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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Kind of in a bit of a bind. Finally blew one of my shortened OEM shocks the other night. Looking at picking up a replacement set and am very interested in the Progressive Suspension versions.

I've got a 6-degree rake and 21" wheel up front with the Progressive Fork Springs. This set up worked great with my shortened stock shocks. I cut the spring and shaft both when I did them (unlike many who only cut the spring) and their centre to centre measured 11.5". The ride was slightly compromised over the already crappy stock, but not overly. Handling was fine and even at speeds in excess of 120mph, I never once experienced any wobble or wavering.

Here's my issues....I'm was initially looking at a set of 412's in the same 11.5" length as my cut stockers....which I'm sure will be an improvement in ride in itself, but I'm seeing a lot of really great feedback on the 444's....and rightfully so, since they seem to be a better designed shock. I also like the idea of a lifetime warranty, vs 1-year. My problem is, my local supplier only has the 444's in a 12" length and can't give me a delivery date on a set of 11.5" versions. It seems every supplier is mostly out of stock until August....which isn't going to work for me.

So, now I'm stuck wondering. For those of you who have done it....am I asking for trouble going with 12" 444 shocks on my set up? Should I stick with the 412's in the 11.5" length to stay on the safe side....or will that added 1/2" inch really compromise me?

Pic of the bike for perspective on what the current combo looks like....
174894
174895
 

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I had to compress my 12" 412's slightly in order to fit my 2005 N due to swing arm travel, other than that have experienced no difficulty in ride & handling. I did use nylon bushings (McMaster-Carr's) instead of Honda green. I don't think you will be able to tell the difference in ride.
 

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ride has little to do with shock/spring length .

it's to prevent bottoming the shock shaft and maybe damaging the tire or swing arm when bottoming the shock.

stock length is good.. unless you do not like the tall look.. besides 1/2 inch is nothing.
my opinion.

in the 1970's I had a CB750. with a 10 inch extended front fork and dropped the rear 2 inches.
I purchased this bike New.. in 1972,, by 1973 I was finished with the changes..
plus added a 850cc big bore kit.. Honda works camshaft and light weight rocker arms.
I did all the work myself.
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Contact 'The Chief', Jim Miller, @ Wild Biker Customs in central NJ. He sells a competitive brand to Progressive, MB, that are a bit less expensive. I've had a set of 12.25" for several years now, performance and quality are pretty good. They have the exposed-coil look too. He also sells air rides. I get no compensation from providing this information.
 

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If you do go progressive, be sure to order their polyurethane bushings. Apparently their rubber bushings are crap.

I have 412's in the 12" length, and started with poly bushings. I am very happy with the ride quality, especially since I already had progressive fork springs.
 

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With that rake I am surprised you are getting away with 11.5" shocks on an 1800. Most would run 11" or 10.5". I run 10.5" shocks. I have had the MB shocks before and went trough several sets. Besides riding like crap, they would break in half. I bought these off Ebay a few years ago and have been very pleased. They ride much better than the MB ever did.



HONDA VTX1300 HEAVY DUTY BOBBER SHORTY 10.5 " SHOCKS | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Curious....for those who have responded giving the nod to the 12" shocks....are any of you running a rake to your front end? None of you really mentioned what the rest of your set up was like?

It wasn't so much a question of ride comfort for me, but safety. I worried about the longer shock geometry throwing off my trail numbers and putting me into "unsafe" territory.

With that rake I am surprised you are getting away with 11.5" shocks on an 1800. Most would run 11" or 10.5". I run 10.5" shocks. I have had the MB shocks before and went trough several sets. Besides riding like crap, they would break in half. I bought these off Ebay a few years ago and have been very pleased. They ride much better than the MB ever did.
I was initially sceptical myself, but was told by my triple tree manufacturer he didn't believe it would be an issues when he noted my use of the 21" wheel. I suppose adding the 3" height increase up front using the wheel is more forgiving than just going with a set of 3" fork extensions, since the wheel centre-line is raised with it the wheel change? The bike up until now has been rock solid at all speeds. Was a tiny bit of waver in long, tight sweeping corners, but I suspect that had more to do with the nature of the stock shocks themselves. As I've heard many people have experienced with these bikes that aren't even raked...and seeing it immediately go away after upgrading the shocks.

