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Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Suspension, Frame, Forks, Handlebars, Fuel Tank, Oil Tank, Fenders problems, advice, and/or how tos.

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  #1  
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Default Rebuild shocks? Or buy new?

Hello everyone, I have some questions regarding the rear shocks on our sportsters. I have almost 90k miles on my bike and have replaced my stock shocks at 50k miles for another set of stock Harley shocks made for 2 up/Touring. I have noticed that the newer shocks have started to get softer and will probably last another 10k before I want to replace them. So for me purchasing new shocks every 50k miles for about $200 doesn't seem to bad.

I am wondering though what part is wearing out on these shocks? Is it the spring is getting soft after all the miles? Or is it the valving in the shocks that are wearing out?

Reason I want to know is if I were to purchase an aftermarket set of shocks, would I be able to get them rebuilt or is it just replace with a new set when they wear out?

Thanks in advance and here is a picture of the bike on a camping trip in Utah a few weeks ago.




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I am surprised someone replaced an OEM set of shocks with another OEM set (when if that's the "upgraded" touring ones).

Big generalizations, but usually lower end aftermarket are not rebuildable, while higher end stuff can be rebuilt.

If I were to take a swag off the top of my head I'd say you're talking about say shocks through about $400 won't be rebuildable, while stuff in the $600-1000+ range can be.

If I were to take another swag, if you're still running OEM height shocks, you're not interested in Ohlins. But you might find a set of aftermarket shocks for reasonable money that lasts longer AND improves overall ride/handling.

Hell I have a set of Progressive 412's that were on my Guzzi Jackal for ~30k miles before they were moved over to my Sporty XLr for the last I dunno maybe 20k (and we are talking total service so far of more than 10 years too) that are still fine.

That's probably what I'd suggest... Consider lower end aftermarket (Progressive, Ikon, Hagon, etc.).
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Thanks for the reply Bone.

Right now I am running the "low" OEM style shocks since I have an Iron. However I have been reading a lot of suspension threads on here especially the 7 pages thread 1 and 2. This started the wheels in my head to spin. When I get to 100k miles which will probably be early next year, I want to upgrade my suspension and give the bike a nice OEM+ feel. I will be going with more of the standard Sportster stance with 13" shocks and full length front forks.

But this is where most of my questions come up. Will it be worth it to me to purchase shocks that can be rebuilt? I guess that depends on how much it cost to rebuild a set.

Or would I be just as happy running a standard length OEM set of shocks?

I'm not looking for sport bike handling so I can drag my knees. However, more lean angle would not be a bad thing. Also it would definitely be more comfortable than what I have now I am sure of that.

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Its the Gas/oil cartridge that wears out. Some are rebuildable, most not. From a practical standpoint, like Bones said, it much easier to replace unless you buy high end stuff.
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Progressive fan here, 430s are good value shocks that are a huge improvement in handling & comfort
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Switched to the Progessive 440’s over 16 years ago, were a great improvement over stock and some aftermarket from back in the day. Now run their 444’s which, have replaced the 440’s,are even better. Best of all these both came with lifetime warranty’s. Some years back I sent the 440’s back for service and Progressive upgraded me to 444’s at no cost. My costs over the years have reduced my costs down to entry level shock costs, a plus for me.
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Hey SportsterPaul, do you know if Progressive still offers the lifetime warranty? Is it a no questions asked kind of deal or just against manufacturer defects?

Thanks for the great info everyone

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They offer lifetime warranty on the better grade shocks. When I’ve noticed excessive spring sag and or seal leakage I’ve been able to return them for service, the cost to ship to them was on me, refurbishing and return postage on them. The shock model upgrade was their decision. Oh, I’ve put well over 300,000 miles on my 3 Sportsters in 17 years so I very much appreciate this kind of service.
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Well that definitely sounds like a great deal to me. I like to put miles on my Sporty and this should make it even more enjoyable.

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I went with Ohlins. Customer service is really good.
Rebuildable almost forever.
However, now thinking of going monoshock, leaving a lot of life in my old shocks.
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