Top 8 Best Motorcycle Shocks In 2020 Review

Whether on or off the road, all motorcycle riders have one thing in common: we want a smooth ride. After all, we’ve all heard the horror stories! Bad suspension can spell disaster for a motorcycle. We need that support, to protect both bike and rider when it hits a nasty bump.

And what if something doesn’t feel right?

Can we plant our feet firmly on the ground? Do we have confidence sweeping through corners? If not, we might need to think about swapping out our stock suspension for something else: something that gives us improved performance, and custom settings.

best motorcycle shocks

Best Shock Absorbers for Motorcycles Product Reviews


But how do we decide which to choose? Here, we’ve taken a look at some of the best motorcycle shocks around to you help pick the suspension that’s perfect for you and your bike…

1 Progressive Suspension 412-4080B Black Anodized Finish 12″ Heavy Duty Low Buck Factory – Best Adjustable Motorcycle Shocks

Shock and Awe!

Let’s kick things off with a name we’re sure you’ve heard of; Progressive suspension. They’re well known for offering some of the best shocks around.

Though they specialize in Harley handling, this manufacturer also offers suspension solutions for other motorcycle models. These rear suspension shocks aim to improve overall performance and handling with a number of exciting features.

Easily adjustable…

This product is constructed using a durable double-wall steel damper with a multi-staged velocity sensitive valve. This means they are easily adjustable to suit the needs of different riders. And the spring compression can be adjusted as well, to accommodate different carrying loads.

However, we don’t get a dampening adjustment. Instead, high-pressure nitrogen gas provides consistent damping performance. Whether we’re braking, or opening the throttle, the bike will behave just the way we want.

If we’re being honest…

We can’t deny that they are a little stiff. But they do offer a notable improvement in handling. We can skip over small bumps in the road, or tackle tougher terrain with ease, offering a relaxing ride.

And as another bonus, they lower the height slightly. This gives us more control and stability without running the risk of bottoming out. The 412s are a great aftermarket upgrade! And even better; they’re pretty easy on the pocketbook too!

Progressive Suspension 412-4080B Black Anodized Finish 12 Heavy Duty Low Buck Factory
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Easy installation.
  • Adjustable springs for bigger riders.
  • Smooth ride.

Cons

  • A little stiff.
  • No damper adjustment.

2 ZXTDR 2PCS 13.75” 350mm Front Shock Absorber Shocker Suspension for Quad ATV Dune Go Kart – Best Motorcycle Front Shocks

Gimme gimme shock treatment!

Up next, an impressively hefty suspension set! This item has a maximum load of a whopping 500lbs! They’re perfect for bigger bikes, as well as dune buggies and go-karts alike!

With an eye center to center distance of 350 mm, these are not a universal fit. While there is a bit of wiggle room, on smaller models, they just won’t fit. So, take care! Check the manufacturer’s guide for your motorcycle before buying!

Strong and robust…

We get a pretty sturdy spring here. In fact, it’s a huge 8 mm thick! It’s robust and strong, minimizing the risk of damage during crash landings on the track. The damping capabilities of this product are seriously impressive.

They absorb the brunt of the blow well, reducing jolts and force on the rider’s body. This also gives us increased handling capacity, making it easier to corner without drifting. So, they’re tough, they’re strong, and they handle well. What else do we like about these shocks?

Well, call us shallow, but…

That color is just awesome! In sunset orange hues, they add funky, modern, twist to any motorcycle! Now, we should point out that this is quite a stiff spring. That makes it a decent choice for touring bikes. But for riding out on the dirt, we want to pick an option that’s a little softer.

So, if you’re looking to improve your suspension for your next road trip, who knows? These could be the best shocks for your motorcycle!

ZXTDR 2PCS 13.75 350mm Front Shock Absorber Shocker Suspension for Quad ATV Dune Go Kart
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent damping.
  • Solid and strong.
  • Great color!

Cons

  • Not a universal fit.
  • Too stiff for dirt bikes.

