What Are The Top-Rated Shocks For Harley Davidson Sportster?

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The Harley Davidson is already a great bike which can is smooth to drive both on and off the road; however, converting it fully to an off-road bike or simply adding them to customize and develop your bike, new shocks are a great and fun way to improve the suspension of your Harley so that it can easily drive on the most rugged terrain, all while providing stable and smooth movements while minimizing bouncing.

In this article, I will be listing the best shocks for Harley Sportster and explain what they have to offer, along with how they fall short when compared to each other.

7 Top Best Sportster Shocks Reviews

IMAGE PRODUCT EDITOR’S RATING PRICE
TOP PICK

Pro Action 11” Rear Shocks

Pro Action 11” Rear Shocks

9.7
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Progressive Suspension 412-4003B Rear Shocks Progressive Suspension 412-4003B Rear Shocks

9.5
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BEST BUDGET

HTTMT LS003 Black Slammer Lowering Shocks

HTTMT LS003 Black Slammer Lowering Shocks

9.1
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Burly Brand B28-1253 Stiletto Shocks Burly Brand B28-1253 Stiletto Shocks

8.8
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Progressive Suspension 412-4063B Black Rear Shocks Progressive Suspension 412-4063B Black Rear Shocks

8.6
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Burly Brand B28-1200B Black Rear Slammer Shocks Burly Brand B28-1200B Black Rear Slammer Shocks

8.2
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Ohlins STX36 S36D Shock Absorbers Ohlins STX36 S36D Shock Absorbers

8
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1. Pro Action 11” Rear Shocks

Pro-Action is another well-known manufacturer of quality shocks that have been in this area of business for quite a while.

The company was founded back in 1997 under a different name and, over the years, has been committed to creating all forms of motorcycle suspension and making them be the best of the best.

The product I will be looking at is the Pro Action 11” Rear Shocks. These particular shocks are very noteworthy as it is compatible with all Harley Davidson Sportsters starting way back from 1990 to the latest models of 2020.

If you cannot decide which shock fits your bike, then have no fear, as this product will get the job done. These shocks have been manufactured using aircraft quality aluminum and feature incremental pressure-sensitive compression values, which are self-adjusting and have a total of 3 stages.

This goes hand in hand with the rebound system, which is also pressure sensitive and has 2 stages. The aluminum build makes it pretty lightweight, under 2 pounds, and extremely durable.

These shocks utilize nitrogen gas-charged using a threaded coil over the spring, hand-adjustable. This coil is then given an anodized finish that grants a protective layer that prevents rust and corrosion. Even the bearings in the shock eye are stainless steel and spherical, giving the whole product a long life.

Lastly, the product also comes with free bleed control, which is externally adjustable, a charging system, and is completely revalvable and rebuildable.

This is possible due to the advanced design system which the product has adapted. Since the product also comes with a pre-load adjuster, it can be easily installed and adjusted to the user’s liking.

With the number of features and the purchase price, few would complain about a product like this. Still, unfortunately, the plethora of features is confusing and complicated to the average buyer who is not well versed in bike shocks.
PROS
  • Free bleed control
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • Easy to install
  • Completely rebuildable
CONS
  • Too many confusing features

If you can handle the number of features and utilize them to their full extent, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t buy this product.

2. Progressive Suspension 412-4003B Rear Shocks

Progressive Suspension is an America-based company that, since its founding in 1982, has gone on to become one of the largest aftermarket motorcycle parts and suspension manufacturers in the country.

Their products can be found on most motorcycles that have survived a long usage time and are still running. The Progressive Suspension 412-4003B Rear Shocks are among their amazing, high-quality products.

This suspension shock kit is a replacement for rear suspension shocks. It has been given a very durable design to improve your motorcycle’s suspension with heavy-duty usage in mind. This can be seen with the solid construction of these shocks.

They have a double-wall steel body construction. These shocks also feature a multi-stage and nitrogen-charged valve. This allows the bike to have some really good consistency in damping, giving the driver a smooth ride while driving.

