Progressive 444 Rear Shock
I was never a big fan of the OEM air suspension on my 04' Road King. It regularly bottomed out riding two up and seemed like a logical place for an upgrade. After talking to a Progressive sales rep about what I was looking for a couple of years ago, he recommended the Progressive 444 shock and I made the purchase. "There are other shocks that could work," he said, "but based upon the type of riding you do and what you're looking for, I think the 444 is the shock you need."
I took his advice and haven't been disappointed.
After installation, it was easy to recognize the improvement in performance and handling almost immediately. In fact, I spent the first month or two thinking it might be some kind of placebo effect until I realize I really was feeling a better connection to the road at the rear of my motorcycle.
Here's what Progressive says about the shock:
"After more than a decade of ruling the roads with the road proven 440 Series shocks, we unveiled another breakthrough design. Dubbed Frequency Sensing Technology (FST) for its unique ability to dynamically adjust damping as you ride. The result is superior performance no matter the road conditions. A top mount threaded preload adjuster allows for fine tuning with a simple twist of the cap. Deflective disc valve. Adjust spring pre-load by hand, no special tool needed. Progressive rate spring. Standard spring rate and chrome finish."
The progressive spring, the easy way to adjust preload depending on your weight and riding style, along with what they're calling Frequency Sensing Technology has pretty much smoothed out the road and I don't think I've ever felt this shock bottom out over the last two years since they were installed. I'm a huge progressive fan and give this upgrade a "No Regrets" rating. I don't know why it took me so many years to make this upgrade.
And, the installation was a piece of cake. It's definitely something you can do yourself.
The Progressive Tour Link
This was an upgrade I admit to being initially skeptical about but combined with the rear suspension upgrade has improved the performance of my bike enough that it almost felt like I was on a new bike. It stiffened up my bikes rear end, giving me much more control though the corners of the canyon roads and mountain passes out west where I spend my time on a motorcycle.
It was very noticeable riding solo, but loaded with luggage or riding two up the difference was not only obvious to me, but Sue asked what I had done on her first or second ride behind me after the installation. Yes, it was that noticeable.
Installation was fairly straightforward. You may need to remove your muffler on the right side depending upon how you're set up, but the included instructions are pretty clear and Progressive has produced an installation video that's worth watching. Some of the Progressive vendors have also produced videos that describe the process. Because, as I've said before, I'm a passable mediocre motorcycle mechanic at best, I tend to absorb as much information on YouTube as I can before I tackle anything I haven't done before.
If you want to learn how to do something, there's probably a YouTube video to show you how to do it.
This is another "No Regrets" rating. Of all the things I've done to my Road King, these two upgrades have probably given me the most tangible performance enhancement I can feel from the cockpit. As a result, this winter's project, a Progressive Fork Cartridge Kit, is sitting in a box waiting for it's turn on the lift sometime in the next couple of months.