Softail Shock Adjustment

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If you are not fully satisfied with the handling performance of your Harley Davidson Softail; try experimenting with your softail shock adjustment.

Softail models feature adjustable rear shock absorbers located beneath the motorcycle. They function opposite of a conventional shock, as they are inverted. Positioned horizontally under the motorcycle, the shock is mounted to the frame in the front of the bike and to the swing arm in the rear. As the shock compresses, the bike gets taller. As the shock extends, the bike stands lower. The rear shock spring preload may be adjusted to the total load, or maybe varied to suit your own personal comfort. The more preload you add, the stiffer the ride will feel.

Your service manual will help you determine the correct number of preload turns (adjustment) for your estimated total weight. Always adjust shocks with the motorcycle resting on the jiffy stand and always adjust both shocks the same number of turns; equally.

Softtail Shock Adjustment

You will need a spanner wrench (Harley Davidson part # 94448-82B) and a large 1-1/16″ wrench. The 1-1/16″ wrench is used for the jam nut. It is a good idea to purchase a cheap 1-1/16″ wrench that can be cut shorter to access the jam nut. Typically, a wrench of this size is too long for this application as you are working under the motorcycle. Mark the shock canister so you have a reference point for adjustment. Remember, note the table in your service manual. It gives you the suggested adjustment for a range of weight from 165lbs, up to 395lbs. With your shock preload adjusted for your optimum comfort, you may find yourself riding longer distances with less fatigue.

We have the motorcycle up in the air for ease of showing how-to do this procedure. You will need to do this on the ground per the manual. Safety is always the first thing when working on your motorcycle.

If you find your Softail shock adjustment does not do the trick, you can rebuild them with the help of this video.