RFY Shocks Rebuild Service

with 118 Comments
RFY shock break down.
RFY shock break down.

After my recent post reviewing the construction of RFY shocks I have received a fair amount of interest. Specifically, what is the final performance of the RFY package, and what should be done to make sure their budget shocks perform correctly? Ultimately, I am of the opinion that these shocks can provide an effective and well performing package at a very low price point, but this is not without caveats.

As many people previous to me have noted, as the RFY dampers arrive from the factory, they leave a little to be desired. Primarily, factory assembly appears to be inconsistent and performed with little regard the the ultimate performance of the shock. Luckily, these shocks can be disassembled and then reassembled using proper techniques and materials.

These dampers have the potential to perform as well as models that cost twice as much. The materials and engineering are sufficient, the end assembly leaves a bit to be desired. For example, RFY shocks typically have too little shock fluid, incorrect or no gas pressure, and sometimes are assembled incorrectly. This can lead to a bouncy or uncomfortable ride, and even an unpredictable handling bike. My rebuild includes proper Maxima shock fluid of a specified weight as well as proper gas pressurization using pure nitrogen gas. While I am in there, I inspect all parts for flaws, check for proper assembly, and correct any inconstancies that might be encountered. If you have the tooling and know-how to rebuild these, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you do not, then perhaps I can help. Below is an overview of my rebuild as well as what I charge to provide this service should you be interested.

RFY Shocks Rebuild Service Overview

  • Name brand shock fluid (Maxima) provides known damping properties
  • Purging air from damper system providing consistent performance throughout suspension travel
  • Setting gas bladder pressure with purpose built tool means precise control of damping and consistent performance, standard tire gauges do not work for setting this pressure as the bladder volume is too small
  • Proper pressurization reduces oil cavitation and means consistent damping performance
  • The use of pure nitrogen eliminates moisture while also offering greater temperature stabilization compared to air

The benefits are many, but the cost is little.

$75 – Total RFY Shock Rebuild (one pair)

This includes: Maxima shock oil (3,7,10 weight), complete inspection and reassembly, and charged with nitrogen. For a small charge, you can also have the top out springs replaced. Additionally, once the shocks have had their initial service, the cost is reduced to only $55 for each reoccurring service.

Just ship your RFY shocks to me, there is a maximum one week turn around after the date of receiving. Expedited return service/shipping available at extra cost.

Head to the products page to purchase!

118 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Mike Butler
    | Reply

    Hi,
    I am just confirming that you are still operating this rebuild service, as I would like to send you a set of shocks for the full treatment. Also, if you can guide me a bit, I am planning to order the shocks today, and it appears that the springs on the 340mm units are heavier than those on the 320mm versions. Do you have any feedback from users on which tend to work better?

    Please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Mike Butler

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I am still performing this service. I apologize for my slow response, today was a bear. I am not sure of the difference, asides from length, that the 340mm units might have. I have yet to get a set through my shop. 320mm are the only versions I have seen. All things considered, it’s likely best to stick with units that are similar to the length provided by the factory. This will best preserve the suspension geometry both at the front and the rear of your bike. That said, if you lower 20mm at the rear, you can always lower 20mm at the front to level the bike, though it’s still a bit of a compromise.

      Your bike weight and your weight are also a big factor. You should probably take that into consideration when choosing your spring.

      Best Regards,
      Chris

      • Avatar
        Kevin
        | Reply

        I just ordered a set of 13.5″ rfy rear shocks for my Harley sportster . The bolts to mount the shocks don’t fit inside the metal coupling for the rfy shocks. It’s came with extra one that are even smaller. Has anybody else had this problem. I eventually plan on sending them out to you for a rebuild.

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Hi Kevin,

          There are a variety of bushings available. It seems that they just send random sizes. What size does the Sportster need? I might be able to get you fixed up.

          Thanks,
          Chris

        • Avatar
          Jesse Altamirano
          | Reply

          Did you ever figure out the bolt problem I’m trying to order some for my dyna but don’t know if they will fit

          • Chris
            Chris
            |

            Sent you an email.

  2. Avatar
    Mike Sinkoski
    | Reply

    Chris, I just bought some 340mm shocks. The spring is a heavier gauge than the 320mm. I think mine are a little over sprung for my bike. If any of your customers or you need a heavier spring rate on a 320 body, I would be willing to trade straight up for a lighter 7mm dia spring. my bike is supposed to have a 320mm, but I wanted steeper rake and worried about it being too soft with the lighter spring. That said its too stiff for my stripped down cb175 even though I’m a little heavy. Thanks

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I am working on getting a few sets of springs rounded up just for these occasions. Though I can not be of any immediate help, if I get a set of 7mm springs I’ll be sure get a hold of you.

      Can you give me the total weight of your bike with you mounted? Just a reasonable estimate would be good. I am trying to build a database of peoples experiences with the various springs.

