Author Topic: Suspension Thoughts  (Read 953 times)

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Offline Boe Cole

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Suspension Thoughts
« on: October 11, 2018, 07:23:20 PM »
Bike is a 2011 Road Glide Ultra - 23,000 miles on the clock.
I ride in East Tennessee, home of the Dragon and many other roads that are on a par with the Dragon and sometimes worse.  Will also ride to Florida for Bike Week in March.
While riding up here, the bike tends to 'wallow' going around various turns due to the condition of the roads.  Since self funded road improvements are out of the question, I'm thinking about upgrading the suspension on the bike.  Have had good luck with Progressive in the past but am not closed minded as to other brands.  I'm thinking of replacing the spring/cartridges in the forks and putting a good set of adjustable shocks on the back.  The original rear shocks are air and have held up well with no leaks but I think there are better aftermarket solutions.

Suggestions appreciated....  I'm not rich but plan on keeping this bike for a lot longer so a cost effective solution is what I'm looking for.
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Offline JW113

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 07:40:37 PM »
Well Boe, you and everybody else will probably think I'm a total dick for the following commentary, and you're probably right.

If you want a sport bike, buy a sport bike. A 900lb Road Glide Ultra *ain't*. You can give up comfort for a rock hard ride, and yes that 'might' make the bike handle better, and it might not. I've been through all of this several times, and of the opinion now that I'll take a slower pass through the turns over trying to ram a bone jaring dump truck though them. You got yourself a Winnebago. Own it!
 :SM:

OK, bash away!

-JW
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1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline Maddo Snr

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 07:51:33 PM »
You'll get 1000 differing opinions here Boe.

My bike ran Ohlins carts/Ohlins HD159s and it was really nice.

Last winter I converted the 159s to 14" with remote reservoirs and adjusters, up front I fitted WP open chamber carts. The bike rides and handled superbly now but it was darn good before.

Best bang for the bucks IMO would be Ohlins carts (my valving specs are on these forums) and the latest HD159s. 

Lots of folks will support small niche market shock builders but my experience with Ohlins suggest that they offer the best improvement for the dollars spent. Suspension and brakes are money well spent, you use them ALL the time. Peeps on here spend thousands making a bike that handles and stops poorly go even faster, that's something I'll never understand.  :scratch:

I can't support JWs theory, the logical corollary of which is...weld both ends up and ride even slower.  :potstir:
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 10:30:15 PM by Maddo Snr »

Offline Boe Cole

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 07:52:17 PM »
Well Boe, you and everybody else will probably think I'm a total dick for the following commentary, and you're probably right.

If you want a sport bike, buy a sport bike. A 900lb Road Glide Ultra *ain't*. You can give up comfort for a rock hard ride, and yes that 'might' make the bike handle better, and it might not. I've been through all of this several times, and of the opinion now that I'll take a slower pass through the turns over trying to ram a bone jaring dump truck though them. You got yourself a Winnebago. Own it!
 :SM:

OK, bash away!
So true - it is not meant for going fast through the turns and since I'm 71, neither am I....  I'm not looking for a but busting ride but would like to reduce the wallowing going through the turns.  It also will trip the abs brakes when coming to the stop on some of the roads due to the washboard nature of the roads.  Like I said, its East Tennessee....

-JW
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 10:08:25 PM by FSG »
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Offline sfmichael

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 09:53:39 PM »
Well Boe, you and everybody else will probably think I'm a total dick for the following commentary, and you're probably right.

If you want a sport bike, buy a sport bike. A 900lb Road Glide Ultra *ain't*. You can give up comfort for a rock hard ride, and yes that 'might' make the bike handle better, and it might not. I've been through all of this several times, and of the opinion now that I'll take a slower pass through the turns over trying to ram a bone jaring dump truck though them. You got yourself a Winnebago. Own it!
 :SM:

OK, bash away!

-JW


I'm with you - find a way to take 300lbs off and then we'll have something  :SM:

Until then, I'll ride at a fairly mild pace; it's why I switched over to HD's in the first place
Colorado Springs, CO.

