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Earthbound for good.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for a less-choppy ride for not a ton of money. I looked at the 412 Progressives but it looks like they drop the rear three to four inches. I don't want to go more than two to avoid bottoming out. I know some here are running these, any bottoming? Other choices for similar money? Thanks.
 

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Drop the rear ? Why -? the great thing about an R model is the suspension - have you checked your pre-load setting ? Mines on #4 and with wifey it's perfect. When she's not there it's perfect too as it's just stiffer enough to compensate for the increased speed I'm going to generate. Going to shorter shocks is just going in the wrong direction, IMHO. They make longer shoe heels, go that way before you short the shocks and increase the front rake, and remove from an R what it's really all about - the best steering V Rod out there for twisties !
 

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Departed the Fix.
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This worked very well for my R with no change in ride height:

Front:
- RaceTech Gold Valve fork kit (FMGV-S2050C)
- RaceTech fork springs (FRFP-S3827090)
- Maxima 20-weight fork oil

Rear:
- Works Performance Street Tracker rear shocks
 

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Earthbound for good.
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not necessarily looking to lower the bike, just looking for a less harsh ride. 10 miles of every ride is on gravel canyon roads with embedded rocks and potholes and ruts. I'm all of 160 pounds so not taxing the suspension at all. I love this thing and won't trade it for a bagger, fat/low/medium boy, or any other HD types. I can live with the suspension as is. Thanks all.
 

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Shocking costs !

If that's the case flyday 58 contact Race Tech - they ( and other shock co's Penske, Ohlins, Progressive etc. ) will build you a set of custom length shocks as the stock are 15.75+" which is a couple inches longer than standard H-D and even V Rod shocks. If there ever was a guy who is needing speed sensitive valve compression damping it's probably you. The stock rear shocks are OK for smooth roads but somewhat resistant to the need for sudden compression caused by potholes, rocks, elevation changes in pavement etc. that's where the superior shocks work better by " popping off " the compression damping to allow for sudden movement to absorb fast hits to the rear wheel. Bring $, cheapest set is around $650 to $1500 with piggyback reservoirs !! In the meantime twist your pre-load down to #1 or #2 for a softer sag setting, better ride on chop. Longer than 16.25 " or so the bottom of the swingarm will hit the lower tank ,shorter than probably 15.25 or (>3.75"to 4" travel on a 15.75" shock) the top of the swingarm will hit the tank. Swingarm mounted early V Rod pax footpeg brackets will hit the tank without clearance grinding them with the stock shocks bottomed. Race Tech has a great order form for this and leverage ratio's, rider weight etc. I'm looking fwd to buying a set soon as I can. Good luck & ride safe on that bad road ! :blahblah: :D
 

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Earthbound for good.
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the heavy dose of info, just what I was looking for. Dialed the preload all the way down after the 1st 20-mile ride. Still rattles my ancient teeth fillings in that 10-mile stretch.
I WOULD like a 1” drop so I can get my feet flat on the ground, although I could bring out the 2” high school platforms from my 1975 prom sitting in the back of the closet and just wear those…
I’ll contact these guys, maybe they will have a cheaper solution the flybigjets offered, zowie!!
 

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Not to only think about shocks flyday58 - the forks greatly affect the ride as well. The stock forks have WAY too much compression damping, so much so that the rear shocks are reacting to hits that the forks ignore. I call it "hobby horsing", the answer short term is to change the fork oil to the lightest grade you can, I used 5 Wt. Bel Ray and it really lets the forks move much better, now I get about 3/4's of full travel, not the stock 1/4. The long term best fix is break out the big bucks and go for the gold standard flybigjet said - Race Tech Gold Valves and the full kit mod with springs. I'm gonna do that mod too, but it would really help you to get the forks to absorb the quick hits on that road.
 

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Earthbound for good.
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting. My first (only) somersault on a bike was on my first store-bought bike, a Kawasaki 175 with dual shocks in 1975. Hit a rut in a dirt road at around 30 mph, front forks mostly ignored it, but the rears hobby-horsed the back wheel and me into a forward cartwheel. My high school buddy was gonna leave me there because I looked like a rag doll bouncing down the road, he just knew I'd broken every bone in my body! I got up, looked at the blood on my elbows and the hole torn in one knee of my jeans, and promptly started kicking that bike and spewing cuss words I didn't even know I knew! Man, I hated that thing!

