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A Texan
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have searched the archives and found several threads dealing with shocks. I am really tooooooooooooo lazy to glean through all of this information to answer my concerns. You know us newbies and reluctant wrenchers always seeking help. Besides I hate wasting time and money. So I thought I would go straight to the sources for resolution to my dilemma ....

Since the "SUGGESTED" or "RECOMMENDED" replacement milage or time frame that comes from the manuals seems to NEVER be what the actual real world finds is the truth about any part or fluid on the bike I need some advice.

When do you change shocks ?
1) what are the beginning indicators
2) any physical signs you can see
3) does there have to be any noticeable change in handling or ride before it is necessary
a) what are these indicators​

And next:
1) are the Progressives worth it and are they the way to go ?
You read pro and con on this. I have read in threads in just the last two weeks about guys removing the Progressives because of rough ride and reduced feel in handling.​
2) does the model of bike make a difference ? There have been a couple of threads that seem to think so ..​

HELP !!! and thanks for it in advance ....







1st •> :choppersm2nd •> •> :choppersm3rd •> •> •>:choppersm4th •> •> •> •> :choppersm Gone •> •> •> •> •> _____ :choppersm​

1800 Mods / Accessories​
•• National Cycle Switchblade 2up Windshield, National Cycle Switchblade Chrome Lowers •• Clocks4bikes Clock-Thermometer •• Big Bike Parts/Chrome Rear Brake Reservoir Cover, Drive Shaft Bolt Trim •• BrakeAway Throttle Control •• Paladin Highway bar •• Cobra Luggage Rack, Sissy bar & Tribal Insert, Drive Shaft Cover •• Barrel Bag •• Saddlemen SaddleStow Sissy Bar Deluxe Bag •• Willie & Max Windshield bag •• VTXExhaust.com 12" Short •• VTX Master Cylinder covers •• WhyPush "X" Air Box, K&N Filter •• Cycle House side covers •• Biglry & Bones Fuel Management •• Coyote Gas Cap hinge •• Kuryakyn ISO Grips & Throttle Boss, SwingWing Foot Pegs, Dually offset pegs, License Plate Mount for VX 1800C, License Plate frame, Texas Inspection Sticker plate •• Hondaline Chrome Light Bar for 1800C •• HealTech Digital Gear Indicator/eCaddy Accessory Mount •• Cardo Intercom Scala Q2 & G4 •• iPod •• Avon Cobra 200 -130 tires & Dyna Beads •• Tsukayu Strong bags/EasyBrackets •• Ultimate Bigboy driver seat with backrest and passenger seat •• Rivco Tachometer for 1800 C, Rivco 6" risers, Rivco Passenger boards/forward adaptors •• Big Bike Parts Chrome Drive Shaft Bolt Trim •• Gremlin Bell •• Signal Minder ••* Xena XX14 Motorcycle Disc Lock Alarm -- next on list • Tweaked Scotrod Tool Bag mod, Rivco Custom LED Lighted Turn Signal Motorcycle Mirrors, Stebel Horn, Progressive shocks….

750 Mods / Accessories​
Memphis Shades Fats 21” Gradient Black Windshield • Memphis Shades Quick Release Mounting Kit • Memphis Shades Lowers-Black / Mounting Kit •• Cobra Light Bar • Freeway Bar • Sissy bar • Plain Insert • Luggage Rack • Honda OEM Driver Foot Pegs VTX 1800C3 model •• Lazy Rider Small Barrel Bag •• Saddlemen Cruiser Large Tool Bag • Shock Cutaway Saddlebags •• Vance and Hines Cruzer Dual Exhaust •• WhyPush “Tribal Flame” Air Box / K&N Filter •• Kuryakyn ISO Grips • Kuryakyn Throttle Boss •• BrakeAway Throttle Control •• Avon Venom 180 - 90/90 tires •• Robert Doerr Custom Seat Mod with graphic •• ButtyBuddy auxillary seat •• Clocks4bikes Clock • Clocks4bikes Thermometer •• HealTech Digital Gear Indicator •• Phat Riser III for 750 Spirit •• Big Bike Parts Drive Shaft Cover • Chrome Drive Shaft Bolt Trim • Kisan Signal Minder • Kuryakyn Carburetor Jet Kit •• Evoline Wayer Helmet •• Cardo Intercom Scala G4 Powerset-Q2 Multiset • Gremlin Bell • ToolKit • Xena XX-6 Disc Lock Alarm -- next on list • Rivco Custom LED Lighted Turn Signal Motorcycle Mirrors, Stebel Horn….

