The Harley-Davidson brand is legendary and revered by many bikers and the Harley Sportster also known as XL is a line of motorcycles produced by this company since 1957. Renowned by most, this brand is tattooed by more people than any other brand making it a way of life.
Chances are you were also inspired by the likes of Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider or by Marlon Brando in the Wild One if you own a Harley. Known for its throaty engine growl, high handlebars, and leather seats, Harley Sportsters like any other automotive needs maintenance. Riding on a highway or city traffic, you would want to keep your bike as close to the road surface as possible. This requires good shock absorbers. Harley-Davidson Sportster always has high-quality shock absorbers from third-parties to handle the sheer power it needs during riding.
In this article, we review Harley Sportster’s best shocks and what it takes to look out for the right fit.
Best Harley Sportster Shocks – A Comparison Table
|Progressive 412-4003B Shock||The body is made of double-wall steel|
It comes with two springs in a set
It's available in a black color
It weighs up to 10 pounds
Its preload position is 5 Cam style
It has multistage damping that's consistent
The design is durable
|Progressive 412-4003B Shock|
|B28-1202B BURLY Shock||It weighs 6 pounds|
It comes in a black color
It can be adjusted to the rider's weight
It’s meant for street and sports racing
|B28-1202B BURLY Shock|
|Progressive Suspension 944-4002UT Standard Duty Shocks||They come with an adjustment wrench|
Has a deflective disc valve for extra shock absorption
Carries a maximum of 250 pounds
Uses Ultra Touring spring combination and IAS technology
|Progressive Suspension 944-4002UT Standard Duty Shocks|
|Legends Revo-A 1310-0959 Adjustable Shocks||13 inches long|
Comes with 6 external knob adjustments
|Legends Revo-A 1310-0959 Adjustable Shocks|
|Progressive Suspension 444-4020B Suspension Shock||Black in color|
Uses Frequency Sensing Technology (FST)
Comes with a deflective disc valve
Pre-load spring adjustment by hand
13 inches long
|Progressive Suspension 444-4020B Suspension Shock
These rear suspension shock absorbers are black and are capable of withstanding extreme weights making them reliable and one of the best on the market. T
hey come with nitrogen-charged, powerful, and quiet long springs that allow them to achieve soft and longer shock absorptions. They’re designed for maximum smoothness and softness when riding.
This stubby 10.5-inch eye to eye shocks from BURLY allows you to lower your position by 2.5 inches which notably improves your ability to maneuver and gives you more comfort at high speeds.
They also come in black color and are preload adjustable to conform with your weight. To install these shock absorbers is quite easy since you don’t have to remove the fork for you to install the springs.
You can also precisely adjust the springs to the motorcycle’s weight. They’re of good quality and include a very soft stroke with a BURLY label on the upper part.
The Progressive 944-4002UT shocks are very appealing to the eyes and work best on touring bike models between 1984 and 2019.
The shocks can handle up to 250 pounds of weight. You can adjust your bike’s height whether it’s stationary or in motion thanks to the exceptional Ultra Touring spring combination.
Also, the IAS technology ensures that these shocks meet your needs when it comes to wheel movement and frame movement separation.
These heavy-duty shocks from Legends are premium and of high-quality, offering you the ‘legend’ feeling while on the road.
These shocks come in pairs with 6 external knob adjustments for effective rebound damping.
Besides, they have an adjustable coil suspension for further optimum rebound damping. The shocks fit several Harley models with the Harley Davidson Street Glides being the most ideal.
The shocks can easily handle both light and heavy riders which mean that you don’t have to leave your luggage or spouse behind.
When shopping for the best shocks for your Harley Sportster, give these shocks a try.
They’re black in color and can seamlessly blend with your bike. The springs are heavy-duty and have a chrome finish that not only gives you unrivaled durability but also, enhanced shock absorption.
