Owning a Harley-Davidson Softail is an exhilarating experience, but sometimes riders may find themselves seeking a more personalized fit and aesthetic for their bike. One common modification that can significantly improve both comfort and style is lowering the Softail’s suspension.
Lowering your Softail not only enhances the overall look of the bike but also improves stability and handling, especially for riders with shorter inseams. In this blog post, we will explore the various methods and considerations involved in lowering your Softail.
How to Lower Softail (Step by Step Guide)
I. Assessing Your Softail’s Current Suspension: Before diving into the lowering process, it’s essential to evaluate your Softail’s current suspension setup. Understanding the factory settings and the impact of lowering on your bike’s overall performance will help you make informed decisions throughout the process. Familiarize yourself with the Softail’s suspension components, including the shocks and fork tubes, and consider any potential limitations or modifications required for the specific model you own.
II. Lowering Options: There are several methods to lower a Softail, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some common options to explore:
Lowering kits are specifically designed to lower the suspension of Softail models. These kits usually include shorter rear shocks and front fork springs, which allow you to maintain the factory ride quality while lowering the overall height of your bike. They are relatively straightforward to install and are available in various lowering ranges, so you can choose the level that best suits your preferences.
Rear Shocks Replacement:
Another option is to replace the rear shocks with aftermarket ones that have a shorter length. This method provides more flexibility in terms of adjustability and customization. By selecting shocks designed for lowered applications, you can fine-tune your Softail’s stance while preserving ride comfort and handling characteristics.
Front Fork Modifications:
Lowering the front of your Softail can be achieved by making modifications to the front fork. This typically involves installing shorter fork springs or internally lowering the front end. While this method may require more technical expertise, it offers greater control over the final outcome, allowing you to achieve a precise and balanced ride height.
III. Important Considerations:
- Ground Clearance: When lowering your Softail, it’s crucial to consider the impact on ground clearance. Lowering the suspension may decrease the distance between the bike’s undercarriage and the road, potentially causing scraping or bottoming out on speed bumps, steep driveways, or uneven surfaces. Be mindful of the areas you frequently ride in and make adjustments accordingly.
- Bike Geometry: Altering the suspension height can affect the bike’s overall geometry and rake angle. Lowering the front end, for example, can decrease trail, potentially affecting steering response and stability. It’s essential to strike a balance between achieving the desired lower stance and maintaining optimal handling characteristics.
How Do You Adjust a Softail Rear Suspension?
If you have a rear suspension on your Harley-Davidson Softail, you may find that you need to adjust it from time to time. Here is how you can do this:
First, check the owner’s manual for your specific model of bike to see what the recommended settings are.
You may also want to check with a local Harley-Davidson dealer to get their input. Once you have the recommended settings, you will need to adjust the preload on the shocks. This can be done by turning the adjusting nut at the top of each shock clockwise or counterclockwise.
Turning the nut clockwise will increase the preload, while turning it counterclockwise will decrease it. You will want to experiment with different settings to see what works best for you and your riding style. Just remember that if you make any adjustments, be sure to write down the original settings so that you can return to them if necessary.
Does Lowering a Harley Affect Handling?
Lowering a Harley Davidson motorcycle can certainly affect the handling. This is because when you lower the bike, you are changing the center of gravity and affecting the suspension. Many people believe that lowering a Harley improves the handling, but it really depends on your individual riding style and preferences.
You may find that lowering your bike makes it more difficult to corner at high speeds or navigate through tight turns. If you frequently ride on winding roads or off-road trails, you may want to keep your Harley at its stock height in order to maintain optimal handling. Ultimately, it is up to you to experiment with different settings and find what works best for you and your motorcycle.
How Do You Install a Lowering Kit on a Harley Softail?
Installing a lowering kit on a Harley Softail is not as difficult as it may seem. With a few tools and some basic knowledge, most people can do it themselves.
Here are the steps:
- First, you will need to gather the necessary tools. You will need an adjustable wrench, sockets and ratchets in various sizes, a torque wrench, and a few other miscellaneous hand tools.
- Next, you will need to remove the saddlebags if your bike has them. This is so that you can have better access to the rear shocks.
- Once the saddlebags are off, locate the rear shocks. There are two bolts on each side that hold them in place. Use your socket and ratchet to remove these bolts (it is helpful to have someone help support the weight of the shock as you do this).
- With the bolts removed, gently pull out the old shocks and set them aside (again, having someone help support their weight). 5Now take your new lowering kit shocks and line them up with the bolt holes on your bike frame.
How Does a Harley Softail Suspension Work?
Harley-Davidson’s Softail models are some of the most popular bikes on the road. But what makes them so special? Part of it has to do with the unique suspension system that gives these bikes a smooth ride.
Here’s a closer look at how the Harley Softail suspension works: The key to the Softail’s smooth ride is its dual shock absorber system. This setup includes a set of springs and shocks mounted under the seat, as well as a set of shocks mounted at the rear wheel.
The combination of these two systems provides a more comfortable ride than traditional motorcycles, which often have just a single shock absorber. TheSoftail’s rear shocks are adjustable, so you can dial in just the right amount of damping for your riding style. And if you’re carrying a passenger or extra weight, you can adjust them accordingly to keep everyone comfortable.
One final note about the Harley Softail suspension: it’s designed to give you a smoother ride, but it also provides plenty of ground clearance for when you want to take your bike off-road. So whether you’re cruising down the highway or exploring some backwoods trails, your Softail will be up for anything!
Harley Davidson soft tail lowering kit install
Best Softail Lowering Kit
A softail lowering kit is a great way to improve the look of your bike, and it can also improve the handling. There are a few things to consider when choosing a lowering kit, and we’ll go over those here.
First, you need to decide how much you want to lower your bike.
Softail bikes can be lowered up to 3 inches in the rear, and 1 inch in the front. If you’re not sure how much you want to lower your bike, it’s best to start with a small amount and then adjust as needed. Next, you need to choose the right springs for your kit.
softer springs will give you a smoother ride, but they won’t provide as much support during cornering or hard braking. Stiffer springs will give you better performance during these situations, but they will make your ride less comfortable. Finally, you need to choose the right shocks for your kit.
Shocks are responsible for absorbing bumps and keeping your wheels in contact with the ground. Softer shocks will give you a smoother ride, but they may not perform as well during hard riding conditions.
Lowering your Softail can be a rewarding modification that enhances both the look and feel of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Whether you opt for a lowering kit, aftermarket shocks, or front fork modifications, always consider the impact on comfort, handling, and ground clearance.
It’s advisable to consult with experienced riders or professionals who have expertise in Softail customization to ensure the modifications are carried out safely and effectively. By carefully assessing your Softail’s current suspension, exploring various lowering options, and keeping these considerations in mind, you can achieve a customized ride that perfectly suits your style and improves your overall riding experience.