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10 Best Progressive Suspensions (Updated Reviews) in 2021
Progressive suspensions are still a very hot item in their line of business because everybody and their mother has an opinion regarding their usefulness compared to regular ones. Due to this, our team has gone to great lengths to provide you with the required information so that you can make your own, educated choices on the matter.
1. Progressive Suspension 944-4002UT Ultra Touring Standard Duty Shocks
This is one of those premium products that can make or break your riding experience if you get used to having it. The use of the Frequency Sensing Technology (FST) allows it to be able to adjust the damping on-the-go, providing an optimum ride quality for its entire duration, regardless of the speed. Also, it works great for pretty much all the select 1984-2018 Touring Bikes models.
Furthermore, that Ultra Touring spring combination that you’ve come to love so much not only influences your riding time by providing a lowered ride height but does the same thing while the bike is on the stand, so this is something that should really be at the front of any serious owner’s mind.
Think about it: This lowered stance will be a much-needed improvement when you have to manage your bike in places like intersections or tight parking lots, especially if you’re just starting out or are still struggling with those.
Swinging your leg over the seat has never been easier either, so you can say goodbye to those bad days in tight jeans where you have to struggle for a few seconds.
You’ll benefit from the patented and needed damping technology that does a great job separating the movements of the wheel from the chassis movement.
The progressive suspensions come ready to bear the standard duty of up to 250 pounds, so you should not feel concerned at all about it.
The standard height is also there so it’s up to you to find that sweet spot that will work best.
The instructions that usually come with the package seem to advise on installing the shocks upside down, which is not what most riders do and could potentially cause problems, depending on how open you are to the advice that the company is offering.
2. Progressive Suspension 31-2500 Mono-Tube Fork Cartridge Kit
If you’re looking for a DIY kit that can help you do everything right when it comes to progressive suspensions, then this is the perfect tool for the job. The product comes with a pair of high-performance, gas-charged monotube fork cartridges that can only be made better by the fact that they are joined by a set of quality fork springs.
This product will allow you to enjoy unprecedented front end control and overall ride comfort because it is converting your dual damper rod or damper rod/cartridge fork combination into true cartridge forks. As we’re sure you already know, the kit is a direct internal component that should be able to act as a replacement for pretty much any FLH and FLT models.
Furthermore, the product aims to help you, not the other way around so no modifications to your forks are required in order to get it to work.
You will be sure to notice an improved resistance to your front brake dive as soon as you get on and start the engine after you’ve finished installing it.
Overall, the entire control of your bike should be improved and you will definitely feel it. The bottoming control, the cornering, you will receive the best when it comes to touring suspension performance. Especially corners-wise, it will remove all the wallowing and noise-wagging that were so bothersome before.
The service manual and instructions should be simple and straightforward enough to allow a person with some mechanical experience to install the entire thing without a lot of issues.
The delivery system seems to be quite faulty sometimes and may cause some pieces to go missing which will result in an obviously unpleasant experience. As a result, keep your eyes open when you get the package and you should be good.
3. Progressive Suspension 30-2000 Bagger Brace Touring Link Bolt
Affordable progressive suspensions do not always go hand in hand with great quality but you will be relieved to find out that this one does exactly that. You won’t have to break the bank to get it, it looks very nice, and it is quite the simple installation that you will be able to perform even if you are not the world’s most renowned mechanic.
Tons of riders are looking for an inexpensive and easy-to-install solution to their everyday handling challenges when it comes to their beloved touring models. Furthermore, you can rest assured that it will not hang below the bike’s frame or even intervene when it comes to ground clearance so everything will be as it’s supposed to be.
Furthermore, the simple yet durable design of the product should allow it to work on a lot of models so you should take that into consideration as well.
The progressive suspension should keep your motor/swing arm assembly perfectly aligned with the chassis without causing you to experience annoying and unnecessary vibration in the process.
The forged steel construction ensures the product is a durable one and will do the job it’s supposed to do for a long time.
Furthermore, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the precision rod end bearings and this is a great thing since you can essentially replace them once every few years and always have a stable bike.
Keeping the rear of the bike stable is obviously a very important thing for all riders but it’s essential for beginners, so this is another reason why this product can prove to be so important in the long run.
The only thing that can potentially go wrong with this choice is the apparent tendency to succumb to those vibrations we talked about when the engine runs between 2000 and 2500 rotations per minute.
4. Progressive Suspension 11-1126 18” Fork Spring
While you would surely like to get cheap progressive suspensions, you’re worried about the impact they may have on your bike and your ability to ride it. Since we cannot blame you, we’ve thought to show you this one that represents the best mold between original models and newer improvements.