Offline rhuff

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 11:12:46 PM »
Well Boe, you and everybody else will probably think I'm a total dick for the following commentary, and you're probably right.

If you want a sport bike, buy a sport bike. A 900lb Road Glide Ultra *ain't*. You can give up comfort for a rock hard ride, and yes that 'might' make the bike handle better, and it might not. I've been through all of this several times, and of the opinion now that I'll take a slower pass through the turns over trying to ram a bone jaring dump truck though them. You got yourself a Winnebago. Own it!
 :SM:

OK, bash away!

-JW

 I won't bash, but you're mistaken.  Yes, it's still a 900 lb bike, but you don't have to have a "rock hard ride."  Buy a set of Ohlins.  From Ohlins.  Get them set up right.  You'll be happy you did. Then, you'll realize the front end needs work too, unfortunately. 

Offline Tail Ridr

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 12:36:56 AM »
Not too sure of the nature of your "wallow", but I think from your description, I would start in the front and maybe consider or look into one of those torq-link set ups and see if it fits as a cure for your ill... :nix:
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Offline PC_Hater

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 02:26:48 AM »
The main problem is poor damping.
I was very happy with the air shocks on my bike apart from the lack of damping and the topping-out on bumpy roads ridden fast.
It IS possible to change the oil in the air shocks. I still have mine in the Progressive Suspension shocks box ready for the day I do it!
The Progressive shocks top-out too, but they do have damping.

For the forks, I found the springs too soft and the damping lacking.
Many choices are available for your forks.
I removed the cow bells and fitted a Custom Cycle Engineering fork brace - special order only for the FLs.

My take on handling is this: my Road Glide isn't a sports bike but when following a BMW touring bike riding fast on bumpy twisty English roads I am NOT slowing down just because of the poor suspension Harley choose to fit.
I can keep up now, safely. Round 2 of handling improvements will happen over the winter. 2002-on swing arm upgrade and the Custom Cycle Engineering top yoke that clamps the fork tubes properly and the longer fork tubes that go with it.

Lighter wheels help but they are hard to find and expensive. The 13lb lighter front wheel and tyre combo I fitted noticeably improved steering and handling.

Your cheapest option is to change the fork oil and the shock oil for something with a higher viscosity and see how you get on. Start with 15W or 20W.
1942 WLA45 chop, 1999 FLTR(not I), 2000 1200S

Offline JW113

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 08:50:19 AM »
I won't bash, but you're mistaken.  Yes, it's still a 900 lb bike, but you don't have to have a "rock hard ride."  Buy a set of Ohlins.  From Ohlins.  Get them set up right.  You'll be happy you did. Then, you'll realize the front end needs work too, unfortunately.

I'm already there, amigo. Ohlins in the rear, Progressive in the front. DUMP. TRUCK. After throwing money at the impossible dream of better handling, now I'm looking at throwing more money at trying to make it a nice comfy ride.

RE: Heavier oil in the forks - So what you suppose that does? It means more force to jam thicker oil through the metering orifices. Translating to slowing down the movement of the suspension. Translating to "firmer ride".

Boe after your second post, I think I jumped down the wrong rabbit hole. What you're saying is how to eliminate wallow or oscillation in a turn. OK, roger that. Sorry for the tangent.

There are reams and reams of information on the topic of bagger wallow, wobble, wiggle. All stems from a combination of weight, center of gravity, to some degree suspension, but mostly a rear swing arm mounted in rubber. Most fo that you can't do anything about on the given bike, except the last one.

Try installing one of those rear swing arm stabilizers, like Tru-Track, Ride-Str8, Sta-Bo, etc. I have the Tru-Track on mine, and yes it definately helps take a bit of the wallow out of cornering.