These shocks also feature an adjustability dial. This allows the driver to adjust the bike according to his preference. There are five different positions that it can be adjusted to.

This means that you can choose whether you want a light ride or a rough one. The high pressured gas is charged to help with this as well. The installation process for this suspension kit is quite straightforward.

It is simple enough that you do not even need a dedicated motorcycle to install it. Even a scissor jack from your car will do because you do not need to lift it too high to remove the previous ones and install them.

Upon installing for the first time, these shocks tend to feel a little stiff. This does get better after time. However, the problem is that it keeps getting better because the shocks lose most of their damping and spring tension. This is disappointing because this happens within like two years of usage.
PROS
  • Easy to install
  • Consistency and high performance in damping
  • Five adjustable positions
  • Works very well with heavy loads
CONS
  • It can be stiff right after installation
  • Shocks lose most of their damping and spring tension within a few years

Overall, the product is not a bad one. You may need to replace it earlier, but you will get a pleasant experience when you use these.

3. HTTMT LS003 Black Slammer Lowering Shocks

HTTMT is a well-known name among motorcycle enthusiasts. This is because they are one of the largest motorcycle parts manufacturers on the West Coast.

They are known for their products’ high quality and excellent and expert customer service. The HTTMT offers all sorts of motorcycle products, some of which are shocks.

Among their diversified products roster is the HTTMT LS003 Black Slammer Lowering Shocks. These are designed to give high performance in the most rugged of situations.

This is why they are built to handle all sorts of weather conditions, be it cold or hot. The diverse weather tolerance is because these shocks are treated to have resistance against high temperatures.

This feature is also the reason for another great thing about these shocks, which is that these shocks do not distort, rust, or corrode in extremely high temperatures. This is also because of the anti-oxidizing black finish.

The black finish of these shocks gives them a very premium look. Not only do they work well with the design of virtually any Harley Davidson, but they also help in lowering the bike to whatever height you may find desirable.

This brings me to the next point about these shocks, which is that these shocks have multiple adjustable positions. There is also a very diverse range of models that these shocks are compatible with.

They can fit on any model released between the years 1984 to 2013. So, unless you have one of the most recent models, you are going to have no trouble using these things on your Harley Sportster.

There is only one small problem with these, which occurs on some models of the Harley Davidson Sportster. Some models may require you to replace the lower bolt with a shorter bolt to clear the area for the pulley. It can also be a little tough when it is freshly installed.
PROS
  • Aesthetically good-looking
  • Strong and Durable
  • Do not rust or deform due to weather changes
  • Wide range of models for compatibility
CONS
  • Some models may require you to replace the lower bolt with a shorter one
  • It can be a little stiff upon the first installation

There is a lot of models with which these shocks are compatible. Since there is a high chance that you might have one, then I do recommend these if you are looking for some.

4. Burly Brand B28-1253 Stiletto Shocks

Burly is a brand started in the late 1990s by two brothers. From the start, this company has shown its support for replacing stock components with better replacement components for motorcycles.

For this, they make their own products, which in terms of quality are top-notch. The Burly Brand B28-1253 Stiletto Shocks are one of many products that the company offers. This product is a pair of shocks exclusively for Harley Davidson.

They are designed to handle the roughest and the nastiest of bumps to give you a smooth riding experience. These shocks offer some really good suspension for many of the multiple models and, as the company proclaims themselves, can even give you a comfortable ride on a “post-apocalyptic bike”. So, for rough riders, these are really good.

They can really unlock some really good off-roading capabilities for your bike. That, however, does not mean that these shocks are not a good option if you install them for driving around the city.

This unparalleled suspension is because of the highly efficient damper featured in each of these shocks. These dampers have dual springs, which allow for some really good shock absorption.

Along with that, these shocks are also really good for reducing road noise and vibrations. The material used to make these is strong and long-lasting, and the overall finish provides them with anti-rust capabilities.

The finish is done with black and red. These two colors really work well together by contrasting each other. These shocks are also available in 15 and 13-inch variants.