      Regards,
      Chris

      • Avatar
        mike
        | Reply

        Chris, finally got to weigh my bike, a 1970 cb 175 that has been cafe’d by chopping off a lot of weight. I measured rear axel weight( front end elevated to same height ) at 130 lbs wet, full fuel. and front axel at 78 lbs. my resovoirs are near flat with only slightly more than atmospheric right now and. I weigh 200 lbs. My sag is approx 1/2″. it is a little oversprung and I would maybe like a more compliant ride but the increase in rake angle is not bad

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Thanks for checking in, Mike! Yeah, i’m not super surprised that you are over sprung. You have an awfully light bike there.

  3. Avatar
    Trevor S Cleworth
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Im trying to find out how badly I messed up buying the 340mm springs for my 69 cl175. I weigh 130 lbs and the bike is about 275 with a full tank……the shocks feel too stiff so they probably are and what would be a good shock to reploace them with. thanks

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Trevor,

      If the shocks you bought have the 8mm wire spring then I am confident that they are indeed much too stiff.

      You should go for a set with the 7mm wire. If you don’t need the extra 20mm of length, check out the 320mm RFY shocks. Just make sure you get ones with the 7mm wire as they are significantly softer than the 8mm wire version. You might also find the spring rate calculator on my site helpful. A link to it can be found at the top of the page under the Bikes menu.

      Regards,
      Chris

  4. Avatar
    charles fragala
    | Reply

    can you tell me where yo order a set of rfy shocks for my t 2004 triumph thruxton 14.5″ length ?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Those are pretty long. You will need to find yourself a set of 360mm RFY’s. Start checking eBay.

  5. Avatar
    Brad
    | Reply

    Chris, I am currently building a 1970 cb450 cafe’ I am looking at the rfy 340 14” black and gold eye to clevis. The set I found on e bay say 650 lbs max and I know that’s way to stiff but I don’t know what they can be turned down to. After using you spring rate calculator I only need around 280 lbs. The stock length shocks were 12” do you think on going to tall? And do you offer softer springs if I send in these or is it easier to get them from you?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Brad,

      Most of the 14 inch RFY shocks I have seen also have the 8mm wire spring. The 8mm wire spring is stiff, but heavier guys with heavier bikes will find them suitable.

      You probably want to go with the 12.5 inches (320mm) RFY shock. This will give you the 7mm wire spring, which provides a spring rate very close to what would have been on your CB450. One other consideration in regards to shock length, a longer shock will raise the rear of the bike. This in turn decreases rake and will change the amount of trail. Unless you have good reasons for changing rake and trail, I recommend you stay with a shock that is similarly length to the shocks that Honda supplied.

      Regards,
      Chris

      • Avatar
        Brad
        | Reply

        That sounds good I had not considered changing the rake. Thanks for the reply and I will be ordering a set very soon

  6. Avatar
    Jeff
    | Reply

    Hello there! I have a 1973 CZ400 dirt bike…about 230 lbs. The shock position is at about a 45% angle.They are 13 inches long. I may be able to use something almost 15 inches or so…depends on the shock location I use on the swingarm. I weigh about 220 and like to do do medium duty trail riding. The shocks on the bike now are Boge shocks and they seem much to stiff! They work as they should but they’re not adjustable. I need MORE CUSH!…for my bad back! What would you suggest for these RFY shocks? I’m still on the fence about buying them but if I do…whickh ones would you suggest? I don’t see anything listed for vintage dirt bikes.
    Thank you for any help in this regard!!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      There are some longer RFY shocks on ebay. I think I have even seen a 380mm (15.5″) shock floating around, which sounds like it might be about right for you. However, I have never seen a pair of these in person, so I have no information to offer as far as spring rate. They might be good, or they might be terrible.

      Let me know if you go for it.

      – Chris

  7. Avatar
    JP
    | Reply

    Hi Chris, curious to know if you have opened up one of the newer RFY shocks with the high and low speed compression and rebound adjustments. The reservoir on this model is at an angle and connected to the shock body (no linking arm). I much enjoy and appreciate the thorough reviews you publish on these shocks. I was intersted in this model of shock and wondered if you had come across it yet. Thanks!

    here is a link to one such model:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/281313840728?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi JP,

      I have yet to see a set like those in person, though I have eyed them up online more than once. I’d like to check them out, but I haven’t found the financial fortitude to do so on my own dollar just yet.

      Regards,
      Chris

  8. Avatar
    Justin Wynn
    | Reply

    Hi. I was wondering if you also rebuild the shocks that aren’t picky back style? and if so how many cc’s of oil do you put in them before you charge them up? thanks for your time.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Justin,

      I’ve never rebuilt non piggy back style shocks before, but never any motorcycle ones. Are you asking specifically in regards to the RFY non piggy back shocks?

