I, like a lot of people want to improve the ride quality of my Triumph Bonneville. In my case it's the Mag wheeled SE model from 2011. The stock shocks aren't completely horrible and you can have a pretty good time riding it as is. They seem to handle faster/harder riding pretty well, but they really don't absorb little to medium sized bumps at all which can lead to feeling like you've been punched in the spleen.
I originally switched out to some Hagons which I liked quite a bit. I went for the taller than stock version in all black.
If memory serves, I liked them well enough, but they were still a bit harsh over some of the lesser bumps. In the end the taller length made it impossible for my wife, who was sharing the bike at the time, to ride the bike in the taller configuration.
Upon some research and a nice installtion video from Delboy I decided to try the Tec Piggyback shocks.
At the time I was trying to do the sporty bonnie thing. Flyscreen, lower mirrors so why wouldn't you go with remote reservoir shocks? This isn't a review of those, but I will say briefly that installation was a major pain, I did not like how the height adjustment function (so I left at lowest setting) and in the end I just did not really like the way they looked. They are nicely made and I think performance was good (on par with the Hagons but same issue with smaller bumps still being transmitted to your spleen). For me, the aesthetic was clearly not what I wanted. I did ride the bike so a while with them and don't have any complaints about performance, but I also cannot say that they were SO MUCH BETTER than stock because I just don't think they were. Maybe break in or adjustment...who knows.
Deciding I would make a choice based upon the look I wanted I decided that standard looking shocks would be better, maybe black springs but definitely some chrome which would match the bikes overall theme better. Not want to spend a lot of money I found the Tec's more basic shock.
This is an actual shot of my bike. They installed in 10 minutes. I did the delboy car jack on the non kickstand side of the bike until the rear wheel just leaves the ground. Worked great and the shocks slid onto the posts easily. Just a little resistance with the copper/brass/whatever (not sure) sleeve.
The all important bounce test in the garage was positive if not a little bouncy. I'm kidding, bouncing in the garage is irrelevant, but kinda fun anyway. It did tell me straight away that they were gentler in how they reacted. Stock shocks are kinda hard/stiff whereas these were more forgiving.
I went out for a 40 minute ride mostly on back roads many of which were slower speed. This was simply a quick make sure they don't fall off kind of ride, not a performance test. I'll follow up with an update at some point.
Immediately the ride of my Bonneville was WAY MORE comfortable. the little bumps off my driveway and on my street were just gone. I rode over them, but didn't feel them at all (felt them in the front so know I hit them....might be time for some 7 weight oil up front).
This initial ride was really encouraging. Of course I hope it doesn't mean the springs are somehow super soft and will end up getting too soft down the road, but I can say that I am very much looking forward to my next big ride....maybe a few days down the coast....you know, as a test.
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