Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100


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WingNutJC
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Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:15 am



I recently fitted these to my GL1100, looking for (1) better ride and (2) to raise the rear of the bike for better cornering clearance.

Before these I was using the original factory units, but had fully reconditioned them (seals, bump stops, oil etc), and fitted Progressive's higher rate springs. I'm 240lbs and had to run them at 57psi to stop bottoming out. (As they have only 3" travel, it's beyond me how they coped with a load of 2 people + luggage).

Since these Wings are so sure footed and will heel over to silly angles, I began corner carving mountain roads but quickly became sick of scraping pegs, centre stand etc. Decided longer shocks were the go, both to get more rear ground clearance and to get rid of the tail down look.

I found a set of 14.25" Progressive 416's. Yes - raised the rear (lots more cornering clearance, and no chicken strips), and gave the bike a better looking stance IMO.

That's where all the good stuff ends.

(1) - springs are so stiff that the shocks do not compress under the weight of the bike. Hmmm ... ok ... might not mean anything, but ...
(2) - under my weight, with no air pressure, I get a little over 1" sag. This is the ideal sag, according to fitting instructions. OK.
(3) - but - the shocks show no sign of any rebound damping - either when I drop my weight onto the bike - or when I ride over any sort of abrupt bump. Basically the rear end pogo's around over any sort of serious size hump or bump. Not a trace of rebound control. Over-sprung and under-damped.

I contacted tech help at Progressive (we have had 4 exchanges, with no benefit) and all I can say is that I'm even more dismayed with the tech help (or lack of), than I am with the shocks. In a nutshell, the help person (still) seems to have no idea of the recommended air pressure/sag height specified in the installation instructions. Can publish email discussion if anyone is interested. Interesting reading.

Part of the reason I purchased the 416's is that Progressive state they incorporate Frequency Sensitive Damping, FSD, which is A Good Thing. (Koni have used FSD for years). At any rate, if it's in there it isn't obvious, overshadowed by the pogo stick effect.

Talking of which, on long, sweeping, undulating 70mph bends, it's easy to develop a rocking-horse like weave, c/- no rear damping. Initially un-nerving, but which eventually stops me getting to more spirited speeds. Grrr. Just as the OEM shocks did.

So the only benefit gained from fitting these expensive shocks is more cornering clearance, and capacity to carry a passenger. Absolutely no benefit re ride control.

As you may gather, I'm not a happy camper by any means, from the point of view of both poor product performance and less than poor technical help.

I gave Progressive every chance to assist me before I posted here, but they didn't measure up, so there's my story.

Unless you're made of $$$, this purchase is a big chunk out of most ppl's budget (especially mine), so am I being unreasonable in my criticisms?

Very interested to hear of anyone else's experience with these shocks, or with Progressive in general.



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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:22 am

I also put Progressive 416's on my GL1100, and for the same reasons: a leaky rear shock, and tired, sagging springs in the rear shocks.

However, I put the recommended 13" 416's in, rather than the much taller 14.25" shocks you installed. With just the 13" shocks, the bike sat up quite a bit taller, mainly because the old OEM springs were so worn out. To me, the change in handling was a vast improvement - instead of wallowing through turns, the rear end was far more compliant, and kept the wheel planted on the ground over bumps. I did not experience the pogo effect you describe.

The ride sag should be just about 1/3 the total suspension travel, so for a stock shock, 1" is correct. With the taller shock you installed, you should be seeing ride sag of closer to 1.5". It almost sounds like the spring rate is too high (springs too stiff), preventing correct ride sag as well as compression.

I have not had direct dealings with Progressive, so I can't speak to your experience with their tech support. I can say however that the ride quality on my GL1100 was improved so much that I replaced the stock shocks on my GL1500 with 416's as well, and I'm equally happy with them.

Joe_
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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby Joe_ » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:52 am

I have a progressive shock on the rear of the GL1500 I have now. It seems to work well. It was on the bike when I bought it.
If it fails I will find something else to replace it with. I'm not fond of progressive products. You might consider just buying the correct rate spring for your shocks. You could give racetech a call. They can probably point you to the proper spring rate for what you have should you want to try and salvage part of your investment in the progressive shocks.

I stopped buying progressive shocks after I had a 412 tear itself in two a short time after the warranty expired. ( couple of weeks)
I removed a set of OEM shocks with over 50,000 mile on them and replaced them with the 412's thinking it would be a better shock.
The shock failed in less than 6 months driving 8 miles of dirt road a day to get to and from the paved road. It probably had less than 13,000 miles on it when it broke The damper body mechanically failed and separated near the top. . Piston came right out the end of the tube when I took the shock off. The whole assembly was in two pieces.
When I called customer service they asked for pictures and upon receiving them offered to sell me a new damper unit for the shock assembly.
The price for a new damper was not unreasonable but I declined their offer. When I inspected the failed shock the body was just too thin to take the load. As you said, little rebound dampening and jackhammer springs, and on the 412, a very thin tube/body were a recipe for failure. Had I replaced the one that had failed the other would have failed shortly. I realized they weren't going to work for my situation. Anyways good luck to you , felt much the same when I dealt with their customer service. They were polite but not overly concerned.