      Regards,
      Chris

  9. Avatar
    Don Housley
    | Reply

    Wondering about rfy shocks for 72 Suzuki tm400 motocross bike, Have hammer heads? on it now and its a pogo stick. what length should i be looking for inches and mm? Thanks For you r time Don H

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Don,

      Unfortunately I haven’t dealt much with older motocross bikes. I can’t make a recommendation really.

      Regards,
      Chris

  10. Avatar
    Rick
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I was looking at a set of 13.5″ 340mm RFY shocks on eBay. I have a 2014 Harley Dyna FXDB and I wanted to know what your thoughts on these shocks with your rebuild service would be for my bike? Here is the link to the shocks I was considering.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/13-5-340mm-Pair-Rear-Shocks-Absorbers-works-For-Honda-Suzuki-Yamaha-Kawasaki-/261591927641?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3ce8180b59&vxp=mtr

    Let me know if you think this would be a good idea for my bike after having your rebuild service done to them.

    Thanks!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Rick,

      It’s a tough call. I did some research, the numbers i’m coming up with for spring rate for the FXDB are all over the place. Until we have a concrete number for spring rate we don’t know if the 13.5 RFY is a good match. I am by no means a Harley guy, so it’s always tough for me to come up with information on them. I am however more than willing to work with you though, so if we can find some good info out there perhaps we can develop a plan.

      As for the rebuild service, in my opinion it isn’t optional. Simply, the shock will not work correctly until it has been properly built.

      I hope this helps,
      Chris

      • Avatar
        Rick
        | Reply

        Thanks for the reply Chris. If it helps, I am about 250 pounds, the bike is 670 pounds and I rarely ride with a passenger. In your opinion, do you think this is something worth trying?

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Roughly, that means it’s a 900 pound bike with you seated. 50% of the weight at the rear, that’s 450lbs. Take a little off to account for unsprung weight, we will say that’s about 400lbs. at the rear. The 8mm wire spring shocks are good for about 280/290lbs. I don’t think the RFY is going to work too well, it will likely just be too soft.

          • Avatar
            Rick
            |

            Thanks Chris, I appreciate the feedback. I was hoping these would be a nice way to save some money, but I’m going to end up just buying the Ohlins that are meant for my bike. Thanks again for all the info!

  11. Avatar
    Garrett
    | Reply

    Hi chris, just got a set of RFY 14 3/4 eye to eye Banshee shocks, to Fit on the the front of my 87 Lt250R Quadracer. Just wondering if you can rebuild them also. The shocks are new, fit perfect but don’t seem very stiff. I’m the test monkey for our Quadracer website to see if these work out.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Garrett,

      One thing I can not do is increase the spring rate. If the springs are on the soft side, rebuilding the damper will not help. If the damper is too soft, meaning you feel bouncy, I can fix that!

      That said, I can certainly rebuild the shocks. I will however have to charge more for shipping, as they are larger and require bigger boxes than my normal price scheme accounts for.

      Let me know,
      Chris

  12. "Cafe racer" fad... - Page 17
    | Reply

    […] As a side comment, I see you have a set of RFY rear shocks on the bike(?), check this site out: RFY Shocks ? Rebuild Service Be sure to navagate your way around his site, some interesting stuff. there is a new RFY shock out […]

  13. Avatar
    Kalenji
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I’m looking for a pair of RFY rear shocks for my 1994 Virago 750 cafe.
    They have to be almost 36cm. 35,7 if I am not wrong.
    So, what would you recommend me? To look for a 36cm shocks on ebay and send it to you for rebuild? or to buy you a pair of 34cm + 1cm from the Extended Eyelet + your rebuild?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hello! I have very little experience with the 360cm shocks, but I think the 340’s with the either 2cm or 1cm extensions would be best. The 1cm extensions are back ordered all the way into January, 2015. I literally just sold the 1cm extended eyelets off my own bike, that’s how scarce they are. The spring rates on the 360’s are an unknown, and personally that’s why I would shy away from them. As far as ordering, I am going to email you so we can discuss that.

  14. Avatar
    Shelby
    | Reply

    Hi Chris, for all you who don’t know, this guy is a genius! Holds a Pro track license with The SCCA and you can follow his racing on line. He spends a lot of time on suspension and nothing is better than hands on experience. He knows his stuff and did a red hot job on my shocks. I race Flat Track and it’s quite demanding on suspension. This is the guy you want when it comes to suspension. Not only is he good but he’s humble and quite friendly, Don’t tell him I said that that!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Thanks, Shelby!

  15. Avatar
    Matt
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I’m looking into the 340mm set for my 1985 Nighthawk (CB650SC) that is slimmed down only slightly. I’m 200# and i think the bike is 450 (on the high side) wet. The stock shock length is 335mm so i’m pretty close there. Any thoughts on if i’ll enjoy these rebuilt shocks vs. a set of Progressive 12 series? Thanks!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Matt,

      Lot’s of guys like the Progressive 12 series it seems. Lot’s of guys like the RFY setups too. It just depends on what you are after. Lot’s of guys are going for a certain look, one set of shocks may offer that over another. Others are looking for performance, price, etc. That said, the 7mm RFY should work pretty well for you bike.

