The Best shocks for The Harley Sportster

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In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the best shocks for Harley Davidson’s Sportster line of motorcycles.

Recently, we needed to swap out the old shocks on our Sportster 1200. Looking at the market, we saw a lot of companies making bold claims and did extensive research to find the highest performing shocks for the Harley Davidson Sportster line.

We had the best experience with Progressive’s 412 shocks, but other brands also have some great offerings.

Below you’ll find an outline of only the top performing shocks and why they are so useful for the Sportster. We considered a wide variety before deciding on these as the highest rated shocks. Every facet of the shocks’ performance and usability was taken into account before we made our conclusions.

Read on, to find out more about our top picks and why.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Progressive 412 ShocksProgressive 412 Shocks
  • Durable shocks
  • Improved ride quality
  • Valving is nitrogen charged
  • Multi staged valving
  • Reliable shocks
  • Eliminates bottoming 
  • Pegs clearance is improved
  • Much smoother ride overall
  • Better damping over bumps and potholes
  • Preload adjustment
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Burly Slammer Shocks For Harley SportsterBurly Slammer Shocks For Harley Sportster
  • Cheap price
  • Improved ride quality
  • Easy to install
  • Instructions and tools are included
  • Lowers ride height 
  • Makes bike more stable
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Legend Suspension Revo-A Coil Shocks For Harley SportsterLegend Suspension Revo-A Coil Shocks For Harley Sportster
  • Greatly improve the ride quality
  • Preload adjustment is offered
  • Six levels of adjustment on the rebound damping
  • Easy to install and use
  • Do not bottom out even with larger obstacles and potholes
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Progressive 412 Shocks

Overall best

Progressive’s 412 shocks for Harley gave us the most complete package in terms of usability, efficacy, and reliability. These shocks are made especially for Harley’s Sportster and other cruisers so they deliver the most refined experience. Using modern tech and construction, they managed to update our old Sportster and tremendously improved ride quality.

These shocks offered best in class durability for general road use. They were reliable for street use as well as on the highway, soaking up bumps and road imperfections so that the rider is more at ease. The Progressives feature double wall steel body architecture that makes these shocks durable and long lasting, so these may well be the last set you’ll ever have to buy.

The valving is nitrogen charged and multi staged, making it sensitive to changes in bike speed. This allows for smoother, more predictable damping that makes your ride plush and comfortable. Our Sporty experienced a major improvement in riding feel and overall comfort with these shocks.

But the stand out feature on these shocks is the customizable, five position cam style preload adjuster that enables the rider to set up the machine according to their particular specifications and requirements.

In our testing, we subjected the shocks to real world scenarios with different riders and luggage combinations. We were able to fine tune the shocks to suit the particular situation, giving added comfort and usability.

Preload adjustment is even more useful for touring, where the addition of a pillion and luggage necessitates preload adjustment to get the best riding experience. Such versatility makes this our top pick for Sportster shocks.

Pros
  • Durable shocks
  • Improved ride quality
  • Valving is nitrogen charged
  • Multi staged valving
  • Reliable shocks
  • Eliminates bottoming
  • Pegs clearance is improved
  • Much smoother ride overall
  • Better damping over bumps and potholes
  • Preload adjustment
Cons
  • Change in height of the bike means you might need a longer kickstand

Burly Slammer Shocks For Harley Sportster

Best Budget

The price of shocks can be…shocking. Not so with the Burly Slammers for Harley Davidson Sportster. This set lives up to its name with durable construction that fulfills all your aftermarket shock needs by improving ride quality and adding a bit of style with lower ride height than stock.

These shocks offer great value. The design is straightforward and lacks any frills. This works to the shocks advantage as they are dead simple to install, maintain and use. They come with included instructions, and a basic set of tools to help you get started, making the installation process easy and intuitive.

In real world use, the Burly Slammers improved our Sportsters ride quality quite a bit. The lack of preload adjustment was missed but the Burlys handled everything we threw at them. Bumps were less noticeable and potholes barely registered. The lower ride height also made the bike feel more stable and planted on the road, both when stationary and in motion.

But by far our favorite feature of this set of shocks is the look they add to the bike. By lowering the bike just a half inch or so, these shocks make it look so much more aggressive and menacing.

We also installed these on our Iron 883 and they did wonders for that bike’s look. It sat closer to the ground, giving it a more bobber-esque look, while simultaneously making the center of gravity lower and therefore the bike more stable.

Pros
  • Cheap price
  • Improved ride quality
  • Easy to install
  • Instructions and tools are included
  • Lowers ride height
  • Makes bikes more stable
Cons
  • Not the best option for heavier individuals and/or luggage

Legend Suspension Revo-A Coil Shocks For Harley Sportster

Best Premium Option

This version of the standard Revo shock delivers a softer, more comfort focused ride, with high quality aluminum shock bodies and adjustable preload for maximum customizability.

The spring rates of these shocks make your bike’s ride less harsh than stock. The coil provides superior control and all but eliminates the chance of bottoming out on larger obstacles. Preload adjustment is a welcome addition, making this set of shocks very easy to set up according to your needs.

And you don’t need any tools or extra components to make changes to the preload. All of the features are easily accessible and adjustable by hand. Installing the shocks for the first time is made fairly easy by the use of spherical bearings on top and bottom. The rebound damping has six levels of fine tuning, making these shocks even more useful when you need to change settings on the fly to suit more or less weight on the bike.

If you do find yourself needing even more options, Legend has you covered. These shocks are available in 12”, 13”, and 14” configurations to best suit your particular requirements.

Pros
  • Greatly improve the ride quality
  • Preload adjustment is offered
  • Six levels of adjustment on the rebound damping
  • Easy to install and use
  • Do not bottom out even with larger obstacles and potholes
Cons
  • Expensive

Author
Cooper Higgins

Cooper Higgins is a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. He’s passionate about all things motorcycles and started Bikes Future to help other riders make the right motorcycle moves. He rides a pimped out white Kawasaki Ninja 400, and also enjoys adventure riding when out of the City.