Seems like my options might be limited now regardless. Upon closer inspection, I've noticed that the 12" 444's I was looking at, have the HD springs. I don't think I'm quite heavy enough, or ride 2-up often enough to justify their usage? Might just have to stick to the 11.5" 412's with the Standard Spring? I live in Canada, so as of late, most retailers in the states can't promise me delivery for weeks....and unfortunately, I'm not willing to compromise prime riding time in the name of a slightly cushier ride.

And I had noticed the posts in the past about the MB quality. That, combined with his inflated shipping costs to Canada has pretty much turned me off of them.
 

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I wasn't so much posting about the quality of the MB shocks, which as you said, some have found lacking. Chief runs a CUSTOMIZING bike shop, and has I'm sure, run into many of the issues you are asking about, and if you ask right, he might provide an answer to your questions. I offered an option.....choice is entirely yours.
 

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and you do not understand motorcycle suspensions.

rake is the amount of angle the front wheel must turn on..
extra rake slows the steering
less rake quickens the steering.
rear shock/spring is all about the spacing between the tire and body work

50 years in the motorcycle business...
my stupid opinion.
above was the first cycle I altered... not the only one... all the others were customers bikes.
amateur motorcycle road racer.. 20 plus years. with AMA license ..
 

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Curious....for those who have responded giving the nod to the 12" shocks....are any of you running a rake to your front end? None of you really mentioned what the rest of your set up was like?

It wasn't so much a question of ride comfort for me, but safety. I worried about the longer shock geometry throwing off my trail numbers and putting me into "unsafe" territory.


I was initially sceptical myself, but was told by my triple tree manufacturer he didn't believe it would be an issues when he noted my use of the 21" wheel. I suppose adding the 3" height increase up front using the wheel is more forgiving than just going with a set of 3" fork extensions, since the wheel centre-line is raised with it the wheel change?

Scroll down to here....

RTgary.JPG


Use stringlines/lazer and 90deg. square and do the actual trail result.

Or ignore and ride.

I (me) don't see a huge impact of 1/2" of shock length.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I’m not sure how this got misinterpreted as me not understand motorcycle suspension geometry, but that's not the case?

Of course rear shock length has an impact on rake and trail numbers? Changing your shock length has a similar effect as adding spacers to your forks. The relationship between the neck angle and the vertical axis changes when the rear of the bike is raised or lowered and that in turn also affects rake/trail numbers.

The stock neck on the 1800 is already a very laid back 32.5-degree's to begin with. When you start adding angle to the triple tree's, trail numbers begin to shrink. Once you start getting above 4-degree or so, the steering can get twitchy because the trail number start to fall out of the desired range (the consensus on comfortable seem to be to keep it within the 4 to 4-1/2" of trail, range). This "twitchyness" only gets worse when you start adding even more angle to the tree. Extending the forks and or adding a taller wheel will help point those numbers back into the right direction, but that alone usually won't do it....which is why triple tree manufacturers recommend lowering the back end of the bike in conjunction with the modifications to the front end. So in that sense....no, I can't say I agree fully with the "stock length is good" statement regarding the rear shocks is fully accurate. It very well may be fine, or it may just put me too close for comfort and won't leave any room for error?

As it was, I assumed I might already be as close to the edge of safe as I dare with 11.5” shocks on my set up, since most triple tree manufactures recommended 11” shocks or shorter...so that's why I’d wondered if anyone had actually tried this set up with 12” shocks to confirm whether or not I was asking for trouble? I suppose the fact that I've not come across anyone running a set of stock-ish length shocks on an 1800 with 6-degree tree's, or greater is probably all the answer I need?

All good though. As I stated, the 12” 444’s I found had the HD springs, which I believe won’t give me the ride I’m after, so I pulled the trigger on a set of 11.5” 412’s with the standard springs. which I already know will work. :)
 

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All good though. As I stated, the 12” 444’s I found had the HD springs, which I believe won’t give me the ride I’m after, so I pulled the trigger on a set of 11.5” 412’s with the standard springs. which I already know will work. :)
Did you order their polyurethane bushings? I ordered mine directly from progressive before the pandemic, and it took 2-3 weeks (even before the pandemic).

