So you’re looking for the best shocks for Harley Softail to replace your old set? If yes, this guide will help you out.
Good suspension is crucial for a smooth and comfortable riding experience. However, the OEM shocks may not give you your desired level of comfort and handling when riding on various roads.
Thus, you should consider upgrading to something better to keep your bike at its peak performance.
Luckily, the market has many aftermarket shocks for you to choose from. But it’s hard to decide which one to pick if you don’t have experience using them.
Below you’ll discover a list of the best shocks available today, plus buying advice to help you easily find the right replacement shocks for your Softail.
List of Best Shocks For Harley Softail:
Best Shocks For Harley Softail Reviews:
1. Progressive Suspension 422-4037C Adjustable Rear Suspension Shock
Progressive suspension is one of the popular names in aftermarket shocks for Harley Softail. The USA-based manufacturer presents you with this set of adjustable rear suspension shocks, which will make a great improvement over your stock shocks.
These shocks are ideal for all Harley Softails between 1989 and 2017. They’re pretty easy to install if you have the right tools at hand. You also get a set of easy-to-follow instructions for a hassle-free setup.
When you set these shocks on your bike, they provide you with up to 2 inches of height adjustment plus a separately adjustable preload. This enables you to customize your bike to accommodate varying loads and user weights.
Even better, the shocks are equipped with a high-pressure gas-charged monotube to ensure consistent damping. Once in place, these shocks will help make your bike feel smoother and more “planted” than before.
The shocks are made of heavy-duty construction for durability and longevity. This quality construction makes them ideal for two-up or heavily loaded Softails! And don’t forget they’re chrome finished to keep them rust-free and increase longevity.
- Dual coil shock system
- 2-inch ride height adjustment
- Separately adjustable preload
- Delivers consistent damping performance
- Chrome-plated finish
2. Superior Dixie Distributing 54508-89A Rear Shock Absorbers
The Superior Dixie rear shock absorbers are also designed to bring total transformation to your bike. This pair of shocks is ideal for stock shocks for all Harley Davidson Softail models from 1989 to 1999.
Installing the shocks is a pretty smooth job, and they fit on your bike perfectly well. You don’t even have to be a mechanic to fit the shocks to your bike. You’ll simply need to unbolt the worn-out shocks and bolt this new set correctly in place.
Because these absorbers are also adjustable, you can easily set them based on your body weight. You just need to use a spanner wrench for the adjustment process. This adjustability translates to improved comfort, handling, and performance of your bike.
Quality is also impressive for these shocks, and they even compete with other high-end models on the market. They’re well-made and will hold up pretty well on your bike.
Once these shocks are fitted on your bike, you can ride through rough roads with minor and bigger bumps, potholes, etc., with ultimate confidence. Their excellent cushioning enables them to withstand bouncing and vibrations you’re likely to encounter on the road.
- Rear shock absorbers
- 11 inches in length
- Fits all 1989-1999 softails
- Installation hardware included
- Comes in a black finish
3. Generic Narrow Body Adjustable Shocks for Harley-Davidson Softail
If you’re looking for Softail shocks upgrade for Softail 1984-99 models, you can’t go wrong with these narrow-body adjustable shocks. The shocks also come as a pair. They feature a chrome-plated finish to blend perfectly with the rest of your bike and even enhance its overall looks.
The shocks measure 11 inches long from the center of the mount of holes to the center. And they have a diameter of 1 13/16 inches. This small body diameter helps create more room for custom installation. It provides you with greater clearance for the transmission mounting studs—making it suitable for use with offset transmission.
Keep in mind that these shocks adjust from your Softail stock to1-3/4″ lower. This means your bike will be lower to the ground, so great care should be taken to prevent bottoming, especially when encountering bumps and turns.
Generic sends these narrow-body shocks to you with aluminum spacers to allow proper heim end spacing. The installation is easy-peasy, and no special skills are required.