The original progressive rate fork springs completely absorb the small road bumps which you may encounter yet are adaptable enough to be able to soak up the teeth-grinding ones as well. Also, we know you will enjoy the way spring rates have been used to reduce the level of front end inch dive when you are braking but are still able to offer great ride comfort.
Due to this, we’re fairly certain that if you haven’t done so already, you’ll grow to love several advantages that make progressive rate fork springs stand head and shoulders above the straight rate ones.
The manufacturer used high-quality chrome silicon wire in this product’s design so it should last you a long time and offer tremendous results.
The company trusts it so much, in fact, that it offers a lifetime warranty for its springs, basically saving you from having to worry for, well, forever.
Also, using progressive springs has the advantage of offering a more comfortable ride yet still firmer at the end, when you need it to be, so you should get improved experience and durability out of your bike as well.
For some models, these springs appear to be quite stiff and make the bike act quite odd during curved portions of the road so be aware of this before purchasing or installing them.
Also, they seem a little prone to sagging between ¼” and ⅜” after the first hundred miles or so are behind you.
5. Progressive Suspension 31-2501 Monotube Fork Cartridge Lowering Kit
Sure, it’s quite hard to point out the single best progressive suspension example out there, especially since it’s all the rage these days and there are so many models to choose from. However, we do believe that a kit offering everything you might need is something that any respectable owner would not want to miss, so here you go!
This baby comes with a pair of high-end, gas-charged monotube fork cartridges made better only by the fact that they are joined with a set of fork springs. All of them will do a great job when it comes to improving your overall riding experience and the feeling your bike gives you when you are trying to exercise a little more control over it.
Since “control” is actually the number one word that can be used to describe this kit, we’re sure it’s going to provide you with a great touring suspension performance.
Since this product comes in the form of a kit, you will get everything you need to keep your bike running without worrying about the way the pieces will fit together.
The kit represents a direct internal replacement for all FLH and FLT models ranging from 1997 to 2009, while no modifications to your forks are required.
Using this on your bike will definitely improve the way it feels while it’s being driven, particularly at higher speeds when you have to avoid some serious potholes.
Control means everything when it comes to this product as you will get improved front end stability, improved control when cornering with your bike, improved bottoming control, improvements pretty much everywhere.
While the performance of the product is good, the customer service experience seems less than what you would expect so you should keep this in mind if you ever have any issues with it.
6. XMT-Moto Rear Air Ride Suspension for Harley Touring 1994-2019
It’s late at night and four words keep repeating themselves over and over in your mind: “progressive suspension Harley touring”. If this is the case, we’ve got the cure for you as this product from XMT-Moto is exactly what you will need to replace those stock touring shocks with air ones that have adjustable height so they will allow you to feel as comfortable as you want to.
This is a brand new product the likes of which the market is yet to see so come on and be one of the first of the hundreds of thousands of people who are sure to experience it in the years to come!
What this kit does is that it uses nickel-plated brass high-flow and pressure fittings throughout the entire system, allowing you to lower your bike as much as 2 to 3 inches when all the air is released from it.
When you need the air back in, it will only take a matter of seconds before you are good to go again so speed will never be an issue with this product.
Furthermore, the kit comes with everything you will need in order to benefit from a fully functional and adjustable rear air suspension.
This can be a life-saving product if, for any reason, you lose air pressure because it allows you to still ride with zero pressure without rubbing your tire against your fender.
Installation instructions are included so don’t worry about the “How?” part, even if you are not the most mechanical of riders.
These seem to be some cases of bad luck with the delivery which involved the plastic connectors leaking air from the get-go.
While the shocks are indeed good, the rest of the kit could benefit from an upgrade in terms of the satisfaction it provides.
7. Progressive Suspension 11-1536 Progressive Rate Fork Spring
Progressive suspension shocks have become one of the more popular items of their market due to how good they seem to work, even if some riders simply cannot seem to get behind them. These ones also offer that patented soft initial spring rate for a more comfortable ride without losing the required stiffness when you are nearing the end.
The fact that a regular one only offers linear resistance to compression means that it’s more prone to break down and at a faster rate still. Going with this one, you will greatly benefit from the advantage of a rising rate of resistance to compression.
For instance, a regular suspension, with a 20 pounds straight rate spring will require 20 pounds of force to compress the spring one inch, another 20 pounds for the next inch, and we’re sure you get the point by now so we’ll stop here.
