Progressive Shocks 944 vs 444 vs 412

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by YoDA, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. YoDA

    YoDA Member

    I'm tired of nearly getting getting my back nearly snapped in half when I ride across railroad tracks on my 2011 Ultra Limited, the HD stock air-shock are complete garbage so it's time to replace them. I already replaced the oil in them with a heavier oil and it still didn't make much difference, so I've come to the determination the HD air-shocks are simply a poor design.

    I've been looking at Progressives, which from what I've read are amazing--but very expensive. But I'd rather pay for a more expensive shock then have to deal with bottoming out every time I hit a pothole or go across tracks, etc.

    So here's my question. I've looked at Progressive 944, 444, and 412, they all see to be good replacement shocks, but I don't know if there is that much difference between the three. I'm a smaller guy (5'8", 157 lbs.) so I don't think I need a heavy-duty shock, but I don't want to bottom-out either. When I ride two-up with my wife we're probably at a combined weight of about 290, plus gear/luggage probably puts us at 320 max. But I ride solo 90% of the time, my sweetie only comes along on occasion.

    The price difference with these shocks is quite a lot (944 - $684, 444 - $612, 412 - $270), but is there that much difference between the shocks? I'm assuming yes, but perhaps not. Does anyone have experience with this? I know they're all better than stock HD air-shocks, but is there that much difference between these three? Will I be pleased with the performance of the 412 or is it less expensive for a reason--it's simply not as good. Or should I just get the 944 and be done with all this nonsense?

    Any feedback would be appreciated!
  2. SilverFoXD

    SilverFoXD Junior Member Contributor

    Yoda, I've had 412's on four bikes, starting with a 1995 Honda 1100 Shadow for 72k miles, '05 VTX for 27k miles, '07 Dyna for 77k miles, and now my '16 Sportster. I consider them as what stock shocks should be, nothing spectacular just competent and do what is expected.

    Only issues ever were on the Dyna, on one trip down the PCH they apparently bottomed out and broke one shock mount bolt. Came home on one shock, roughly 1,000 miles on mostly highways without issue. The second issue, also on the Dyna, was an oil blowout (shock on the other side). This was on the Devil's Highway in Arizona and the bike didn't handle the curves too well after that.

    Each bike other than the Sportster has been from Arizona to New England and Arizona to Seattle at least once, all over the Colorado mountains, and I don't recall any undue discomfort. None of these bikes are great tourers but did the job. I take the rides pretty easy, my need for speed years are long past.

    My opinion? 412s are a great replacement/upgrade on this level bike but would probably go with a higher grade on the higher level bikes. Cost as a percent of the bike's cost isn't out of line. I'd buy the 412s again for my next (if there is one) bike. I have no experience with the higher grade shocks, so can't comment on just how much improvement there would be.

    Second opinion is to consider progressive springs up front. Unless you bike has a cartridge or already has progressive springs this is an inexpensive upgrade and one you can feel. All these bikes had these springs, except the Sporty which has a cartridge.
  3. RickSG3

    RickSG3 New Member

    YoDA, I don't have any experience with any of the aftermarket shocks, but have you looked at the Super Shox?

    All the reviews I've read have been favorable.
  4. SilverFoXD

    SilverFoXD Junior Member Contributor

    YoDA, what did you decide?
  5. wjsjr

    wjsjr Member

    YoDa, I felt exactly the way you did. My problem was when I could get my wife on the scoot it would bottom out running over dimes! Not fun. I bought the HD 444's and spent ~$612. They've been on my 99 FLHR for about a year now. I'm ever so glad I bought them. No more bottoming out. Smoother ride. I'm 6' 250Lbs, my wife 5'3" 140Lbs. No bottoming out with her riding either. IMHO, I think that if you bought HD 444's you'd be at the bottom range of their adjust-ability and you might not be satisfied. I absolutely love mine. The HD OEM shocks were terrible in comparison. Also I think that since the HD shocks are tied together air-pressure-wise they would load unevenly in turns- not so with the progs. Make sure you read the manual before you buy them. The 13" 444's I got required that I remove a lowering kit that was on the bike before they would fit.