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Progressive Suspension Mono-Tube Cartridge Kit Installed

In Jeremiah's Hot Rod Dyna Glide

By Bandit with photos by Wrench and Sean

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Jeremiah wanted to change out the rear shocks on his 2009 Dyna upgrade to some Progressive units. Progressive recently contacted us about their Monotube front end cartridge solutions and Jeremian decided to upgrade his front and rear suspension.

There are a couple of significant factors playing in this riding realm for today’s enthusiast. Rumor has it that some stock bikes come with substandard shocks and their lifetime doesn’t exceed six months. So here’s a new rider blazing around town and not feeling the love; maybe he shuts down his riding time, but then after six months, his bike is becoming uncomfortable and insecure in the handling category. These elements could hamper or end a young man’s riding career if he didn’t know better.

Rubber-mounted Harleys faced significant handling issues, so tuning the handling package is as critical as the driveline performance statement. Or substantially more significant, even dangerous, if not addressed. Consequently, this critical maneuver for Jeremiah’s ride came at just the right time. And actually, it is was best to start with the    
Monotube Cartridge Kit for H-D 2006+ Dyna.

True high performance front suspension is finally available for the H-D Dyna line. Progressive Suspension returned to the drawing board and created a state of the art Fork Cartridge Kit designed to outperform everything on the market. Their new asymmetrical design placed a preload adjuster over a progressive rate spring in one leg and an aluminum-bodied, sealed cartridge damper on the other. The result is superior damping and ride control combined with tunable preload and a new benchmark for high performance suspension on the Dyna platform. It can be installed in either configuration, standard or 1-inch low available for 2006-2014 Dyna applications.

FROM: $399.95

Jeremiah introduced us to Rick Miele, who owns Peak Performance Customs in Harbor City. Rick worked for Westminster H-D for four years, and when the dealership moved he started his own shop near his home.

We jacked up Jeremiah’s Dyna at the Bikernet headquarters, removed the front axle, the front wheel, the caliper, front fender, and we slipped the legs out of the triple trees. Then it was off to Peak Performance.

Removing and replacing fork internal components
must be performed by a qualified mechanic or according to steps outlined in a factory authorized professional service manual that relates to your particular make, model and year motorcycle.

This is good advice. It’s always important to have a factory manual for reference.

Here’s some of the fine print from the Progressive instructions with our comments:

The vehicle must be securely blocked to prevent it from dropping or tipping when the forks are removed. Failure to do so can cause serious damage and/or injury.

For maximum performance, we highly recommend that the forks be disassembled, thoroughly cleaned, and inspected. When installing the Progressive Suspension Monotube Cartridge fork kit, only a small amount (300cc standard, 200cc lowered) of type “E” or 10wt. fork oil is required in each fork for lubricating the internal moving parts - the cartridge damper is sealed. Changing the volume or viscosity of
the oil is not recommended and could cause damage and/or loss of

This is interesting. The fluid in the forks is no longer needed, because the stock dampening system has been removed. The Lucas lubrication will prevent noise in the forks and lubricates the slider bushings. Don’t over fill, because you don’t want to damage the seals.

This kit replaces your stock fork caps, preload spacers (if present), fork springs, and damper rods. Remove these components and drain the oil out of your forks per the procedure outlined in your factory authorized service manual.

We started this procedure by tapping the dust shield with a punch, but in this case it wasn’t needed. This low-mileage Dyna was clean as a whistle inside, and we didn’t need to remove the sliders at all, so the dust shield could remain in place.

Usually, when Rick performs this function on a used motorcycle, he would replace the seals, for a complete fork rebuild.

Using a JIMS tool for a smaller diameter front end, we were able to carefully clamp the center-ground tubes to the installation and draining the forks. “It’s seriously important not to scratch the fork tubes,” Rick said. “If scratched within range of the sliders the forks will immediately start to leak. Also make sure to replace the copper washer on the stock lower fork bolt.” It’s the only item that could cause the forks to leaks.

Rick used the fender and the brake caliper bracket to note which fork tube was right and left. He used blue masking tape and a marker to code each leg, since we started with the right leg. Rick carefully used masking tape to coat the top of the fork caps to prevent damage, although these would not be used again.

Removing the stock components.
Removing the stock components.

He used another JIMS tool for removing the cap, then carefully removed the stock preload spacer, the fork spring, the stock damper rod, and the bottoming cup, which would be replaced.

Also note that this kit contains components for two different fork configurations - standard length and approximately 1-inch lowered. Decide which configuration you prefer before installing, and follow the instructions carefully for that configuration.

While the installation of this Monotube Cartridge fork kit will not change the compressed length of the front forks, the Progressive team found that some bikes may not have adequate clearance between the fender, fairing or accessories. So they recommend, with the fork springs removed from both forks, that you re-install the forks, fender, wheel and anything else you may have removed and lift the front forks, or lower the bike to completely compress the front forks.

With the forks fully compressed, check for adequate clearance between the tire, fender, fairing, crash bar, accessories, etc., while turning left to right - lock to lock. You must correct any clearance issues prior to installing this kit to avoid vehicle damage and vehicle control problems.

The critical bottoming cup on the left.
The critical bottoming cup on the left.

Rick made a point to explain how critical it was to make sure the stock bottoming cup is in place properly.

