Harley-Davidson bikes have earned a reputation for their iconic designs, powerful engines, and smooth rides. One of the essential components that contribute to exceptional riding experiences is the rear shock absorber system. These shocks play a vital role in maintaining stability, enhancing comfort, and ensuring safety on the road.
Rear shocks for Harley-Davidson motorcycles are designed for dampening vibrations, absorbing bumps, and maintaining tire contact with the road surface. They help provide a stable ride by minimizing excessive up and down movements of the rear wheel. Efficient rear shocks not only enhance comfort but also improve handling and control, especially during cornering and braking.
What type of rear shocks are recommended for Harley-Davidson motorcycles?
If you’re a Harley-Davidson rider, you’ll be glad to know that the aftermarket is littered with shock options to significantly improve the ride back there. Moreover, the aftermarket even has different fork improvements. Depending on your budget and other factors, there are numerous types of rear shocks recommended for Harley-Davidson bikes. These types of rear shocks will provide you with basic damping improvements to provide full adjustability to suit your style. Here are the different types of rear shocks recommended for Harley-Davidson bikes –
#1. Stock shocks
Harley-Davidson bikes come equipped with stock rear shocks that are designed to provide a balance between comfort and performance for an impressive range of riders. These shocks offer decent performance in most situations, making them suited for everyday riding. However, riders with specific preferences or those looking for a more personalized experience might opt for aftermarket options.
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#2. Adjustable shocks
Adjustable rear shocks allow Harley-Davidson riders to fine-tune their suspension settings to match their riding style, preferences, and road conditions. These shocks typically offer adjustments for preload, compression, and rebound damping. By modifying these settings, riders can tailor the suspension to accommodate variations in load, road surfaces, and individual comfort levels.
#3. Performance shocks
For Harley-Davidson riders for a significant improvement in rear suspension performance, performance shocks are a popular choice. These rear shocks are designed to provide enhanced handling, better stability, and improved shock absorption. They often feature advanced damping technologies, such as nitrogen-charged reservoirs or external reservoirs to provide consistent performance under demanding riding conditions.
#4. Air suspension
Air suspension rear shocks or also known as air rides or air shocks make use of air pressure to adjust the suspension firmness. These rear shocks offer the advantage of easy adjustability and customization. By adding or releasing air pressure, riders will be able to modify the stiffness of the rear suspension to suit their comfort preferences or accommodate varying loads. Air suspension is especially popular among riders who frequently carry passengers or luggage.
The ideal type of rear shocks recommended for your bike will depend on a variety of factors. It will depend on the type of riding you do, what you are looking for with an aftermarket shock, your budget, and more. With that said, there are numerous aftermarket companies that make great shocks for Harley-Davidson bikes. Moreover, you should consult with your preferred dealership or service center for the best rear shock for your needs.
Are rear shocks from the aftermarket compatible with Harley-Davidson?
Yes, aftermarket rear shocks are perfectly compatible with Harley-Davidson motorcycles. However, it is important to ensure proper fitment and compatibility before making the purchase. When you’re considering aftermarket rear shocks for your Harley-Davidson bike, you must keep certain points in mind such as fitment, quality, reputation, suspension upgrades, installation, compatibility, and more.
You need to verify that the aftermarket shocks are designed specifically for your Harley-Davidson model and year. Different Harley-Davidson motorcycle models come with different variations in their frame, swingarm, and suspension mounting points so it’ll be important to choose shocks that are compatible with your specific bike.
Make sure that you research reputable aftermarket manufacturers known for producing high-quality suspension components. Look for customer reviews and feedback to gauge the performance and reliability of the rear shocks you are considering.
Determine your desired performance goals and consider whether the aftermarket shocks meet your requirements. Some aftermarket shocks offer enhanced adjustability, improved damping characteristics, or specialized features tailored to specific riding styles, such as touring, cruising, or sport riding.
Make sure that the aftermarket shocks come with proper installation instructions and any necessary hardware. It is also recommended that you should consult with a professional mechanic or suspension specialist to ensure proper installation and compatibility with your motorcycle’s overall suspension system.
You must remember that modifying your Harley-Davidson motorcycle’s suspension, including installing aftermarket rear shocks can affect its handling and ride characteristics. It is important that you should thoroughly research and choose aftermarket shocks that are compatible with your Harley-Davidson model and aligned with your riding preferences and needs. Consulting with experts or taking advice from knowledgeable Harley-Davidson enthusiasts can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the process.
