In the February issue we showed you how to lower your bike quickly and inexpensively with a spacer kit from Blazing Bikes. But what if you're looking for more out of your suspension, specifically on-the-fly adjustment, improved ride quality that is smoother than stock, the ability to adjust to your preferences or setup (soft or stiff, solo or fully loaded with a passenger), and on top of all that the wow factor of dropping the rear of your bike to the stops when you get to your destination. If this is the case, then an air ride system is what you're looking for. When searching air ride systems one of the top companies that comes to mind is Legend Air Suspensions (LAS). Ever since its first Softail system, the L8, was created and immediately lauded by the industry, LAS has become known as one of the top air ride manufacturers.
In 2000 LAS improved upon its original Softail design with its L9/L3 (pre-'00/'00-later) units which house the Kevlar-impregnated rubber springs in a protective metal housing, and are more compact offering a more universal fitment, and better ground clearance. Comprised of high-quality US components (the only thing that's not made in the US is the rubber air sleeve which comes from its supplier, Vibra Acoustics-formerly Gates) the LAS kits come with everything you need to install the system in five basic steps. LAS made installation relatively quick and easy by providing a frame-mount bracket for the pump (instead of having to pull the rear wheel to mount the pump like other kits) and making all the wiring color-coded and plug-and-play. The kits are available for both pre-'00 and '00-later Softails-as well as many other Harley models-with standard black components, or you can upgrade the shocks, pump mount, and handlebar switch assembly to chrome for an additional cost, and all come with a lifetime warranty.
Aside from having the on-the-fly adjustability, LAS also put a lot of time and effort into creating a system that provides great ride quality. They achieved this with a separate air spring and hydraulic oil/deflective disc damping design. While the air spring provides the ride-height and absorbs some of the bumps, the oil/deflective disc damping is the key to a smooth and plush ride. The deflective disc damping system has been properly damped for each model and is velocity sensitive, meaning it can adequately handle sharp/deep jolts or repetitive bumps smoothly. Once installed the system provides about 3 inches of adjustment, and if by chance there's a failure and the system completely loses air, LAS incorporated stops into its kits to match the built-in bump stops on stock bikes so that the tire won't bottom out into the fender. It should be noted however, that LAS informed us that it designed its kits for use with stock tire/wheel sizes, so if you are running larger wheels, you might experience tire rub when fully aired out.
Follow along as we show you the install of one of LAS's chrome L3 kits on an '09 Softail Deluxe.
Legend Air Suspensions
legendsuspensions.com | (605) 720-4202