For this product, however, a progressive rate spring with the same 20-pound weight will indeed require the 20 pounds for the spring to compress one inch but then the weight will keep going up until the end of the travel, potentially requiring 25 pounds more to compress that last inch.
The benefit is obvious, allowing the same spring to be comfortable enough at the start while still firm when you need to soak up those big bumps.
Furthermore, this effect will definitely improve your handling of the bike and the way it feels while still retaining OEM geometry.
The high-quality chrome silicon wire should ensure that your progressive suspensions are with you for a long time, too.
The only thing that we found to be potentially improvable here was the fact that some of this market’s customers might like them to be a little firmer but this always comes down to personal preference.
8. Progressive Suspension 412-4020B Black Rear Suspension Shock
While there are some products that actually tell you how a cheap progressive suspension looks like with a mere glance, it is not the case with this one. Coming on the wings of the proven 412 series, the durable design that you will grow to love means that you are bound to see an improvement in your motorcycle’s performance and the way you can handle it.
Review-wise, it can be characterized as one of the better value shocks that you will be able to find in today’s market, its performance and value for money providing a good ratio that is hard to reach by other, similar products. Beginner or not, there’s no way you’re not going to enjoy the double-wall steel body construction charged with nitrogen.
Also, the very sensitive valve ensures you get smooth, consistent, and reliable damping each time you hop on your bike.
Speaking of damping, another feature of this product is the high-pressure gas that is charged to offer a consistent performance.
The looks will also draw you in as you will see a trustworthy, heavy-duty progressive rate coated in a black finish for that extra touch.
Furthermore, the piece comes from the proven 412 series which has proven its worth in today’s market.
Whether you’re a light rider or a heavy hitter, there’s no way you can go wrong with choosing this item.
You’ll finally be able to say goodbye and good riddance to the jumping jack movements whenever you hit a hole in the road.
The only “not that good thing” that we can say about it is the need to check if your model can support the required spring rate before purchasing this product, as this is recommended even though you may be physically able to bolt it up.
9. Progressive Suspension 444-4020B Big Mile Rear Suspension Shock
You’ve been thinking about it for a long time and your mind is all made up regarding all things “progressive suspension Harley”. As a result, you’re quite sure you know which product to choose for your bike and if it’s this one, we are happy to tell you that we agree with you about the choice you’ve made.
What you see here is the next-generation version of the product that has managed to rule the roads proving for more than a decade that quality is always going to win in the eyes of the customer: The 440 Series shocks that have won the hearts and wallets of millions of riders around the world.
Unveiling the breakthrough Frequency Sensing Technology (FST), this product is ready to give you superior performance no matter the road conditions, how hard it is raining, or the obstacles you put in front of it.
The Frequency Sensing Technology is hailed worldwide for its ability to adjust damping on-the-go, allowing you to efficiently get used to the feeling of your bike while you are on the run.
The special top mount threaded preload adjuster is there to make sure you can do some fine-tuning with the mere twist of a cap, making the product specifically fit your needs and no one else’s.
Furthermore, you’ll see that pre-load, the spring is adjustable by hand, without requiring the use of any special tools.
The customer service process seems to be a fault in the delivery chain so you might experience issues if one of the products needs replacing or something of the sort.
While they work great, the shocks can be a little hard to adjust sometimes, even more so without some extra tools on hand so you should take this into account before purchasing.
10. Progressive Suspension 412-4077B Low Buck Rear Suspension Shock
Check any progressive suspension review you can find on the whole wide web and you’ll see that the most important perk most riders can think of on the spot is the fact that it has to improve the performance of your motorcycle. The way your suspension works is critical for how safe and in control you feel when riding it, so getting yourself a good one is imperative.
This product aims to satisfy that need for you as it comes with an all-steel double-wall damper that makes use of multistage velocity-sensitive damping to ensure you have an adequate experience from the moment you hop on and all the way to the end.
Since it comes from the durable and recognized 412 line, this will definitely prove to be a good addition to your bike’s suspension performance for as long as you are going to be riding it.
The nitrogen-charged double-wall is perfect for offering the smooth and consistent damping that so many other similar ones lack.
The five-position cam style preload adjuster ensures that you will have a great experience regardless if you’re a light rider or a biker who likes to be a heavy hitter in order to get the thrill going.
The entire product is, overall, a heavy-duty one that was specifically designed to last you and delight you for a long time, tremendously enhancing your riding experience in the process even if you are a seasoned vet.
Since you are going to enjoy the sheer quality of the item, you can be sure that it will save you some money in the long run.