What are the most popular brands of rear shocks for Harley-Davidson?
When it comes to upgrading the rear shocks on your Harley-Davidson bike, choosing the right brand will be important. High-quality rear shocks can greatly improve the comfort, performance, and handling of your bike. Here are some of the most popular brands known for their exceptional rear shocks designed specifically for Harley-Davidson bikes.
#1. Progressive Suspension
Progressive Suspension is a renowned brand in the motorcycle industry, offering a wide range of suspension components for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The brand is known for its expertise in designing shocks that deliver both comfort and performance.
These rear shocks feature progressive-rate springs, which provide a plush initial feel while maintaining excellent control during aggressive riding. Their adjustable shocks allow riders to fine-tune their suspension settings, ensuring a personalized riding experience.
Öhlins is a name synonymous with high-performance suspension systems. The company has a long-standing reputation for producing top-of-the-line shocks for various bikes, including the Harley-Davidson models.
Öhlins rear shocks are designed using advanced damping technology, offering superior control and stability. With adjustable compression and rebound camping, riders will be able to customize the suspension to match their preferences and specific riding conditions. Öhlins shocks are a popular option for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts looking for a combination of comfort and sporty handling.
#3. Legend Suspension
Legend Suspension is known for its innovation and expertise in developing premium suspension products for Harley-Davidson bikes. The brand offers an impressive range of air suspension systems that provide exceptional comfort and adjustability.
Legend Suspension’s air shocks allow bikers to easily adjust the suspension firmness according to their preferences or changing riding conditions. With features like onboard compressors and multiple ride height options, Legend Suspension delivers a truly customizable and user-friendly experience.
#4. Works Performance
Works Performance is a respected name in the motorcycle suspension industry, especially for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The brand is renowned for its high-performance shocks that excel in various riding conditions.
Works Performance rear shocks are designed with precision engineering and meticulous attention to detail. Their rear shocks often feature remote reservoirs, which help dissipate heat and maintain consistent damping performance during demanding rides. These shocks are often favored by Harley-Davidson riders looking for superior handling and control without compromising on comfort.
#5. Burly Brand
Burly Brand specializes in manufacturing suspension components that offer both style and functionality. Their rear shocks for Harley-Davidson bikes provide an excellent balance of comfort and performance. Burly Brand shocks often feature a sleek design that complements the aesthetic of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
With different options for preload adjustment, riders can tailor the suspension to accommodate their preferred riding style and load conditions. These rear shocks are popular among bikers who value both performance and aesthetics.
What are the benefits of upgrading rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson?
Harley-Davidson bikes are known for their performance engines that are capable of providing powerful rides. However, even the most exceptional motorcycles can benefit from upgrades to certain components, such as rear shocks. Upgrading the rear shocks on your Harley-Davidson motorcycle can unlock a wide range of benefits. Here are some of the benefits of upgrading rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
#1. Enhanced comfort
One of the primary benefits of upgrading rear shocks is the significant improvement in ride comfort. Stock shocks might be capable but they might not offer the level of cushioning and vibration damping that suits every Harley-Davidson rider’s preferences.
Upgraded shocks, designed with advanced technology and superior materials offer a smoother and more controlled ride. The enhanced comfort will allow riders to tackle longer journeys with reduced fatigue, resulting in a more enjoyable riding experience.
#2. Improved handling and stability
Upgrading rear shocks can greatly enhance the handling and stability of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. High-quality shocks are engineered for delivering better control over bumps, dips, and uneven surfaces.
Rear shocks provide improved tire contact with the road, allowing for enhanced traction and maneuverability. Upgraded shocks will offer superior damping characteristics, reducing excessive bouncing and ensuring better stability during cornering, braking, and acceleration. The improved handling contributes to a safer and more confident ride.
#3. Customizable suspension
Upgraded rear shocks often come with adjustable features that allow riders to customize their suspension settings. These adjustments can be made for preload, compression, and rebound damping depending on the specific shocks chosen.
The ability to fine-tune the suspension according to your riding style, road conditions, and individual preferences is a significant advantage. Adjusting the suspension will allow you to optimize the bike’s performance for different situations such as carrying a passenger, traveling with luggage, or riding on rough terrain.
