorbers that suit you best. Riders who opt for aftermarket shock absorbers experience a lower performance if not chosen the right one.
Best Brands that Manufacture Harley Shocks
They offer some of the best shock absorbers for H-D motorcycles with high performance and excellent durability. Progressive has been producing suspension products.
This Swedish brand is well known for making high-quality motorcycle shock absorbers with great excellent performance.
It’s a pure US brand selling shocks worldwide, primarily targeting North America. It produces suspensions mainly for Harley Davidson and Indiana motorcycles. Legend Suspensions’ shocks and other accessories are mostly known for the highest-quality materials and innovative yet practical designs.
Burly is also known for its excellent quality Harley shocks. They manufacture everything from shock absorbers to hydraulic lifters, cylinder heads, air filters, engine internals, and carburetors.
Guide to Buy Harley Davidson Shocks
When it comes to buying Harley Davidson shocks, there are some factors that you should consider so that you can have an optimum performance from your shock absorbers. These include the following:
The top models are adjustable to allow riders to change rebound settings depending on their needs easily. You should also go with shock absorbers that you can easily adjust even if they have limited adjustment options.
The best Harley Davidson shock absorber should fit perfectly on any bike of yours without straining it or damaging other components and without adding extra weight to the bike.
Stiffness or Softness
Some models have stiffer shocks, while others have softer ones. Get one that has the right stiffness for your motorcycle to ensure optimal performance.
Shocks with higher weight capacities are more durable and last longer. But, the most important thing to remember is that overloading them might damage them. So make sure that your bike’s weight capacity is higher than the motorcycle, fuel, and rider’s combined total.
Harley Shock Fitment Chart
A shock fitment chart is a type of instruction used by riders to find the right shock absorber for their bikes. This guide from Harley allows you to easily install and use your bike without getting confused about the components that are already there.
You should always have an updated Harley Shock Fitment Chart as it helps you to eliminate any issues that might arise from incorrect installations.
How to Install Shock on Your Harley Alone?
It’s a simple procedure if you know the basics; otherwise, it can be challenging. There are many tutorials available online that will guide you step by step. Some shocks come with instructions that explain how to install them, so if this is your first time, make sure you follow it properly.
It is also essential that you have all the parts together before beginning the installation process. You should not be in a hurry when doing this because it can cause damage in case of an accident, and make sure that you follow proper instructions if available.
You can also ask for an expert when you have doubts or any problem in the middle of the installation.
Adjustment of Harley Davidson Shocks
Adjustments play a vital role in determining how efficient your Harley Davidson motorcycle will be on the road. It allows you to choose the setting that will give you either a stiffer or softer ride according to your need.
Proper adjustment of the shocks ensures that the suspension geometry is correct and helps you ride safely even at high speeds. When adjusting, always tighten the lock nut on each preload adjustment recess to not loosen up and cause problems with your motorcycle later.
Air Shocks vs. Progressive Shocks
Air shocks have been around for quite some time now, but progressive shocks are gaining popularity recently. Both of them work the same way; they just do it in different ways.
Air shocks rely on air pressure to compress and expand, whereas Progressive shocks use hydraulic fluid under immense pressure to achieve the same result. Progressive shocks are already adjusted at the factory to provide the best comfort possible.
How Do Air Shocks Work?
Air shocks work using air pressure from a Harley Davidson shock air pump. You can adjust the air in it to make it softer and more comfortable for you or harder and stiffer if you want a firmer ride. Harley Davidson air shocks are probably the easiest shock absorbers to work with as there is no hydraulic line or any other complicated components to worry about.
What’s the Shock Spring Rate?
The shock spring rate is the amount of force it takes to compress your springs. It can be measured in kilograms per millimeter, pounds per inch or Newton’sNewton’s.
A higher spring rate means less force is needed to compress the suspension and a lower spring rate requires more force. Shock Spring Rates are dependent upon weight and speed. They are not the same for all motorcycles.
Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
The main difference between coilovers and lowering springs is that one adjusts the preload on your shock while the other has a spring rate.
Lowering springs will change the overall height of your motorcycle, which means that it can affect the handling and how your bike feels when riding at high speed.
Coilovers offer more adjustability and allow the bike to be adjusted for specific riding conditions. In reality, the type of spring installed on your bike is more dependent on the bike than the rider’s weight.
How to Upgrade a Motorcycle Suspension?
- Undo the lug nuts on your bike and remove the front wheel.
- Check for compatibility between current parts and new ones.
- Check the Air Pressure of the shocks and drain them.
- Take measurements for the new spring and write a list of the exact process to follow. This way, you will be able to match them exactly with the replacement parts.
- Put on a coat of oil where applicable and replace any broken components.
- Install your shocks springs into their designated spots and refill them with oil.
- Replace the wheel back on your bike, and make sure you tighten all of the lug nuts again.
There are plenty of different opinions on Harley Davidson spring replacement because it is a subjective matter. What one person likes about their ride another may not care for.
This article is only here to help you understand exactly what effects replacement will have on your motorcycle.