      • Avatar
        Matt
        | Reply

        Thanks Chris,
        This build is basically a retro cafe style and the remote reservoirs look cool but in the end, solid performance is what I’m after. I’m sure either would be a great improvement over the original shocks I ride on (I have progressive fork springs though).

        If I go with RFY’s I’d have you rebuild but am thinking the upgraded top out spring might make the slightly longer springs even longer. Thoughts? Also not sure on oil weight to choose during checkout. I ride this bike somewhat aggressively but am not a crazy man in the curves. Any input is appreciated.

        I figure I’d either buy them from you or have them shipped direct to you from eBay (if that’s cool).

        Been browsing your pages here, very cool stuff. Keep up the awesome work!

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Hey Matt,

          I’ll send you an email this evening so we can discuss a little more in depth.

  16. Avatar
    Curtis
    | Reply

    Do you have a number i can reach you at for questions aboyt RFY shocks?

  17. Avatar
    Malcolm
    | Reply

    Hi I have a set of RFY shocks are they suitable for a ser 2 lambretta as a lot of our lads are using the r1 shocks please let me know thanks

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      To be entirely honest, I have never ridden a Lambretta, let alone worked on one. So I have no idea if they would be appropriate or not.

  18. Avatar
    1st Gear Performance
    | Reply

    I read alot of the comments hear but not all so sorry if the is a repetitive question I see alot of these used for motorcycles but which would you use for the front of a ATV it is a Honda TRX450R thanks and going thru them would be same price

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi,

      I know so little about setting up ATV suspension that generally I shy away from it. I can build the shocks, that’s no problem, I just do not know of the springs are the correct spring rate for a TRX450R. Maybe you know others who have made the switch?

  19. Avatar
    Frank
    | Reply

    Hey Chris. I don’t know if I’m reading this right or not. Do the 340 MM shocks have two different size springs available? I’m looking for shocks for a old dual sport that weighs about 300 pounds

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      It’s a little tricky, but yes technically there are two springs available. Right now finding the 340mm with the softer spring is near impossible. So usually if you have a lighter bike such as your it is usually better to buy a 320mm shock (that has a softer spring) and use a 2cm extension to make a working 340mm package.

  20. Avatar
    Robert
    | Reply

    Chris,

    Im looking at a suspension replacement for my old Yamaha Blaster YFS200. A decent upgrade are Yamaha Banshee shocks, however, condition of Banshee shocks are always unknown when buying used, sight unseen.

    These are only a little more, and your posts on spending a bit more to make sure theyre properly oiled and aired up are reassuring, Im really considering getting a set.

    My question is, if I tell you how much I weigh, and how much my bike weighs, could you possibly help me figure out what spring rate would be good to run? Do you offer a shock dyno service so we can know where to set these things?

    My thought is to buy from ebay, see if the seller will just ship straight to you, have you determine what needs to be done, then send me a paypal invoice, and complete the work and send them to me. I know you wont sell springs, but I can maybe pick up a set of springs to go with them, if what comes with them isnt great.

    Thanks in advance. I appreciate your time in answering my question.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Robert,

      I am going to email you as I think that will provide a better place to discuss this.

      – Chris

  21. Avatar
    Peter
    | Reply

    Hi, what pressure do the RFY shocks run on the piggy back shocks please? 80-100psi ?

    Thanks

    pete

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Pete,

      That range is good.

      More info can be found the RFY Tech Library and the FAQ.

      – Chris

  22. Avatar
    Aaron
    | Reply

    Hello, I bought a pair of these shocks for my Banshee and they feel sooo WEAK. Decided to check the gas pressure…. There wasn’t any. What is the recommended amount of gas for these to be filled with? I weight 250.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Aaron,

      I’d go with at least 100psi. If the springs are too soft, it won’t likely improve that much though.

      Good luck,
      Chris

  23. Avatar
    Keith
    | Reply

    can you rebuild the 400mm shocks?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Keith!

      Yes I can. Info can be found here.

  24. Avatar
    Robert Bitetto
    | Reply

    Hello
    Do you and can you rebuild a pair of vintage reservoir Fox shocks which are currently on my 1982 gsx suzuki katana 1000 sz ? Thank you
    Robert

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Robert,

      You are probably best off sending those back to Fox or one of their authorized service centers. They will be best suited to service those shocks as I don’t carry Fox parts and am not really setup to work on their units.

      Thanks,
      Chris

  25. Avatar
    pablo medina
    | Reply

    hello chris!!! im looking to purchase a pair of these from you…! im at a loss, i want to install on a harley sportster, the bike currently has 13.25, would the 13.5 work??? do you know if they fit??? thanks!

