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Mountain Rider

Upgrading the suspension

24 posts in this topic Last Reply

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Mountain Rider

I think over the Winter, I'm gong to upgrade the suspension on Black Beauty.  Just changing the fork oil improved it dramatically, but I think some new springs or the cartridges will make an even better improvement.  So, a question for those of you who have changed these out, does replacing the springs or installing the cartridges gut the left fork and make it a twin to the right side?  Having two tubes duplicating the same effort just seems like a better option.  I'm also looking at replacing the rear spring.  I've got my eye on the Progressive heavy duty rear spring, and I've got a spring compressor, so that should make for an easy upgrade.  This upgrade makes sense also because I plan on adding a trailer hitch.  Been shopping trailers so we're a little better prepared and equipped for next years travels.  

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terryj

Dave, you might want to look at the spring off of a 2012 and up, they beefed up the spring on these models. I don't know about the front suspension but I've been planning on changing mine out also. I'll be following this thread to look at the suggestions. 

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pwhoever

Cost wise, I dont think you would go wrong just adding the Progressive fork springs. I was very happy with the improvement I felt and it was a lot cheaper than the monotubes.

 

And Terryj has an excellent suggestion by finding a newer model rear shock and spring. If you can't find one at a reasonable cost, then the Progressive rear spring is a great way to go. Before doing this, make sure to check that the suspension actually starts working at zero otherwise this would be the time to do the reservoir fill so it works as designed.

 

Granted, probably the most popular upgrade would be the Traxxion but for me, I could not justify the cost and feel the upgrade I got by doing Progressive front and rear was greatly improved.

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youngnbald

I have Progressive springs front and rear.  Love them!!!!  I did the mod to the anti dive also.  No issues!!!!  Love it all.  For the money, would recommend over other options and I have no regrets.

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Mountain Rider

I've got the anti-dive deactivated already, so it sounds like Progressives are the cheap easy solution.  

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Mountain Rider

I found a rear shock and spring from a 2013 Wing for $175.  Fair price or not?  I also noticed the newer shocks have a cylinder with a knob attached, which I assume is to set the preload.  Would I remove that and connect the hose to the existing preload hydraulic system?   

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pwhoever

I'm not aware of any knobs on any year 1800's. It may just appear to be a knob. And yes, it should just bolt up in place of the old preload. It is best to get the whole setup as one unit and swap the entire system out. The whole assembly retails new for almost $1300 and have seen it available new for mid $800's so used at $175 seems like a decent price.

 

If it were me, I would still go through the process of doing the reservoir fill prior to swapping it out with the old one just to be sure. It is a lot easier to do now than possibly having to do it later after install. I'm not sure if the 12+ rear suspension was as susceptible to needing it done like the 01-10. Maybe someone with the 12-17 can answer that...

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pwhoever

I think I know what you were looking at. Make sure you are getting the shock for an 1800 and not the F6B. The suspension controller is different and not sure if the shocks will be an even swap

 

 

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Ghost Rider 2

  I did the Progressive front cartridge front forks.  I called and talked to the so called tech people about spring rates and couple questions.  Person sitting a computer reading a script was  no help at all.   I wished I would have never dealt with Progressive.  To do again I wished I would have done Traxxion.  My first hard ride on the Progressive front 5 good tight corners and I knew I had made a mistake.  I bought a Traxxion rear shock. Hope that makes up for my mistake in buying the progressive fronts.

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tamathumper

So is Progressive a brand, or a type of spring or shock, or both?

 

I keep reading reviews on how people upgraded to progressive springs and loved it, or people who upgraded to Progressive springs and hated it.

 

I'm confused.

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pwhoever

Progressive Suspension is the name of a company that provides motorcycle oriented suspension parts. Pretty much anytime someone mentions progressive er Progressive, they all mean this.

https://www.progressivesuspension.com/

Just like oil, the use of car tires or motorcycle tires, disabling the anti dive valve or rebuilding it, you will have opinions all across the board.