I've had stellar results with Racetech products. I haven't bought any of their shocks yet but their springs and gold valve cartridge emulators are absolutely wonderful. If and when I need shocks I will probably try some of theirs. A lot of folks on the Victory forum seem to think highly of Peneske shocks. They think they are a pretty good value. I've also had good luck with New Old Stock OEM take offs if you can find them.


When you raised the back of your bike did you have any symptoms that might suggest that the Ujoint was not happy with the greater angle that resulted? I'm investigating doing the same to my GL1500 sidecar bike because of the low profile car tire I am running on it.
I want to get some of the ground clearance back by either running a longer shock or moving the shock mounts.

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:04 am

Thanks to WingAdmin + Joe.

Joe, your experience most accurately mirrors mine: hard riding (+ no rebounding control).

I have followed to the nth degree the install instructions, as well as alternative suggestions.

Wrapping up, with my total weight on the bike, the rear suspension deflection (sag) is 15mm. Repeated several times. Zero psi.

So think I'm justified in my initial criticisms of the products.

Very, very disappointed, not only from the performance of the product, but also of the recurring inability of the Tech Assistant to at least grasp the basics of the principles involved re any sort of understanding of the product performance.

Thanks for those pointers Joe. I'll be following up very closely.

Many Thanks

WingNut.

:-) :-) :-)

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby Joe_ » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:16 am

I want to ask you a question about how your bike feels when the shocks are fully extended such as when your rear bike tire enters a dip while accelerating or when your hard on the throttle accelerating and you feel the back of the bike rise up a bit. At that moment do you get any indication that your Ujoint is too far out of alignment and binding at all? For instance a shudder that repeats itself each time the rear swingarm fully extends or an increase in vibration that only manifests itself when the shocks are topped out?

Thank,
joe

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:07 am

Apologies for slow reply, Joe.

Being completely honest, I hadn't given a thought to U-joint alignment. :lol: but I'll look further into that.

However I haven't noticed any driveline noises, shudders etc. Re the back end rising under acceleration / shocks at full extension: no obvious noises etc there either. But I'm probably not pushing as hard as you either.

My main concern with such little rear sag is losing traction through a sudden dip (shocks topping out). I've felt the rear get a bit loose a couple of times, but the Dunlop rubber quickly regained grip. Whew. :shock:

HTH

WingNut


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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:19 pm

Joe_ wrote:
I've had stellar results with Racetech products. I haven't bought any of their shocks yet but their springs and gold valve cartridge emulators are absolutely wonderful. If and when I need shocks I will probably try some of theirs. A lot of folks on the Victory forum seem to think highly of Peneske shocks. They think they are a pretty good value. I've also had good luck with New Old Stock OEM take offs if you can find them.



Hey Joe.

When I bought the shocks I was looking for two things:

- longer travel (stock is 3") and
- more rear ground clearance.

So far Pro Susp. has not given me any travel info.

I wondered about using OE from the 1200 as I had 'heard' they were longer, but could not find out much more.

Am definitely going for the Racetech emulators/springs. A riding mate has a Penske shock on his TL1000 Suzuki and doesn't stop raving about it. :lol:

If Pro Sus. can't do anything for me, the shocks will suit a project bike I have in the shed.

Cheers

John C.

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby Joe_ » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:00 am

I'm kind of going through a similar thing right now trying to get the front suspension dialed in on my sidehack.
I was told to not even think about changing anything that has to do with the dampening till I had the sag set correctly because unless the sag is correct the suspension will be harsh. Getting the correct sag implies that you have springs of the correct rate before finding the proper pre load that gives the proper amount of sag.

You could do this. Email racetech and ask them if you submit one of these forms:
http://racetech.com/download/SwingarmGeometry.pdf
completely filled out if they will calculate the proper spring rate for your new shocks. (do be careful with your measurements if you want meaningful results)
Then armed with their numbers you can email progressive and find out what spring rate the springs are on the shocks you were sold. If the spring you have now are quite different from what racetech calculated, I'd invest in another set of springs of the rate they recommend, set the sag properly and re evaluate the shocks dampening.

If the numbers came back from racetech to be very close to the rate of the springs that came on your new progressive shocks I'd probably cut my losses and begin again with a different shock.
I don't believe you can really evaluate those dampers till they are paired to the correct springs for the application. If the original seller won't assist you getting there, maybe Racetech will. You'll also figure out if you want to do business with racetech in the future in the process.

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby spiderjack » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:40 pm

I will echo Wingadmin, I put 416 PRogressive rear shocks on my 1100 and it made a huge improvement. That was quite a few years ago though, like 9-10 years ago I think. Maybe the shocks they make today are different? Wingadmin, when did you put yours on your 1100?