#4. Increased load capacity
Harley-Davidson bikes are known for their versatility and upgrading rear shocks will further improve their load-carrying capacity. If you frequently carry luggage or passengers, performance shocks or air suspension systems can offer the necessary support and stability.
These rear shocks are designed to accommodate increased weight without compromising the overall performance of the bike. By upgrading the rear shocks, you will be able to ensure a balanced and comfortable ride, even with added loads.
#5. Safety and control
Upgraded rear shocks will not only improve comfort and handling but they will also enhance safety on the road. The superior shock absorption and improved stability will contribute to a more predictable and controlled riding experience.
By minimizing excessive movement and vibrations, upgraded shocks will help maintain better tire contact with the road, improving traction and reducing the risk of losing control. A stable and responsive suspension system will play an important role in avoiding hazards, maneuvering through tight corners, and ensuring a safer overall ride.
What is the difference between stock and aftermarket rear shocks for Harley-Davidson?
When it comes to optimizing the performance and ride quality of your Harley-Davidson bike, rear shocks play an important role. Understanding the differences between stock and aftermarket rear shocks is important for bikers looking to enhance comfort, handling, and overall suspension performance. Here are some of the primary differences between stock rear shocks and aftermarket rear shocks to make a smarter decision for your Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
#1. Quality and construction
Stock rear shocks typically included with a new motorcycle have been designed to provide a baseline level of performance and cater to a wide range of Harley-Davidson riders. While they are generally reliable, they might lack the advanced features and materials found in aftermarket shocks.
Aftermarket rear shocks, on the other hand, are crafted by specialized manufacturers who prioritize superior quality, utilizing innovative technologies, premium materials, and precision engineering to deliver enhanced performance and durability.
#2. Performance and adjustability
Stock shocks are often designed to strike a balance between performance and comfort, offering a generic setup that caters to the average rider.
Meanwhile, aftermarket rear shocks provide a broader range of performance options. They might feature adjustable preload, compression damping, and rebound damping settings, allowing riders to fine-tune their suspension to match their individual preferences, riding style, and road conditions. This adjustability can significantly enhance the overall riding experience and tailor the suspension of specific needs.
#3. Ride comfort
Aftermarket rear shocks are renowned for their ability to enhance ride comfort, reducing the impact of vibrations, bumps, and road irregularities. They are often engineered with advanced damping technologies, such as progressive-rate springs, gas-charged reservoirs, or external reservoirs. These features offer improved shock absorption, which allows for a smoother and more controlled ride.
Meanwhile, stock rear shocks provide acceptable comfort for everyday riding, upgrading to aftermarket shocks can provide a noticeable improvement, particularly for long-distance touring or aggressive riding.
#4. Handling and control
Aftermarket rear shocks can enhance the handling and control of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. They offer superior damping characteristics, allowing for better stability and reduced pitching during cornering, braking, and acceleration.
These shocks are designed to provide improved tire contact with the road, resulting in enhanced traction and maneuverability. This contributes greatly when it comes to increasing confidence, improving safety, and delivering a more enjoyable riding experience.
#5. Customization and options
Aftermarket rear shocks offer an impressive array of options and customization possibilities. Harley-Davidson riders can choose from different brands, models, and features to match their specific needs and preferences.
Whether it is adjustable shocks, air suspension systems, or performance shocks, there is a vast selection available in the aftermarket. This level of choice will allow riders to tailor their suspension setup to accommodate factors like load capacity, riding style, and desired comfort level.
#6. Cost considerations
Stock rear shocks are generally included in the purchase price of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, making them a more cost-effective option upfront. However, if you are looking for improved performance and customization, aftermarket rear shocks will require an additional investment.
While the price tag will vary depending on the brand, features, and technology, aftermarket rear shocks can offer a significant performance boost that justifies the additional cost.
What are the best rear shocks for Harley-Davidson?
As a Harley-Davidson rider, you must be looking for power, style, and performance of the bikes. When it comes to optimizing the performance and ride quality of your Harley-Davidson bike, upgrading the rear shocks can make a significant difference. To help you navigate the market, here is a list of some of the best rear shocks for Harley-Davidson bikes. These rear shocks have garnered a lot of praise for their superior performance, comfort, and handling characteristics. Install the best rear shocks to unlock the full potential of your Harley-Davidson bike.
