About two weeks prior to the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge, I was advised by the Taboo Harley-Davidson‘s service department technicians that I might consider upgrading my suspension. I was on a stock Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide, and my route on would take me on approximately 10,000 miles of back roads. Well, I responded, I really didn’t have time remaining for that sort of thing. And…hmmm…I wondered why.
In explanation of my ignorance, I am from the Southwest. I had no real concept of road conditions after the snow melt. I subsequently learned what “ice buckles” are. And I often found myself riding slalom around potholes. And potholes filled with water? They’re nearly invisible. But you knew that. There were, in short, a great many rough road hazards.
Rather quickly, I came to understand the importance of having good aftermarket suspension and shocks. Those bumps and the occasional pothole took a serious toll on the bike. In addition, that kind of jarring ride over several days also will wear out a rider. For long distance riding, it’s important to consider not only the wear and tear on the bike, but also your own aches and fatigue.
The truth is stock suspension did not cut it.
I will summarize by simply saying I pounded that poor bike, and myself, into the ground. I have since replaced the Dyna with a touring bike, a 2019 Road Glide. I love it and I’m determined to protect it!
Although the touring bike handles much better than the Dyna, I discovered I just don’t weigh enough for the stiff stock suspension on the Road Glide even when it’s dialed down. It’s pretty clear H-D had a bigger guy in mind as their common denominator. I suspect this is an issue for many women on touring bikes, because we are generally shorter and lighter than the average male rider.
Before making an investment, however, I do my homework. I spoke with the technicians at Taboo Harley and also a trusted local shop called Xlerated Customs. I then called Legend Suspensions, as they were recommended to me both by motorcycle techs and distance riders. I explained my challenges.
Wow, what a great company! The person I spoke with at Legend consulted with their technicians and got back to me with a full explanation as well as recommendations. They addressed my concerns and even offered to let me try different solutions. The happy ending to the story is I’m going to meet Legend Suspensions in Sturgis next month and plan to install new suspension and shocks this year– well before I do anything crazy like ride the Hoka Hey again.