812 Series Shocks And Forks - Sporty Lowering

812 Series Shocks And Fork Lowering From Progressive Suspension

1. & 2. We started with the rear and took some measurements of the Sporty's stock spring height, which was approximately 24-1/2 inches from the ground up to the center of the shock's upper eyelet.

3. Progressive Tech Robert Bolton removed the stock shocks one at a time and replaced the old with the new (so that the bike wasn't resting on the rear wheel) with a hex socket and a 3/4-inch wrench.

4. The 812 Series kit from Progressive includes two shocks, four shouldered 1/2-inch sleeves, four inner 3/8-inch sleeves, four 1/2-inch washers, four 1/2-inch spacers, chrome-plated eyelet covers, pre-load adjustment tool, and complete installation instructions.

5. Once the old shocks were removed, Robert installed the Double-Cut 812 Series Shocks, and then installed the chrome eyelet covers. (Make sure to check the tire-to-fender clearance before installing these shocks; see your installation instruction manual for further directions).

6. Then he adjusted the preload with the provided wrench. The shocks are equipped with a five position preload adjuster and come pre-set at the lightest setting; you can simply adjust the preload to better fit your riding style. Now, take your new shocks for a spin and play around with whatever setting you desire. If you bottom out, Progressive recommends adjusting to a higher/stiffer setting. Increase by turning clockwise, decrease by turning counter-clockwise.

7. As you can see with the new 812 shocks installed, the ground clearance in the rear has dropped more than 1-1/2 inches and the shocks look a lot cooler than the boring, exposed spring shocks.

8. & 9. Moving on to the front, we measured approximately 39 inches from the ground to the top of the triple trees. After we've completed installing the 2-inch Lowering Kit from Progressive, we'll have a certified lowrider on our hands.

10. Robert put the bike on a floor jack, then removed the brake caliper, axle, the front wheel, and fender, and then he loosened the pinch bolts on the trees (pictured here) with a hex socket to remove the fork legs.

11. The Progressive Fork Lowering Kit consists of two springs, two washers, four top-out springs, two spacers, and instructions.

12. Robert removed the fork tube cap and drained the fork oil while he extracted the stock springs. Remember to keep some kind of receptacle handy for when the oil starts to drain, and use caution when removing the fork tube cap, because the springs are preloaded and they'll launch out of the fork tubes if you're not careful.

13. The damper rods were then removed (each rod includes a stock top-out spring), and he installed the two Progressive top-out springs (each one is one inch) to lower the fork legs by two inches. Obviously, there is only one damper rod per fork leg, but we wanted to show you the difference between a 1-inch lowering kit (one Progressive top-out spring, left) and the 2-inch lowering kit (two Progressive top-out springs, right).

14. After installing the revamped damper rods (per your manual) and the new Progressive springs (close wound end up), he placed the washers on top of the spring. To account for pre-load in the forks he marked the PVC pipe/spacer so that 1/2-inch protruded from the lip based on my riding specs at 5'10"/175 pounds. You can adjust the spacer according to weight and your preferred riding style: For heavier riders/firmer ride, spacer should be longer, but for lighter riders/softer ride, the spacer should be shorter.

15. Robert replaced the fork oil, and then the fork tube caps were screwed back on.

16. We wanted to show you the difference between one finished fork leg and the stock fork leg. The lowered fork leg is 2 inches shorter than the stock leg.

17. The process was repeated on the other leg, and then both fork legs were reinstalled and the pinch bolts were tightened up. Then the wheel, axle, caliper, and front fender were replaced.

18. Here is the final measurement of the forks. As you can see, the Progressive Lowering Kit dropped the fork legs about 2 inches and the bike's seat height has only dropped about one inch. It might not sound like much, but it gives the Sporty a more aggressive look. Plus, the new rear shocks with chrome covers look a hell of a lot cooler than the stock springs.

Low equals cool; at least, in our opinion. After test riding the Nightster (Vol. 39 No. 9), we kicked around a few ideas of how to achieve a similar look on our stock '06 XLC Sportster.

After perusing the Internet and various catalogs, we came to the conclusion that Progressive Suspension's new 812 Series shocks (MSRP: $349 per pair) would be the perfect fit for what we had in mind. The 812s are 11 inches as opposed to the 12-inch stock shocks, and feature a five position pre-load adjuster so that you can play around with the riding style you prefer. With just a couple of turns you can increase the pre-load for a more aggressive ride or decrease pre-load for a nice and spongy leisurely stroll. Plus, the chromed 812s are available in two different spring-can designs: Baloney-cut or Double-cut.

To complement the drop in the rear, we compensated by lowering the front forks about two inches with Progressive's Fork Lowering Kit (MSRP: $102) so that we would still be all right as far as ground clearance was concerned without grinding the pegs to a bare nub-at least not right away.

We brought the stock Sportster into Progressive's shop, and the install took roughly an hour and a half: The shocks about 20 minutes, and the fork legs about an hour. We were amazed at how simple the install was; even if you aren't playing with a full deck you still should have no trouble doing the same thing in your garage. Enjoy!