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Ignoramus Primus
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Here's hoping someone here might have a positive suggestion.
I have an '86 GL1200 Interstate. I purchased a set of Progressive Air Shocks after reading (here and elsewhere) how everyone absolutely loves them.

Please don't flame me, butI hate 'em. They are more like shock amplifiers than shock absorbers. I'm no lightweight at 205lbs. but the only time they are tolerable is when my wife (@140lbs) joins me. Unfortunately, most of my riding is solo.

I have talked to Progressive tech support twice. Have returned the shocks for service and they replaced the damping units and sent them back - no change. I havemade very surethat there is no binding at the mounts and played with air pressures from 0 to 35 lbs - not much difference.

My impression is that they are very oversprung, however the first Progressive tech rep I spoke with says the srings are rated to be comfortable with as light as a 175lb rider and the 2nd rep said the springs are actually very light with the air assist providing the additional weight support. She suggested I exchange them for their non-air shocks.

I'm very frustrated at this point and am hoping that someone might have a possible solution before I send these stinkers to EBay.

Thanks,
Nick
 

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Senior Guru
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Hmmmmm. Nick, I have mine on a LTD, which is quite a bit heavier than the Interstate.I also carry a lot of junk in the 2 side bags. Probably 75 lbs. worth. So, overall, I'm probably 150 lbs heavier on the back than yours is. I weigh the same as you, and with my weight combo, they sure work good for me. How many miles do you have on them, and what rear tire do you have? Also, what pressure? in rear tire. I bought mine used, so they're probably "broke in" good LOL They looked new, tho, cept for 1 torn bood, which looked to be from accident. Does Progressive have a weaker spring option? Possibility of lighter oil, an option? Wish I knew what to tell you. Might do some Googling, to see if there's info on net. I'll look into it, too.
 

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I run my progressives with no air and I can ride single or with my daughter like that. If my wife rides with me, it takes about 10 lbs of air. I do not know for sure, but have heard on this board that progressive offers three spring sets for these shocks. You may want to talk with progressive to be sure which springs you have.
 

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Ignoramus Primus
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To Oregonwinger: I have stock size Continental Milestone tires but that isn't the problem. The stock shocks actually do a good job for one-up riding (especially since I rebuilt them - new seals & oil). It is absolutely night and day difference between the factory shocks and the Progressives. The stockers are smooth, the Progressives will nearly toss meoff the seat on a sharp dip or bump.

Jackjohn: I have seen a Progressive chart (don't have the link now) and they have 2 springs for the GL1200 air shock. An extra HD (Std) and an optional light duty. As I said, I've talked with their tech since having the shocks serviced and returned and their only suggestion was to exchange for the non-air shocks.

At this point I am ready to settle for the rebuilt stockers as they do a decent job. I'm just dissapointed the Progressives were such a big step backwards. I have their springs in the front forks and they are wonderful.

Later,
Nick
 

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Hmmm, I was always concidering a set of Progressives rear shocks. I replaced the front springs with progressives but actually never found diddly squat difference in the ride. I am happy with the ride the original rear shocks give. I dont expect it to handle like a crotch rocket....it isnt one anyway.
Maybe I will just keep mine as it is after reading your post. I do know lots of people say there is a great improvement......so would I if I paid that much for them :shock:
 

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Ignoramus Primus
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Mr. 1200: The universal praise for the Progressive air shocks is what finally prompted me to make the purchase.

I keep telling myself that there must be something wrong with this set, but they have beenserviced by the factory and returned with no change.

If they were simply too firm, I could convince myself that it was personal preference, but it is more than that. These shocksmake the bike uncomfortable and unsafe on anything but perfectly smooth roads. As I stated in my original post, they are shock amplifiers rather than absorbers.

I'll call the factory one more time to see if someone there has a solution. Perhaps the light duty spring (if they are still available) would make them satisfactory, but then I keep thinking that other owners with similar loads are quite pleased with them with the standardheavy dutysprings.

Still scratchin' my head and rubbing my lower back,
Nick
 

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Sorry I can't offer a fix, but for the record, I too like mine. I've got a '95 Gl1500 with the air shocks in therear and the progressives in the front. I'm not a small guy, but I'm not considered big either (6'2", 205).I run next to nothing riding solo, and 50Lbs riding 2 up and in both situations they perform admirably. I agree however that the light duty spring will be satisfactory for you.

Tricky,

I got mine on Ebay and saved a ton of $$$. They were NOS, and cost me $150 (somebody bought them, and never installed them). That included everything. I suggest that you lurk on Ebay and maybe you'll get lucky and find a good deal as well. Good Luck.
 

