How to Adjust the Rear Shocks on a Harley Davidson

by Justin Wash

The rear shocks on your Harley Davidson motorcycle supply a soft suspension for the rear frame of the bike. This allows the seat and swing arm to move independently, giving you a softer more comfortable ride and ensuring that the rear wheels stays in contact with the ground at all times. However, these shocks are adjustable and the stock settings may be too stiff or too soft of some riders. Learn how to adjust the shocks on your Harley Davidson to ensure a smooth ride.

Take your Harley out for a short test ride. Make a few quick accelerations, some fast turns and immediate stops, and pay attention to the action of the rear suspension. Does the rear tire "bounce" in corners? Or does the suspension bottom out when accelerating quickly? Make a few mental notes then head back home and set your bike on its kickstand in a an area where you can work freely.

Examine the rear shocks. Locate the adjuster plate, either at the very top or very bottom of the spring, and the adjuster locknut, located just above or below the adjuster plate depending on its location on the shock.

Loosen the adjuster locknut using an adjustable wrench. You will only need to turn the nut two or three revolutions counterclockwise in order to make adjustments.

Attach a spanner wrench to one of the notches on the shock adjuster plate. Turning this plate adjusts the stiffness of the shock. If you wish to soften the shock to avoid bouncing for a more comfortable ride, turn the adjuster clockwise a full turn. If you wish to stiffen the shock, to make the bike more responsive and avoid bottoming out the suspension, turn the adjuster counterclockwise a full turn.

Tighten the adjuster locknut using an adjustable wrench to keep the shock from settling back to its original adjustment. Repeat this procedure for the second shock, making sure to adjust it the exact same amount and direction as the first. Take your bike out for a test ride and feel what a difference a couple turns of a wrench made to your ride.

Items you will need

About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.