- Fits 1984 to 1999 Softail
- Measures 11 inches in length
- Narrow-body diameter: 1-13/16″
- Adjustable from stock to 1¾” lower
- Chrome-plated finish
4. Progressive 465 Series Softail Heavy Duty Rear Shock
You’ll also notice a difference immediately you equip your motorbike with this heavy-duty rear shock from Progressive. This is a state-of-the-art high-pressure monotube shock for the ultimate performance. And it comes ready to work with all Softail models from 2018 to 2020.
It features a large 46mm bore with deflective disc damping technology for precise damping. The shock will efficiently absorb vibrations along the road to make your rides smoother and comfier. The shock allows for manual preload adjustment as well as adjustable rebound damping.
A 5-position rebound adjustment enables you to easily tailor the suspension for different riding styles and changing conditions. Its threaded shock body provides you with a wide range of adjustments to help you easily fine-tune the preload.
The heavy-duty shock and its components are hand-built from hard-anodized aluminum. This material has 10x more wear resistance than standard aluminum, ensuring maximum corrosion resistance and durability.
What’s more, this shock comes with a beefy 16mm hard chrome shaft that rides on custom Viton seals for leak-free, low friction life.
When it comes to the installation, this Progressive Suspension easily bolts into position as long as it’s compatible with your bike model.
- Fits 2018-2020 Harley-Davidson Softails
- Hard-anodized aluminum body and parts
- High-pressure nitrogen monotube design
- High-performance deflective disc valving
- 5 position rebound damping adjuster
5. SLMOTO Chrome Heavy Duty Rear Premium Shocks
These 100% brand-new aftermarket heavy-duty rear premium shocks will work for you if you’re looking for the perfect replacements for your Softail shocks. They’re made to perfectly fit all Softail FLS 2000 to 2017 models.
Similar to other high-end shocks like those made by Progressive, this set of shocks also comes with nitrogen-charged dampers. This gas goes a long way in eliminating inertia oil cavitation, resisting heat-induced fade, and ensuring you enjoy a consistent ride.
You’ll like that these shocks are fully adjustable for the spring preload and ride height. You can easily adjust them to 2-inch lower than the stock to enable you to customize your Softail to match your unique needs and expectations.
Inside the package, you’ll get all the necessary installation hardware to help you easily fit the shocks in place. A spanner wrench is also included to enable you to easily adjust the shocks to your preferences.
Since these are heavy-duty premium-grade shocks, you can rest assured that they’re made for ultimate durability. On top of this, they boast a great chrome finish that maximizes rust resistance while enhancing the looks of your bike.
- Fits Harley Softail FLS 2000-2017
- Nitrogen-charged dampers
- Fully adjustable for ride height & preload
- Adjustable up to 2-inch lower than stock
- Durable chrome finish
6. XMT-MOTO Suspension Heavy Duty Rear Shocks
If you’re looking for the perfect Harley Davidson Softail shocks for any model from 2000 to 2017, these heavy-duty rear shocks are a great choice. The package includes a pair of shocks and a spanner wrench to make adjustments a breeze for you.
Like most of the other aftermarket rear shocks out there, this pair is easily adjustable to 2-inch lower than the stock. This means it’ll support rider height of up to 2 inches, eliminating the bottom-out issues you usually experience with your OEM shocks.
Thanks to the heavy-duty construction and chrome-plated finish, these shocks are extremely durable and highly corrosion-resistant. They won’t wear out easily, and they’ll serve you for longer before replacing them.
This heavy-duty construction also enables these shocks to comfortably accommodate the varying rider and load weights. You can trust them to comfortably supports loads and riders up to 250lbs.
Installing the shocks is a super-simple for all bikers, regardless of their skills. If you can get your old, worn-out shocks off your bike, you can also easily fit in these shocks to replace the old ones.
- Heavy-duty rear shocks
- Fits harley davidson softail models 2000-2017
- Nitrogen charged dampers
- Adjustable to 2″ lower than stock
- Fully adjustable for height and preload
- Durable chrome finish
7. Factory Spec FS-04503 HS-2 Pak Chrome Gas Shock
If you ride any Softail from 1989 to 1999, these Factory Spec gas shocks are for you. Featuring an attractive chrome finish, these shocks will outperform your existing stock models and give you a better riding experience.