These shocks are compatible with most Harley Davidson Sportster models. However, not the most recent ones. That is the only thing that I found disappointing about these shocks because other than that, they are pretty good.
PROS
  • Reduce Road Noise
  • Extremely efficient damping
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Available in two different variants
CONS
  • Not compatible with the most recent models

So, again, if you have the models that these go with, you definitely should check these out because not only do they look good, but they work really well too.

5. Progressive Suspension 412-4063B Black Rear Shocks

Another product of Progressive Suspension makes its way onto this list, showing us that they are committed to providing great quality and ideal products for your Harley Sportster.

Their state-of-the-art manufacturing and quality control systems paired with rigorous testing and factory inspection have helped create high-performance suspensions for Harleys, Hondas, and more.

The Progressive Suspension 412-4063B Black Rear Shocks are another great product that the company has put out that uses a progressive rate spring coil which is designed to increase in spring rate as the coil is compressed from free length.

This style of spring is manufactured in order to provide an even smoother riding experience. These springs are usually hard to match with shocks, but since you are getting them with the shock, you should not have to worry about that.

The shock was manufactured with a durable design in mind which provides your bike with great quality suspension.

It will improve the suspension performance of your Harley Sportster to the point where rugged paths & off-road tracks will be no different from roads, giving you a nice, stable, and smooth experience driving experience regardless of your path.

The product is rear positioned and is black in color. The color comes from the exterior anodization, which was done so that it could be more resistant to corrosion and rust, making it very viable for driving during rain or through small puddles, which would, in other circumstances, rust the bike’s suspension system.

This shock also has a five-position cam-style adjuster, which is preloaded, meaning it can easily adjust the shock/spring to its correct position and can even rise up the bike on its suspension.

This allows for easy adjustments of the ride height. This is paired with a high-pressure gas which has been charged for consistent performance making this a top-tier product.

Customers have complained about the shock adjustments with their bikes; specifically how they can easily be lowered too much than what they want them to be. This can be a bit annoying as riders will have to accurately fine-tune their shocks to get their desired height.
PROS
  • Rust resistant
  • 5 position adjuster
  • Progressive rate spring coil
CONS
  • Height is not properly adjusted

A great product that has a lot of positives and only a minor inconvenience which you should be able to circumvent easily.

6. Burly Brand B28-1200B Black Rear Slammer Shocks

Another product made by the Burly Brand sneaks into this list.

Their products are one of the best on the market, and the fact that two of them have made their way onto this list shows how despite being an old brand that has existed for nearly 30 years, they have not gone sloppy and continue to make quality products.

The second Burly Brand shocks on this list is the Burly Brand B28-1200B Black Rear Slammer Shocks which are stubby shocks made out of stainless materials which are useful for preventing stains, rust, and corrosion on the product, making it an optimal shock to use during any time, weather and terrain.

The manufacturing material is also lightweight, so the whole shock weighs around 2 pounds. Like many others on this list, the slammer shocks are also preload adjustable, allowing the rider to tune the shocks according to their height and weight so that they can get a smooth and comfortable riding experience.

This preload adjustability spans across five stages, making it easy for you to set the height for the slammer shocks. This particular model is compatible with much older Harley Davidson Sportsters, being able to fit on models manufactured in 1988.

This stays true all subsequent years till the year 2003, beyond which the slammer shocks will not be compatible, so make sure your bike model year is between this ranges; otherwise, you may find yourself asking for a refund.

Overall, the product is very aesthetically pleasing and gives your Sportster that brilliant slammed look which they deserve. They do this by lowering the rear end by around 1 to 2 inches.

The product is also very easy to install as it uses a simple bolt-on system that is compatible even with the stock mounting hardware in your bike.

Customers have complained about various clearance issues which this product has been a victim of. When compared to other products on this list, they are much stiffer than the rest, so you may want to pass on this product if you are often going on long road trips.
PROS
  • Five stages preload adjustability
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Stubby shocks
CONS
  • Clearance issues
  • Stiffer than other shocks

The Burly Brand has created yet another great product that is very competitive and would be higher on this list if it didn’t have some preference and clearance issues.