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:06 pm

spiderjack wrote:I will echo Wingadmin, I put 416 PRogressive rear shocks on my 1100 and it made a huge improvement. That was quite a few years ago though, like 9-10 years ago I think. Maybe the shocks they make today are different? Wingadmin, when did you put yours on your 1100?


I think I put mine on about 7 years ago. So I suppose it's possible something in the shocks have changed since then? I don't know.

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:39 pm

Thanks again for all those replies.

Latest email exchange in the ongoing saga with Progressive is identifying my 416 model:

I asked Jake to supply the spring rates of my 416 shocks.

Jake (Progressive) then asked me for the ID # of my shocks, (on a white sticker) on the shock body. (He has 4 models at 14.5").

Begs the question: with only 4 models, why not give all the spring rates?

Anyway, maybe the stickers were there or they were brushed off. Who knows? I 'think' I may have peeled them off as they looked daggy. In any case they would have fallen off given time.

But - the lower eye mountings are painted RED. Now there's a more permanent ID marking.

I mean, what professional company would rely on such a flimsy method as this to identify their product in years to come?

In the end, I've told Jake to forget it, as he seems unable to deal with the basic concepts of spring rate and damper action. Further, he seems completely at sea when it comes to product identification and/or performance.

Fortunately, I have another slower, heavier project where I can use the shocks.

Cheers and thanks.

WingNut.

Project bike:

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby julimike54 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:39 pm

I believe that something has changed at Progressive. Their support for products has dropped to an all time low. I've used their shocks on several things, even the '86 (OEM style replacement). I contacted them about rebuild service or parts, after giving them the model# & date of purchase they still needed a picture of the label, so they could tell me they have no parts or service. This is not what I experienced about 8 years ago, maybe they sold out to another company? Good luck with them, I'm going to look for another brand to replace mine with!
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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby WingNutJC » Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:44 am

julimike54 wrote:I believe that something has changed at Progressive. Their support for products has dropped to an all time low. I've used their shocks on several things, even the '86 (OEM style replacement). I contacted them about rebuild service or parts, after giving them the model# & date of purchase they still needed a picture of the label, so they could tell me they have no parts or service. This is not what I experienced about 8 years ago, maybe they sold out to another company? Good luck with them, I'm going to look for another brand to replace mine with!


Thanks JulieMike.

Yep, things do change at businesses, and I find it almost impossible that Progressive built the reputation they've had until now by offering the type of tech service given by Jake.

When you find a suitable set of shocks be sure to post details on the forum.

Cheers.

WingNut.

PS: the pic at the bottom of my post IS my project bike. :-)

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby Evilrick » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:46 am

I took a look at racetech website because I need rear shocks for my 84 GL12A, have one with a blown seal and it wont hold air. the racetech site shows nothing for the rear of the 84. I had planned on getting the progressive shocks, now not so sure. Anybody know of any others that I can get for my Oldwing?
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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby Scooter363y » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:53 am

I just put progressive shocks on the rear and springs on the front of my brothers 82 gl1100 wing. Now it rides great, much better than before. The suspension was pretty much dead before we installed these upgrades. Now it rides like a goldwing should.

I'm not sure the wing is a canyon carver. If I wanted to do that there are a lot of other bikes better suited to that.

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Re: Disappointed: Progressive's 416 shocks. GL1100

Postby rick.sheeley » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:15 am

Wingnut,
I am not an engineer, but I've owned more than a few bikes. And given the height difference between the 14.25 and 13 stocks, I believe the geometry change would account for the "wobble" effect you are feeling in the curves, especially with a shaft drive bike. Aso you never mentioned making any adjustments to the front forks and springs. Seems like you would need to adjust load and rake up front to balance out the height gain in the rear. And older shaft drive systems lacked modern torque canceling positioning arms giving a characteristic known as “shaft-jacking” effect. When one applies power to the wheel, the fixed pinion gear rotates in line with the end of the swing arm, but the ring gear that is 90-degrees from the pinion geometrically reacts to power application by causing a perceptible rise to the rider’s seat.Conversely, when power is chopped suddenly, the bike’s rear attitude drops just as quickly. If one is riding at a fast clip, exploring the limits of ground clearance and the rider is ham-fisted about cutting power, one could have hard parts levering the wheel to the outside of the turn. You can see where taller shocks would tend to amplify these tendencies.
Also, I do know from the little bit of racing experience I have with M/C's (support not as a rider) that pro riders almost NEVER use taller shocks to vercome clearance issues... they adjust the pedals, parts etc. for clearance.

Here's a greatr little article on the science of it..... http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/41 ... ained.aspx

So, you may have done yourself a disservice wit the tallers shocks. I believe I remember the same issues with the VTX 1800 back when I owned one, of the taller shocks reducing cornering stability.




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