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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone run long rear shocks on their Shovelhead?

    I have a 1982 FXE and I am running the stock 35mm front end and have 12" Progressive 444 rear shocks.

    My lean angles are so shitty that I scrape super early in turns on both sides. I would like to increase my lean angle by jacking up the rear ride height a bit.

    Has anyone run 13" or 14" (or even 15") rear shocks on a shovelhead? Im looking for advice or feedback on a long rear shock setup. Any guidance or help would be appreciated.

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    I have been using the same progressive suspension shocks and have found them ,...well Shit !!….
    far too soft and bad dampening …..
    I am getting delivered tomorrow a set of ;;SHOCK FACTORY'' progressively sprung adjustable gas shocks that
    were bespoke made for me,...
    he explained that with the 60degree angle from swing arm mount to the frame mount and with the swingarm
    mount being in front o the axle, the leverage caused, made regular shocks pathetic but when you use 170 springs
    the bike doesn't sink in bends and when your powering on,....if I were you id go for a set of shocks from a producer
    of performance shocks,... standard American shocks are way too soft and usually make me seasick,.... herein England we ride in a different way,.. a lot of what we call 'Scratching' , which is throwing a bike down almost on the ground and a good suspension
    is a must, where as in the states you have Nazi police , and hundreds of miles between states and a slower speeds so they give ya crusing shocks stopping you for everything

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincetonMotorWorks View Post
    I have a 1982 FXE and I am running the stock 35mm front end and have 12" Progressive 444 rear shocks.
    My lean angles are so shitty that I scrape super early in turns on both sides. I would like to increase my lean angle by jacking up the rear ride height a bit.
    Can you post up a pic of your bike?????????? I would love to see it.................

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    Quote Originally Posted by tzienlee View Post
    where as in the states you have Nazi police , and hundreds of miles between states and a slower speeds so they give ya crusing shocks stopping you for everything
    Have you ridden in America? Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer View Post
    Have you ridden in America? Just curious.
    sure I have,... I may live and ride in England and Europe but I'm from New York,...
    Freeport Long Island to be precise,....
    I came here through work with the Air Force 25 odd years ago and saw how easy going the cop's are here and how easy and lax custom bike rules and laws are, so I decided to stay,....
    riding here is very different to the majority of riding I ran into in the states,...
    England is small ,... someone said it could fit into Texas 3 times,...
    its small roads and twisty lanes everywhere and relatively high speed limits compared with the USA allows a lot of hi speed scratching simply to get to work.
    bike building here, even with chops is performance orientated, from tires to brakes to suspension, that and a history of café racer / chop combinations that has led to some real mean hi powered ''street fighters'' as they are known here,
    where in the US I would think nothing of riding 300-400 miles for a night out,...but usually at a lot slower speed and usually on real straight interstates, less performance but on bikes that are usually comfort orientated,
    ...just look at the sales of Buells,..
    I believe that something like 70% of them were sold in Europe as they did what other Harleys didn't do,...they handled and flew when cranked open.... use them Stateside as they should be used, and you'll end up in jail or shot by some trigger happy cop who thinks he's in Downtown Fallujah in an up-armoured Hum-V taking out insurgents, shit like that just don't happen here, for fuck sake, the cops aint even armed !!….try that in Newark on a Saturday night !!!

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    That's cool, man. Very insightful. I'm from Canada and the States has left a different impression on me, so I was just wondering. That's nice your police are laid back there, ours are too, compared to the land of the free. I haven't seen anything of the Eastern States, but a good bunch of the West.

    The speed limits are much higher in the western states than Canada. We have one short stretch of road in British Columbia that is 120 km an hour (74MPH). Other than that, there is nothing over 110 (68MPH), and even that is only on the most major highways. Anything twisty here gets an absurdly low speed limit, but bikes seem to be unofficially exempt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    Can you post up a pic of your bike?????????? I would love to see it.................
    Click image for larger version. 

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    So anyone running long rear shocks or what?

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    I don't think you need long shocks to cure the problem you have, all you need are quality correct shocks for the bike,.... Harley shocks are way too soft for performance use ,... look for HAGON, GIRLING, THE SHOCK FACTORY (FRANCE), OHLINS (IF YA RICH, VERY HI QUALITY), simply fitting a longer shock hoping it will correct things for you will not work,. it more than likely be worse than it is now,..... suspension is a bit more complicated and many factors must be taken in when you get new ones.........I have gone overboard with my FX and not only have I just received a lovely set of SHOCK FACTORY shocks hand built to my needs by Mike Capon but also replaced the swingarm for a lighter aluminium item that is race proven and stronger than factory,.... or do you just want to raise the bike for some reason ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincetonMotorWorks View Post
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    Very nice looking bike...... I can see why you scrape on the right side........... What are you scraping on the left side??????

    To answer your question, I have never run any taller shocks I just let it scrape....... A big bike with taller shocks just looks dumb kinda like a dirt bike with a big motor but it should help with the scraping for sure...........

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer View Post
    The speed limits are much higher in the western states than Canada. We have one short stretch of road in British Columbia that is 120 km an hour (74MPH). Other than that, there is nothing over 110 (68MPH), and even that is only on the most major highways.

