Suspension Setup: Speed’s Spotlight

The Other Side Of Performance

What good is extra power without the perfect suspension setup?

Words and Photos: Joe Kress

Hot cams, big-bore/high-compression pistons, free-flowing pipes, and impressive numbers on the dyno—that’s what Harley-Davidson performance is about, right? You’ll get no arguments on that count, but there’s another side to all of this too. What, exactly, are you going to do with all that newfound horsepower and torque? Use it, of course, enjoying a more powerful, quicker-responding, and crisper-running motorcycle. But if that hot rod motor’s sitting in a bike that doesn’t handle worth a darn, or it’s just plain uncomfortable out on the road, all that high-power fun is going to go away fast.

“And we hear that all the time,” says Jason Hanson from Speed’s Performance Plus. “Riders who we’ve built big-bore engines for or guys with bikes we’ve just tuned on our dynos come back saying they love how that throttle feels now, but ask if there is anything we can do to help with the ride and the handling.”

For years the guys at SPP would patiently lay out the options, listing all the high-performance shocks and full air-ride suspension possibilities. But when the conversations came down to the bottom line (price), they’d see these riders shake their heads and walk away disappointed. “But when our neighbor up in South Dakota, Jesse Jurrens at Legend Suspensions, told us about a new set of affordable performance shocks he’d just developed, we thought maybe we’d finally found an answer for all these guys,” Jason says.

The shocks Jesse was talking about were the REVO and REVO-A, a pair of dramatically different takes on the old, familiar coil-over. “And once we tried them ourselves, on our own bikes, we were sold,” Jason goes on. “They work and in all the applications—sportsters to big touring machines. We immediately put them in stock on our trucks, right along with all our cams, big-bore kits, and pipes.”

The REVO coil-spring suspension, at a small fraction of the cost of an air system, is designed and tuned to deliver a ride more comfortable and compliant than anything ever expected from a coil-spring system. It’s a coil-spring ride designed to float over potholes and pavement irregularities like they weren’t there, a suspension developed and tuned to serve up a smooth, comfortable, and controlled ride over a much broader set of variables and do it while delivering all the handling confidence and stability those riders at the SPP trucks were asking for.

“The key to all that,” Jason explains, “are the specially wound springs Jesse developed just for the REVO.” A few inches longer than they’d normally be for the 12-inch or 13-inch shock lengths available, those springs feature a slightly softer rate. But when compressed into those overall shock lengths, they deliver a wider, more compliant “sweet spot” for that comfortable, controlled ride. “They actually make the bike feel like there’s more suspension travel than there really is,” Jason goes on.

An additional benefit here is the almost complete elimination of the need to constantly adjust preload for riders of different weights or bikes packed light or heavy, and when adjustments are made it can all be done by hand, no tools needed.

Those special-design springs aren’t the only things new in the REVO system. The custom-machined aluminum shock bodies and all the internals have been designed and calibrated especially to this application. The piston is a new high-flow design, and it’s been coupled with a new deflective-disc damping system and low friction seals. It’s a combination that reacts quickly to changing road conditions with improved fluid control, self-adjusting for controlled performance without losing any of the plush ride quality. There are spherical bearings at both mounting points, too, top and bottom, to further assure smooth, non-binding operation. And the optional REVO-A versions take all this up a notch, adding external rebound damping adjustment. A six-position adjustment knob allows riders to dial in the optimum performance for the situation. There are heavy-duty versions for all this, too, recommended when the combined rider/passenger/luggage loads exceed 400 pounds.

There’s more than one definition for motorcycle performance. Horsepower and torque is one—no one’s questioning that. But handling and ride is another, and it’s just as important. Put the two together and you’ve got it all. Next time the Speed’s Performance Plus trucks are at an event in your area, stop by. The guys will be glad to talk performance with you—the whole performance package.


Speed’s Performance Plus

(605) 695-1401 – MN

(605) 695-2272 – SD

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