TECH: Progressive Suspension 944 Ultra Tour Shocks (Intro)
Captions and photos by Chris Maida
Our 2005 Electra Glide had already received 1-inch lower than stock Progressive Suspension monotubes, so this go-round we’re installing 1-inch shorter rear shocks to keep the bike’s stance, and, therefore, its rake and trail, the same as stock.
We took our 2005 Electra Glide over to Bayside Harley-Davidson in Portsmouth, Virginia, to complete the full suspension makeover. It’s impossible to over stress the advantages of a performance suspension system, and it’s become one of the upgrades Harley owners do when the stock units are worn-out. In the case of our Electra Glide, one of the taller offerings from The Motor Company, many owners choose to lower it for improved confidence on the road and while stopped. In fact, this is such a popular change, H-D introduced Low versions of the Ultra Classic and the Limited.
For most of us, buying a new motorcycle for that reason isn’t exactly in the cards. But new front suspension and rear shocks probably are, and can definitely lead to a better-performing bike at the same time. And that’s exactly why we turned to Progressive Suspension, which offers kits for both the front and rear. We installed the 1-inch lower monotube cartridges last month, while this month, we’re going with a pair of Progressive’s 13-inch 944 Ultra Ultra-Touring shocks with heavy heavy-duty springs (#944-4020UT/$759). But wait, you might ask yourself, aren’t the stock shocks 13 inches? They are, but Progressive has designed the 944 to sit 1-inch lower than the stock air shocks while retaining the same amount of travel. The Progressive spring design gives the bike a 1-inch lower stance not only when loaded, but also when sitting on the sidestand and it uses the company’s Frequency Sensing Technology (FST) for a smooth ride. Progressive also has an Ultra-Low version of the 944, which is a 12-1/2-inch shock that sits at 11-inches.
With this front and rear suspension package, our Electra Glide sits just as it did when it came from the factory, without one end higher than the other. But now, it has the added advantage of a lower stance combined with a higher level of performance. As he did with the front, Service Technician Jesse Dietz at Bayside Harley-Davidson did the step-by-step install.