One of the reasons we like these shocks is that they’re rider height adjustable. This enables you to easily adjust your bike up to 2.5 inches lower than stock. Thus, if you’re a short rider and want to make your bike more comfortable, these shocks will work for you.
The shocks are high quality and will reliably serve you for a long period. They also feature a great chrome finish which boosts their durability while enhancing their looks.
Inside the package, you’ll get a pair of these rear shocks plus a spanner wrench to help you easily make spring preload adjustments. No specialized tools or customizations are needed to install this shock on your bike.
- Fits 1989 to 1999 Softail
- Dimensions: 3 x 8.4 x 4 inches
- Ride height adjustable
- Adjustable spring preload
- Preload adjusting tool included
- Attractive chrome finish
8. Progressive 422 Series 9.5″ Shocks w/Remote Adjustable Preload
Here’s another set of premium aftermarket shocks proudly made in the USA by Progressive. These 9.5-inch shocks are ideal for Softail models from 2006 to 2017. If you’re looking for reliable Softail Classic or Heritage Softail rear suspension, these shocks will also work for you.
The chrome-finished shocks come ready to transform your bike’s comfort and stability. It provides you with fully adjustable ride height as well as spring preload. You can easily adjust the shock up to 2-in lower than your stock shocks to meet your unique needs.
We also like that these high-end shocks are fitted with progressive-rate coil springs, which work with purpose-designed monotube dampers to deliver superior suspension performance.
The reload, in particular, features a remote adjustment system. This lets you easily tune the shocks to account for your passenger weight or changing loads. This adjustment feature is conventionally located behind left passenger peg for easy adjustment.
Just like its siblings, this shock also boasts nitrogen-charged dampers. This damper technology greatly eliminates internal oil cavitation in shocks, resists heat-induced fading, and ensures you enjoy smooth, consistent rides.
All the necessary hardware needed to install this pair of shocks on your Softail comes included in the box. An adjustable wrench is also included for hassle-free and fast adjustments.
- Fits all Softail models from 2006 to 2017
- Fully adjustable ride height
- Separate remote adjustable spring preload
- Adjusts 2-in lower than stock
- Superior suspension performance
9. Harley-Davidson Softail Comfort Flex Rear Shocks
Straight from Harley Davidson, we have these aftermarket rear shocks, designed to work with Softails. These shocks will help you transform your bike from a low-profile “slammed” look to a more comfortable ride.
Unlike the stock shocks that don’t offer much in rider height, these rear shocks will add a little over an inch to your ride height. This prevents the bottom-out problem and smoothens out your ride. It also gives you more room to stretch your legs for increased comfort.
The damping and spring rates used for these shocks are tailored to give you a controlled ride and promote optimal performance in varying conditions.
For the compatibility part, these Harley Softail rear shocks are an ideal fit for a wide range of Softail models from 2000 to 2017. Installation is pretty simple and quick for these shocks. A detailed manual is included in the box to guide you through the entire process.
- A pair of rear shock absorbers
- Fits most softail models from 2005 to 2017
- Adjustable rider height
- Preload adjustment wrench included
- Backed by 1-year limited warranty
10. Progressive Suspension 429 Series Monoshocks
This Progressive Suspension shock takes our last spot for the top-rated shocks for Harley Davidson Softail. It is the best choice if you’re looking to replace the stock shocks in any 2018-19 Softail models.
It is designed to improve handling and stability as you cruise around the town or on wide-open roads. It boasts a heavy-duty spring for high load-bearing capacity and excellent durability.
The shocks utilize a high-pressure nitrogen-charged damper, which is a huge improvement over the typical oil-based shocks. Nitrogen helps prevent cavitation for a more reliable and stable shock absorber.