Removing the factory rubber bushings were easy (2 sockets and my bench vise). Putting in the poly bushings... that was no joke, I had to use my harbor freight shop press and grease. It was clear to me that the poly bushings are much better and will likely outlast several bikes (even though the shocks wont).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Did you order their polyurethane bushings? I ordered mine directly from progressive before the pandemic, and it took 2-3 weeks (even before the pandemic).

Removing the factory rubber bushings were easy (2 sockets and my bench vise). Putting in the poly bushings... that was no joke, I had to use my harbor freight shop press and grease. It was clear to me that the poly bushings are much better and will likely outlast several bikes (even though the shocks wont).
I haven’t yet, but that’s the eventual plan. The previous owner of my bike had the green bushings in the bottom of the stock shocks and a set of bushed needle bearings in the top. Sturdy as could be.

Not sure why progressive doesn’t include poly bushings in these shocks, right from the get go? I guess the rubber ones are quieter and probably slightly smoother?
 

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OK,, I am the B A D guy,

1/2 inch in the rear shocks is almost nothing to the bike....

aka again a person that knows a LOT about suspension and ask owners about 1/2 inch for rear shocks. but does not tell this bit of information.

a professional cycle rider can not tell if a bike has 11 inch or 11 1/2 inch rear shocks.
except when the shock/spring bottoms out on a bump..

in July 4 1987 I was the mechanic on a race cycle at the Daytona 250 motorcycle race
several years on Team Racing at Mid-Ohio SSC... mechanic.

I am out.
 

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OK,, I am the B A D guy,

1/2 inch in the rear shocks is almost nothing to the bike....

aka again a person that knows a LOT about suspension and ask owners about 1/2 inch for rear shocks. but does not tell this bit of information.

a professional cycle rider can not tell if a bike has 11 inch or 11 1/2 inch rear shocks.
except when the shock/spring bottoms out on a bump..

in July 4 1987 I was the mechanic on a race cycle at the Daytona 250 motorcycle race
several years on Team Racing at Mid-Ohio SSC... mechanic.

I am out.
My money's on you in this one.:)
I (me) don't see a huge impact of 1/2" of shock length.
 
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
lol I didn't say you were the BAD guy....buy I will say, you're certainly can be a drama queen! :rolleyes:

I simply asked if anyone running a set of aftermarket triple tree's on an 1800 had any experience with a 12" shock. I knew I might be pushing my luck going with a set that long, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask if anyone had done it, to see what their experience was.....Boy was I wrong! lol So while I appreciate your responding to the post Chuck, you've never actually raked a VTX 1800 in your travels. So, for you to simply infer "ehhhh, just go ahead and run it" like you were flipping a coin, wasn't the confidence inspiring, experienced based answer I was looking for. So don't be so cocky and get bent out of shape when someone questions, or asks you to elaborate on it!

No offence, but the VTX isn't your early 70's CB750. The neck angle and suspension geometry, fork length, wheel base...hell, pretty much everything about the bike, is different! So while the math remains the same....unless you're actually doing those calculations and making an actual apples to apples comparison, its really of little help. Furthermore, as you probably already know. Lengthening your forks and dropping the back end on that bike the way you did actually "increased" your trail numbers and likely made the bike more stable....not decreased them, like the problem we VTX guys with aftermarket tree's are facing.

As far as length not mattering....
VTX-treme said:
Installation of raked triple trees must always be accompanied with shorter rear suspension units (11" or less) to maintain adequate trail for proper handling. Handling with raked triple trees and stock length rear shocks will be DANGEROUS!
Wild Biker Motorcycles said:
NOTE - You must Lower your Rear Suspension when using this rake kit. VTX maximum Shock length 11 1/2", 10 1/2 recommended.
I suppose we'll just ignore the advice of the triple tree manufactures on this one (the guys that actually design and build these kits), that claim shorter shocks are recommend...no, a MUST for safety purposes. Disregard the hours of testing and trial and error I'm sure that went into building a set of those tree's....those guys are probably just want to up-sell you on a set of shocks, right? Are you picking up on my sarcasm?

Thanks for the reply Chuck, despite the direction this one went, the words of wisdom are always appreciated and your experiences (even if sometimes only for entertainment purposes) are often informative.
 

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l The neck angle and suspension geometry, fork length, wheel base...hell, pretty much everything about the bike, is different! So while the math remains the same....unless you're actually doing those calculations
I would like to know what your trail is?:)
 
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