2013 Drake Smith - Please do not use or reproduce this elsewhere.  Feel free to link to it though.

Aftermarket K Bike Shocks

Disclaimer: The content of this page is just my opinion on these products based on personal experience and common opinions I've heard from other K bike owners.  I do not claim to be a motorcycle suspension expert nor do I have any affiliation with any of the vendors listed below - aside from being a customer.  Nor do I warrant that everything I write here is even 100% correct.

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 were rebuildable.)

The following aftermarket shocks are ordered 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 Shock

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

 Works 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 $600-700 range.

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 Shock

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 not use or reproduce this elsewhere.  Feel free to link to it though.