Chopper Sofail ride quality question

Energy One

mittens

Active Member
I am 5 weeks to the day away from riding my new BGM. (Over Seas currently) My Father has the bike at the moment, and riding it, tweaking on it at the moment.

My question is not in handling, corning. I know it will be different being longer, chopper, raked, and 250 tire.


My question is, how soft is the softail? say in comparison to a sportster? I had one before I left, and it would bottom out on some hard bumps, especially with 2 Up. How should it be compared to a HD softail/fatboy (busy got one). Those are the too I know personally to compare it too.

My dad says it bottoms out pretty easy. It does NOT have adjustable shocks (factory black 2004 shocks). It sits hi on the kick stand, like it has some suspension, but when I see pics of him sitting it, the fender is down close to the tire. And my dad is not a big guy. 5.9 ish 190 lbs.

I am 210 (probably be fatter when back home with booze and real food ha. My girl that will ride on occasion, 130lbs.

I have searched, and know I can have the shocks sent off, or buy replacements adjustables from Wild Steed Works, or Progressives.

Just curious if the drop is normal for the factory ones, or maybe they are bad?

Sitting with no weight

190lbs riding it home in COLD weather.
 

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haze324

Active Member
I have an 03. Weigh about 195-200lbs and have no issues with it bottoming out.

I had a Road Glide for a while and you really can't compare. It's def. a much softer ride than my Pitbull (rigid) I had for a while. I never ride 2 up so can't offer any advice there, but looking at your pics my bike sits roughly the same with and without someone on it.
 

RCAdd1ct

JAFO
Supporting Member
My AIH bottomed out on corners.


I adjusted the back to the highest setting and that helped.

As far as the ride. Take corners in first. It is like driving a car with manual steering. It takes more effort, but def doable.
 

mittens

Active Member
not asking about handling, or turns, or anything, JUST the suspension aspect of it.


so yours sits that close to the tire, but never bottom out? hmm
 

pknowles

semi-retired...---... GURU C7Z06...---...
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Just looking at the pictures, you might want to invest in a new set of shocks. With your Dad setting on it with part of his weight on his feet, looks close to me. Check on here with Curtis at Wild Steed Worx" he sells shocks and is a supporting member.
 

mittens

Active Member
I have been talking with him, not about shocks though. I know the options. Just seeing what you guys though about height, and the ride quality? should it be better then a sporty?
 
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BWG56

Guru
I would check to see if the adjustment is all the way out, if they are like the 07', and if it sits that low after with your dad on it, I would have them replaced or rebuilt if possible.
 

RCAdd1ct

JAFO
Supporting Member
If it is like the AIH, raising it is counter intuitive.

When I got mine the shocks were adjusted for it to have as little tire clearance as possible for looks. I was in the F it I want to ride and raised that bitch up.
 

mittens

Active Member
they are NOT adjustable, posted that in the first post guys ha..

it is what it is until I replace them. just curious if it was normal, or not.

My dad may just be bitching you never know.
 

RCAdd1ct

JAFO
Supporting Member
they are NOT adjustable, posted that in the first post guys ha..

it is what it is until I replace them. just curious if it was normal, or not.

My dad may just be bitching you never know.
Cool.

Anyone else with real BDM experience help.? Not just an AIH lurker. :D
 

Brew

Troop Supporter
The softtails ride better than a sporty for sure! I traded my 2007 sporty in for my 2008 Mastiff and the difference was night and day. I currently have a 2009 Deluxe and the Mastiff also rides smoother than that but they're colser than the sporty was. Looking at the pic with your pops on it, does not seem right! It's sitting pretty low for a 190 lb man and I believe you would bottom out a lot more with a passenger. I'd suggest you have the shocks rebuilt or buy the adjustables from kapt...
 

aspen874

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
I'm guessing there is something wrong there, I'd start with checking the shocks.
 

Fat_Bastard

Active Member
Hey Mitten,
I rode a Harley Sporty, had a Harley Fat Boy and have a 2004 Big Dog Chopper; rode solo and with girlfriend on the back of all:
without a doubt the Fat Boy was cushy soft smooth; the Big Dog Chopper will never be anything close to that Fat Boy cushy ride, on occasion you will feel it bottom more than a Harley and ride much firmer...

2004 Big Dog Chopper:
With both of us on 175 + 125 lbs. Both (sporty & chopper) had some travel left in the rear shocks .75 to 1 inch guessing... Both bikes will bottom over a hard fast bump, but the Chopper feels better with the bigger back tire... solo or 2up.

Your photo at the gas pump looks like the rear is sacked out a little...

Compared to my 2004 Big Dog Chopper starting with no sag from the rear in the air on the lift I would say:

a) on the kick stand with no rider; sags about .25 inch (pulling rear up and down to check)

b) with me 175 lbs on the bike, feet on the floor; sags another .5 inch (pulling rear up and down to check)

c) Bouncing on it standing still, it feels like another 1.5 inches of travel and no bottom.

IMHO "best test" is on the Freeway doing about 70 mph riding next to a Big Dog Ridgeback (hardtail) we both hit a uneven concrete expansion joint; I take it in stride... Ridgeback buddy's ass flys up 2 feet in the air and his bike rear jumps a foot to the side -- almost into a tank slapper -- but he recovered...

I think the same would have happened to me with a sacked out rear shock...

Just sayin' -- (rigid not for me!)

PS: Another way:
if both of you sat on the bike not moving, is there any travel left?
I have another buddy about 250 and his girl 150 on their 2004, standing still both on, they have about .75 inch travel left.
 
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mittens

Active Member
Ok thanks for the info. Will see what I think in person and check measurements to your. Thanks for those,

If II think it needs help will pick up a set of works or progressive.
 

Matt Moore

Kansas Motorcycle Works
From the look of the "gas pump" picture, the suspension is well-below the the factory setting for a rider of that size/weight. If you measure from the bottom of the sideplate on the frame, the factory setting should allow 3/4 inch sag with a standard-sized rider. Big Dog suspensions became stiffer as the years progressed to allow heavier payloads. Big Dog used a combination of 1 "heavy" shock and one "Standard" shock on the late model softails. I would adjust your shock setting and see if you can get close to the factory sag setting. If you can not, I would opt for a set of new shocks. Be advised that most "budget" shocks on the market do not have the adjustment range most high-end manufacturers do. Message me if you would like to know more info. Awesome bike!
 

francoblay1

The Spaniard
From the look of the "gas pump" picture, the suspension is well-below the the factory setting for a rider of that size/weight. If you measure from the bottom of the sideplate on the frame, the factory setting should allow 3/4 inch sag with a standard-sized rider. Big Dog suspensions became stiffer as the years progressed to allow heavier payloads. Big Dog used a combination of 1 "heavy" shock and one "Standard" shock on the late model softails. I would adjust your shock setting and see if you can get close to the factory sag setting. If you can not, I would opt for a set of new shocks. Be advised that most "budget" shocks on the market do not have the adjustment range most high-end manufacturers do. Message me if you would like to know more info. Awesome bike!
Good advise :2thumbs:
 

mittens

Active Member
Thanks alot, I am sure I will either go with Wild Steed Worx replacemet that is ride hight adjustable, but not stiffness at 8o each..

OR a set of Progressives that are both.. 360 for progresives for a set Vs 160 for WSW... so over 2wice the price... WSW are looking nice ha
 
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