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• If things continue as they are going - Hopefully I will be Blessed to see Texas as a Sovereign Nation again before I pass •
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Miles: 50,000+
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7,104 Posts
RJ, here are my thoughts on your question, probably wrong, but they are answers, and below you will find my thoughts on the progressives.

When do you change shocks ?
1) what are the beginning indicators

* leaking oil from them may indicate a problem, a rough ride, jolting, but this can also be attributed to worn bushings. If your bushings are oval, buy some new ones. Replacing the bushings can have a dramatically positive impact on the ride.

2) any physical signs you can see

* inspect the bushings and for oil and dust accumalation.

3) does there have to be any noticeable change in handling or ride before it is necessary

* not neccessarily, but, if something becomes unsafe, cracked or damaged mounting points, damaged piston thingy in shock, yea I guess I would replace then.
a) what are these indicators

* I would just continue inspecting the shock and bushings for noticble signs of damage or unreasonable wear and tear. If something don't look right, inspect further.
And next:
1) are the Progressives worth it and are they the way to go ?
You read pro and con on this. I have read in threads in just the last two weeks about guys removing the Progressives because of rough ride and reduced feel in handling.
2) does the model of bike make a difference ? There have been a couple of threads that seem to think so ..

* My thoughts are below on the progressives.
I purchased the Progressive 412 HD's (11" version) about 10k ago. I really wanted to lower the bike to get a much better look, and in my eyes a better ride. Keep in mind, I only tip the scale at 170 lbs, although, my wife and I ride 2-up quite a bit, she only tips it at about 110 lbs. That’s not a lot of weight for the HD (Heavy-Duty) Progressive springs.

Reason I went with the HD set-up, well, I didn't want to bottom out. What I didn't know at the time is that with the R/S/T models you are less likely to bottom out or have any rubbing on the inner fender rail than you would with with the C model. From what I understand some folks are actually running a 10.5" shock with no issues. I also thought since I was lowering it and riding 2-up a lot that it might affect something, I wanted to be more safe than sorry. Hindsight is 20-20, and the standard 11" Progressives would have been more than sufficient for my weight.

Review of product, well???? The Progressives are a great shock, don't get me wrong. Great company, great customer service and a great reputation as far as I am concerned. The product I purchased just was not for me. My mistake. If I would have weighed in at 200+ lbs, then they would have been a lot better, maybe.

The shocks are well built but come with crappy bushings. I don't know why all of our shocks, stockers included, come with crappy bushings. When I ordered replacements for the Progressives I commented to the customer service rep at how they were crap. She strongly agreed and said progressive was aware and has had that comment from a lot of folks. The replacements they gave me were a much different and what seemed to be a stronger material.

The ride of the 412's is okay. It is a stiffer, sportier ride. And it looks killer! I really liked it, but after about 1.5 hrs in the saddle I just couldn't take it anymore. Rides to work and around town were fine. Just don't plan any 600 mile days or you might regret it. Keep in mind though; I did have the Heavy Duty version, and not the standards. The standards will be a little more forgiving.

Look cool, yes. Ride good??? Depends on what kind of ride you are looking for. If you want your bike to ride like a Porsche and be tight through the corners, then go for it. But, if you want your bike to ride like a cruiser and be as comfy as possible I would just replace the stock bushings and go from there. You would be amazed by how just upgrading the stock bushings can make a difference. I went back to the stock shocks and upgraded to the McMaster-Carr nylon bushings. My wife and I find ourselves clinching when we see a bump in the road, go over it, and wonder why we didn't feel it now.

