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I recently purchased a new 2019 RoadGlide Special and intend to ride coast to coast next year through the summer. I'm not sure if I need this but some have suggested changing out my suspension for long punishing rides. I'm 6' and 200lbs, in athletic shape. I intend on changing my seat and will have a backrest for myself, but I wanted to hear from those of you have taken their sharks on some long tours, should I change the Suspension? If so, what would you recommend?
 

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YOU need to decide that after some longish rides. Definitely better suspensions available - but it’s all between your backside & your wallet. Plenty do it with standard equipment & lots of folks decide to upgrade. Not intending a non-answer but it really depends on how well you hold up with your current setup.

Have some fun while sorting it out!
 

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I upgraded my fronts to Progressive monotubes and left the Premium Adjustables on the back. I had no issue with the rears. When I chromed my front I did the monotubes and lowered it an inch. Huge difference in handling.
 

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Short answer is yes. I'm under the impression that HD reduced shock travel to lower the seat height...Tons of threads on here, but Ohlin's and Legends are probably the top two mentioned for rear suspension. On a related note, I'm 6'2 and some floorboard relocation brackets is money well spent!
 

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I'm really happy with my Legend Revo-A's. You will want to throw rocks at the stock setup after you ride a bike with good suspension.
 

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I have a 2017 RGS with about 11,000 miles on it. I weigh in at about 200 lbs. When I first bought it, I was fine with the rear shocks, even with some week-long rides, but this season it became punishing to ride. I don't know if the original shocks deteriorated over that short time or if it's because my spine has less cushioning. At any rate, after reading a bunch of reviews and looking at prices, I installed the Progressive 430's. New shocks made a significant improvement and are a great upgrade in my opinion. I really like riding the bike again. Good luck with yours.
 

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My recommendation is to get out and ride. If you have ever ridden better suspended bikes you will know very soon how bad the rear shocks are on the specials. I lasted 60 miles before ordering new rear shocks in 13" length.

If I were touring I would get 14" length with the offset block to keep the seat height about the same but provide more travel.
 

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My recommendation is to get out and ride. If you have ever ridden better suspended bikes you will know very soon how bad the rear shocks are on the specials. I lasted 60 miles before ordering new rear shocks in 13" length.



If I were touring I would get 14" length with the offset block to keep the seat height about the same but provide more travel.
I agree. I've had progressives on prior bikes. Forks and shocks. I was hoping I didn't have to go that route with a touring. No such luck. It's such an important factor in the ride. Why Harley can't or won't get better upgrades is just dumb imo
 

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For me upgrading the shocks on a touring bike isn’t as much about comfort as it is about handling. IMO a good seat upgrade and back support does more for ride comfort than shocks but, nothing will make your butt pucker more than a rear wheel hop when you hit a bump in the road at 80mph in a curve. Or loosing handlebar control while simultaneously swerving and braking hard to avoid collision. For me it’s about stability and upgrading to a quality pair of well tuned shocks helps to keep your bike planted and alleviate some of those butt puckering moments.
 

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We had almost 45000 miles on our 2015 with air shocks, I refused to spend the $ on replacements, finally had one go bad while on the road, dealer had some 944's available so we did the switch to stay on the trip. $ well spent I wish we had done it 40,000 miles ago. Handeling and rough roads are much different, I'm 6'2 240 wife is 5'2 and 145 we are always 2 up.
 

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For me upgrading the shocks on a touring bike isn’t as much about comfort as it is about handling. IMO a good seat upgrade and back support does more for ride comfort than shocks but, nothing will make your butt pucker more than a rear wheel hop when you hit a bump in the road at 80mph in a curve. Or loosing handlebar control while simultaneously swerving and braking hard to avoid collision. For me it’s about stability and upgrading to a quality pair of well tuned shocks helps to keep your bike planted and alleviate some of those butt puckering moments.
at 7500 miles i changed due to stock shocks bottoming out.

after i got Öhlins 772s i found out how well the bike handled with proper suspension.

they come lowered from the factory for the look, but not the ride.
 

