How to Measure Harley Shocks


The simplest job you can do on a Harley is measure the shock absorbers. Depending on the year and model of your motorcycle, replacement shock absorbers can be found in lengths from about 11 inches to about 14 inches. Commonly, aftermarket shocks are sold in pairs that are described either as stock or as some measurement, up to 1 1/2 inches, "under" standard length. Standard length of the shocks on most recent Sportsters, for example, is 13.5 inches. So a 12.5-inch-long Sportster shock absorber would be sold as a "one under." Aftermarket manufacturers do not always agree with Harley-Davidson on how shocks should be measured; this is how Harley says to do it.

Things You'll Need

  • Steel ruler at least 18 inches long
  • Unload the motorcycle. Unload the saddlebags.

  • Bounce the rear of the motorcycle up and down several times. Ensure the suspension is free and not binding.

  • Measure the distance from the center of the upper shock bolt to the center of the lower shock bolt with a steel ruler.


  • Ikon Suspension: Harley
  • "101 Harley-Davidson Performance Projects"; K. Love, K. Woodring; 1998
  • "Harley-Davidson Service Manual for 2005 Dyna Models"; Harley-Davidson; 2005
  • Photo Credit motorcycle image by Goran Bogicevic from red motorcycle image by Goran Bogicevic from
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