Rick used a flashlght to make sure the bottoming cup was in the correct position.
Rick used a flashlght to make sure the bottoming cup was in the correct position.

Sticking with the right fork, first drop one of
the stock top-out springs (and one of the supplied top-out springs if you are installing in the lowered configuration) into the fork, then insert the Monotube cartridge assembly.

Make certain the bottoming cup is properly seated in the bottom of the fork – in the slider – and the bottom of the Monotube cartridge assembly is seated within said bottoming cup. Put a drop of thread locking agent on the bottom fork bolt and thread it (along with the copper sealing washer) into the bottom of the Monotube assembly. Torque the bolt to the factory recommended 106-159 in-lb. A 12 mm Allen key is used to tighten the lower fork bolt.

If the Monotube assembly tries to rotate, temporarily thread the Monotube assembly into the fork tube and try applying pressure to the assembly to keep it from rotating by pulling on the fork tube while torquing the bottom fork bolt.

No fork spring is installed in this (the right) fork assembly. Pour a small amount - 300cc for standard kit or 200cc for lowered configuration to be specific – of type “E” or 10wt. fork oil into the fork for lubricating purposes. We used Lucas fork oil, specifically engineered for Harley forks. Rick was very precise about measuring and pouring the fork oil, although it was not nearly as critical as in a stock dampening system.

Then using the supplied Progressive Monotube Installation Tool (p/n 5503-200) Rick threaded the Monotube assembly into Jeremiah’s right fork tube and torqued it to the recommended 16-43 ft-lb. This completed the right fork assembly.

Rick maintains a supply of blacked-out lowers and chrome lowers available, so he can offer a quick exterior coating upgrade anytime a customer comes in for a handling tune-up.

As Rick started to work on the left leg he pointed out how important it was to make sure the entire copper washer is removed from under the fork slider and the area cleaned for the new copper washer. He used a sealant on the lower fork bolt for additional leak security. Again, he removed all internal components and cleaned them. Again, the bottoming cup would be reused, and in the case of the left leg, the stock fork washer residing above the fork spring would also be replaced under the supplied preload spacer.

For the left fork, drop the other stock top-out spring into the fork tube -and one of the supplied top-out springs if you are installing in the lowered configuration- followed by the supplied top-out rod assembly.

Make certain the bottoming cup is properly seated in the bottom of the fork – in the slider – and the bottom of the top-out rod assembly is seated in the bottoming-cup. Put a drop of thread locking agent on the bottom fork bolt and thread it (along with the copper sealing washer) into the bottom of
the top-out rod assembly.

Torque the bolt to the factory recommended 106-159 in-lbs. If the top-out rod assembly tries to rotate, try applying pressure to the assembly with the fork spring. Keep it from rotating by pulling on the fork-tube while applying torque to the bottom fork bolt (same as you might, while installing a stock damper rod) or by using a long extension and 12mm socket on the hex atop the top-out rod assembly.

Next, pour a small amount – 300cc for standard, or 200cc for lowered configuration to be specific – of type “E” or 10wt. fork oil into the fork for lubricating purposes. Again, we used Lucas 10wt. fork oil. Then drop the supplied Progressive Suspension fork spring in the fork and stock washer. Rick used a burping technique to allow the oil to work its way into the slider. He slid the slider up and down gently, and you could hear the Lucas oil working its way in the front tubes.

Cut the supplied preload spacer to the recommended length appropriate for your make/model/year and intended configuration - standard or lowered kit.

After cutting the supplied preload spacer to the proper length, put it into the left
fork assembly.

Finally, with the fork either secured in the JIMS vice (or clamped back into the triple
clamps), install the supplied flat washer and, making sure the Progressive
Suspension preload cap is adjusted to its minimum (shortest) position, install the
cap and torque to 16-43 ft-lb using the supplied Monotube Installation Tool (p/n5503-200). Store this tool in a safe place for future fork maintenance.

We discovered another tip while installing fork springs. This can take some patience, depending on the pressure against the preload cap. Sean from Progressive recommended taking the spring out and starting the preload cap threads, then noting where they start with a marker on both the leg and the cap.

Then with the Progressive spring in place, the washer, then the preload spacer, and some pressure against the cap, the threads should start without much grappling.

This completes the left fork assembly


To adjust your preload, simply rotate the
center of your left fork cap – your adjustable
preload cap – with the supplied ½-inch Allen-wrench. Rotating it clockwise will increase your preload; counterclockwise will reduce it. NOTE: the adjusting portion of the cap does not extend or recede as an indication of how much preload is applied; it
simply stops rotating at either end of the adjustment range – when the end of
the range is felt, STOP ROTATING THE ADJUSTER.

Rick used a JIMS seal installation tool to replace the chrome factory dust shield, and we were in good shape. We will bring you the rear shock installation shortly.

“The combination of front and rear suspension work very well together,” said Jeremiah. “Handling in turns at a high rate of speed is real stable, no wobbles, giving you true confidence when you're mashing into winding turns. Very easy to adjust shock settings according to rides and passenger weight. Overall, the ride is smoother and more responsive, compared to stock suspension.”

Wow, you guys did a good job...
Wow, you guys did a good job...


Click for more info.
Click for more info.

Progressive Suspension Tech line

Peak Performance Customs
25017 Doble Avenue
Harbor City, CA 90710
Lucas Oil 

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