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the Progressives will nearly toss meoff the seat on a sharp dip or bump.
Nick, this description sounds like there is no rebound dampning at all. If this is the case, then there is an internal problem that Progressive should fix. It is not unusual for there to be a difference of oppinion on shocks or any thing else and you should always go with your own feelings as you are the one that must be pleased. It is just that the only detrimental thing I have ever heard about the 416 shocks is that they ride stiff in comparison to the stock units. Good luck and let us know what you find out from Progressive.
 

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Ignoramus Primus
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Mr. 1200: I found the reference to the softer spring. Go to:
http://www.progressivesuspension.com/pdf/7100-105.pdf
and check page 6. The standard prescription for the GL1200 is the #416-1626A. They also list a Sport Tuned - Light Springed equivalent as the #416-1606A. Good link to bookmark or save to disk.

To be fair to Progressive, they have been friendly and stated unequivocably that they want me to be satisfied so I will talkwith them some more. I know there is an answer out there. It is unlikely that as long as they've been making this shock and as many 1200's as they have been installed on, someone, somewhere probably has had the same problem and found the solution. I just need to keep poking around till I find it.

Thanks to all for you help and concern. I will post final results!

Thanks,
Nick
 

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People often confuse spring rates and dampening settings. Springs usually do not cause a firm ride unless they are WAY too stiff. The shocks within the units control the firmness of the ride more than the springs. I am not familiar with Progressives. Are the shocks adjustable? (not the spring rate) I was considering Progressives because my aftermarket non-air shocks are too firm for my wife.I would not buy them if they rode as firmly as my present shocks.
 

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Hi Dadoo, the Progressive 416's are only adjustable by the amount of air you put in them. Riding solo, I use no air, with my wife and riding around town, I will add 10 - 15 lbs. When we pack up to go to Ruidoso in a few weeks I will probably use up to 50 - 60 lbs for the travel load. As has been mentioned here, there are three spring rates available, talk with Progressive to determine the right one for you. I understand Nick's delimma but have never heard anyone have the problem he describes.
 

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NeedleNick wrote:
I'll call the factory one more time to see if someone there has a solution. Perhaps the light duty spring (if they are still available) would make them satisfactory, but then I keep thinking that other owners with similar loads are quite pleased with them with the standardheavy dutysprings.
Nick
My 1500 had Progressive 416s on it when I bought it. I got some OEM shocks for free, on the 1500 one is a spring shock and one and air only shock. I rebuilt the OEM shocks and tried them out. Didn't take me long to go back to the 416s. The factory told me they have three different spring strengths for the 416s. I'm not sure but I think the normal (hard) spring might be a 233. I was also told you can change the spring in the shock. I find the ride with Progressive springs in the front and progressive shocks in the rear to be firm but not objectionable. Much better in the corners. I (220lbs) ride solo with 0psi front and 10psi rear. Two up I like 50psi in the rear. I have Dextron ATF in both ends for damping fluid.
 

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I experienced the same issues with my new 416 shocks on my 85 aspencade. I am no lightweight at 280 lbs, yet I could not get a good ride. If I run with no or little air pressure I get a smooth ride on the road until I hit a real bump, then I bottom out. If I pump it up to about 6 bars on the air pressure meter I don't bottom out, but a bad train track crossing can bump me out of the seat. I have had them on for two months, and just noticed that they are leaking oil out the bottom bellows, so I am pulling them off to send them back to progressive for warranty repairs. Must say I am not impressed, and am surprized because of all the people who have had good experiences with them on this board and other boards. I also have the front springs, which I like and found to be an improvement.
 

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Before Ebay gets a shot at em,let me know..I may have interest in purchasing them from you.
 

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Well I got my shocks back from progessive. They said they found nothing wrong with them, but they did say there was no oil in one and only a bit in the other. They took them apart and rebuilt them.

I put them on and took a 150 mile ride on two lane backroads with plenty of bumps and dips- they worked great. The ride was like I expected it to be when I bought them, and was much different than the ultra stiff ride I had before. Progressive was very good to work with. Even though they felt there was no defect, they listened and responded to my concerns. Anyway, I am happy with the shocks and the ride now.

 

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Congratulations Randy, you just found out why you should always buy the best to begin with.
 

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Another option.

You can replace the damper assembly with the progressive damper. It is much less expensive than the whole shock and you can either upgrade the springs or not. Ask for part #16-4051. The dampers for both shocks list at $189 retail which isn't too bad, you use the original honda seals.

Hope it helps someone,

Kevin
 
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