JMHO,

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 09:29:13 AM »
There is an old thread titiled "Does your motorcycle handle like a drunken camel in a sandstorm?" , or close to that. Pages of issues and solutions to the bagger wobble.
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Offline cpiccarr

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 09:58:04 AM »
I have a 2010 RG Custom recently purchased in NY. Ride is not good with air shocks but ok on smooth roads. Called Progressive Suspension spoke to a tech bought the 444 in 12" like the tech directed. Better , but not near what a dresser should be as far as ride. I'm going to check DEEPLY into Ohlins through Shorty and look into monotubes for the front forks. I'm thinking 13" min. for shock length. I will see what Shorty at Ohlin's says. Good luck

Offline Nastytls

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 10:22:00 AM »
Generally speaking, wallowing comes form a couple of things: poor damping control of the suspension and a chassis that flexes too much. Doing a better job at controlling the wallowing doesn't have to mean a harsh ride, that is an inarguable fact. There are many brands/models of motorcycle that offer good suspension control without translating in to a stiff ride. There are also many different products available to improve the poorly designed HD chassis. The only real questions is, how much do you want to spend in this effort?

Arguing against suspension improvements is like arguing against engine improvements. Why add power, it's a 900 lb boat anchor, not a sport bike... :dgust:

Offline JW113

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 11:37:42 AM »
You are correct sir, many models that don't compromise ride comfort for handling. I think the one thing they all have on commom: a lot more suspension travel than a Harley-Davidson. If you're willing to raise the bike up off the ground another two inches, and add about four more inches of suspension travel then sure, probably ride and handle a whole lot better. No argument.

Keeping the ride height and suspension travel as is, and get good ride and handling, fully loaded and 2 up? I sure would like to ride a bagger set up like that. I surely would.

All I'm saying friends is that I've gone that route, spent the money, and it has never panned out. I'll take the blame and admit it has to be something I'm doing wrong. But I'll also say that I think my expectations were set too high.

Best of luck to you Boe, it's a pickle no doubt!
 :SM:

-JW
2004 FLHRS   1977 FLH Shovelhead  1992 FLSTC
1945 Indian Chief   1978 XL Bobber

Offline ThumperDeuce

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 02:08:24 PM »
Idiots are important, why else would every village have one?

Offline rhuff

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 02:16:21 PM »
I won't bash, but you're mistaken.  Yes, it's still a 900 lb bike, but you don't have to have a "rock hard ride."  Buy a set of Ohlins.  From Ohlins.  Get them set up right.  You'll be happy you did. Then, you'll realize the front end needs work too, unfortunately.

I'm already there, amigo. Ohlins in the rear, Progressive in the front. DUMP. TRUCK. After throwing money at the impossible dream of better handling, now I'm looking at throwing more money at trying to make it a nice comfy ride.

RE: Heavier oil in the forks - So what you suppose that does? It means more force to jam thicker oil through the metering orifices. Translating to slowing down the movement of the suspension. Translating to "firmer ride".

Boe after your second post, I think I jumped down the wrong rabbit hole. What you're saying is how to eliminate wallow or oscillation in a turn. OK, roger that. Sorry for the tangent.

There are reams and reams of information on the topic of bagger wallow, wobble, wiggle. All stems from a combination of weight, center of gravity, to some degree suspension, but mostly a rear swing arm mounted in rubber. Most fo that you can't do anything about on the given bike, except the last one.

Try installing one of those rear swing arm stabilizers, like Tru-Track, Ride-Str8, Sta-Bo, etc. I have the Tru-Track on mine, and yes it definately helps take a bit of the wallow out of cornering.

JMHO,

-JW

You talking about your 2004?  If so, the frames are a joke.  My 2003 has a bagger brace and ohlins.  Better, but pushing it hard and you still have the occasional death wobble in sweepers/curves. 

My front is progressive as well.  My last effort will be (maybe, as I just don't wanna put this kind of money into an inherently flawed frame) would be CCE triple trees and either traxxion or ohlins for front suspension. 

Online PoorUB

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2018, 02:37:14 PM »
Yep, I had an '05 Ultra and it would freak me out at first running hard into corners. Eventually I got used to the rear steer and it didn't  bother me anymore.  I would just be hitting the corner and the rear wheel and driveline would shift over, the whole frame would  do a weird oscillation and go into a wobble but it was predictable so I never worried about. I can understand  why some riders would  freak out when it happened.