As far as forks, Progressive offers just fork springs or the replacement cartridge that Ghost Rider 2 didn't care for, the Progressive monotubes. I have no experience with the monotubes but was very satisfied with switching out the OEM fork springs with Progressive. It greatly improved the handling. I used 10w fork oil. Imho, going with 15w would be too much. I also disabled the antidive valve and have the Superbrace brand fork brace. The anti dive valve disabling is recommended when doing any upgrading on the forks. Also imho, folks upgrading the springs and not disabling the anti dive valve are quite often experiencing a harsh ride due to a stuck anti dive valve.

 

I also changed out the rear oem shock spring to the Progressive rear shock spring. This gave me the upgraded feel that worked out very well for me. I have been all over the twisties in Northwestern Arkansas, the Cherahola Skyway in Tennessee,  the Smokies and quite a few other roads. I never regretted doing this upgrade. I will admit that I haven't tried a bike that has been upgraded with Traxxion suspension parts but since it was out of my price range, it really wouldn't have mattered anyway.

 

So IMHO, anything over OEM stock suspension parts is going to give you a better ride. The choices are only limited by your pocketbook.

 

 

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Ghost Rider 2

  I did the complete front fork rebuild.  As far as cruising down the Interstate bike rides better.  The section separation on pavement is smoothed out a lot.  But that was not what I was  looking for.  I went to Arkansas right after I did it.  I converted my 2014 with 9,000 miles on it.  So my stock suspension was good.  So I was not replacing something that was worn out.  When I got on one of Arkansas better roads.  route 123.  The fifth corner I ran into the suspension let the bike down far enough that I drug the pegs and the belly pan.  I also had installed the extra spacer bushing that was to prevent that.  Have riden with guys with the Traxxion  on same roads at same speeds.  They don't have that problem.   When I called and was asking questions and specificly about their rear spring.  They could not of would not give me any specifications on the rear spring rate of their rear replacement spring. The only thing they would tell me was it was Hi Performance.  I ask to speak with an engineer and was told no.    I had hoped to install a rear spring and all would be good.  But they had no idea if there spring was any different than what was on my 2014 from factory.

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Mountain Rider

I looked at the Traxxion set up, but my budget just isn't accommodating.  The rear shock assembly I found was for a F6B, so not sure there.  Right now, I've got the go ahead from the boss to get the new Progressive front fork springs and a new rear spring, so Winter projects are set.  While I'm in there, I'll go ahead and upgrade the steering head bearings and check the swing arm bearings so everything is happy next Spring.  

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pwhoever

Since you are upgrading the rear spring, it will require pulling the gas tank. It sounds like a more daunting task than it really is. But once you do, it will give access to a bunch of clamps on radiator hoses. Make sure to tighten all the ones you can find as that's a weak spot in the 1800 cooling systems. Check the air filter while you are at it. And also look for the main ground (numerous green wires attached together) that is hidden under the front of the gas tank. Unbolt it and clean the threads the bolt goes in and check for corrosion on that ground harness. Look into adjusting your cruise control if it doesn't engage right away. Mine would have a  2-3 second delay but after adjusting mine, it engages right away now. Just a matter of adjusting the bolts on the cables near the steering head. I'm sure others will jump in and mention other things to do while you are at it. Maybe flush and refill the radiators too...

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pwhoever

Forgot to mention, pay particular attention to the gas tank vent hose on top front of the gas tank when reinstalling. It is very easy to pinch it and then the gas tank will build up pressure, a LOT of pressure, because of the inability to vent. Dont ask me how I know... 😲

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youngnbald
On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 6:37 PM, Ghost Rider 2 said:

  I did the complete front fork rebuild.  As far as cruising down the Interstate bike rides better.  The section separation on pavement is smoothed out a lot.  But that was not what I was  looking for.  I went to Arkansas right after I did it.  I converted my 2014 with 9,000 miles on it.  So my stock suspension was good.  So I was not replacing something that was worn out.  When I got on one of Arkansas better roads.  route 123.  The fifth corner I ran into the suspension let the bike down far enough that I drug the pegs and the belly pan.  I also had installed the extra spacer bushing that was to prevent that.  Have riden with guys with the Traxxion  on same roads at same speeds.  They don't have that problem.   When I called and was asking questions and specificly about their rear spring.  They could not of would not give me any specifications on the rear spring rate of their rear replacement spring. The only thing they would tell me was it was Hi Performance.  I ask to speak with an engineer and was told no.    I had hoped to install a rear spring and all would be good.  But they had no idea if there spring was any different than what was on my 2014 from factory.