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Pablo!

      I have sold these to a few Sporster riders. The 13.5 inch shock will work, though you will of course raise the bike .25″. I believe the Sportster requires a eyelet lower mount, though you may want to check that. I do not know what size bushings the bike requires, so you might want to consider that as well.

      Regards,
      Chris

  26. Avatar
    Nick
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I am getting a set of 320 for a 2007 ninja 250. I only need one but I guess we could do both that way I have an extra. Are you still rebuilding these?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Nick!

      The ninja has a rising rate suspension with an unknown (to me) motion ratio. This means that a dual shock package like the standard RFY are not really appropriate for the bike. There is a monoshock model available but i have never serviced one.

      Thanks,
      Chris

  27. Avatar
    Darin
    | Reply

    Hi there…I have a more unusual request than what you may be used to seeing.

    I have a 76 GL1000 (650lbs) and I am 285lbs Your weight calculator started to smoke a little when I put my stats in! I ride exclusively solo. (ok, once I had a passenger) I currently have air shocks on it that came with it. And while they are great for more height out of the bike (I am 6′ 5″) and easier to get on the centerstand, I am afraid someday they will deflate and bottom out, ending my ride immediately on the spot due to back tire rub! I’m planning on riding this on long hauls and I cant have that happen in the middle of nowhere. Plus, I think the shocks are destabilizing in turns as I feel a slight shift in back end weight when I take a medium speed corner. (its a cafe bike, not a tour bike) They handle my weight great over bumps and dips with no bottoming out and a smooth ride, etc, but I know I am lacking improved cornering with these, and a GL needs all the help it can get.

    There is a guy on Craigs with some RFY shocks he had for a CB750 build that never got off the ground. (still wrapped new in box) They are 13″ center to center, which is correct, but due to the cheap design (build) of these, I am hesitant to use these with the amount of weight going down the road (1000lbs with me and fluids!) And a friend had the same shock on his Wing and he is 180lbs and it bottomed out. (sounds like the condition that you repair)

    What do you suggest? I can get these virgin shocks for $60. (black spring/natural aluminum cartridge)

    Your thoughts?

    Thank you for your time,. You are really providing quite an unique service for guys like me with strengths in other areas!

    Darin

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Darin!

      The stiffest spring available in the RFY shock is about 140lbs./inch. Given that you have two springs you are looking at a 280lbs./inch spring package. Given that approximately half or your bike and rider package is around 500lbs we can see that the RFY spring really isn’t stiff enough for your application. You would ideally have something a little closer to 350lbs./inch to 400lbs./inch.

      Air shocks, generally speaking do not use the air as an integral part of the support of the bike. The spring is the primary support of the bike. The air in an air shock is used to apply pressure to the oil which reduces hysteresis and cavitation, both of which reduce damping performance. If you want to achieve a stiffer ride, which I think you are, you may want to look at Progressive or Hagon setups where you should be able to get a stiffer spring and appropriate damper. Granted, it won’t be the cheapest deal, but the money will be worth it.

      Best Regards,
      Chris

      • Avatar
        darin martin
        | Reply

        Thanks for the fast reply, Chris. Great info. I’m glad I found your site today on an endless Google search or I may have purchased those shocks without the advice.

        This is a little off subject but what is your advice on forks? I know they have progressive springs for these but they are upwards of $200. I’ve read where just getting the oil level precise does wonders for older forks. This is not my area of expertise, although I do understand the theory when it is explained. I do a lot of research before I jump into something for this reason

        I bought Lester wheels for my bike, but the front is a 78-up model (5 bolt vs 6 bolt early) I bought the front end from a 78 so I can do whatever I need to and still drive the bike until they are ready.

        Do you think I need to do progressive springs up front? The bike, while being a blast carving up lots of miles here in the AZ desert mountains, is not a race bike by any means. I’m constantly reminded by its 650lbs weight pushing through a curve. I’m not sure how far too take the build, weighing the cost vs benefit of a 40 year old Japanese bike.

        Take your time responding. It’s Sunday!

        Thanks again

        Darin

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Darin,

          Clean fork oil and proper fill level is critical. Greater oil will also provide a more progressive front spring rate, as forks do act as air springs in addition to the internal spring. That said, the spring is again the primary support. Progressive springs are good, they help to support the bike when you are really squashing it. Spring support is better than bump stop support. Do you need them? Not necessarily, but they could help if you feel your are too soft up there.

          In reference to the statement you needed clarification on, my statement was a little convoluted. Hysteresis and cavitation are two things you do not want in your shock. Applying air pressure to a gas separated chamber or bladder decreases the likelihood of cavitation and hysteresis from occurring. This is a good thing.

          Thanks!
          Chris

          • Avatar
            Darin
            |

            Thanks for the reply. I’ve learned more about suspension in your couple of responses then any technical book on it. Appreciate it!