My '10 and my '16 handle corners much better but the suspension  sucks. Like others have said you can improve the suspension but it is still is a fat, 900 pound bike!
I am an adult?? When did that happen, and how do I make it stop?!

Offline biggzed

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2018, 02:56:57 PM »
Self funded road repairs may be more cost effective.

Zach

Offline sfmichael

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2018, 06:37:18 PM »
Self funded road repairs may be more cost effective.

Zach

good one  :up: :wink:
Colorado Springs, CO.

Offline sfmichael

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2018, 06:46:22 PM »
I won't bash, but you're mistaken.  Yes, it's still a 900 lb bike, but you don't have to have a "rock hard ride."  Buy a set of Ohlins.  From Ohlins.  Get them set up right.  You'll be happy you did. Then, you'll realize the front end needs work too, unfortunately.

I'm already there, amigo. Ohlins in the rear, Progressive in the front. DUMP. TRUCK. After throwing money at the impossible dream of better handling, now I'm looking at throwing more money at trying to make it a nice comfy ride.

RE: Heavier oil in the forks - So what you suppose that does? It means more force to jam thicker oil through the metering orifices. Translating to slowing down the movement of the suspension. Translating to "firmer ride".

Boe after your second post, I think I jumped down the wrong rabbit hole. What you're saying is how to eliminate wallow or oscillation in a turn. OK, roger that. Sorry for the tangent.

There are reams and reams of information on the topic of bagger wallow, wobble, wiggle. All stems from a combination of weight, center of gravity, to some degree suspension, but mostly a rear swing arm mounted in rubber. Most fo that you can't do anything about on the given bike, except the last one.

Try installing one of those rear swing arm stabilizers, like Tru-Track, Ride-Str8, Sta-Bo, etc. I have the Tru-Track on mine, and yes it definately helps take a bit of the wallow out of cornering.

JMHO,

-JW

FWIW John, Calif Phil says the Revo shocks offer a more "comfy" ride. But they're right up there with everything else @ $900-ish  :dgust:
I can't make myself do it...  :cry:

"Arguing against suspension improvements is like arguing against engine improvements. Why add power, it's a 900 lb boat anchor, not a sport bike."

I'll disagree with that statement...
Engine mods are an almost guaranteed win if you follow the tried and true recipes
There isn't one for suspension I'm afraid...not one that can be truly verified - a lot of suspension recs are one guys says "great" and the next guy say "meh"...on the same type of parts / components. This thread is proof of that.
Colorado Springs, CO.

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2018, 09:47:38 PM »
My indie tried out the Legend Revo shocks, and loves them. He's tried just about everything over the years. He liked them so much, he talked his business partner into them, who also liked them so much, he ordered the Legend cartridges for the front forks. I will get a report back on those soon.
I am seriously considering them, not to solve the wobble, but just to get a decent ride for me and the wife.
Plus, my indie said he'd knock $100 off the msrp. Still not cheap, but at least I buy them after hearing real feedback from a couple of hard riders.
They come in 12" and 13", regular and heavy duty, which is recommended if you normally carry over 500 pounds with passenger and gear.

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Offline sfmichael

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2018, 11:01:57 PM »
My indie tried out the Legend Revo shocks, and loves them. He's tried just about everything over the years. He liked them so much, he talked his business partner into them, who also liked them so much, he ordered the Legend cartridges for the front forks. I will get a report back on those soon.
I am seriously considering them, not to solve the wobble, but just to get a decent ride for me and the wife.
Plus, my indie said he'd knock $100 off the msrp. Still not cheap, but at least I buy them after hearing real feedback from a couple of hard riders.
They come in 12" and 13", regular and heavy duty, which is recommended if you normally carry over 500 pounds with passenger and gear.

 :up:

pull the trigger cowboy  :smiled:
Colorado Springs, CO.

