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Shock Absorbers

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorber

The shock absorber proper is actually just one part of the suspension unit, namely the hydraulic damper that lies inside the spring and to which the upper and lower mounting eyes are attached. But now the term shock absorber has become so nicely ingrained for this part and we all know what is meant.

Shock absorbers on Harleys

Shock absorbers first appeared at Harley-Davidson not on the two-wheelers, but in 1942 on the Servi-Car, for additional cushioning of the trunk. It wasn't until 1952, ten years later, that the K-model series was the first model to feature shock absorbers of the kind that no new Harley can be imagined without today. Since 1958, the Sportster and all Big Twin series - i.e. FL and FLH, FX, Softail, Dyna, etc. - have had shocks and guide the rear wheel in a swingarm.

What does a shock do?

They have a multiple job. The spring reacts to shocks that the rear wheel transmits to the chassis via the swing arm. At the same time, of course, it exerts a counterforce. The purpose is to keep the rear wheel on the road. Only then can the wheel guide properly and transmit acceleration and braking forces. But it is also to prevent extreme shocks from the road from changing the center of gravity of the Harley too much. Only in this way a controlled fast ride is possible. The comfort for the Harley rider is a gladly received side effect so to say. The hydraulic shock absorber has the task of damping the spring movements and reactions. The coil spring supports to control its movements.

Optimizing the chassis with new shock absorbers

It's not just when the shocks are worn out that new ones are due. When designing the Harley, the factory has to decide on a specific spring and shock absorber. On one hand, this depends on technical circumstances, such as weight, swingarm geometry or planned use of the bike. But also the rider target group and riding style is taken into account, and of course the cost. The standard shock absorbers on the Harley-Davidson are therefore always a compromise. Sometimes even a pretty bad one.

If a shock does not fit the rider, riding style and intended use, replacing it is a way to a better ride. Different spring rates and dampers adjust the shock to the rider's weight and preferred riding position, and adjustable dampers allow further fine-tuning. For example, a somewhat wobbly 883 or 1200 Sporstster can be turned into a stable cornering machine.

What shocks and spare parts are available from W&W?

The W&W Cycles selection inlcudes shocks from Bitubo, Öhlins or Progressive Suspension for most Harleys and many purposes. Of course, you will also find accessories and replacement mounting parts for the classic originals.

Have any questions?

Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: service@wwag.com