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Not to sound over dramatic, but I don't think the stock suspension is even safe for touring speeds. Minor bumps will literally buck your butt off the seat. Before you take my word on it, adjust the stock suspension as per the owners manual, ride it over a bump or two, and see for yourself.
ANY aftermarket suspension will be massively better than stock. That's why everyone raves about the improvement their "xyz" suspension made. No way my back would hold up on a coast to coast trip with the stock suspension.
 

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I came to a Road Glide Special from a Heritage Softail. At first I thought it was a fantastic ride. Couple of thousand miles of horrible Wisconsin roads prompted a change. I put SuperShox on mine and really like them. I’m 210 lbs.
 

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Not to sound over dramatic, but I don't think the stock suspension is even safe for touring speeds. Minor bumps will literally buck your butt off the seat. Before you take my word on it, adjust the stock suspension as per the owners manual, ride it over a bump or two, and see for yourself.

ANY aftermarket suspension will be massively better than stock. That's why everyone raves about the improvement their "xyz" suspension made. No way my back would hold up on a coast to coast trip with the stock suspension.
Agree . I've hit bumps at speed and literally thought I was going to be thrown over the handlebars. I've tried many preloads. I'm 6' 3" 250lbs. I hate to spend 700 plus on shocks. But I have to get something rideable on. Maybe the smaller lighter riders do well with the stocks. I'm either bottoming them out, or feeling like I'm riding a rigid.
 

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Suspension upgrade

The choice of what to spend your hard earned money on is not easy. Do you spend on function or style first. Put some miles on it and then decide on what needs to be addressed first.

Upgrading to aftermarket suspension isn’t cheap but the return on investment is a dramatic improvement in more comfortable miles in a day, better handling, road contact and more confidence while riding. I put over 20k on my Olhlin’s on the ‘11 RGU and didn’t regret spending the $ for them. I’m currently running Fox on the ‘19 RGS and am happy with them too. Get the sag set up right and all of the aftermarket suspensions are an improvement over stock. The added feature of rebound damping is a plus but most of the time is more than what the average rider needs or can feel a difference on. What is your riding experience and what other styles/makes of bikes have you had? We don’t need to sacrifice performance just cause we’re on RG’s.

If you get a chance to ride a touring model with aftermarket suspension you will immediately notice. A better performing bike improves our abilities and confidence as riders. I’m for spending $ on suspension before making other changes. Best of luck with your decision.
 

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I hate to say it but putting miles on the stock shocks is a waste of time...if your going on a coast to coast ride do yourself a favor and replace the rear shocks first. I tried several and ended up with Ohlins. Contact Smarty on the forum and he will hook you up. He's currently at SW IX but worth the wait. Great guys and fantastic customer service. By the way I've make several coast to coast rides and you won't regret it the Ohlins.
 

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I put the 13” premium shocks, that come on the Road glide ultra, a major difference having an add’l inch of travel. For me, handles and rides fantastic. I got the 13’s on eBay from a Harley dealer, they were a new bike take-off. $165 incl shipping. Can’t beat it. I’m 6’3” 240lbs


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I came to a Road Glide Special from a Heritage Softail. At first I thought it was a fantastic ride. Couple of thousand miles of horrible Wisconsin roads prompted a change. I put SuperShox on mine and really like them. I’m 210 lbs.
Just needed to correct you.... You said "horrible Wisconsin roads". You obviously have never been to Iowa???? lol
 

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I put the 13” premium shocks, that come on the Road glide ultra, a major difference having an add’l inch of travel. For me, handles and rides fantastic. I got the 13’s on eBay from a Harley dealer, they were a new bike take-off. $165 incl shipping. Can’t beat it. I’m 6’3” 240lbs
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I removed the 12" premium shocks and installed the 13” premium shocks on my 2018 Road Glide. I'm 190 pounds and the ride is almost as harsh as the 12" ones were. I believe you have to have more weight than I do to make these shocks ride good. I'm looking for a different solution. For me they are not it.
 
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