IMHO, the 412's are a good value for what you get. You get a great aftermarket shock with many different riding height options. But if you plan on a lot of long haul riding you may regret the purchase. I would suggest researching the 440's, I have been told they are a more plush riding shock. I also researched the Arnott Air-Ride suspension. What could be softer than air, right? My only concern is the longevity of the system over the long haul, and a possible failure of the system on a long ride. Plus, they come in at $1k.

I hope you find this a little helpful.

Thanks,

Matt
 

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WTF, Over!
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8,338 Posts
I got the 440 stock length progressives for my 1800, and they provide less wallowing thru curves when there are bumps or otherwise road surface irregularities. I like they way they make the ride more sure, as the stock shocks are more for a "plush" type ride, so you lose some handling with them. Had them for two seasons now, and would hate riding my Retro without them.
 

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I got the 440 stock length progressives for my 1800, and they provide less wallowing thru curves when there are bumps or otherwise road surface irregularities. I like they way they make the ride more sure, as the stock shocks are more for a "plush" type ride, so you lose some handling with them. Had them for two seasons now, and would hate riding my Retro without them.
Hi Beastie, you got the standards, right? Or did you get the HDs??
 

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1,353 Posts
I have tried several different shocks. The stock shocks were okay but I wanted to lower the bike. I had them cut down to 10 1/2 inches. Bad mistake. Could have put struts on and it would have rode the same. I then got a set of 11" HD Progressives. Much better but it still wasn't the ride I wanted. I got a set of 11 1/2" HD Progressive shocks and that was the ticket. It made the bike ride a hundred times better and helped the handling. I had already added the Progressive front springs and with the 11 1/2" shocks it was the perfect set up for me. I highly recommend the Progressive shocks but you need to buy a set that is designed for your weight.
 

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A Texan
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4,365 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
OK - I am in total gridlock on this decision. Dumping a minimum of $425.00 on rear shocks and around $90.00 on the front springs without being comfortable with the outlay is just not in my nature.

I have researched and am still unsure. More pros and cons on the cafe, vtxoa, and a couple more.

The “X” standard shock is 12.25” so the nearest Progressive in the 430 HD is the 12.00”. There information and purchasing suggestions say:

Heavy Duty Applications are recommended for bikes that are operated at or near the manufacturer’s maximum load rating over 50% of the time.
Further research says the VTX 1800C has a dry weight of 734 pounds. The recommended load capacity is 413 pounds. So out came the calculator.

Weight above the dry weight.

Full Fuel Tank …………...….. 22.5 pounds
Other fluids …………...………… 5.0 pounds
Chrome & accessories …. 100.0 pounds ( minimum )

That’s an additional 127.5 pounds. So on the safe side I’ll just round that up to 130. So I am already down to 283 pounds of load capacity before my happy little rear, gear, and traveling load get aboard not to mention a passenger.

So pre-crank weight of my bike on the kick stand is 864 pounds.

My dry weight is 229 which we will round to 230. I am sure by the time I add boots, chaps, coat, gloves and helmet you can bump that to 240.

Now I am down to 43 pounds of total load capacity remaining.

That leaves the Saddlemen Touring bag loaded, the Tsukayu hard bags loaded, the barrel bag loaded or a midget passenger to add. From the looks of this analysis I need two sets of shocks for the back. LOL

All of the above leading to this. I think overall I have really gleaned more negative on the rough ride of the HD shocks - but it bears out that I am within 40-50 pounds of load limit in my just grab the bike and go daily riding load.

So are the OEM shocks close to an HD level or closer to a standard ? This seems to me to be a question to be answered in making an intelligent choice here.

It looks like there is no real choice to get the standard Progressive because of the weight needs of the “X”.

I know riders overload their bikes to the "gills" and talk of no trouble. They don't live in my Murphy's law world. So I am trying to do this as right as possible. Not a big risk taker when it comes to my pocketbook and my flesh scrapping the ground.

Thanks everyone for weighing in but I am still :icon_conf..confused..:icon_conf ….. Any more help would be appreciated.
 
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