This riding season looks like it's coming to an early close for me; once we get snow in the shadows it'll be there till April. I dumped my TW in one spot last winter where snow was sticking in the shade, and it has huge knobbies on it. I won't dare try it on the V-Rod or Honda. I'd had to take them apart to get them back home. So the suspension upgrade will have to wait till after the new year, especially with the money we're talking about. Funny, you say to use 5 wt, flybigjet says 20. What to do, what to do...
 

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Tie One On
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the R model is out of all HD models the most impossible these days to find shocks for. I looked everywhere and finally had some shipped from australian company to me in usa
 

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Springs, Oil and Valves.

Yea, the 5 wt oil is what I did to compensate for way overly stiff compression damping on the stock forks. When you install the Gold Valves they open up when needed on a sudden hit and pass a lot of oil quickly - so 20 Wt is a good viscosity with stiffer springs that keep the front end up and keep you from blowing thru the stroke after it absorbs the pothole, etc and bottoming out. With Off road racing bikes this suspension becomes a science, especially when you are jumping triples (or logs.)Get it wrong and you are A$$ over tea kettle, face plant. Get it right and you can wheelie, hit a 12" diameter log and the rear end will not bounce up. On a street power cruiser like an R Model that's got the longer suspension travel it's all about dialing in the quality of it. Yea, it takes $ but it's worth it. The stock forks with 5 wt. oil and stock shocks with the correct preload and it's really not all that bad. Do the Race Tech mod and I'm sure it's great. Do the forks first if you sneak up on it because actually they are worse than the shocks. :blahblah: :D
 

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Hey Streetrodracer, not trying to highjack, but while you are talking about fork oil weight maybe you could help me out also. I just picked up a 05 Screamin Eagle which I'm sure has never had the fork oil changed, as none of the other fluids were. I checked the owner's manual but didn't see any weight referenced. Any thoughts what weight I should use? I'm 200 lbs, ride paved roads (nothing unusual) but want to optimize the stock fork performance. Thanks!
 

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Earthbound for good.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So any other way to get the fork dust caps off or just follow Mr. HD's method? And all that crap about lock patch seems pretty dire, anybody had issues with the bolts?
 

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mikebehr00 wow yea, those forks definitely need new oil ! I'm only familiar with the upside down forks and did it per my H-D manual, which was a great help but I did make a couple special tools. Your conventional forks should be much easier, especially if they have a drain hole on the lower fork legs. Buy a maintenance and parts manual, best thing you will ever do, all specs, procedure in there -
 

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Earthbound for good.
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
mikebehr00 wow yea, those forks definitely need new oil ! I'm only familiar with the upside down forks and did it per my H-D manual, which was a great help but I did make a couple special tools. Your conventional forks should be much easier, especially if they have a drain hole on the lower fork legs. Buy a maintenance and parts manual, best thing you will ever do, all specs, procedure in there -
Such as?
 

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Tie One On
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1,647 Posts
mikebehr00 wow yea, those forks definitely need new oil ! I'm only familiar with the upside down forks and did it per my H-D manual, which was a great help but I did make a couple special tools. Your conventional forks should be much easier, especially if they have a drain hole on the lower fork legs. Buy a maintenance and parts manual, best thing you will ever do, all specs, procedure in there -
Such as?
The R model forks require a tool that many have
made including myself. to loosen and tighten an upper collar nut.
the tool can be made from a socket with eithet tangs welded on or cut into that fit the notches in the collar.
similat to the coffee can tool made to remove the fuel tank top ring nut
 

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The Massive Pr1ck
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2,668 Posts
I have a bit of custom tuning experience and even used to make some custom valving parts. IMO: Too much talk about preload because that isn't your issue. I know it isn't the cheap route, but if looking for a softer ride on rough roads you need to be looking at valving, spring rates, and fork oil height. Also need to be avoiding lowering the bike like the plague. The last thing you want in a smoother ride is less travel.

If you have the money custom Ohlins is wonderful, but the Works do a good job too. I have raced Works on other bike and they do OK for cheaper stuff. Switching to more advance valving in the front with something like gold valve emulators will be a significant step in the right direction.

IMO: I'd start with the Works rear and emulators in the fronts. Once you have done that come back and it will be easier to begin tailoring to where it meets your needs.

Preload. The primary function of preload is to set the suspension to the optimal ride height for suspension function and design geometry. It will have almost no impact on suspension performance when hitting bumps.
 
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