    I'm happy going that fast........ I for one don't see a need to go faster than that on older bikes........ Even when I was younger.............

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    Better valving won't increase ground clearance.

    Taller rear shocks increase front rake. You can't lose anything by running taller (quality, valved for the application) shocks but without addressing the front end they won't get you much.

    I would mock up the change by raising the bike with a jack then stuffing suitable wooden block between the top of the rear tire and the fender. Remember shock geometry means 2" longer shocks won't get you 2" more rear end height so calculate your actual gain, and remember how choppers get more front/middle ground clearance via longer forks.

    You'll be hard pressed to find Shovel owners with tall rear shocks because nobody in their right mind buys old Harleys for the handling, the dedicated just make delusional excuses. (Put the same rider on a modern machine or a contemporary NorTriBSA and they'll corner much quicker.) The rest of us take curves at appropriately slow speed and ignore the grinding.

    You may as well do the proven FXRT thing (which I did to my "FXR for midgets" FXLR for the same reasons) and run both taller shocks and forks, but I'd do the forks first. For a Shovel frame I'd order 3" over stock since they sit so low.

    http://www.motorcyclemetal.com/gpage25.html shows stock tube lengths.
    Last edited by farmall; 11-07-2019 at 10:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    I'm happy going that fast........ I for one don't see a need to go faster than that on older bikes........ Even when I was younger.............
    It would be alright, if people followed the speed limit. I'd say on our 68 MPH highway, the average is around or above 80 MPH, depending on the time of day. If you don't keep up, you'v got every jackass passing with way too little room for error. From what I have seen, American drivers are much more courteous, cautious and attentive towards cyclists.

    I was down in Nevada riding once. Hadn't seen a single stupid thing from a driver since leaving home over 900 miles ago. Got off the phone with a friend, telling him how much better the Americans drive. Leave you more room, don't cut back in two feet from your front tire etc. About twenty minutes later, I was on a completely deserted stretch of Nevada Highway, nobody coming for miles. Straight and flat as could be. This moron flies right up behind me, maybe three feet off my fear fender. He proceeds to hammer his breaks and cut out aggressively around me. Passes with a foot between us and cuts back in just in ahead of my front tire. As he get's ahead, I notice he is waving at me like we're old friends, What the hell? I look down and he's running Alberta plates.
    Last edited by AlbertaFarmer; 11-07-2019 at 1:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer View Post
    It would be alright, if people followed the speed limit. I'd say on our 68 MPH highway, the average is around or above 80 MPH, depending on the time of day. If you don't keep up, you'v got every jackass passing with way too little room for error. From what I have seen, American drivers are much more courteous, cautious and attentive towards cyclists.

    I was down in Nevada riding once. Hadn't seen a single stupid thing from a driver since leaving home over 900 miles ago. Got off the phone with a friend, telling him how much better the Americans drive. Leave you more room, don't cut back in two feet from your front tire etc. About twenty minutes later, I was on a completely deserted stretch of Nevada Highway, nobody coming for miles. Straight and flat as could be. This moron flies right up behind me, maybe three feet off my fear fender. He proceeds to hammer his breaks and cut out aggressively around me. Passes with a foot between us and cuts back in just in ahead of my front tire. As he get's ahead, I notice he is waving at me like we're old friends, What the hell? I look down and he's running Alberta plates.
    Hahahaha great story

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    True story.

    Sorry for the derail, PrincetonMotorWorks.

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    I am just looking for a little more ground clearance to have a greater lean angle. On the left side I scrape the jiffy stand and the right side I scrape the header to my exhaust. I know its not gonna handle like a sport bike but jacking it up a little but its hard to keep the cornering with some of the modern touring bikes in my club.

    I also would want to increase the front forks to 2" over in addition if I go that route. But I don't want to just chase diminishing returns too far. My local parts supplier keeps telling me to buy an FXR and I may in fact get a newer bike for riding, but I would love to just dial in the shovel just a little bit.

    Would still love to hear if anyone has tried something like this before on a shovel.

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    Yep. Check the preload settings on your Progressive shocks, or maybe someone has changed the springs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincetonMotorWorks View Post
    I am just looking for a little more ground clearance to have a greater lean angle. On the left side I scrape the jiffy stand and the right side I scrape the header to my exhaust. I know its not gonna handle like a sport bike but jacking it up a little but its hard to keep the cornering with some of the modern touring bikes in my club.

    I also would want to increase the front forks to 2" over in addition if I go that route. But I don't want to just chase diminishing returns too far. My local parts supplier keeps telling me to buy an FXR and I may in fact get a newer bike for riding, but I would love to just dial in the shovel just a little bit.

    Would still love to hear if anyone has tried something like this before on a shovel.
    12.5 Progressive and Progressive front springs with medium oil. Perfect and rarelg scrapes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincetonMotorWorks View Post
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    Nice looking bike. Since you have mids are you hanging off? Riding style will gain you some clearance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer View Post
    I notice he is waving at me like we're old friends, What the hell? I look down and he's running Alberta plates.

    LOL Now that's funny............ LOL

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