3 GZYF 12.5” 320mm Motorcycle Shock Absorbers Clevis End Universal Fit 125cc-200cc – Best Budget Motorcycle Shocks

Shocked to the core!

Sorry Harley fans, look away now! These shocks are not for you! We’re leaving the tarmac behind, and carving up some dirt. We don’t want to get covered in roost! Let’s get ahead and dish it out instead. And to do that, we need to add a little something to the bike.

That’s where these suspension upgrades come in. Compatible with many models, they’re fully adjustable and offer amazing durability. These shocks are built to last!

One tough cookie!

This is an aluminum and solid steel shock absorber. And it is one tough cookie! With a considerable tensile strength, it gives us absolutely no reason to worry, during either during takeoff or landing. We can make adjustments to either the springs or nitrogen gas reservoir to modify the compression and rebound.

So when hitting the tougher terrain, we can absorb the bumps and ruts. They can handle a maximum load of 440lbs. So, they wouldn’t be much use on a fully dressed Road King! But for sportier models or lighter touring bikes, they’re a decent option.

There has to be a catch, right?

Well, they don’t come with installation instructions. You’ll have to work that out for yourself. For those who aren’t mechanically-minded, we’d recommend getting a professional to install them.

But that’s a minor point. These shocks are pretty awesome. They’re long-lasting, effective, and wallet-friendly to boot. Plus, they’re sure to make any motorcycle stand out in the crowd. With their matte black and striking gold colors, they’re seriously eye-catching!

GZYF 12.5 320mm Motorcycle Shock Absorbers Clevis End Universal Fit 125cc-200cc
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Robust.
  • Awesome on the dirt.
  • Great colors.

Cons

  • Not for enormous touring bikes!

4 Newsmarts 2pcs Adjustable 320mm Motorbike Air Shock Absorbers Universal Fit – Best Motorcycle Shock Absorber

Shock wave.

Our next item is a budget-friendly option. These Newsmart shocks offer easy suspension adjustment, at a low price.

Out on the dirt, they absorb the impact caused by lumps, bumps, and other obstacles. We can retain our speed, without too much uncomfortable jolting. And with a 440lb load capacity, they’re great for sport bikes and smaller tourers alike.

Perfection…

Once again, these shocks are constructed from our old friends, aluminum, and steel. These materials are perfect for motorcycle suspension. They offer an awesome level of durability, giving the rider that extra little peace of mind.

With a 320 mm eye to eye distance, they’ll fit most sport bikes up to 750cc. Hey, they’re even suitable for quads, or ATVs! Thanks to this universal size, we shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting them, even though an installation manual is not included.

What else?

Well, the shock strength can be changed. Adjust them to suit your riding style and weight. And they even come with a handy adjusting tool, to make it even easier! Of course, as these are air springs, they can be tuned incredibly precisely. On or off the road? It doesn’t matter. They’ll work for you, to support your ride.

And one last thing. They look fantastic! Subtle golden tones contrast with those standout black springs. They’re sure to add a touch of class to any motorcycle! As we’re sure you can tell, we like this product a lot!

Newsmarts 2pcs Adjustable 320mm Motorbike Air Shock Absorbers Universal Fit
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Includes a bespoke tool for strength adjustment.
  • Striking golden color!
  • Tough.

Cons

  • No installation instructions.

5 Progressive Suspension 944-4020UT Ultra Touring Heavy Duty Shocks for Harley – Best Heavy Duty Shocks for Harley Davidson

Shell shocked!

For our next item, we look to Progressive suspension again. Remember how we mentioned earlier, that this company specializes in hardware for Harley’s? Well, here we have shocks designed specifically with the Harley rider in mind.

Heavy-duty by name, heavy-duty by nature; these shocks are tough! Even in the face of accidents, they won’t be damaged. And as they’re meant for Harley’s, they can withstand pretty hefty weights too!

