Take a look at any review of the Harley-Davidson touring model (and any other model other than Pan America), and chances are you’ll find a couple of sentences about Harley’s amazing choices when it comes to suspension. In particular, the rear shock absorbers. It seems that in order to reduce the seat height as low as possible, Harley has sacrificed the quality of the ride on the back by putting on a shock absorber without suspension travel. Sure, it works, but it doesn’t do the human spine any good.

Fortunately, the aftermarket is filled with depreciation options to significantly improve the ride. The second market also has a few different fork improvements, but that’s a topic another time. Depending on your budget we have options from soft to wild, with major depreciation improvements, to full adjustment to suit your style.

Drag Specialties is synonymous with V-Twin parts, and these shock absorbers are no exception. These modest shock absorbers do not break the price and give you the ability to adjust the height of the road by half an inch. In addition, you can also adjust the preload of the spring. Nitrogen-filled steel single-tube damper housings are made with solid chrome-plated shafts and springs with progressive double-speed winding that ensure a smooth and comfortable ride. They are available in chrome or black, sold in pairs and are designed to directly replace your OEM shock absorbers.

You may know Fox from his long history with all things for SUVs, but he’s also heavily present on the Harley-Davidson stage. The IFP-R QS3 shock absorbers are some of the best shock absorbers that Fox makes for Harley touring motorcycles, whether you’re riding alone or fully loaded with passengers. An internal floating piston separates the nitrogen gas from the shock absorber to maintain consistent control of the damping throughout the ride. The rebound speed switch setting from three positions is combined with the main piston valve, which has been tested for flawless operation in any of these settings.

The FOX IFP-R QS3 rear shock absorbers have been designed to give you the comfort and control you need to ensure that you (and the passenger) enjoy driving miles and curbing corners. IFP-R shock absorbers with an internal floating piston to separate the nitrogen gas from the shock absorber oil will maintain damping control no matter how long you drive. The main piston valve has been reconfigured and extensively tested in a full range of conditions to work in harmony with the new three-position quick rebound switching (QSR) settings.

Three different bounce settings make it easy to pick the right bounce for different driving situations: comfort on a bumpy road, balance of control and comfort “on any road” and a feeling of “sticking to the asphalt” on smooth winding roads. The FOX IFP-QSR with adjustable three-position bounce design – combined with vehicle damping and linear spring velocity – gives you a secure connection to the road, absorbing bumps mile by mile.

If QS3 is more than you need, Fox has two more options – IFP-R and IFP – it still provides better damping than stock, but doesn’t do as much damage to your wallet.

There is another option if you want a lower seat height, but a better ride than the regular – air suspension. This kit from Legend gives you all the benefits of a traditional air suspension, but each kit is designed for a specific model to make it easy to turn on the necessary air compressor. Once this is installed, the switch on the bars allows you to fill the shock absorbers as much air as you want. It works great, whether you’re driving alone or fully loaded to provide exactly the comfort you want.

Some people really prefer to have traditional coil shock absorbers rather than air suspension. Legend has not forgotten about those riders and gives them Revo-A reels. Legend’s method to ensure a better ride with traditional shock absorbers is to use a soft spring, but winding it a few inches longer than a standard spring. Once it is compressed and put into action, a small extra stroke makes a huge difference in terms of ride quality. With an all-aluminum body and adjustable rebound damping, the Revo-A is a great alternative to a standard or air suspension. Oh, and did we mention they were made in the US?

If you do other types of motorcycles at all, you will be familiar with the usual yellow Öhlins springs. However, if not, you’ll be happy to know that the world’s leading suspension manufacturer also offers black springs. This makes sense, because to miss the huge Harley market would be a mistake for the Swedish manufacturer. With the S36DRL shock absorbers Öhlins brings its suspension experience to the V-Twin market.

These blows contain gas and oil separately for long and consistent operation without fading. It’s similar to the technology used in sports bikes racing on the track at breakneck speed, so if that’s good enough for them, well, you know. R in the title means Rebound, as you will have rebound adjustment with these strokes. But the last letter, L, cannot be overlooked. In terms of length, the S36 allows you to change the length of the shock absorber without affecting its travel, giving the discerning rider complete control over the pitch and position of the motorcycle.

If you do not have the desire or need for S36DRL shock absorbers above, then these shock absorbers from Öhlins provide what you need and nothing you do not have. Solidly anodized and precision CNC machined components deliver quality – which is what you expect from Öhlins. The low-friction lugs and the piston rod minimize any tightening that can occur when the shock absorber moves up and down, while the preload adjustment is built into the shock absorber itself. When buying a shock absorber you can choose from a wide range of spring coefficients, so you have an individual ride option. These shock absorbers are completely serviceable and repairable, so those of you who will gain many miles can be assured that the shock absorbers will always work (provided you service them).

Who said a lowered motorcycle has to compromise? Okay, we did, but Progressive doesn’t think so. At least not with 944 FST Ultra shock absorbers. Frequency Sensing Technology (FST), specially designed for comfortable and compatible driving in a lowered position, allows the shock absorbers to feel the frequency of shocks and automatically adjust the damping for high quality ride. These shock absorbers, equipped with progressive springs specifically for Touring models, also have a manual preload controller that can be used manually. No special tools required. There are different types and sizes of shock absorbers that best suit your weight and riding style.

FAQ on Harley-Davidson Shock

Longer shock is better?

It depends. Depending on the bike longer isn’t always better, but when it comes to Harleys, we tend to think so. Mainly because historically Harley has sacrificed the ride quality behind to put the seat as low as possible. A longer shock absorber will raise the seat higher, but if done correctly, it will give your Harley a better and smoother ride.

Which shock absorber is the best?

Again, it depends. It depends on the type of ride you are doing and what you are looking for with after sales shock. However, there are many aftermarket companies that make great hits for Harleys – and Harley’s own parts catalog is also very good. So, consult your desired tuner or dealership to find the best shock absorber for your needs.

What types of shock absorbers give the smoothest stroke?

See question above. In fact, it all depends on your desires and needs. Any reputable pendant company can make a shock according to your specifications.

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