      • Avatar
        darin martin
        | Reply

        By the way, can you explain this comment a little more, please?

        e air in an air shock is used to apply pressure to the oil which reduces hysteresis and cavitation, both of which reduce damping performance. ”

        Are you saying increased cavitation and hysteresis promotes damping in a non air shock application? The air reduces cavitation, and you want cavitation?

  28. Avatar
    Scottish Mick
    | Reply

    Hi Chris, firstly I’d just like to say thanks for the info you’ve doled out here (and for free might I add!). I’ve a fair bit of experience with shocks coming from a MBK background, everything from the first Manitous through to the most recent Cane Creeks etc, but I’m stumped with these to be frank. I have a 1996 DR125SE, which I love to bits and have been slowly customising. It’s still running the stock shock, and as I’m throwing it at rougher stuff I’m finding it crashing out. I’ve already put progressive springs and heavier oil in the front shocks, which made the world of difference. The question I have is if one of the 400mm units would be able to support my combined weight? The calculator with my bike and myself is coming in at around 189lb rear spring weight with the 8mm 140lb selection. I have a shock pump (obviously not Nitrogen), and wondered if I would be able to compensate with a greater pressure (Like on my MBK, which I set for every ride). Any advice would be appreciated (stuff on the older DRs becoming harder to find now), and apologies for the novel! Unfortunately, having these shipped to you for a workover would be prohibitively expensive, so it’s gonna be a homer if I do procure some…

    Thanks again,
    Mick.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Mick,

      You need to understand the motion ratio of the rear suspension to estimate what spring rate you need. With the DR, you have a mono shock setup with a rising rate linkage of some variety I presume. This means that motion ratio actually changes. Once you understand this, you can pick a spring. Alternatively, you can try to find a stiffer spring than is on the bike, but you need to know what’s on the bike.

      I did a little digging on the web for you. It seems the DR’s are know for need a shock rebuild after a few good years of riding. You might want to start there.

      Overall, I don’t think the RFY is a good fit unless you really do the work to understand your rear suspension.

      Regards,
      Chris

  29. Avatar
    Scottish Mick
    | Reply

    Thanks,Chris. I’ve been looking into finding a slightly heavier weight spring and shock (from the 400 for example) as I’m aware that the shock is well overdue a rebuild (poor thing has been in there since ’96). Parts for this bike seem to be like rocking horse poo in the UK, but the US market is flooded with them. I was considering one of the RFY units as I’m quite confident cutting, hardening and finishing springs and thought the added bonus of the reservoir adjustment might be an advantage. It’s a shame, but it’s getting harder and harder to find bike breakers near me now, and I don’t want to shell out for something expensive on the ‘Bay without knowing that I’d be able to make it work. Thanks again for your reply, it’s certainly given me some more food for thought.

    Mick.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Probably what you should do is find the specs on your shock, or measure them yourself. You’ll need length center to center and spring rate. Then start looking for a used unit of something modern that has very similar specs. As long as the physical dimensions are close, it should fit. You will want to stick with offroad type bikes though, as they will have a more appropriate valving for your application. It’s too bad you aren’t state side, I could really use a good spring guy!

  30. Avatar
    James
    | Reply

    HI Chris,

    I have been eye balling this shock for a litttle while now…

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/251211626108?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    I was leary due to the significant price difference and mixed reviews over the shock. Is this a shock you can service? It meets the dimensions to my 1986 Honda XR200R which most XR200’s are known to have pogo stick like mono shocks stock. There are few alternatives available and most are very very expensive. I weigh roughly 190 pounds and just use this bike for trail riding. Im no profession rider, I just want something thats stiffer and reduce the pogo stick effect. Would you recommend this for my setup? Do you sell this shock or should i order it on ebay and have it sent to you?

    Look forward to working with you! Thanks -James

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi James,

      Unfortunately the RFY package isn’t great for monoshock application. Monoshock setups have very different needs than twin shock arrangements, both in dampening properties and spring rate.

      Is the stock shock rebuildable?

      – Chris

  31. Avatar
    Pablo Gonzalez
    | Reply

    Have you had any issues with those rfy shovks after the rebuild?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Not even a single one, Pablo.

  32. Avatar
    Colton
    | Reply

    HI I bought a set of 400mm, 15.75″ rfy shocks for my yamaha raptor 660. It came with various brass sleeves for the bushing and only two were the correct size for my shock bolts. So I was only able to mount one shock. I used a digital measurement tool and the outside diameter of the brass sleeve is 14.80mm. I’m wondering if you have access to these as I cant find anything anywhere. Thanks and looking forward to your response.

    • Avatar
      Pablo
      | Reply

      Hey Colton. Have you tried your nearest ace hardware store? I recommend you do your due diligence with these shocks. They have caused many problems. I returned mine because I used them once and they had little to no damper in them. These are not for jumping and hard trail riding. They suck.

