Air shocks vs spring shocks '83 Aspencade - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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This is on an '83 Aspencade with the air shocks on the rear.I got the system mounted and seems to be working but I also have a set of spring shocks from another bike rated to 450lbs.They are 12 3/4 eye to eye which seems a bit long but I think they'd fit.Whatdo you all think if I run the springs? and remove the air shocks and the pump from the machine?



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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 04:06 PM
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adjustment of the preload of the springs are a real bear to do if you go to the nonair shocks .

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 04:15 PM
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There is another current thread on this regarding a 1200. I have both for my 1200, and also my 1000. Springs work well, andboth air assisted and spring units work as well as the dampers within them. I also have a set of air only units on my GL1000 at the moment. They seem very good, if you have no air leaks. All in all I prefer the spring only units if there is not too much weight change from one day to the next. On a dressed bike I found considerable difficulty adjusting the preload, which is probably the reason that Honda used air assist in the first place. The one other advantage I can see for air is that compressed air has very little resonanceso unlike a spring it does not require much damping. Most spring units allow the pre-load to be adjusted but not the damping so as you tighten up on the pre-load you will in effect have the equivalent to a softer damper. Both OEM Honda and Progressive air assist units allow you to change the fluid in the damper so that as it ages it can be refreshed, or replaced with a different weight of fluid thus changing the damping characteristics harder or softer within the design curve of the damper. Of all the units I have tried I like the air only units the best for handling and ride, but I am alwaysnervous that a punctured diaphragm willrender them useless.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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ah-hah...I see.Fluid in the damper,huh? Gotta get the manual out and see what thats all about.Feetup you say air has little resonance and does not require much damping.Would you tell me about resonance and damping? I have not had this bike out for anything more than a half mile ride so far.Got it registered today but the rain is keeping me from riding.
What should I be looking for with the air shocks? This is the first air shock bike I have ridden.Feels a bit different than springs.
I guess my main idea was to loose the compressor for the air shocks.One less "thing" to ask the bike to do.I kinda like mechanical things.Not much of a gadget guy but I could learn to like it I guess.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 05:30 PM
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Tomw;

The whole idea behind a damper, (usually wrongly called a shock absorber) is to slow down the movement of the suspension. Metal springs, whether coil, leaf or torsion bars have a tendency to absorb energy (from a bump) and return¬*it with almost as much energy. Without some form of damping the spring would rebound past the original rest point and return again and again until friction in the system absorbed the energy imparted by the original bump. A sprung vehicle with no dampers can be forced down and released quickly and it will continue to bounce up and down till it comes to rest. When the wheel strikes a bump¬*it will bounce off the bump into the air till the energy in the spring forces it back down again where it will bounce back up again. Having the tire off the ground, bouncing isn't going to help us at all so we have dampers installed. Inside the damper is a¬*cylinder full of oil¬*and a piston connected to a rod. There are a series of small passageways through the piston that will allow it to move up and down but the oil from one side must flow through the passageways to get to the other side. Oil will not compress so for the piston to move it must¬*displace the oil. This is easy to do if it is done slowly, but to do it quickly takes more effort the faster it is done.
So, when the wheel hits that bump, the spring absorbs the energy, but when it rebounds back to it's normal state the damper tries to slow it down, and prevent it from bouncing around like a pogo stick. The compression damping (First impact) is often designed to be less than the rebound damping to give a smoother ride.

Air, in a compressed state has energy, and bounce (a basket ball)¬* but it does not develop a resonance the same way as a metal spring so will bounce much less each time it bounces. Compare the way a basketball bounces with the way a ruler held over the edge of a desk and flicked vibrates. Not a perfect analogy since a basketball bounces more from the stretch in the rubber and a ruler is of course hardwood, (at least when I went to school) but the idea is there. If you have ever dropped a valve spring on end onto a hard floor you know exactly what I mean, This is the reason over the road trucks are beginning to opt for air ride suspension.¬*

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 07:25 PM
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Got rushed to finish that last posting.

Simply put, the question of air shock vs. spring shock is a tough one to advise on since there are so many variables. Both work well if they are in good condition and neither works well if they are badly worn. If you ride both light and heavy, off and on, the air shock is very convenient to adjust and quite comfortable if you get the adjustment right. It takes a while to learn how much air for how much weight, but it is quite quick to adjust again if you feel you need more or less. Some folks pump a certain amount of air for the load and leave it at that, and some will stop and add a few pounds of air just because the 'S' turns are nice and tight and the rear end seems less tight than they like. Spring shocks tend to be set and forget, and if you ride with the same load all the time than they work just as well.
One advantage as I said before is that it is possible to replace the fluid in the air shocks when it breaks down, or to adjust the viscosity to account for wear in the damper or to add or remove stiffness from the rear end. We can do that with our front forks as well but very few spring shocks are not permanently factory sealed. There is a superb article in the tech section about rebuilding the air shocks, in this case upgrading to the progressive springs.
On the other hand the air shocks have seals and hoses and a compressor and a valving arrangement and an air drier and a gauge, etc., etc. It all is well designed and works well and doesn't require much maintenance other than the air drier, but springs are simpler.
Perhaps put a season on the air shocks and make a decision then.

There are two kinds of fools: one says,"This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says,"This is new, therefore it is better."Ě William Ralf Inge

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 01:32 AM
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Great info here Tim Just what I was looking for!

Thanks
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 02:25 PM
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To all who have inquired about or have been struggling with air shocks on the GL 1100,1200 or 1500,the solution for me was to change them after they failed to a Progressive #412-4223C (this # for the GL 1500, the 11 and 12 slightly differant)Heavy Duty Gas/Spring shock.I installed them this weekend and am astonished with the nice ride i have.Bike sits up nice and high,no more bottoming out even with 2 riders.You can purchase these on line for abot $210.

No more air/oil leaks or worries.They worked out great!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 02:33 PM
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I would go with regular shocks over air shocks any time. I have never had any issues with regular shocks in all the decades I have used them.

I have used air shocks on the rear of cars and trucks, either to raise the rear end so I could get enough clearance to put superwide tires under the fenders, or to keep a truck from sagging when using a slide in camper or towing a trailer.

I plan to replace the blown air shocks on my '85 LTD with regular shocks.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 05:56 PM
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I like regular shocks to, its what I have on mine

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