Progressive Shocks

Back in 1982 a couple of motorcycle enthusiasts named Jay Tullis and Donn Rickard saw a need for a better after market motorcycle shock and with more than 30 years of “hog” experience between them, they came up with one.  In the short span of 28 years, Progressive has grown into the leading supplier of aftermarket suspension products for motorcycles in the United States.  They are a major supplier to OEM manufacturers as well.  In addition, they have added a variety of motorcycle accessories and tools to their extensive product offerings.  Progressive motorcycle shocks have truly become a household name amongst avid cycle enthusiasts.  Let’s take a look at some of their top offerings.

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Progressive Shocks:  the Metric Line
Progressive has 11 different shocks in metric sizes and some of their more popular offerings are also available in sizes suitable for American made Harley Motorcycles.  For the biker who limits his or her use to touring, the basic 416 series is a great choice.  This was Progressive’s first shock and it is still being sold, some 20 or so years after its introduction.  It is air filled, not gas filled like the higher end models, and the aluminum air chamber is adjustable.  While it comes with a standard air fitting, an optional fitting which can make use of an on board air fill system — if your bike has one — is available.

The 416 will get the job done, but if you want something that looks sleek and sexy, take a look at the Progressive 812.   This model encloses their velocity sensitive damper and pre load adjuster inside a sleek aluminum can and then tops the can off with attractive end caps, available either in double-cut or baloney style.  With the double cut, the end result is a gleaming silver shock that looks like a bullet, with dum-dum cuts at both ends.  The baloney cut makes the shock look like a silver cylinder with pointy ends.  If it looks good, reviewers feel it performs even better.  The 812 features a high pressure gas charged cylinder for better damping performance and the pre load adjuster can be set in five different positions.  With the 812, all hardware is completely hidden — the shock might be confused by some to be merely an attractively styled ornament.

Progressive Shocks:  the Harley Line
The Harley line has 10 different models, most identical twins of the metric versions.  Because of its sleek design the 812 is a favorite of many Harley users, but the top of the line here is the same as in the metric line:  the Progressive 440 shock .

Progressive 440 Shocks
This modern marvel takes a Progressive Rate Spring — available in standard or heavy duty capacity — and  wraps it around a high pressure gas filled damping chamber.  The unit sports stylish aluminum caps at both ends and the Progressive Inertia Active System (IAS) actually separates wheel movement from chassis movement.  While this may be the best performer, the 812 is still the best “looker” and if you really want to go “whole hog”, add the optional 812 Shock Light accessory.  This little LED gem bolts right onto either the 812 or the 412 Series and can be wired directly into your bike’s braking or turn signal systems.