      • Chris
        Chris
        | Reply

        Pablo,

        There’s plenty of info out there as to why they suck. Educate yourself.

        Regards,
        Chris

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hey Colton,

      I sent you and email.

      – Chris

  33. Avatar
    Luke
    | Reply

    Hi Chris
    I’m looking to put these on my banshee. Please let me know your input. Thanks

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Luke,

      I generally discourage the use of them on quads. They are a little short on travel and underbuilt for off road purposes in my opinions. That doesn’t mean that people haven’t used them though.

      Regards,
      Chris

  34. Avatar
    Brenden
    | Reply

    Are you still doing the rebuilds?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Yes sir.

      • Avatar
        Brenden
        | Reply

        Can you email me please

  35. Avatar
    Greg
    | Reply

    I mistaken bought these for my HD VROD from EBay. I would like them rebuilt but not sure if you have springs that will work. I do have the stock shocks so a spring swap could be possible? Curious on your thoughts.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Greg,

      It all depends on which shocks you bought. What are their specs? I do have some springs on the shelf, but whether I have the right ones for is the question.

      – Chris

  36. Avatar
    Greg
    | Reply

    Sorry they are Model 1 and are 13.5″ eye to eye on center. Also, is compression adjustable? If so how on the reservoir?

    Bike is 650, 20lbs in fuel, I weigh 230, GF is 125. I will ride is mostly solo…but still want to 2-up on occasion. 1025lbs/2 =515 or ~255/shock. I can send stock shocks in which work well and you can see if they work on the RFY?

  37. Avatar
    Greg
    | Reply

    Stock spring is 7.5 x 2.25 coils are .25 inches…. RFY PROGRESSIVE SPRING IS ABOUT .25 shorter but same in width and coil diameter without using a micrometer to be more precise. I would be happy to ship both sets if u dont have a set that would work

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Greg,

      I hate to say it, but I think your bike and rider combo weight will exceed the rating of the RFY shocks. They really are only ideal up to about 700lbs in their stiffest most robust form.

      – Chris

      • Avatar
        Kris
        | Reply

        I’m confused….that rider combo is about 550#….and you said they are good set up to 700#, but they will still be too soft??

        • Chris
          Chris
          | Reply

          Hi Kris,

          I’ll send you an email and perhaps we can talk in more detailed terms.

          Regards,
          Chris

  38. Avatar
    Sam
    | Reply

    Hi, Chris

    Would you be able to recommend a set of RFY shocks for an 1981 Yamaha maxim xj650? I was unable to find a website to contact the manufacturer directly.

    Thanks, Sam

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Sorry, Sam. I am not that familiar with that bike.

  39. Avatar
    Matt B Kentucky
    | Reply

    I’m only seeing a hand full of quad guys, so I have to ask. Chris, do you really thing this shock would withstand the abuse of a GNCC (three hour cross country) on my old Honda TRX 250r Qaud? Even if I get a season out of them that would be great. I’m SICK of destroying sets of 800-1200$ front shocks like elka and ohlins. I’m down if your backing this!

  40. Avatar
    Matt B, KY
    | Reply

    Actually the travel is amazing for quads a stock TRX450r (quad) has right under nine inches front shock travel. I’m very fascinated. Chris do you think the “plungers” will take the abuse of cross country atv racing? I’m more than will to have at three or four sets done. I’m SICK of buying 800-1000$ shocks every year! But my old trx250r needs something to take the pain off.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Matt,

      Do you know how the spring rates are for quads? I would tend to believe that they are incorrect.

      I’m not sure about the piston performance in quads, you really don’t know unless you have a dyno or have tried them in person. My guess is that they would be subpar, but who knows?

      The shafts on the RFY are small compared to many offroad type shocks. That means that they may be prone to bending, especially as they are likely subpar material. Okay for twin shock vintage motorcycles, likely overworked off road.

      Regards,
      Chris

  41. Avatar
    Bob McConnell
    | Reply

    Do you sell the bottom clevis for the RFY shocks that would mount to Honda CB750 in black? Or do you know where I can get them?

    Bob Mc

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      I can sell them, but I am not sure I list them on my site. I usually just drill and tap a regular clevis to fit a 10mm bolt.

  42. Rear shock options
    | Reply

    […] they are new out of the box. You can read up on the shocks and service available from Chris here: RFY Shocks Rebuild Service On most of their shocks, the lower clevis is adjustable for length. I believe the CX500 had a rake […]

  43. Avatar
    Colton
    | Reply

    Chris, sent you an email.

  44. Avatar
    Jeff Larsen
    | Reply

    Just read your article on rebuild. I wanted to know if you knew the total length from fully collapsed to fully extended for the raft 11″ & the 9.5″ shocks? Thanks

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      I have worked on so few of those short units that I’ve never measured them.