With the disc valves, you are assured of further shock absorption enhancement. The shocks automatically sense the bump frequency using a Frequency Sensing Technology (FST) and then automatically adjust the damping.
This guarantees you a superior ride quality. To craft them, simply adjust the spring pre-load using your hands.
Buying guide for the best shocks for Harley Sportster
Before buying shocks for your bike, you need to consider some factors that are crucial in ensuring you get the right fit.
Most Harley shocks are adjustable by a few inches depending on the rider’s height from the ground. Most motorcycles go for a lower height than what factory shocks come with. If you’re short, it’s recommended to go for shocks that can be adjusted by about 2 inches so that your foot can easily reach the ground. Adjusting the height can also provide you with better control and confidence as you won’t have to adjust your foot or push down the kickstand unnecessarily like when sitting in traffic or when the lights turn red. All the brands mentioned can be adjusted but their lengths vary.
The standard Harley-Davidson Sportster shocks may cause discomfort when riding and could lead to moderate or even severe back pain. This can hamper riding, especially for old folk. Look for shocks that will smoothen your ride even the bumpiest to prevent back stiffening and the ones that will allow you to maneuver bends and accelerate without much leg movement.
You’ll either find stiff or soft shocks on the market. Softer brands are better than stiff ones; however, it depends on your preference. The best are the ones in between and if you’re going to be riding alone, then you wouldn’t be needing stiffness. Soft shocks are best for the front since they absorb more impacts without causing you any distractions while for the rear suspension springs, a little stiff shock may offer better performance.
A second person is a factor when choosing shocks for your motorcycle because of the difference in comfort levels and risk like bottom-out taking place. An increased load increases the strain on your shocks when you ride past bumps and even worse when you ride on a poor quality road. You should look out for shocks with a higher weight limit and make sure to get rear shock absorbers too.
This refers to when your motorcycle’s lower part hits the asphalt when you’re riding and occurs in automobiles too. When your shocks are adjusted too low, it’s bound to happen. Some shocks may be labeled going down an inch, which could however be incorrect by an inch or two, or even the opposite. Avoid adjusting your shocks too much if your Harley Sportster is already low and prone to touching the pavement when you’re riding.
How do I install shocks on my Harley Sportster?
Shocks provide support to your bike’s rear, so before you go ahead and remove the existing shocks, support your motorcycle first. You can use a frame jack or something similar, this will make it easier to install though it’s not necessary. Loosen the shock’s mounting bolt using a T50 Torx socket and a ratchet. For the mounting bolt at the bottom, use a wrench to hold the nut while loosening the bolt with the ratchet or socket. When you’re done removing all the springs’ bolts, it’s time to install the new shocks.
First, before putting the shock in location put a small amount of medium strength Threadlocker on the upper shock’s bolt and the bolt’s threads. Then adjust the jack to raise the swing arm to allow you to align the shock eyelet to the shock mount. Go ahead and install both the bolt and nut then twist the upper and lower shock bolts to about 50ft.
What’s the difference between 10.5 inch and 12-inch shock absorbers?
Shock absorbers come with different heights depending on the manufacturers. The difference might not be that distinctive before installation, but after, you may see it in the motorcyclist’s landing height. It tends to affect the maneuvering of bends and speed performance. 10.5-inch springs enhance the bike’s looks by making them lower and sportier. 12-inch springs on the other hand are ideal for riding on good urban roads.
For a smooth ride, what are the best shocks?
The best shocks to give you a smooth ride normally have a height of 1.5 to 12 inches which is small and enough to handle the most unbearable shocks that come with maneuvering around the city. For springs that not only need to be used on urban roads, but taller spring models like the Burly Brand Shocks are also the most ideal since they come with a height of 13 inches.
A good shock absorber is the difference between a smooth and seamless corner maneuver while preserving your back. Vibrations are best handled by shock absorbers with 2 strings or compressed gas inside them. The above review list gives you an idea of the most ideal shocks for your Harley Sportster. They’re affordable and give excellent performance.