People with an above-average weight who also consistently use their bikes may come to say that these shocks require changing a little bit too often for their taste.
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
While most progressive suspensions reviews are able to tell you why you should or shouldn’t buy a product, we found there’s a shortage of materials explaining in clear and concise terms how exactly this entire niche works, especially if you’re a beginner rider who is just starting out and does not know how to grasp this entire issue for his or her first bike.
As a result, we thought we’d offer you a buying guide that is focused around making you understand how the entire concept of a suspension works and what exactly you should look for in one. Armed with this knowledge and with the rest of our reviews at your fingertips, you’ll surely be able to make the best choices in the future.
The basics are easy
If one takes a close look at it, the basics are fairly simple to understand, right? Coil springs and compression damping are the factors to take into account when determining how your suspension compresses. At the same time, rebound damping and the same, good ol’ coil springs are the ones that decide how it decompresses.
While you may feel prepared to go out and buy a pair of V-Twin Progressive Suspension fork springs right now, please keep on reading as this is not everything that you have to know and we’re not out of the woods just yet. The complicated part when it comes to understanding this whole mechanism is the rates at which those two things happen.
Finding out the rates and, even more, finding out under what conditions those things happen is the true art in this craft. This is the reason why beginner riders will almost always know and be able to tell when their suspension is good, because they can feel it. When it is bad, however, it’s always hard to point out fingers and figure out a culprit all on your own, even if you can feel it.
Do all motorbikes come with great suspensions?
While most progressive suspension reviews are trying to convince you how good every product that they recommend is, and while that may be true up to a certain point, a famous rider once stated that “the best you’ve ridden is the best you know”. This is because you can read as many things as you want but the only real experience you’ll get is from actually riding the thing.
That being said, some of the newer, late-model bikes really come close to ideal right out of the gates due to the way technology has developed in recent years. If you can Youtube some videos of famous riders on great bikes, you’ll see how even if the motorbike is rolling down with the tires churning up and down, the person on top of it seems completely in control.
The reason for this is that great suspensions, and this is something you should also aim for when deciding what to buy, to make the saddle experience completely different from what someone who is watching from the sides might think.
While we would all like it if we could buy an already-installed Progressive Suspension Harley Davidson, this might not always be the case so this is why, as a rider, it is very important to be able to determine exactly what kind of springs you are going to need and balance that with the type of springs you will need to buy in order to enhance the performance of your bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:What does progressive suspension mean?
While this may be a tough thing to explain, let’s give it a shot and try to make it as simple as possible to understand: while all suspension systems will resist compression more toward the bottom of the stroke as this is the natural thing to do, the difference between linear and progressive suspensions is in the way that this process happens.
A linear shock simply means that the amount of force required to compress that shock will always be a consistent line, regardless of the exact timing when it happens. As a result, if you were to draw a graph showing how much said shock moves when a certain quantity of force is applied, the graph would be a simple, straight line.
The advantage of a progressive suspension, on the other hand, is that the amount of force needed grows as the shock keeps on compressing, but not as a steady, similar phase. Instead, the force required will increase slowly in the beginning and much more rapidly when you are nearing its bottom.
Q: How do progressive shocks work?
While beginner riders may have a tough time understanding this, things are not really all that complicated. Progressive shocks work by “progressively” compressing the amount of force required as the ride progresses. On the other hand, a linear, regular shock will always require the same amount of force regardless of the precise moment during the ride.
While all suspension systems will offer some type of resistance more so toward the bottom of the stroke rather than the beginning as they head toward reaching full compression, progressive shocks make a difference in the rate at which their resistance increases and, therefore, the performance of the entire motorbike.
While linear ones increase at a steady pace, which means that an uncomfortable feeling in the beginning will still be there in the end, non-linear (progressive) ones slowly multiply the required force all the way towards the end of the ride.
Q: Can I install them myself?
As you know, people have always liked to do this kind of thing themselves, especially if they are more on the Do-It-Yourself part of life. That being said, you can definitely install progressive suspensions on your own, as long as you have done something of the sort before and you are not afraid of damaging either them or your bike in the process.
If you fit these criteria, you will be happy to know that most of the delivery packages also come with pretty detailed instructions that should guide you through a step-by-step process regarding the way they are supposed to be set up. If, at some point, you are not sure, there are tons of resources and videos online that can help you past a certain obstacle.
If you are not sure you can get the job done, however, we always recommend that you call a certified mechanic that will do it for you and perhaps even teach you a trick or two in the process.