Excerpt from Harbour HOG Vol.10 Issue 2:
Ouch! The sound of my Heritage Softail rear suspension bottoming out. But why? I adjusted the preload on the shocks according to the specs. I chose my compromise between teeth jarring firmness or the very unsettling bang as you go over a bump when riding two-up.
In my Google research and talking to my Sydney Chapter colleagues, I learned that Harley Davidson made a compromise between the Softail looks and suspension performance. There’s just not that much suspen-sion travel available. Combine that with heating of the oil and gas in a shock on a bumpy ride and the standard shocks start to struggle. They also have a single coil “resistance” over its compression length. Would you choose to ride too firm (aside from discomfort, your wheel isn’t accurately tracking the bumps in the road) or too soft? For me, hitting the suspension bump stops mid-corner scared the s*#t out of me.
My research led me to Progressive 422 shocks. The spring rate varies (hence the name Progressive) from soft to very firm. The cylinder uses Nitrogen gas, which is less susceptible to the effects of heating. You can adjust the Preload, and you can also adjust the height of the rear suspension. While many people may opt to lower their suspension height, I wanted to slightly increase my ride height to give the Heritage a tad more pre-scrape ground clearance. And … the 422’s add more chrome!
I watched Lemmy on Revzilla about 6 times before I ordered the 422’s. I studied the YouTube videos and was confident I could do the install. Still recovering from a shoulder reconstruction op, impatience got the better of me and I asked Les at Harley Heaven to fit them for me. For the cost of 2 shoulder specialist ap-pointments I had the Progressives fitted.
So, what do I think? My ride from Alexandria to home was uninspiring. Sure, it was a little better, but nothing too exciting. The next day I took the Heritage for a run through the National Park. WOW! On that road, the difference is quite amazing. The main thing I noticed is the way it kept the back wheel firmly on the road with no bottoming out. There’s a 45Km/hr corner that seems to just keep going and going…and it’s bumpy. This corner kept me in regular communication with God, especially if there was a Harley-hating redneck in a ute sitting on my tail. I am now turning in to the corner that once had me “clenching” with a smile on my face.
Tip: If you ride Two-up then solo the two-up, and have a bit more money to invest, then the version with Preload remote adjustment would be a good idea.
Progressive 422’s. Expensive? Hell Yes. (Over $900 fitted). Comfort factor: 8/10. Improved Confidence fac-tor 10/10. Worth it? A definite YES.