      Regards,
      Chris

  45. Avatar
    Justin Lewis
    | Reply

    Thinking of buying a set of the RFY 320’s for my 12 year old son’s 1976 kx 125. He wants to race at Vintage days in Ohio this year. He weighs 125LBS ant the bike is 178lbs dry. stock shocks are 13.25″. He has been riding since he was 4, but has never raced. I don’t think he will be riding very hard his first time out, but you never know. Do you think these shocks would be a decent choice? Also can I buy these from you already set up, or should i get them off ebay and ship them to you to be serviced? Thanks. Justin

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Justin,

      Sounds like a cool project, and Mid Ohio is one of my favorite places!

      The standard 100lb springs that come on the 320mmm units are definitely too stiff for that bike. We could can put softer springs on, but that increases the price significantly.

      Send me an email via the contact page and we can discuss further.

      Regards,
      Chris

  46. Avatar
    Kevin
    | Reply

    2013 Dyna Street bob. 670lbs, rider 220lbs, passenger 120lbs (passenger 50-60% of the time).

    Looking at the all black rfy
    Length: 360mm
    Spring Diameter: 8mm
    Spring Rate: 1lbs/0.09inch
    Working Stroke : 68mm
    Max Load :More Then 300kgs

    The spring doesn’t seem sufficient for my total weight. Do you have accessto/can you install springs with proper rates?

    Do you have a spherical bearing set up for 1/2″ sae studs?

    Do you feel the materials used are sufficient enough to support the 1010lbs of combined weight?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Kevin,

      Email sent!

      Regards,
      Chris

  47. Avatar
    Craig
    | Reply

    Looking to purchase 15″ RFY shocks for my sportster for to use as a flat track bike only, I need them pretty stiff do you have any recommendations?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Craig,

      I’ll send you an email, but generally when the track is involved I recommend going with Race Tech springs on the RFY dampers.

      Regards,
      Chris

  48. Avatar
    Ronald
    | Reply

    Hello Chris,
    I have read on a forum that the RFY shocks have the tendency to break at the bottom eye/mount?
    Is that really true? Or a myth? Can’t find much about it.
    Or break at a other point?
    Only i find that: out of the box not working properly (like your website here)

    Greeting’s Ronald.

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Ronald,

      It has never once happened in my experience. So all I can figure is that it is a fluke or due to improper assembly.

      Regards,
      Chris

  49. Avatar
    Randy Brown II
    | Reply

    Hello, super awesome gig you’ve got going on here, I’m sure you’ve got it down to an art form by now. I’m really big on learning how and doing things like this myself. Where is this detailed instructional on how to accomplish this yourself that I’ve heard about?

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Randy,

      I don’t believe I ever posted a detailed instructional on how these shocks are torn down.

      Suffice it to say though, the steps are fairly easy. It’s the details that suck.

      First, compress the spring and remove the perch from the shaft. Follow by removing the spring.

      Next, remove the head seal nut from the shock body.

      Then, let the air pressure out of the bladder, compress the bladder cap, and remove the snap ring. You can now expand the bladder via air pressure and pop the cap off the reservoir.

      Now it’s time to pull the shaft and piston/seal assembly out of the body using a puller.

      To finish, fill with oil and reassemble.

      Regards,
      CL

  50. Avatar
    Randy Brown II
    | Reply

    Break down shouldn’t be too difficult for someone mechanically inclined.
    Not to try and steal any of your trade secrets but with years of experience manufacturing in the Motorsport industry I’m definitely mechanically inclined enough and interested in giving this a shot myself. I’m interested in some of the missing info, such as the correct amount of oil to use, as well as the correct pressure of nitrogen to use for a performance setting.

  51. Avatar
    SHANE TUCKER
    | Reply

    Hey Chris,

    Like many others, the entry price has intrigued me. The old air ride on my daily ridden 1996 Harley street glide ultra (flhtcu) are old, tired, unstable in corners and constantly leak down and bottom out. I ride 2up 40% of the time and sometimes transcontinental at bike + me 220 + wife 150 + luggage and took 150 = 520lbs… When loaded as mentioned I use my bike to travel anywhere I must go (5k mile trip and 1.5k trips this summer). I was considering the 340mm springs and the 8mm coil. Would this be appropriate? Are you still tuning the shocks? Thanks for your expertise.

    John

    • Chris
      Chris
      | Reply

      Hi Shane,

      My initial impression would be that these shocks really aren’t appropriate for your riding style. More or less, you are carrying too much weight with an already heavy bike for the RFY shocks. Really you want something with a bigger damper (piston) and probably a little stiffer spring rate.

      Regards,
      CL

  52. Avatar
    SHANE TUCKER
    | Reply

    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately you confirmed my suspicions. I will continue to consider the Öhlins or Legends.

    Thankyou,
    SJT

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