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I felt this issue warranted a revisit being that I've now experienced it firsthand. Recently my buddy bought a nice 02 with 60k from the original owner. A Progressive shock & spring had been dealer installed about 2k before the sale. It seemed to ride a bit stiff even on #2 setting but I thought that (still) may be simply due to reports I've read that this is not unusual, stiffer spring, etc. Moreover there is a loud noise from the rear on sharp bumps. I could even hear it riding close to him with my helmet on and low volume music through my headset. Frame is fine, no other noticeable loose parts, etc.

Anyway, from prior posts on this forum, we pulled the tank yesterday and checked the shock. Sure enough it was binding at the upper mount evidenced by bare metal rub marks on the shock.
http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285338&highlight=progressive
http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?t=225620&highlight=noise+shock
My buddy says he wanted to keep the Progressive vs replacement with a new OEM take off or other aftermarket so out came the die grinder and files to radius the mount casting for shock clearance. Took multiple trial fitting with the weight of the bike on the shock and bouncing to make sure not taking off too much from the mount. Ended up feeling comfortable with about .040" between the top of the shock and each side of the mount clevis. Afterward I stood back and noticed the rear of the bike is settled a bit lower with the setting still on #2 and when pushing down on the frame the shock seems to compress easier. Doing other work today and the bike is still up on the table so we haven't ridden it yet but I'll bet the noise will be gone too.


I've read it suggested that this issue is related to the position by which Honda welded on the upper mount and not a defect with the Progressive shock design. That may be but I just can't accept that this is all there is to the issue. I know the OEM shock is more rounded at the upper mount than the Progessive (flatter). And although it exists, this is not a commonly reported problem. However, my points are:
  1. Even if it is not a common or typical problem, I don't understand why Progressive hasn't at least addressed it publicly or at least on a case by case basis with their customers? It appears others have alerted Progressive of the problem without a positive resolution. I don't see anything about it on their Website either.
  2. Although this may not be a safety concern, I think the potential exists that it could be. I don't think it takes a lot of thought to surmise that this could result in a fatigue failure over time, either to the shock, frame, or both. I'm contemplating reporting this to NHTSA.
  3. I wonder how many other 1800's there are being ridden out there on the Progressive shock with this problem that either the owner or their favorite shop or Tech isn't even aware of?
I'm thinking its probably just a good thing that Progressive apparently isn't selling these shocks any longer...
 

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A couple of thoughts here.

First, Progressive has publicly discussed the issue. They blame it on Honda, saying the shock mount castings are thicker on some bikes than others. It's pretty common for the aftermarket to blame the OEM for all their problems.

Second, I suspect you are going to find that this did not fix the banging problem as long as the shock freely swings into its lower mount. During suspension travel, the shock does not pivot. So if it isn't bound up at rest, it won't bind up during operation. If you have to force it into place, that is a problem.

I had a severe banging on my bike after installing the Progressives. It drove me nuts for three years, until two weeks ago when I was troubleshooting the problem for about the 20th time. I found that my rear fender was loose on the right side, near the adjuster motor. It was allowing everything mounted to the fender to bang every time I hit a bump, especially the relay box. I have not found out what I did wrong during assembly just yet. But for now, that side of the fender is mounted to the saddlebag with some Scotch Duo-Lok.

FWIW, I have always been a big fan of Progressive components. But the Wing is a different story. Progressive has never tested a Goldwing. They came out with the rear shock and spring at the request of Wing Stuff, and made it to Wing Stuff's specs. They said that the Wing needed a stiffer suspension in the back. Wing Stuff did all the testing, not Progressive. I got this information from Progressive's lead tech.

Personally, I think this suspension is a poor choice unless the rider or passenger is over 300 lbs. It is too stiff. I am going back to the stock setup when this wears out.


Lastly, the NHTSA will be a waste of time. If you come up on a bike that the shock binds on, that is the fault of the installer if he forces it into place. Techs are expected to know how to install parts, and know when something is wrong.
 
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