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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being verticially challenged (5'6"), and needing to lower my '05 Ultra Classic, I scoured these forums for suggestion and recommendations as to the best course of action. I decided to lower the front end and install 11 1/2" Progressive 440 shocks, as these 2 options seemed to be the most popular and widely suggested. This last weekend myself and my wife went on our first road trip since making the mods and we were quite disappointed - in the 440's. We were bottoming out a lot, so I adjusted the shocks to compensate only to find that by adjusting the shocks to be firmer, I was raising the bike. My wife and I weight less than 330 lbs combined, and we didn't pac the bags tight so I can't see that as being the problem, but I had to raise the shocks so high that it totally offset the lower shock and I still can't touch properly. Now I've spent a lot of money on top of the line shocks that are useless. I thought these shocks adjusted without raising the bike. Is there an adustment I can make that I'm overlooking or am I just SOL?
 

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You are the first person I've ever heard of that was unhappy with the 440's. You may just have to look into one of the air ride systems. You could inflate and raise the bike when riding two up down the highway...and lower the pressure and bike when you need more standover height and at lower speeds.

Progressive has an air ride w/compressor system as does Legend air suspension and bikebuddypro.

Good luck.
 

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You might want to take a look at your seat options. You can gain distance depending on which seat you use. I never did think going from 13" stock to 11 1/2" on the shocks was a good thing to do.
 

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0043--Licensed to Doof!
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I have the 12" 440's and haven't found that adding preload changed ride height. If it does, it can't be but by about 1/2 inch. In that case, like Ed says you are going to have to look at seat options. Harley makes the reduced reach seats, but I'd look at Mustang first. The way the nose of their seats are made let you bring your thighs closer together so your feet touch easily. They don't make you "splay" your legs. You may want to look at Mustang's Ultra Touring Seat.
http://www.mustangseats.com/hdcontst.htm
 

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The way the nose of their seats are made let you bring your thighs closer together so your feet touch easily
Not the case for me. I installed the Mustang 2-up Touring seat on my 2005 RK Classic. It rides great, I can go all day. But the additional padding that's under your thighs makes it more difficult to reach the ground while stopped and sitting. If you stand, there is more room at the nose of the seat than with the stock seat. I'm 6' tall with a 32" inseam and it's a stretch for me to sit with both feet flat on the ground. I can do it but there's no room to spare and I've got to extend both legs just a bit.
 

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What ever you do sundogg, DON'T buy the progressive Air Tails they will totally F up your ride. You might as well have a hard tail. I had em on my softail, tried every possible combination of air and preload adjustment and they still SUCKED!
 

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I am confused. As I am planning on doing the lowering thing to my 05 Ultra (had a 99 Heritage and the Ultra is a little more top heavy, I want to lower the center of gravity some) using the same springs and shocks that you did (11 ½” shocks on the rear and 1 1/2" spring kit for the front) and I am 6’ 200lb. (32" inseam) The stock seat height is 27.3” and I can sit and be flat footed with the stock setup. (even when I have the Wife and a full load of gear with the shocks pumped up I can be reasonably on the balls of my feet)
You have lowered yours by 1 1/2” and still are having problems.
What is your seat height with these 440 shocks?
Which front spring kit did you use?

Kenney
 

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Seasoned Prime Member
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sundogg said:
Being verticially challenged (5'6"), and needing to lower my '05 Ultra Classic, I scoured these forums for suggestion and recommendations as to the best course of action. I decided to lower the front end and install 11 1/2" Progressive 440 shocks, as these 2 options seemed to be the most popular and widely suggested. This last weekend myself and my wife went on our first road trip since making the mods and we were quite disappointed - in the 440's. We were bottoming out a lot, so I adjusted the shocks to compensate only to find that by adjusting the shocks to be firmer, I was raising the bike. My wife and I weight less than 330 lbs combined, and we didn't pac the bags tight so I can't see that as being the problem, but I had to raise the shocks so high that it totally offset the lower shock and I still can't touch properly.
Are you locked in to the Ultra and all of it's ammenities? Maybe You should look at getting a Softail. Over the last 5 years most of the guys I ride with have switched over to Touring bikes. One of the guys is 'vertically challenged' such as yourself and can't seem to find a Touring model that he can get comfortable with. Same problems as you have. Last August he went a bought a 1997 Heritage Springer. No, it's not an Ultra but he's got saddle bags and a windshield and no problem touching the ground. He put air adjustable shocks and a comfortable seat on it and we've gone on some 600+ mile rides and no complaints about comfort. Now he's looking at a Street Glide........I don't know. Just a suggestion!!! And just my -2$en#e-
:thumbsup:
 

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geezer glides are cool
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Looking to sell your 440s?
 

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Knower of Stuff
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At 5'6" and a 28" inseam, I have to be careful with my EG. I have not lowered it, but I did narrow the Mustang seat in the front so my legs were not spread as wide when at a stop. I can touch with the front of my feet only, never flat footed but not tip toe either.
I do not see it as a problem. I am just careful how I park it because I can not back uphill while sitting on it. My wilfe acts as reverse in those rare situations when I can not avoid doing so.
I have been riding for years and I have only been able to touch the ground flat footed on my Heritage. I just accepted it as a fact of life and learned to live with it. Lowering a bike reduces suspension travel and reduces ride comfort. I do not want to give up either of those things on a road bike.
As far a changing the spring preload on the 440's, you did not lenghten the shock, you only caused the bike to raise up to the correct postition for proper ride with those shocks. You had them adjusted too soft and the springes were collasped below the proper height for a good ride.
Get you seat modified so it is lower and narrow in the front were you stand. That will be like lowering the bike a full inch.
 
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