There’s a lot to like here…

But our favorite aspect has to be that FST. ‘Wait, what is FST?’, we hear you cry! Don’t worry, it’s simple! FST stands for frequency sensing technology. Basically, the damping will adjust automatically, depending on the frequency of the holes or bumps that the motorcycle hits.

Pretty cool, hey?

We get better handling and support, regardless of the terrain. With three different settings, the spring preload can be adjusted manually. Change it to suit the ride, and we immediately feel the difference compared to our stock shocks. And it’s easy to do as well, as there’s no need for specialized tools to do so.

However, all this amazing technology comes at a price. These are eye wateringly expensive! For the casual rider, there are definitely shocks out there that offer better value for money. But, for serious Harley enthusiasts, this product is hard to beat. And with their lifetime warranty, you’ll never need to buy another pair of shocks again!

Progressive Suspension 944-4020UT Ultra Touring Heavy Duty Shocks for Harley
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Top-end damping technology.
  • Adjustable spring.

Cons

  • Prohibitively expensive!

6 BURLY B28-1201B Black 10.5” Slammer Shock – Best Value for the Money Motorcycle Shocks

A short sharp shock.

This entry from Burly is for those of us who are looking to lower the ride height of our steed. Many motorcycles fail to accommodate the more diminutive rider. We often need to modify the bike to complement our height.

Are you struggling to balance on your tip-toes? If so, these might be right up your street. This shock provides a simple solution to our problems.

After all…

Sometimes you just have to put your foot down! We can modify the ride height by around 2 inches. This results in giving the bike a lower center of gravity. But why does this matter? Cornering and overall handling is improved. We all want to feel secure and in control when exploring the best switchbacks and hairpins of the Beartooth Highway!

These shocks give us that extra feeling of safety, allowing for smoother riding. They also provide the stiffness we’ve come to expect from the best shocks for motorcycles. They make sure we have a firm butt, so there are no worries about having any problems with our rear end! And with a beautiful black finish, these become a sleek yet stylish addition to our ride.

Sounds great, right?

Sure, but there is a downside. There always is, isn’t there! They are not universally compatible. So be sure to check whether they’re suitable for your bike, before buying!

BURLY B28-1201B Black 10.5 Slammer Shock
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Provides excellent handling.
  • Removes risk of bottoming out.

Cons

  • Incompatible with some models of motorcycle.

7 HD 159 Ohlins Shocks for ALL Harley Davidson FLH/FLT Touring Motorcycles 1998 – Best Motorcycle Shocks for Tourers

A shock to the system!

Here we have another product tailor-made for touring motorcycles and, in particular, Harley owners. Ohlins have created a formidable reputation in the world of motorcycle suspension. Manufacturing components to almost any conceivable style of rider and ride, including Moto GP, they have become synonymous with quality and precision engineering.

So, do they live up to the hype?

They sure do! With these shocks, the improvement in handling and comfort is remarkable. Even on rougher surfaces, we glide over the bumps. The leaning angle is improved, giving increased confidence in sweeping corners.

Here, Ohlins use pressurized Nitrogen gas. This delivers high performance, greater comfort, and improved responsiveness. We can adjust the length and easily fine-tune the rebound dampening.

But buyer beware!

We can’t make any alterations to the compression damping. Are there any other downsides? Well, yes. These come with a hefty tag when compared to some other options we’ve seen! They’re definitely not for the faint-hearted.

But, if we splash out on the mount of our dreams, then money is no object, right? And with a five-year warranty, these might offer better value for money than at first glance.

HD 159 Ohlins Shocks for ALL Harley Davidson FLH/FLT Touring Motorcycles 1998
Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Build quality.
  • Trusted brand.
  • Five year warranty.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Limited suitability.

8 BURLY B28-1201 Chrome Finish 10.5” Slammer Shock – Best Premium Motorcycle Shocks

Shock Therapy.

So, you find it difficult to put your heels down when sitting on your hog. Without that stability, we risk dropping our bike, even when waiting at a stoplight.

Ride height can be an issue for the vertically challenged among us! Tip-toeing around at slow speed is not much fun for anyone, is it?