Offline IRONMIKE113

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2018, 05:41:42 AM »
I think any aftermarket shocks will improve the ride,some will have more Adjustments than others,it's not just a simple bolt them on and ride,Especially when going from solo to riding double,I have two different settings for my Bikes when doing this,(a lot simpler on my BMW's)
It's done with a switch,
But even with that being said there are aftermarket shocks and springs for those also,and everyone has a sense in their Azz as to what works or feels Good, Some of us have spent Thousands in this area,There are a bunch out there,Only you will know,,,,,,  :SM: Years back I had a FXDXT in had some good shocks front and back those seemed to work pretty good,I should have kept that Bike,it was a fun bike to ride,but it wasn't a 900 lbs Bagger,,,,,, just sayin 
Good Luck in your Adventure
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Offline Nastytls

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2018, 06:41:50 AM »
I won't bash, but you're mistaken.  Yes, it's still a 900 lb bike, but you don't have to have a "rock hard ride."  Buy a set of Ohlins.  From Ohlins.  Get them set up right.  You'll be happy you did. Then, you'll realize the front end needs work too, unfortunately.

I'm already there, amigo. Ohlins in the rear, Progressive in the front. DUMP. TRUCK. After throwing money at the impossible dream of better handling, now I'm looking at throwing more money at trying to make it a nice comfy ride.

RE: Heavier oil in the forks - So what you suppose that does? It means more force to jam thicker oil through the metering orifices. Translating to slowing down the movement of the suspension. Translating to "firmer ride".

Boe after your second post, I think I jumped down the wrong rabbit hole. What you're saying is how to eliminate wallow or oscillation in a turn. OK, roger that. Sorry for the tangent.

There are reams and reams of information on the topic of bagger wallow, wobble, wiggle. All stems from a combination of weight, center of gravity, to some degree suspension, but mostly a rear swing arm mounted in rubber. Most fo that you can't do anything about on the given bike, except the last one.

Try installing one of those rear swing arm stabilizers, like Tru-Track, Ride-Str8, Sta-Bo, etc. I have the Tru-Track on mine, and yes it definately helps take a bit of the wallow out of cornering.

JMHO,

-JW

FWIW John, Calif Phil says the Revo shocks offer a more "comfy" ride. But they're right up there with everything else @ $900-ish  :dgust:
I can't make myself do it...  :cry:

"Arguing against suspension improvements is like arguing against engine improvements. Why add power, it's a 900 lb boat anchor, not a sport bike."

I'll disagree with that statement...
Engine mods are an almost guaranteed win if you follow the tried and true recipes
There isn't one for suspension I'm afraid...not one that can be truly verified - a lot of suspension recs are one guys says "great" and the next guy say "meh"...on the same type of parts / components. This thread is proof of that.

My comment was in response to the original sport bike statement. You'll never make it a sport bike with the engine or with the suspension but does that mean you shouldn't improve what it came with in order to make it ride better? However, I could easily counter your argument with; what you think is a "guaranteed win" performing HD engine, I may find to be utterly disappointing, underwhelming/underpowered.  Very much the same as the suspension debate.

Offline 76shuvlinoff

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2018, 07:01:24 AM »
Every time I think my 12 Ultra handles like crap I take the shovel for a ride.

Joking aside I have casually looked into the options for better ride from the 12 Fat Bike. Then I get into the self- debate of whether or not I would put the money in a 6 year old bike. I usually ride solo or trail a group. There is seldom anyone involved that will push my limits.

But I keep watching and reading..
Being defenseless does not make you more safe.

Offline Jim Bronson

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Re: Suspension Thoughts
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2018, 11:32:30 AM »
I can only add that I've just about given up on my Super Shox. I've run through the range of adjustments from top to bottom and bottom to top, in 1/2 step increments with no success. Yesterday I checked my tire pressure and had to add a couple of pounds, and it now rides like an old buckboard. I know there are some guys who claim a greatly improved ride with SS, but I'll be going back to my HD premiums for now. At least they have some rebound damping using the RH shock. At this point, I'm pretty gun shy about dumping more money into shocks. :emsad:
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