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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Gift of "Comfort and Cool"

As my bike continues to evolve, I am always looking for ways to take it to the next level. While a lot of mods are done because they add to the aesthetic appeal or simply "look cool", this one actually gave me the best of both worlds. And for the money, it should! After 10 wonderful years of marriage, my beautiful wife gave me the gift of comfort and coolness all in one box. She bought me an air ride system for my Fatboy. Not just any air ride mind you, she bought me a Shotgun Shock. This system is a bit different from other systems in that it has two switches to allow for increased "tuneability" of the ride height and stiffness of the shock. What this does in real world terms is allows the rider to adjust the height of the rear suspension from slammed on the bump stops all the way to factory height; then the rebound switch allows you to make the shock rebound as soft or stiff as you like. I can air it all the way up to where the shock is so hard I can't push down the rear fender at all, or I can make it so soft it will bottom out on a speed bump. Obviously, the "sweet spot" is somewhere in the middle. The other great feature of this system is that there is only one air line from the compressor to the shock, so there are less hoses to leak and cause problems. In addition, even if you do spring a leak, the shocks use offsetting solenoids that actually push against each other and the system will hold air unitl you dump it with the switches. So if your miles from home and spring a leak, you won't be riding home on the bump stops. Install was easy thanks to my buddy Rob at Black Helmet Customs and JD, the owner/creator of Shotgun Shock, is a cool dude who is always willing to help and stands behind his product. This is something I thought I would never spend the money on, but I have to say, it's a game changer for me. I love it and will have one on every bike I ever own. Not to mention, it's priceless when you pull up to the curb, dump the air, and the rear end floats down. People definately take notice. The next part of the equation is the frontend. Leaving it at factory height is an option, but not for me. I spent $120 on the Progressive Drop-in Fork Lowering kit. The name of the kit is a bit misleading however. For an FX frontend, I think it's as simple as draining the fork oil, removing the fork caps, pulling the stock springs out and cutting the PVC spacers to length. However, with the FL frontends, it's a bit more complicated. What's in the kit? The kit includes two types of springs to replace the one spring in each fork leg. One spring is a longer spring, similar to the stocker, but shorter. The other is a very short spring. Lastly, the kit has some brass washers and a piece of PVC pipe (1" or 1.25" I think). I'll get to the PVC shortly. The Install... Now, keep in mind, I had never taken my frontend apart, so it was slow going at first. Of course, the fork tins and headlight had to come off first. I was able to loosen the bars and lay them back on the tank to get them out of the way. The next step after draining the old fork oil, was to take off the fork caps and loosen the pinch bolts on the triple trees. With the pinch bolts loose, I was able to use my motorcycle jack to raise the bike and actually allow the front wheel and forks to stay on the floor. Once I got enough clearance I could remove the stock springs, "drop-in" the new ones and put the PVC spacers in with some brass washers supplied in the kit. The PVC spacer is cut to length per the directions based on how much drop you want and what model bike you are working on. I think mine was cut to 3" for a 2" drop, but I'm not positive. I finished off with adding some Screamin Eagle Heavy Weight Fork Oil to add a little more stiffness to the forks. The result was immediate improvement in handling and the bike seemed to have better response and a more aggressive stance to it. Coupled with the Shotgun Shock, this thing sits low on the ground and has a really mean look. Needless to say, I reccomend these two mods to anyone. They are not cheap and there are definately more cost effective methods of slamming the rearend of a softail. However, I can't say enough about the ride comfort and adjustability. And there are so few instances with Harleys that you get comfort and cool all in the same mod.

26 comments:

Tanner Manor said...

I can't wait till you update with pics. Wat a great journal to have!!

complete chevrolet air ride system said...

Wow! Cooler than anything I've ever seen before. Looking forward for more of your updates.

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