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Progressive Suspension goes Ultra-Low

By By Liz Keener

New shocks drop the height of the popular Street Glide

For some, especially shorter riders, an 800-pound motorcycle like the 2015 Harley-Davidson Street Glide can be intimidating. But it might also have the look, feel and price that the rider is looking for. That’s where Progressive Suspension comes in.

Progressive Suspension’s 944 Ultra-Low shocks are new to the company’s lineup. They drop a Harley-Davidson touring bike by 2 inches.

Progressive Suspension’s 944 Ultra-Low shocks are new to the company’s lineup. They drop a Harley-Davidson touring bike by 2 inches.

Progressive Suspension recently introduced 944 Ultra-Low shocks for Harley-Davidson touring models that lower the Street Glide 2 inches, opening up the 103-cubic-inch V-twin tourer to a wider audience.

“We do lowering products that make you feel more comfortable on a bike; that’s a good chunk of what we do,” Progressive Suspension product and training specialist David Wendinger told Powersports Business at the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties Atlanta Regional Showcase. “You’ve got shorter riders like myself, and that’s also an 800-pound bike, so that’s kind of intimidating.”

The 944 Ultra-Low shocks follow the 944 Ultra-Touring shocks, which lower a bike by 1 inch and have been best sellers for Progressive Suspension.

The 944 Ultra-Touring shocks are top sellers for Progressive Suspension.

The 944 Ultra-Touring shocks are top sellers for Progressive Suspension.

“That’s the one that bolts onto a Street Glide and keeps it riding real low but has a lot of suspension travel, so it retains a lot of the ride,” Wendinger explained.

He discourages riders from lowering bikes simply for aesthetic reasons because when lowering a bike, a rider usually gives up some ride quality, but he does promote lowering bikes for those who need a lower bike for their personal comfort.

“If you like your motorcycle, you’re going to ride it more. If you’re kind of like, ‘The thing’s OK or rides like [crap],’ you’re not going to take it out,” he said.

However, most riders need to be shown how suspension products can make their ride better. A shorter rider may not know that a bike that’s a bit too tall could be lowered, for example.

“Suspension’s all consultative selling,” Wendinger said. “You’ve got to explain it to people. It’s the last thing people do. Everybody will put chrome on, performance parts and everything else, but the suspension is the last thing that gets addressed, so it’s got to be sold — no doubt about it.”

Those who are looking for suspension products, however, are usually quick to turn to Progressive Suspension, which has more than three decades of experience in the industry. Most riders, Wendinger said, have either owned Progressive Suspension products themselves, or they know a fellow rider who has owned them.

But just because Progressive Suspension is a popular brand doesn’t mean its staff is comfortable producing the same product year after year. Instead, employees are quick to develop new product to remain a leader among the wide range of competitors that have emerged, and to retain its loyal customers.

“We try and stay ahead of the competition on different applications, new applications, the valving,” Wendinger said. “Everybody at our company does ride, and we’re real conscious about trying to make a motorcycle ride the best you can, not always just performance — performing well, yet offering a good ride for somebody.”

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