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Works Performance Shocks, looking for real life experience


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After doing a search for information here, I came up empty handed.


So, I'm asking, does anyone here have any real life experience using Works Performance Shocks on their RT?


I know Wilbers are popular, but I would like to explore Works as they are made here.


The RT is at 38,000 on the OEM shocks and needs new suspenders.


Thanks in advance!

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I have had a pair of Works shocks installed for several years now (and through one rebuild which went smoothly) and have been quite happy with them. The ARS dual-spring preload setting system is pretty trick... it works very well and I like it much better than the stock hydraulic preload system on the RT. The only thing that is missing is adjustable compression damping but none of the shocks in this middle price range have that, including the Ohlins. I believe you have to go up to the pricier Wilburs or Penske units to get that.


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Bought Works for my bike at 10,000. Rebuilt them at 50K. Now rebuilding again at 90K. Absolutely getting my money's worth.


You'll love the ride, the comfort and handling, and the value. But there are some PITA issues.


Compression damping is internal and it takes disassembly of the shock to change it (just like with Ohlins). Fortunately, it's spot on. Rebound damping came set too heavy. I thought the spring was too stiff, but it was the shock "packing down" and unable to extend fully before the next bump which was therefore compressing my spring and making it feel stiff. Once I figured that out, I got it set right and haven't had a problem in 80K.


Spring pre-load. Trying to adjust the sag on the rear, with the shock on the bike, is a major pain. This has everything to do with the tight space surrounding the shock than with the shock or the tools for the shock collar. You have to remove the shock to change the preload. That's if you go with the ARS system, which I recommend. If you decide not to, then the hydraulic preload collar from your stock shock can be pirated and transfered over to the Works shock.


Front shock. Setting the preload is a lot easier. You can get the spring collar tool onto the shock and make 1/8" turns. This means it takes a bit of work to change preload and sag, but it can be done with the shock on the bike. Once set, I've never had to change it. Last rebuild the springs tested right at the original specs. Works uses Eibach springs, and I've been mightily impressed.


In all, they're not plug-n-play, but if you don't mind taking a Saturday to set them up, you'll have shocks that will serve you for years to come.

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What Fernando said.


Rear sag is a bit of a PIA to set, but with the ARS you only have to do that once. I spent a couple of hours on that...install, check sag, remove, adjust, reinstall, check sag, etc. Then I never touched it ever again.


With ARS, you've got a 3-position indexed collar on the bottom of the shock. I had them set the three positions on mine for solo, solo with luggage, and 2-up with luggage. To switch "modes", just pop the black plastic side panel off, reach in and rotate the collar to the appropriate position, and pop the side panel back on. It is a 2 minute job at the most.


Pretty much any aftermarket shock is going to be better than the POS shocks that come with the bike, but I found the Works to be a very good value for the performance. And the ARS was awesome and made it so easy to switch between solo and 2-up.


My Works rear shock is now on Lisa's R1100RS and we'll be buying a new Works front shock for that bike shortly (the RT/RS use the same rear shock but a different front).


In short, I'm a happy customer and would buy their stuff again.

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Well . . . I liked the ARS system. Although after you get a bunch of miles on the shock, it gets dirty and harder to turn.


The reasons I replaced the Works shocks on my bike? #1, I could never get them set up the way I wanted. I dunno if the spring rate was wrong, the damping was wrong, they weren't set up right (and I tried a lot of settings), or what. They worked great on good pavement, but on crappy midwestern pavement with potholes and frost heaves, the ride was way too harsh. Completely controlled, but harsh - a sharp bump like a frost heave felt like it was transmitted undamped to my spine. On smooth roads in the south and west, they were fine. It was as if they were designed for track riding, not road riding.


#2, through 3 rebuilds I couldn't get Works to fix this. If you have any expectations about customer service, like most of the overly fussy people on this DB, Works may not be a company for you. The first time I wanted to send them in for a rebuild, it took a week to reach someone who could tell me what the address was to send them. (The second and third times I just sent them to the same address without checking first). Twice they rebuilt one shock, then the other, sending them back separately. Each time I enclosed a letter outlining the issues I had with the shocks and asking them to contact me so we could discuss it, and each time they just rebuilt the shocks to the way they were originally. I had a hard time contacting them, I had a hard time getting information out of them like how much the rebuild would cost and how long it would take.


They're high quality shocks, they're not as outrageously expensive as Wilbers or Ohlins, the ARS system is great. The "made in the U.S.A." aspect doesn't sway me, considering they're going on a German motorcycle - why not buy a Harley and be really patriotic?

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Each time I enclosed a letter outlining the issues I had with the shocks and asking them to contact me so we could discuss it, and each time they just rebuilt the shocks to the way they were originally.
FWIW I had the opposite experience. I included written instructions with the shocks to simply rebuild them as necessary and included a not-to-exceed dollar amount, but nevertheless I received a call from them detailing what work they proposed and asking if I had any questions or comments (even though the charges were well within the amount I specified.) At the time I wasn't sure why they called me as I didn't request it but was impressed that they made the effort. Still, I guess that their customer service can indeed be variable because yours is not the only complaint I've seen. So far so good for me though.
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I've had LOTS of aftermarket shocks.. and have pretty much settled on Wilbers.