#1. Progressive Suspension 944 Ultra Touring Shocks
The Progressive Suspension 944 Ultra Touring Shocks are widely regarded as some of the best aftermarket shocks for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. These rear shocks feature a high-pressure gas monotube design, providing excellent damping and control.
The progressive-rate springs offer a smooth and comfortable ride, while the adjustable preload allows bikers to fine-tune the suspension for various load conditions. With improved stability and enhanced handling, these rear shocks are particularly favored by touring enthusiasts.
#2. Legend Suspension REVO-A Shocks
The Legend Suspension REVO-A Shocks are renowned for their advanced air suspension technology and exceptional adjustability. These rear shocks feature a remote reservoir that allows Harley-Davidson riders to fine-tune the suspension with ease.
The adjustable air spring enables precise control over the rear suspension firmness, accommodating different loads and riding conditions. With improved comfort, stability, and customizable settings, Legend Suspension REVO-A Shocks offer a versatile solution for Harley-Davidson riders looking for optimal performance.
#3. Öhlins HD 159 Shocks
Öhlins is renowned for its high-performance suspension components and the Öhlins HD 159 Shocks are no exception. These rear shocks offer tremendous damping performance, allowing for precise control and increased stability.
The adjustable compression and rebound damping settings enable riders to tailor the suspension to their preferences and riding style. With superior construction and advanced technology, Öhlins HD 159 rear shocks provide a comfortable and controlled ride, making them a popular option for Harley-Davidson owners looking for a top-tier suspension performance.
#4. Works Performance G3-S Shocks
Works Performance is recognized for its top-quality shocks designed for Harley-Davidson bikes. The Works Performance G3-S Shocks offer outstanding performance on various terrains. These shocks make use of a piggyback reservoir designed to ensure consistent damping performance, even in demanding riding situations.
With adjustable compression and rebound damping, riders can fine-tune the suspension to match their preferences and specific riding conditions. The Works Performance G3-S rear shocks deliver improved handling, stability, and comfort for an enhanced riding experience.
#5. Burly Brand Slammer Shocks
The Burly Brand Slammer Shocks are designed specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles looking for a lowered stance and improved handling. These rear shocks offer a fixed, lower ride height while maintaining a comfortable and controlled ride.
With a sleek design and durable construction, Burly Brand Slammer Shocks provide a stylish upgrade that enhances both aesthetics and performance. These rear shocks are favored by Harley-Davidson riders looking for a custom look combined with improved suspension characteristics.
How often should rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson be replaced?
If you’re a Harley-Davidson biker, you should ideally replace your once every three years if you want to keep the rear shocks and the bike working at its best. However, the five-year window might also be ideal for most Harley-Davidson riders.
The exact frequency of rear shock replacement for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the model, riding conditions, usage, and maintenance practices. Generally, rear shocks are designed to last for a considerable lifespan of 3-5 years or more. However, wear and degradation might require replacement.
You must consult your Harley-Davidson motorcycle’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for their specific recommendations on rear shock replacement intervals. They might provide guidelines based on mileage or time since installation.
Regularly inspect the rear shocks for signs of wear, damage, leakage, or diminished performance. If you notice oil leaks, excessive play, or visible deterioration, it’ll be an indication that the shocks might require replacement.
The riding conditions you encounter on a daily basis can also affect the longevity of road shocks. Frequent exposure to rough roads, off-road riding, or harsh environments can accelerate wear and might necessitate more frequent replacement.
Proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment can prolong the lifespan of your bike’s rear shocks. By following recommended maintenance practices and promptly addressing any issues, you might extend the interval between replacements.
Personal riding style and preferences can also influence when the rear shocks on your bike should be replaced. If you desire enhanced performance, improved comfort, or specific adjustments not offered by your current shocks, you might choose to replace them earlier.
How much does it cost to replace rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson?
The cost of replacing rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can vary depending on different factors such as the brand and type of rear shocks you’re choosing, your location, and whether you decide to carry out the replacement yourself or hire a professional to do it.
If you’re deciding to replace the rear shocks yourself, you will be able to save up on labor costs but you’ll still have to purchase the rear shocks and any required tools. Aftermarket rear shocks for Harley-Davidson motorcycles can range in price from around $200 to $800 or more depending on the brand and features you’re going for. Moreover, you should consider any additional expenses for specialized tools, such as spanners or a shock spring compressor.
