View Full Version : Do I need new shocks?

6th January 2005, 03:03
I have a 4th owner 00 883 with shocks of unknown origin on it. They measure between 11.5 in. and 11.75 in. from the center eye to eye (bolt holes). I have the low look going on with the front forks dropped in the tree and low profile seat. I really like this look and want to keep it. Problem; even with the pre-load on lightest setting when I sit my near 200 lbs. on the bike there is hardly any compression at all. The least road irregularity is a fairly bone jarring effect. I don't have any sportster friends to compare rides with and am considering something like a 12.5 Progessive 412. Will I lose the low rear end look? Will the ride be any better? Note: when my 135 lb. wife rides with me I finally get a little compression!

6th January 2005, 07:33
The stock suspension on any sportster is pretty much junk. You can try the progressives. If you talk to a tech rep on the phone, you may find that sticking with a 11.5 shock will work fine. I used the shocks from a 1200S (about $150-210 on eBay) and have had great luck with them, but I wasn't looking for a low ride. These shocks are 13.5" I believe. Either ones will ride much better.

6th January 2005, 11:36
Check the shocks that you have now. If they are intended to fit the sportster than chances are that they have been designed with just enough travel to keep the tire from hitting the fender when bottoming out. That means that the shorter the shock the shorter the travel. My 11" progressives have about 1.25 to 1.5 inches of total travel. The stock 13.5 inch shocks had much more given that they are longer. The shorter shocks are going to be harder to move or you are going to cover the full 1.5 inches of travel as soon as you sit on the bike if you wiegh too much. My 11" progressives ride much harder than the stock 13.5 inchers that came off the bike. If they didn't I'd be bottoming out constantly. I usually ride on the softest setting unless I have a passenger.

If you go to a longer shock you will loose the ride height. If you put the stock length shocks back on and install a lowering kit which moves the bottom of your shocks farther out on your swing arm than this might give you what you want. You will have the benifit of longer travel shocks which should give you a smoother ride and still have the lower look you desire. A little calculating should help you find the right lowering kit combined with longer shock lenght to put you back to roughly the same ride height you are at now.
Be careful that you don't bottom out with the softer shocks. The tire hitting the inside of your fender is not good.

I hope this is clear enough to understand.