My experience with Works was on a short-shock for K bikes, and it was a mixed experience. One problem was the shock allowed too much travel on compression.. if I hit a really large bump the rear would compress to the point where the rear tire rubbed against the inside of the fender. The first time it did this - with a BIG screech noise it scared the crap out of me. I was somewhat heavily loaded at the time - but in reality - the shock shouldn't allow that much compression IMHO - even if the damping was gone and the spring had broken.


I had mine rebuilt twice by Works - with the same sort of experiences David had. Each time they got it - they claimed the center rod was shot and replaced it at a cost of around $100 (plus the other rebuild charge.) I finally figured out how to replace the main seal myself, and found a local dirt-bike shop that had the nitrogen setup to recharge the gas fill, and ended up rebuilding it myself - several more times. It seemed as if it needed a rebuild about ever 10k miles.


Other shocks - Progressive - I wasn't impressed with their 420 series shock, but I may have gotten one that was defective right from the factory..


Ohlins - excellent shock. Pricey, but really good.


Wilbers - excellent shock and excellent service from Klaus in the US - one more adjustment than Ohlins, and it is an adjustment that makes a difference, and I use it.


DISCLAIMER: I'm good friends with Klaus, and he's the former owner of my K75S.. but that doesn't make the Wilbers shocks any better or worse - they are an excellent shock at a better price than Ohlins. It was the first BIG modification I made to my RS..

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I put Works Performanc front and back on my R1100RS. The front worked good, I had some qualicty control issues on the back shock which required I send it back. I sent it back blue label UPS at my expense, they returned it ground shipment (from Fl-CA) which kind of irked me, but they did take care of the problem. In any case, the ARS system is really convenient, but adjusthing the preload on the rear is a pain iwth the tool they supplied, but once it is set, the ARS takes over.


Now the same front Works Perf. shock resides on my R1150RS and is due for a rebuild with about 40K miles on the shock. The damping is getting less and less and the paint on the spring has begun to peel. The rear shock is stock since I could not transfer from R1100RS to the 1150RS due to it being a differnt shock. I was able to sell the rear shock on this board without a problem a few years ago. I may get the front rebuilt and see how they do before making up my mind on the rear one.


Overall from what I can tell on this and other boardsthere have been more "issues" with Works than with Wilbers.

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There is a perfectly good christmas tree right there on the starting line into which any level of handicap can be programmed. Also has foul lights to remove any dispute over who left early. Having both drivers leave from the starting line also insures equal traction for both as once you get more than a couple of cars past the lights, traction goes down. Even dumber is a guy at the end calling the finish. Every track they run on has an electronic system for that.


Same here. But I have heard of several people who have also had bad experiences like Eebie did.


For me, I called, got an address to send the shocks to, and sent them in. They called me shortly after the shocks arrived and gave me an estimate for the basic rebuild, then asked if there was anything else I wanted done. we talked about some nit-picky issues I was having with high-speed compression damping being a hair too harsh. They rebuilt the shocks in a couple of days, sent them back, and when I installed them, I found that the high-speed compression damping was softened up a bit just like I asked.


I couldn't be more pleased.


OTOH, I sent them an email a couple of weeks ago asking about a shock for Lisa's FZR and never did get a response. I think they respond much better to phone calls than letters or email.

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I thank you all for your responses, very helpful. I haven'y yet decided on which brand or distributor I will go with. Customer service is almost as important as the quality of the item. I will have to weigh all this once I am done researching.


As for "Made in the USA" versus foreign made, I try and patronize American made goods when possible, when comparing apples.


As for what David said about Harley, that was a joke, right? Harley is about 40-50% foreign out-sourced parts. I don't think in this day and age, anything requiring a multitude of parts to assemble is 100% made in any respective country, not even BMW.


Thanks again! thumbsup.gif

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i first ordered them for an 1100rs with 45,000 miles. i was so amazed that i went searching for bad road just to feel the ride. unfortunately, i had to trade that bike after just 5,000 more miles, but it rode much nicer than the new 2004 rt i traded it for. unfortunately, they did not interchange. i put up with the stock shocks on the RT for 12,000 miles and bought another set of Works that now have about 15,000 on them. i would buy them again.


here's a tip, unless your tires are close to new, treat your bike to a fresh set when you upgrade shocks or you won't really appreciate the improvement.


do it, you won't be sorry.


tom collins

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I have the Works "triple spring" shock on the rear of my K100RT. It arrived with a leaky weld that seeped oil, which cost me Fedex transport back (3 days after I bought the shock) to get it repaired. The main spring also jammed in the preload adjustment cup, so they had to replace the spring as well at that time.


Not very damned impressive.


The hose to the external reservoir was stainless braided, but the fittings were only cheap zinc plated, and started to rust after a couple months. Similarly, the steel shock body was plated with zinc so thin, that it started to rust after a few months as well.


Works themselves are the most discorganized outfit I have ever dealt with. It took almost 10 phone calls to them to get the above sorted out. With a previous Works shock, all 3 springs broke (due to very old age) at different times, and when I described them in detail (spring diameter, wire diameter, number of turns and length) the STILL shipped the wrong spring twice in a row. They also sent the correct sized O-ring I ordered together with a seal that goes next to it, that was obviously completely the wrong size. Like I said, totally disorganized!


The shock has been on the bike for a year now, and at least it seems to work reasonably well.

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