If you prefer going for a professional mechanic to install the rear shocks, labor costs will definitely be an additional factor. Labor costs can vary depending on the shop’s hourly rate and the complexity of the installation. It can cost you anywhere between $500 to $900 or more. It’ll be best to contact a local Harley-Davidson dealership or independent motorcycle repair shop for price estimates specific to your location.
Aside from the rear shocks and labor, there might be additional costs associated with replacing the rear shocks. These can include new mounting hardware, bushings, or other components necessary for the installation. It is recommended that you should inspect the overall condition of your motorcycle’s suspension system and consult with a professional to determine if any additional parts need replacement.
Can I replace the rear shocks on my Harley-Davidson myself?
Yes, it is possible to easily replace the rear shocks on your Harley-Davidson motorcycle yourself. However, you will need to have the basic info and know-how of undertaking this task. Replacing rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson bike requires a certain level of mechanical expertise. You must be comfortable working with motorcycle components, have a basic understanding of suspension systems, and be familiar with the necessary tools and techniques for the job.
It is important to consult your motorcycle’s service manual, which provides detailed instructions and specifications specific to your Harley-Davidson bike’s model. The service manual will guide you through the step-by-step process, including necessary precautions and torque specifications.
Make sure that you’ve got the appropriate tools for the job, such as a socket set, wrenches, and any specialized tools mentioned in the service manual. Moreover, you might require a shock spring compressor if you are working with coil-over shocks. Working on your motorcycle’s suspension involves supporting the weight of the rear end and potentially compressing or removing springs. You should make sure that you take proper safety precautions, such as using a motorcycle lift or stand and following recommended procedures to avoid injuries.
Take your time and be meticulous during the replacement process. Follow the service manual instructions carefully, making sure all components are properly aligned, torqued, and secured. Double-check your work to ensure everything is in order before taking the bike for a test ride.
If you are uncertain about your mechanical abilities or lack experience, it might be wise to consult with a professional mechanic or take your Harley to a Harley-Davidson dealership or trusted motorcycle repair shop. They can offer expert guidance, ensuring that the job is done correctly, and offer additional advice or recommendations if necessary.
What type of maintenance do rear shocks on a Harley-Davidson require?
The rear shocks of your Harley-Davidson bike play a crucial role in providing a smooth and controlled ride. To ensure optimal performance and longevity, regular maintenance will be important. Here are some of the key maintenance practices that you should follow to keep your Harley-Davidson bike’s rear shocks in prime condition.
#1. Visual inspection
Perform regular visual inspections of your rear shocks. Look for signs of damage, oil leaks, or excessive wear. Check the shock body, seals, and mounting points for any visible issues. You should promptly address any problems or seek professional assistance if necessary.
Regular cleaning will help remove dirt, debris, and road grime that can accumulate on your rear shocks. Make use of a mild detergent and water solution alongside a soft cloth or sponge to gently clean the shocks. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish or seals.
Proper lubrication will be important for maintaining smooth operation and preventing corrosion. Apply a silicone-based lubricant to the shock’s pivot points, bushings, and other moving parts are commended by the manufacturer. This will minimize friction, enhance performance, and extend the life of your rear shocks.
#4. Adjust the settings
Certain rear shocks offer adjustable settings, such as preload, compression, and rebound. Consult the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s guidelines to understand how to make proper adjustments based on your riding preferences and conditions. Regularly review and fine-tune these settings for optimal suspension performance.
#5. Seals and bushings
Inspect the seals and bushings of the rear shocks for signs of wear or damage. Damaged seals can result in oil leakage and compromise shock performance. If you notice oil residue on the shock body or excessive play in the bushings, have them inspected and replaced by a qualified technician.
#6. Suspension servicing
You should consider periodic servicing of your rear shocks by a professional technician. This involves disassembly, cleaning, inspection, and reassembly of the shocks alongside the replacement of worn-out components or seals. Professional servicing will ensure optimal performance and identify potential issues before they worsen.
#7. Riding environment considerations
If you’re frequently riding in challenging conditions, such as off-road or in extreme temperatures, your rear shocks might require more frequent maintenance. Adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly to address the additional wear and tear that these conditions can cause.
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