 

I had the complete opposite.  With factory suspense, I wore the skid plate off, scrapped the side of the bike, pegs scrapping everywhere, crushed the two exhaust pipes at the front of the bike and handled poorly.  I did the progressive springs front and rear and worlds of difference.  I ran the Arkansas roads with Dave with the wife on back!  Dave rides hard and I never had issues keeping up with him, even two up.  The bike handled awesome and barely scrapped, even two up!  Night and day difference.

 

 

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pwhoever

I'm wondering if there was a defect with the Progressive Monutubes that Ghost Rider 2 used. I have read a few threads on them being defective and Progressive replacing them under warranty with next generation Monotubes. IIRC, they are on their 3rd revision. But the Progressive fork springs haven't seemed to be a problem. The only thing I have seen is that some have complained that they are too harsh. I am wondering how many are suffering from anti dive failure or failed to disable the ADV. Especially in the trike crowd, there have been complaints that the Progressive's were too harsh and that going back to stock springs smoothed everything out. I question their choice because a trike adds several hundred pounds to the dry vehicle weight and can't see how the stock springs can last with all the added weight for very long especially when you then add drivers weight and then possibly a passenger. I was originally running 41lbs psi in my front Pilot Activ tire and 30+lbs in my rear tires. I ended up dropping the front down to 36-38lbs and the rear down to around 22lbs. That smoothed out the ride tremendously and I can enjoy the ride. Even when adding the Aspen camper into the mix, I still get the same smooth ride.

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Ghost Rider 2

My main beef with Progressive is lack of or actually NO customer servive or support.  My struts are the new 3rd generation. Also added the rubber spacer to stiffen them up.  used a Kuryakyn fork brace.  Overall bike rides better and handles well, but still not what I was told or expected it to be.  This was on my 2014 so the rear shock is 100 pounds heavier rating than the 01 to 10 models.  I have in my garage a Traxxion rear shock complete.  I am hoping that with it installed things will improve. 

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tamathumper

I wish my butt was sophisiticated/experienced enough to know the difference.  My 2003, which probably has a whooped suspension at 54K, feels great with the ADV disabled.  I'm not sure how much better it could get.  But again, I know that's attributable to me, not the bike.

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Mountain Rider

Payday's coming, and so are the Progressive front springs. I'll be doing some frontend work in the next week or so, so while things are apart we'll do those. 

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Mountain Rider

What are your thoughts on fork oil?  Belray, Honda, Progressive?  10 wt. or 15?  If I remember correctly, it should be measured at 5" from the top of the tube when it's collapsed. I've got 10 wt. in there now per the Honda dealer. 

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pwhoever

My preference is 10w and yes, 5" from top with fork collapsed and springs out. I have been using Bel Ray just because it was available. Make sure to move tube up and down several times to make sure lower is fully filled too.

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dadztoy

I went with Traxxion springs only...  After talking to them about my riding style and weight, they recommended 1.1KG/MM springs and 15 wt Belray...  I have been very happy with the setup - haven't dome a thing with the rear shock and did have anti-dive disabled for a while but restored it back to stock condition earlier this year while chasing the elusive rear brake shudder...

 

Les

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Mountain Rider

Leslie has been sick and work has been nuts, so I haven't got the oil down the tubes yet.  Procrastinating 101. :sad-face:This coming Sunday and Monday are going to be dedicated to getting the front done.  I'll have the rear spring here in a couple weeks, and plan on doing the stainless braided hose and fluid replacement at the same time.  Add a thorough cleaning for all the grounds and a new air filter while I'm in there, and next Summer should be a piece of cake.   

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