7. Ohlins STX36 S36D Shock Absorbers

Öhlins is a Germany-based company that believes that shock absorbers are an integral part of the motorsport industry and has created a major market presence when it comes to high quality and high-performance suspension products for all types of bikes and even is expanding to the snowmobile market.

The company has been promoting its service vehicles at various championship events, so you know it is a good and reliable manufacturer. Their product under discussion is the Ohlins STX36 S36D Shock Absorbers which is ready out of the box.

The company provides preloaded settings to the shocks before they are even used by the user and does so at no additional price. The presence of the preload adjuster also allows the rider to easily adjust the height of the shocks according to your needs.

Moreover, the product is easily capable of withstanding high amounts of air loss which other products cannot. The gas and pressure system adopted by the shocks is second to none and allows for high loads all year round, making this a great product for your Harley Sportster when compared to the other shocks on this list.

These shocks also come with pre-load settings which allow the user to adjust the height of the shocks according to their personal requirement and liking. This can also be done by adjusting the compression, spring rate, and rebound, which is more than other shocks when compared.

Ohlins has stepped in to provide fine-tuned and customized products for your Harley. To add icing on this cake of a product, Ohlins also offers a whopping 5-year warranty with their products which they confident is selling as they have tested every single product and set it so that it can match every customer’s needs.

This, on top of their excellent customer service, means that you can expect swift responses in case of any inquiries or concerns.

Despite being a premium brand, the fitting and finish of the product are not as high I hoped they would be. Same with the case of durability which, is very high, but still as much as you’d expect for premium brands.
PROS
  • 5-year warranty
  • Fine-tuned and customizable
  • 5-stage pre-load adjustment
CONS
  • More durability and fitting are expected of a premium brand

Overall the product is simply amazing, and I fully recommend it; however, it could have been even more durable considering it is a premium brand.

FAQs

How Long Do Sportster Shocks Last?

Depending on the usage of your bike, the terrain you use it on, and many other factors such as weather and debris, the typical shocks of the Harley Sportster, the stock ones at least, should last you around 30,000 miles.

By 40,000 miles, you may want to at least consider rebuilding them if you still think they do not need to be replaced. Usually, replacements every 30,000 miles is considered good.

How Can I Find Out If My Harley Sportster Shocks Are Bad?

Signs of bad/worn-out shock are most visible when you are driving at high speeds. Your bike will never feel stable and tend to wobble or even tip entirely to one side.

If you are forced to pull a hard break, then the front of the bike will dive more than it usually does. During quick acceleration, the rear will squat more than usual. Overall, rides will get bumpier and more unstable.

How Do I Adjust The Shocks On A Sportster?

Adjusting the shocks on a Sportster can be based on personal preference or by checking the suspension of the bike. By bouncing the seat up and down, you can check to see if the shock needs to be loosened or stiffened.

Turn the pre-load setting ring which is at the base of the shock, and turn it in the direction you want; forward to stiffen the shocks and backward to soften them.

What Is The Method To Measure A Sportster Shock?

To measure a Sportster shock, first, you must make sure that the shock itself is completely extended. This is essentially the shocks when they are sitting unbolted.

Then you must measure the shocks from the center of the eye to the center of the eye. OEM shocks are center to center. When measuring, make sure that the suspension is free and not binding in any way to avoid inaccurate measurements.

Conclusion

It is almost essential for any great bike to have the best shocks possible. Suspension is key for bikes in general as a good suspension can change the rider’s experience from bumpy & uncomfortable to smooth and enjoyable.

Having adjustable shocks made of high-quality materials which are rust and corrosion-free mean that you will receive the best possible experience with your bike.

That being said, the best shocks for Harley Sportster are no doubt the Pro Action 11” Rear Shocks. This shock simply provides a lot of value and is a premium brand, comes with a lot of cool features.