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Aftermarket lowering shocks

1125 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Squeaky
Just wanted to pass on an experience in case it can save anyone else some hassle. I am lowering a 2003 standard 883 for my height-challenged daughter. I bought (from an eBay seller) a set of 11.5" lowering shocks, Midwest Motorcycle Supply #116-30. They were $80 vs. MoCo's $200 for factory items. They lowered the rear, of course, but two observations.

First, I know that shorter shocks need stiffer springs to maintain the same load-carrying capacity, but these were waaay stiff. The bike was almost like a hardatil, maybe about 1" of travel even with my 200 lbs. + on it and the lowest preload setting. Since I was lowering the bike for use by someone smaller and lighter than me, the effect would have been even more pronounced.

Second, the mounting bushings on these are about 1/4" narrower than the stock shocks, which means the shocks sit about 1/4" closer to the frame when installed - no big deal, except that the lower mounting bolt on the belt-drive side goes in further and comes too close to the sprocket - rear wheel wouldn't even turn until I removed them and spaced them out with some fender washers. The obvious other fix is a slightly shorter shock-mouting bolt, but thought it was worth mentioning. And if you replace that bolt with a shorter one, make it one with a high SAE grade and not the cheapest thing in the bin at Home Depot - this would not be a good place to have a cheap bolt break from stress!

Long story short, I ended up trying a set from HD even though they were twice the price, and the spring rate is MUCH better - still stiffer than the longer stock shocks, of course, but decent travel and ride. And they have the bottom cover thingie over the rear preload adjustment so they look a little better. The aftermarket shocks went on eBay at a loss. If you're dropping the rear end for a shorter, lighter rider, I'd recommend the real McCoy from HD or at least check into the spring rate of what you're buying.
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Why didn't you try progressive shocks? I installed a set of 11" shocks from them and improved my ride 100%. I'm now going to install the front end lowering kit.

You can buy the Progressive shocks with normal or heavy duty springs. I just bought the normal springs and they work great. Plenty of travel but still doesn't bottom out unless I hit a really big hole. Even with my wife riding 2up they feel great.
I second that

Progressive is the way to go.
By the way, you should lower the front to match the rear amount lowered or you are affecting the steering geometry.
I installed a set of 11" progressive shocks on wifes 883L, bags hide them so got the black ones, fit great and worked well for my wife, front still stock but should lower it
Speaking of swapping rear shocks.... I'm trying to do the same thing. I can't seem to get to the locknut on the lower right mount stud. What's the trick? It seems the belt guard is getting in the way. It's a 98 Hugger, by the way. Thanks.
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