It is also worth noting that these shocks feature a steel monotube construction with IFP (Internal Floating Piston). This works hand in hand with the nitrogen-based damper to ensure the damper remains in tip-top condition.
Installing this shock on your bike is super easy as you just need to bolt it in place. They don’t require any mods, and you can install them using basic tools. And the preload is easy to adjust via the threaded preload adjusters.
- Powder coated coil spring
- High-pressure nitrogen charged damper
- 40 mm steel monotube construction
- Backed by lifetime limited warranty
- Easily bolts into place with basic tools
What to look for before buying?
Now that you know the best shocks for Harley Softail available today, let’s discuss some crucial factors when choosing the perfect aftermarket shocks.
One of the most crucial considerations is the fitment factor. As you may have noticed from our list of top products above, different models are designed to work with specific Softail bike models.
Luckily, manufacturers usually provide you with the fitment info to ensure you get a shock that works with your specific bike make and model.
So, make sure that the shocks you get are correct in terms of size and will fit your bike make and model without any issues.
There’s no need to move to aftermarket shocks if they don’t bring any major improvements to your bike.
For this reason, we urge you to ensure the new set of shocks you plan to buy has a proven track record.
Check what previous users say about them to give you an idea of how they perform. Do they soak up those bumps and give you smoother and more comfortable rides?
All the models we’ve recommended in our list above will offer you better stability than stock shocks and smoothen up your rides.
Another important factor to consider when looking for new shocks is the construction quality.
As you already know, your motorcycle takes a great deal of abuse, and you want to ensure you equip it with shocks that are up to the task. Steel shocks are extremely durable and a great choice.
As for the finish, you can go with either the black or chrome option. It all comes down to preferences.
We just mentioned that you need to get shocks that fit your bike. But that’s one thing. A good shock must also be compatible with your bike frame.
You can easily determine the shocks compatibility by checking the stroke length as well as eye-to-eye measurement.
1. Which suspension shocks brands are best for Harley Softail?
Progressive suspension, the USA-based brand, is one of the best brands for Harley Softail suspension shocks. Other top US-based brands to consider include Öhlins and BURLY.
2. Will upgrading your shocks improve your ride?
Upgrading your motorcycle shocks will help improve your ride by boosting bike stability, especially when riding on rough roads. The best shocks smoothen out your rides for increased ride comfort. Above all, shocks will help you adjust your ride height to your desired level, ensuring a more relaxed riding stance.
3. How do you stiffen Softail shocks?
To stiffen Softail shocks, you just need to increase the spring preload and make the bike feel stiffer. You first need to loosen the jam nut all the way out to give you access to the adjuster ring. Next, turn the adjuster ring clockwise with the help of the spanner wrench that comes with your shocks.
4. How do I know if my Harley shocks are bad?
Common signals that your Harley shocks are bad include the forks bottoming out, bike squatting or sliding during hard acceleration, and lack of noticeable changes in road surfaces. Brakes taking longer to work and uneven tire wear may also be a sign of bad shocks.
5. How do I adjust my progressive Softail shocks?
For Progressive Softail shocks with remote adjustable preload (RAP), you can adjust them by turning the knob clockwise or counterclockwise to increase or decrease preload, respectively.
You can also adjust the shock by using a wrench (usually supplied in the package). Use this tool to loosen the locknut and then back it off a few turns.
Next, flip over the wrench and rotate the round adjuster ring clockwise or anticlockwise depending on your needs.
After setting your desired preload range, remember to retighten the locknut.
You don’t need to spend hours researching the best shocks for Harley Softail. We have just provided you with our list of well-researched top-rated models you can find on the market today for you to choose from.
These shocks will give you a good riding experience, eliminate bottom-out issues, and improve handling and stability in all road conditions.
Before choosing any shock, be sure to check whether it’s compatible with your specific Harley Davidson Softail bike model. Ensure the shocks are easy to install and have a good build quality to serve you for a long period.
Get your replacement shocks today from our list above for smoother and more comfortable rides than ever before.