Harley-Davidson Premium Ride Suspension Review
When it comes to budgeting for development of bikes, you can imagine that suspension is not the largest line item on the Harley-Davidson Dyna spreadsheets. It’s not that the stock forks and shocks are awful, but they certainly leave plenty of room for improvement—especially in the rear.
The new Harley-Davidson Premium Ride Suspension is a two-part way to take the rough-and-ready ride of a stock Dyna and turn it into a bike that feels great in punishing urban environments, as well as improving the handling on canyon roads.
If you’re looking for an immediately noticeable upgrade, get the Premium Ride Emulsion Shocks first. These nitrogen-charged shocks have 36mm pistons and low-viscosity high-performance oil for improved (non-adjustable damping). To suit a wider range of riders, the preload adjustment range is extended.
When you first install the shocks, you might be understandably skeptical, until you hit your first nasty road irregularity. With the stock shocks, you would gird yourself for the hit to the tailbone, and with good reason—they are jarring on square-edged potholes, slamming right through the travel.
The normal sorts of cracks, grates, plates, and other road hazards do not faze the Emulsion units, and this seriously reduces fatigue in-town, while making your ride much safer as the bike isn’t getting pitched around.
I don’t mind the stock Dyna forks, so the improvement delivered by the Premium Ride Single Cartridge Fork Kit isn’t as big of a change. The kit includes cartridge dampers and main springs to smooth out the ride.
The cartridge damper has a much more consistent feel, and reacts well to the road gremlins mentioned earlier. Again, the stock forks are decent, but the Premium kit’s internal upgrade makes a noticeable and welcome difference on the poorly maintained roads of an urban setting like Los Angeles.
In the canyons, a Dyna is going to be limited by cornering clearance. However, with properly behaving suspension, you can lean over more confidently in turns, knowing that the smallest imperfection won’t send the pegs or your heel slamming into the pavement. You can ride with the self-assurance that comes with knowing how the suspension is going to perform, even when hit with an unexpected bump.
If you are thinking about buying a Harley-Davidson Dyna, strongly consider getting the Premium Ride Suspension package before you ride it off the lot—your body, and the rest of the Dyna’s chassis, will thank you.
Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.