What’s the solution?

Why not swap out your stock shocks for these bad boys? Burly’s Slammer shocks might be just what you’re looking for. By lowering the height, we can have our feet planted at the stoplights. No more embarrassing wobbles! We get comfort and security, giving an overall feeling of added safety.

But what about suspension travel?

Are we going to bottom out? No, not with these shocks. Easily adjustable to suit the rider’s weight, we can make sure that our motorcycle is set up perfectly. Just ride as normal, and you’ll be perfectly fine.

So, they perform just as we require, and without breaking the bank. We also love the style, a simple but classic look.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Unfortunately, yes, it is. These are limited in their compatibility with bike models. Built specifically for Harley Sportsters, they may not be suitable for other styles of motorcycle. Make sure you check the eye to eye measurement, as well as your vehicle handbooks recommendation.

But, if you do have a suitable bike, this item is a superb choice. A great way to round off our list of the best shocks for motorcycles!

111
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Preload adjustable.
  • Robust.
  • Cool design.

Cons

  • Limited compatibility.

Best Motorcycle Shocks Buyers Guide

Best Motorcycle Shocks

It’s clear that we have a lot to consider when choosing new motorcycle suspension components! It can be intimidating! So, what should we think about first?

Style

Well, for a start, what’s your style? Racer, touring, off-roader, street, track? There is a wide range of aftermarket parts for all our needs, and it’s important to choose shocks that will compliment your approach to riding.

Size

Secondly, sorry, guys, but size matters! A lot. We have to ensure that the eye to eye length will fit the frame of our mount.

Stroke Length

And another measurement to think about is stroke length. When under full load, how much will the shock compress? If you’re riding a fully dressed Harley, it’s important to make sure the shock can take the pressure.

Driver Weight

But then again, what if we’re dealing with lower weights? Suspension designed for heavy loads can be disastrous! We should ensure that the shocks are suitable for lighter riders; otherwise, it can feel as though we’re riding a Pogo stick!

Air or Coil?

Our next consideration should be air or coil. They both have their benefits, as well as their drawbacks. How do they differ? Coil shocks, using a metal spring to provide compression, are often more budget friendly. They are strong and robust and suit many riding styles. Plus, if you are looking to lower the ride height, they might be the best choice for you.

Air sprung shocks provide even more options when fine-tuning our suspension. By changing the air pressure, we can find the perfect balance to suit your needs. Thinking of hitting the dirt, or enjoy tougher terrain? These are a great option.

Damping

And finally, we need to talk about damping. Damping is how the shock absorbs the impact. Let’s face it; the last thing we want to do is bottom out! If the shock compresses fully, we feel a rather unsettling bump. And worse still, the spring can recoil too quickly. Great damping capabilities negate this, stopping us from hopping like a kangaroo on an uneven road surface!

Wow! There’s so much to think about! But hopefully, this guide will help when you are choosing the best shocks for your motorcycle.

Only the best for your motorcycle…

For more of the best motorcycle accessories and products, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Motorcycle Tank Sealers, the Best Rain Tires for Motorcycle, the Best Vintage Motorcycle Helmets, the Best Motorcycle Trunks, and the Best Motorcycle Leg Bags you can buy.

You may also be interested in our comprehensive reviews of the Best Tire Spoons For Motorcycles, our Best Motorcycle Lift Reviews, and the Best Dog Motorcycle Helmets currently on the market in 2020.

So, what are the Best Motorcycle Shocks?

We’ve looked at a really wide range of shocks in this list. We hope we’ve given you a few options for your next suspension set, no matter what model of bike you ride.

But there can only be one winner! And we’ve chosen the…

Newsmarts adjustable Motorbike Air Shock Absorbers

Why? They were the best all-rounder. Not only did they offer excellent damping capabilities, but they also had adjustable shock strength and robust construction. All that, and at an extremely wallet-friendly price! Oh, and they look pretty fantastic too!

So, happy riding, folks! We’ll see you out on the road real soon.

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