Though good motorcycles in
general, the factory shocks aren't particularly great.
They're not necessarily bad but they're not what most would
consider "performance" shocks. To the best of my knowledge
they cannot be rebuilt. (And wouldn't be worth it if they
The following aftermarket shocks
based upon my SUBJECTIVE opinion of which shocks work best.
It is not all encompassing of every shock for K bikes but
includes some of the more common options. Click the manufacturer's
name to go to their website.
non-ABS/ABS II Ohlins
(Sweden): Ohlins is pretty much the top
name in motorcycle suspension. I don't have the specific
model/part numbers handy but Ohlins made shocks for both 2
valve and 4 valve K bikes. For each, there was an ABS
I version and a non-ABS/ABS II version. The ones that
work on non-ABS/ABS II bikes have a "piggyback" reservoir on
the front which will not work on an ABS I bike due to the
location of rear ABS modulator. The ABS I version
shocks will work on non-ABS/ABS II bikes though.
Trying a vehicle application
search on the Ohlins website, it does not appear as though
Ohlins still makes shocks for K bikes. They do show up
used on Fleabay and other places occasionally though. The
retail price for a new one would probably be in the
neighborhood of $1,100.
Ohlins shocks can be rebuilt.
There's a company,
www.ppsracing.com, that specializes in Ohlins products
and this is who I currently use to get an Ohlins shock
rebuilt. Cost is in the $200-250 range.
Works Performance Shock
Performance (California): Works is a
custom motorcycle suspension company that builds shocks to
your specifications - namely what bike the shock is built
for. I don't know exact pricing but I think it's in the
Since it has a remote reservoir
that is hose clamped to the right rear frame rail, it will
work on all K bikes: non-ABS, ABS I and ABS II.
Works shocks are rebuildable. The
last one I had rebuilt by them (in 2013) cost roughly $125.
RAM/Realm Engineering (U.K.): Though primarily an
auto racing suspension company, an individual closely
affiliated with them who rides/races K bikes worked with
them to develop a series of shocks designed and built
specifically for use on classic K bikes. (Click their name
at the beginning of this paragraph and scroll to the bottom
of the page to see their available K products and prices.)
I think "bang-for-your-buck"-wise
that this is a very good product. I had one on one of my
K75s for a while and it worked quite well. I also knew
of quite a few other K bike owners who are pleased with this
product. They are rebuildable.
The only caveat when buying one
is to be sure to get it sprung for your normal riding
weight. (w/ luggage if applicable) Their default is to install a spring for
riding 2-up, fully loaded. For example, on my K75 with just
165 pound me and no other load, the shock was initially way
too harsh for me, even with minimal preload. However,
once they worked with me to get me the correct spring, it
worked quite well.
Progressive 412 Shock
Progressive Suspension (California):
If you look around you can usually find a new Progressive
412 shock in the $200-250 range. To my knowledge, they
only make the 412 for K75s and K100s. These aren't as good
as the shocks mentioned above but if you're not pushing it
while riding and just need something better than a shock
that's wearing/worn out then this is a good budget
alternative. This shock cannot be rebuilt.
© 2013 Drake Smith - Please do
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